This week’s Art Friday post is a poem written by Chris Ong, who participates in a few of our Ontario Generous Space groups. Chris shares his poetry on his blog https://livingink.wordpress.com
Here’s what he has to say about this poem:
This poem I started to write the first week after the Orlando shooting. I am the type of person that until they put things into words, they cannot fully understand or process things. This was my way of processing the Orlando shooting, my resulting emotional turmoil, and also honour the life of those we have lost. It took me a long time to finish this relatively small piece but I hope that I captured this moment with honour and respect.
We Will Not Be Put on Silent
The telephone is ringing,
“Hi! I’m not by the phone right now, leave a message and I’ll get back to you when I can”
As the morning sun rose over Orlando, Florida, June 12th 2016
the body count came pouring in
49 killed, 53 injured
a devastating blow to a community of LGBT people of colour
Before tears could stain the headlines of the morning newspaper,
Family and friends fumble their phones
desperately manoeuvring contact lists through nervous tics.
each ring of the phone a torturous reminder that last words might be spoken through answering machines
and each silence between drawn out by a million prayers that thought is wrong.
Reports say that as investigators surveyed the aftermath that cellphones of the deceased wouldn’t stop ringing with calls and messages from loved ones,
A grim musical accompaniment to this gruesome scene;
A macabre orchestra of ringtones.
How haunting it must be to carry lifeless bodies while the sound of their soul still lingers in the atmosphere.
That day, social media was buzzing.
Everyone was looking to the leaders of today to use the power and authority they hold to speak to this tragedy.
And we grieved together
we grieved for the lives that were lost,
we grieved for the people who were injured
we grieved for the loved ones who were impacted.
we grieved for our safety
we grieved as our very existence got erased from media coverage right before our eyes.
and we grieved because a hate crime by any other name is just as painful
This refusal to acknowledge why people died gives a whole new meaning to whitewashing tombs
painting the lens of our experience to make our deaths more palatable to the masses.
But this slaughter is not meant to leave you feeling comfortable.
When injustice creeps it’s way up your spine and chills you to your bones,
remember this feeling
Remember this feeling as we stand in solidarity,
as we raises our voices high,
trying to keep out head above the waves as their silence floods over us
But we will not let these waters sink us,
like 49 cellphones,
We will not let this injustice be passed over unheard
We will continue to ring loudly as we grieve.
A thunderous uproar,
An indigent S.O.S
And although it might make you uncomfortable,
we will not be put on silent!