This poem first appeared June 18, 2016 on the L.A. Public Library website: http://www.lapl.org/collections-resources/blogs/lapl/poem-new-dream
In the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub massacre, Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016
Hate becomes death becomes hate.
The world unravels in fear.
Columbine: 13 students and a teacher gone.
Sandy Hook: 20 children and 6 adults murdered.
Charleston, North Carolina: 9 black churchgoers killed.
San Bernardino: 14 men and women destroyed.
Orlando, Florida: 50 patrons of a LGBTQ nightclub slaughtered.
Hate that shouts without a voice,
that uses bullets to speak,
that has a finality to its grief,
that can’t see because this rage has no eyes…
Hate in Wounded Knee, 1890: 300 Native men, women, children wiped out.
Ludlow, Colorado, 1914: National Guard and John D. Rockefeller’s company guards
kill some 25 men, women, and children during coal miners’ strike.
Tulsa Oklahoma, 1921: Upwards of 300 black residents slaughtered by whites
In 1919 alone, hundreds killed in more than 300 riots against blacks.
Some 4,000 blacks lynched from 1860 to 1950.
Around 700 Mexicans in roughly the same years.
Millions erased bringing Africans to America….
In the first 15 years of the 21st century, police killed unarmed black residents
in Ferguson, Baltimore, Oakland, New York, Los Angeles…
Salinas police killed 5 unarmed Mexican and Salvadoran farmworkers in 2014.
Black lives matter because when they stop being killed, we’re all free.
Hate against the raped women (1 in 5 women raped in the United States),
killing women’s choices for their bodies, killing and killing and killing.
Oklahoma City: 168 blown to pieces.
Twin Towers, New York: 2,752 massacred.
6 millions Jews destroyed in the Holocaust.
When right becomes hate, it loses its right.
When walls are the response
—or invasions, drone attacks, torture, perpetual war…
Ask Hitler. Ask Mussolini. Ask Pinochet.
Ask the 75,000 killed during the 1980s in El Salvador,
or 100,000 Mayan villagers in Guatemala,
or the hundreds of protesting students in Tlatelolco, Mexico.
90 percent of Native peoples dead within 50 years of European invasion.
I recall Malcolm teaching that in the ghetto we’re seeing
“the hate that hate produced.”
I’ve seen this in the barrio.
In the reservation.
In the trailer park.
Self-hate is also hate.
It’s in suicides of LGBTQ youth hounded to death.
When an interviewer insinuated to Muhammad Ali that he learned
to hate white people from being a Muslim, Ali said,
“I learned to hate white people from white people.”
When Gays and Trans folk get beaten, stabbed, shot, just for being what they
can’t help but be, hate is the normality of our existence, the fabric in our tapestry,
the fetid air we breathe.
White. Black. Brown. Women. Men.
Christians. Buddhists. Muslims. Hindu. Natives. Nonbelievers.
And transitional beings.
More than 200,000 annihilated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Hate is in the blood.
Guns don’t hate. But those who want guns in all our hands do.
When 6,800 people died since 1998 trying to cross the Mexico-U.S. border.
And 164,000 killed, with 30,00 missing, since 2006 in Mexican drug wars.
When hate says we can’t reach out across all walls,
then tear down those walls.
Poverty is hate. Prison is hate. Families without homes…
Hate. Hate. Hate.
When Martin Luther King, Jr. got assassinated
—and John F. Kennedy, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Robert Kennedy, Ruben Salazar,
Rudy Lozano, Harvey Milk, John Lennon…
Hate sang its sanguine song.
When 15,000 young people in the barrios and ghettos of Los Angeles
died from gang violence from 1980 to 2000.
When Chicago sees hundreds of mostly black and brown youth destroyed
every year for forty years.
When the murder capitals of the world are Detroit, New Orleans, San Pedro Sula,
Ciudad Juarez, Johannesburg… hate capitalizes.
When refugees of hate now have Syrian faces, Afghani faces, Iraqi faces,
Honduran faces, poor faces…
That’s hate. Self hate. The hate that hate produced.
Hate is an industry. Hate makes some people rich. Capitalism is hate.
The answer to hate is not hate. Justified by hateful Gods in people’s minds.
When even love is a reason to be killed, then hate is the heart gone mad.
As prayers shroud the dead, guns sales rise, and defense budgets take up
the majority of our tax dollars (even if most days we forget we’re at war).
Violence sells movies, books, music.
And the violent, victims and perpetrators alike,
fills jails and mental institutions.
When in every poor neighborhood you can buy guns all you want,
but you can’t buy a book?
We need people to be Queer. Unique. Different. To make us more human.
When access to love, peace, connections, hearts, brains, and books becomes
Then revolution is the only way to go. An armed revolution, yes, but not of guns.
Armed with art, connections, hearts, brains, books, and a multiplicity of
Imagine… imagine… imagine.
We reweave the unraveling cloth of our lives with dreams, not screams.
So love becomes life becomes love.