When We Sought Justice
We were certain of two things.
The first was that we'd be beaten.
We knew there would be truncheons and gas
and lacerating editorials, shotguns and
pious lectures on propriety, the hand wringing
of parents and teachers and friends.
We knew we would be driven to our knees
with plastic ties binding our wrists
in paddy wagons, cells and courtrooms.
We didn’t want to know that some would die.
We knew we would limp beneath dark
thunderheads of bruises in places
cameras couldn’t see, leaving
no doubt that it would happen again
and then again. We were certain
we would be beaten with the clean hands
of foaming clerics and senators,
by judges swinging hardwood gavels.
We didn't know how hard it would be
to keep going, to believe what we said
we believed and not turn back. We knew
nothing of how we would be beaten
with bundled bank notes poured over airwaves,
pushed from the streets by bloodless laws
shaped in domed legislatures, pounded
by word and image sharpened to axes.
We were certain we would get our asses kicked.
We were also certain we would win.
Steve Abbott, Kicking Mileposts in the Video Age, Moria Books, 2017.