Poem for Someone

I saw someone apologise to Jamie
saying they thought they’d understood
what it felt like when Brexit happened
but now realised that they hadn’t
and summed up Trump like this:
“It feels like my country died.”

I started following historian Simon Schama
as he retweeted people arguing with him.
One guy said, “Let’s give him his 100 days.
While being most watchful.” Schama replied:
“He’s already unleashed evil... white supremacists
who now rejoice and spread poison.”

He continued: “If our optimistic reading is
he’s a cynic not a fascist, then we are in deep trouble
as genuine fascists will feed off the betrayal.”
Then I read tweets by my friends like: “First
Brexit, then Trump, and now the boiler’s broken.”
Then Leonard Cohen died and everyone went quiet.

My lines get longer and more awkward
as I struggle to manage my reactions.
I think of the last line in Denise Riley saying:
“You will bear what can not be borne.”
It gives me hope whilst reinforcing darkness,
the sense that everyone is divided, broken.

I am ashamed of hope. It feels too soon for hope,
for the privilege of ‘coming together’ to fight,
rising above, and all those platitudes. There is no
rise, no one side who should be better than the other,
telling who and how to act, vote, think or spit.
There is only history and what reality can teach us.

Resist sadness. Like when asked, “Is this the protest?
How long does it last?” a woman said: “Four years.” Resist
despair. Be prepared to stand up for vulnerable people and do so.
Don’t fear difficult situations. Engage. Mock less. Find words
of love. Listen harder. I learnt the collective noun for wombats
is a ‘wisdom’, and for one small moment I stopped being afraid.

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