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Hersch Rothmel Jul 2015
as we collect our stories and reclaim our names
we become aware of the possibility
that, in fact, we always live with our ancestors
as we collect our stories and reclaim our names
we start to contrive
the raw material
to obtain our fibers
as we collect our stories and reclaim our names
we start to cultivate the insights of how those fibers can be woven into strands
that when interlocked with other fibers
create a collective blanket, untold histories

No, not a patchwork-quilt, not a melting ***, not a salad bowl
not a room full of flags with countries we cant place on a map
and full of people WE can’t help but fetishize
no, No, NO
this is an interwoven stitch
this is a tattered rag
that has been used to wipe **** off of colonizer’s *******
that has been used to wipe the dripping *** off of Thomas Jefferson’s ****
as he finishes up with his Saartjie Baartman,
that has been used to hide the faces of the KKK as they drag uppity black boys down the street
and LYNCH them in carnival and spectacle
that has been soaked in Black and Brown blood on the streets of
Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, North Carolina, Milwaukee, and every other city and district in the US of KKK

This is not a handholding session with me
I am the oppressor and I must fear my own wrath
my fiber is white, my strand is white
and too many strands are white
and too many Black, Brown, Red, and Yellow strands have been bleached
or told “wait your turn to be included in the blanket"
or "be thankful we even include you in the stitching
give us a TOKEN of gratitude”
I take YOUR strands and use them to cloth MY babies while yours lie naked

The time is now
to take the clorox and gulp it down as it eviscerates our throats and consumes our souls
We don’t need anymore whitewashed histories
we dont need anymore white sheets
we don’t need to go to BED, BATH, and BEYOND
I cannot come to you with a bail full of cotton and ask you to join me in a knitting session

this is not a time for diversity and multiculturalism
or the co-option of “social justice”

this is a time for Solidarity

this is a time for Liberation

this is a time for Abolition

this is a time for Insurrection

this is a time for Rebellion

this is a time for Revolution

I cannot be the leader
but I can contribute
I cannot be the voice
but I can sure has hell listen

and this is how we will transform the blanket
not with hollow words and moderate reforms
but with direct action and liberatory collaboration
by yelling the phrase “white supremacy is as American as apple pie” at the top of our lungs

not with corporate funding and 5,000 dollar a plate galas
but by dismantling the looms that have woven the threads of
Hate, ****, Land theft, and Genocide
that have woven the strands of
reservations, redlining, white flight, and gentrification
and by co-creating ones that speak to our destroyed histories
that refuse to use the bleach
even when the blanket gets *****
Hersch Rothmel Jun 2013
Are my summer dreams a nightmare
Or just some fleeting flashback
Of when I was younger and the pavement was our red carpet
When I owned more time for no thoughts
And now that I’ve gotten thinking
I can’t think about not thinking anymore

If I pretend that I’m not a grown up for as long as I keep growing
Can I avoid ever knowing what I have to do to be what I want to be
If it could only be so easy as sitting with no feeling
Because feelings only leave me in confusion and disbelief

If I’m only one person why do I feel so different
From who I was just 3 weeks ago
And if I don’t start doing something to stop myself from doing nothing
I think my apathy will drown me in a sink of lethargic thoughts
Hersch Rothmel Jun 2013
And it didn’t seem like you were anything
Anything of importance anyway
And it slipped through my fingers
Before I could figure
Out what I was supposed to do

But I stopped myself from not stopping
And I looked all hazy and grey in the mirror
It didn’t go away like you said it would
Instead it kept growing and growing

If I can take words and paint a picture
And you can take lyrics and sculpt a song
Then why are we so mad we have no talent
Then why are we so mad that we’re worthless

And if our critics decide to crucify us
At least we can die with a crown of thorns
And if our best friends start to despise us
Then at least we can watch the rain in peace and quite
Hersch Rothmel Jun 2013
I fear I've been rejected before I've had the chance to be rejected
And my god that feels pathetic
Guzzle down some anti-depressants
And feel a sacred numbness that is saved for the gods
But that would be too easy
and I wouldn't like it anyway
So I'll barrel through and you'll barrel through and we won't ever keep our heads up
And well miss all the times we could've seen on the way
And of course it was worth it
To try and live a life with no purpose
But once you cracked your hard shell open
You just can't seal it up
Hersch Rothmel Jun 2013
These feelings aside
I cannot hide
this isn't the time
But for your sake I'll try

I'm not at all ashamed
I have nothing to gain
But feelings of fake pain
Are slain on the pavement

I don't fear being taken by my own thoughts
I don't fear being stripped half naked
I don't fear the times I was covered in ****
But I am the only one that will make me
Hersch Rothmel Jun 2013
I want perfection right now
I don’t want perfection later
I want perfection on the first try
I don’t want perfection some other time
I want perfection right here and now
And if I can’ t have it I’ll  scream
But to want perfection is an imperfect notion
So why would I want perfection to happen to me?
Hersch Rothmel Jun 2013
Is it their love that makes a Rothmel woman so strong?
Or is it their strength that lets them love?
Is it their ability to do ten things at once that makes a Rothmel woman so graceful?
Or is it their grace that lets them do ten things at once?
Is it their wisdom that makes a Rothmel woman so willing to fight for their beliefs
Or is it their strong beliefs that give them their wisdom?
Is it their compassion that lets a Rothmel woman raise such loving children?
Or is it their loving children that enrich their compassion?

A Rothmel woman knows that they all feed into each other
Multiple rivers flowing simultaneously into the  ocean that is their being
Their strength, compassion, love, and wisdom all manifest in different ways
But it is their strength, compassion, love, and wisdom that lets us all be here today
A Rothmel woman plants the seeds, tends to them, and makes sure they grow
And beyond anything the naked eye can see a Rothmel woman always knows

It is Rothmel women who make sure we are all safe and loved
It is Rothmel women who make sure we have the strength to be ourselves
It is Rothmel women who take our hand even when we are unsure
And it is Rothmel women who put themselves last and everyone else first
All these things and more are what I see Rothmel women as
And it is Rothmel women that have put the empowerment of all women at the center of my life path
Without a Rothmel woman I don’t know where I’d be
But because a Rothmel woman never gives up
The strength and power all women have are as clear as day to me
A poem for all the women in my family
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