December 17 Sail Set

by Elizabeth Page Roberts

you are : we light :
a devotional flame for the forsaken and the future
singular arc
mohamed bouazizi mohamed bouazizi mohamed bouazizi
your name, a waterfall of the possible
your life, infinite openings

switchback: your life was not possible
when wielding only a body
the crush of capital
a bearing down of all the weight of global brokenness
when wielding only a body
mohamed bouazizi mohamed bouazizi
the openlessness of your life pressing upon you
ardor quelled by hunger

you can not eat the lies of the state
the flowers of promise pour from your mouth
garlands of need wind
flaring vines climb
growing the heat of prophecy
a numinous death-birth

when wielding only a body
the logic of incensed delirium takes hold
answering humiliation and poverty
with a final trenchant act of anguished control
in the instant after the can was put down
and the red phosphorus tip
hit the first abrasive bit
of the striking strip
the world cracked open

you deny the warping greed
deprive corrupt authority
the chance to finish you
authoring your own end
trembling little burning stick
no time
tiny first spark leaping to meet you
in readiness
what you wished would purify the lack
just before and just after:
all was the slow silent
an eternal instant
then a contagion
werther pattern

mohsen bouterfif
maamir lotfi
abdelhafid boudechicha
abdou abdel-moneim jaafar
noureddine adnane
aambiz roustay

mohamed bouazizi
the world, too, was set afire
you, the tiny first spark
legions doused in readiness
fractal conflagration
a kinetic pandemic:
the imaginal pistons of millions
set alight when you chose an enkindled egress
charged vector
confronting panoptic sociopathy
spangling blaze
untrussing the pinned wings

Tunisia, Jordan, Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Morocco, Oman
body as protestation
Greece, Spain, Britain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, France
body as tinder
Madison, Columbus, New York, Oakland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle
body as prayer

the cry is all things
horror evoking old horrors
still, this pyre was humanity urging humanity
when only wielding a body
the scream of the silenced roars
fills the space between stars
mohamed bouazizi mohamed bouazizi
we call you up from the ashes
mohamed bouazizi
what if we took you
cool december hands
cradled your ache
kept your produce cart safe
resurrected you
stopped you
gave you a portal into what revolt lay ahead

or would it have
had you not offered everything that had been given
body as site of suffering and rebellion
blessings and curses
body as instrument of redress
body as incandescent testament
when wielding merely a body
which was everything
we must teach ourselves to rise
a tidal voice
before the match is struck
we must pivot the helm to larboard

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About Elizabeth Page Roberts

Elizabeth Page Roberts's picture

Biography
Liz Roberts is an activist and works as a fundraiser for the War Resisters League. Her work has appeared in We'Moon and various 'zines, and will be included in the forthcoming Widows' Handbook and We Have Not Been Moved.