[Poetry] “The Bells Tolls For Me”

Note: This piece was written for last night’s performance at Sappho’s Salon in Chicago, IL. There was to be a video broadcast and archival copy posted…and Facebook decided I needed to spend a few hours in purgatory instead. Thanks, Zuck. -Andrea

At the chime, the time will be eight minutes past midnight on Tuesday, 8 November 2016. Election Day.
I voted early. I am excited.
I encourage my friends to vote. I encourage strangers to vote.
It is important to be a part of history, I say. It is important to be a part of the process.
I go to bed. I sleep next to my wife. Life is good.

At the chime, the time will be 24 minutes past ten on Tuesday, 8 November 2016.
Trump has won Florida.
Trump has won Pennsylvania.
Trump has won Ohio.
Trump has won Michigan.
Trump has a path to 270.
Clinton does not.
I am horrified. I am sick to my stomach.
I shake like the chains of Christmas Past’s ghost.
I go for a walk.

At the chime, the time will be two-thirty six in the morning on Wednesday, 9 November 2016.
I dragged my penitential soul to a labyrinth. I left my “I voted” sticker on some rusted art.
It is a Hail Mary into the Void. It is a desperate plea for deliverance.
It is an empty gesture.
I go to bed.
I won’t sleep, but I will lay next to my wife. I will find comfort in her presence, but I will not find rest.
I will enjoy this night as best as I can. I may not have many left.

At the chime, the time will be eleven twenty one in the morning on Wednesday, 9 November 2016.
The worst case scenario has happened:
Republicans control the White House.
Republicans control both houses of Congress.
Republicans control the Supreme Court.
My fear is indescribable. Everything I know, everything I am – all of it is afraid.
I lean on my faith. It tells me to love my enemies.
My faith tell me to bear witness to injustice, to fight for what is right.
My faith aligns with my oath to support and defend the Constitution.
But how? I am terrified. My feet are rooted to this moment.

Quis ministat ipsos ministram?

At the chime, the time will be four fifty five in the evening on Thursday, 10 November 2016.
I have driven from Woodstock to Chicago to Elgin. My keys are locked in the car.
I am asked to reconcile with the new Administration. To work with them.
To make America great again.
They tell me it won’t be like I fear. That I am overblowing this whole thing.
That if they lived under Obama then I can live under Trump.
My thousand yard stare cannot hide my emotions.
How. Fucking. Dare. They.
The dam holding my rage breaks. Kali comes to me, offers me oblivion and destruction. I want to give in.
Fight fire with fire. Fight hate with hate. Fight anger with anger. Fight… and I pause.
No, not today, Satan. Not today.

At the chime, the time will be nine twelve in the morning on Tuesday, 15 November 2016.
My rage is palpable. It is tangible.
My rage covers my grief.
My grief covers my terror.
My tears show everyone everything.
I am weak. I am prey.
The hunterman cometh, his horn I hear. All of this has happened before, all of this will happen again.
This is just the intermission.

At the chime, the time will be one minute past midnight on Monday, 21 November 2016.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
I do not have to fight hate with hate. I fight hate with resistance.
With rebellion. With rage. With righteous fury.
I fight with my words, my voice, my hands.
I fight because this white skin covers the colors of my blood,
just as my blood courses under the scars on my body,
just as my body covers the scars of my past,
just as my past pushes me to fight.
I fight, because so help me god, I can do nothing more.

At the chime, the time will be one minute past now.
I will breathe.

At the chime, the time will be one more minute further past now.
I pray I will still be breathing.

At the chime, the time will be one more minute further past now.
Will I still be breathing?