The cost of silence

If I said what I was thinking
How much harder would this be for us both?

I pay my way in silence
The less I say the more you think we’re the same
I blend in
I disappear

All you really want is for me to reflect you back to you
To reinforce you
To make you the norm
So you can feel normal
So you can feel safe
Like you’ve always felt

So I disappear
I silence
I swallow my difference in smiles
You like that
I learn
I get wise
I know how to make you like me
Because that’s the way to get ahead
Because you decide who gets ahead not us

I understand it
I see the bias you don’t see
You’ve never had to see
And I bend
I pretend I’m on your side of the divide
I betray myself
My history
My reality
For your approval

In the hopes of some future recognition
When I can be seen
And be respected
At the same time
For now, I choose respect over truth.

Truth or dare?
We dare
We run your marathon everyday
In it for the long distance race
You win the battles because we don’t fight
We are in the silent war
The war for peace and equality
A passive resistance

I go home and I’m tired
And I cry
And I shed my armour
With my people
And I live in my truth
Day and night
Black and white
Two different worlds
One subway ride apart

There are moments of offguard visibility
Sudden exposure
Identity on display
And in those moments, we fall silent
Becoming image-like
Token diversity bobbleheads
Like children
In the olden days
Knowing it is only safe to be seen or heard
Not both

For to speak from Here
From the place of truth
From I to you
is too much for you

Too real
Too loud
Too other
For now

So we wait.
Because that is the one game we win.

The quiet army
Who cleans up your mess

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