Mathieu Chartrand - Le mot du président III

IN YOUR DEMOCRACY

You denounce sticks and stones
bottles and bricks
because you can see people
throwing them your way
But you don’t see or hear
the everyday violence of poverty
the everyday violence of misery
so you keep your lips closed
in your democracy

You don’t see or hear the
homeless, hungry
malnourished, sick and dying
sleeping in the street
in an un-heated room
crowded together
public services axed
social safety nets trashed
working in a dangerous factory
fearing for their jobs
afraid to speak out
the 24/7 violence of trying to survive
in your democracy

You don’t put it on TV
splash it on the front page
announce it on billboards
It’s too real
it implicates your friends
points fingers at them
displeases your boss
challenges your beliefs, your values
and is useless to you anyway
so you keep your lips closed
in your democracy

Now listen to the baby crying
because its mother
can’t afford to buy medicine
in your democracy
‘Yes,’ you say
‘but at least she’s free
to cry’

Norman Nawrocki

Howl! collective is publishing In Your Democracy by poet/activist Norman Nawrocki from his recently released book of poetry Nightcap for Nihilists (Les Pages Noires, Montreal, 2012). Illustration accompanying poem by Mathieu Chartrand : Le mot du président III.

We are publishing this poem in the context of the ongoing Quebec student uprising, that has forced the Liberal Party of Quebec to call an election in response to a mass social movement that has opened deep questions in both Quebec and Canadian society, questions on the possibilities for collective democratic action in a neo-liberal era. To order Nightcap for Nihilists, visit HERE

2 years ago
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