shield and sword

The biggest difference was diversity.
If there are so many kinds of people welcome here,
there must be room for me
is how the thinking goes.
Even if I lick my toes before dancing from room to room
to keep clear my position on the ground.
Little Nell sparkles in dark corners,
shimmers like radiant heat behind rings and clouds.
Well made-up bag ladies tisk tisk and tickle under
her flounces, stick her with branding fronds
behind her ears,
titter just below sound threshold — so she knows
but knows not what they wish to have told her:
that she has no place, no home, no town, no proud name;
but if she will but play according to the script they
have memorized, allow their discrete bullying is just
what she most lovingly desires,
they might not chase her away,
may suckle off her sparkle
until it dims,
gives them pause to move on to more diverting fools.
I exhort you once more to be the change,
change the sign,
sign the slogans with sweeping motions
charge into the fray
breathe the sludge
taste the waste we so freely made
be the cause
because we can only
seize the day
fly wild winds, embrangle kites of prey
deride perversity.

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