a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Section Three: Society
Moral Monday
Moral Monday marches speak out against voter suppression, cuts in public education, cuts in unumployment, and other attacks. It is now 3 years with thousands of arrests” Credit: Al Drago/Raleigh News and Observer/MCTvia Getty Images.

Dancing with Liberty

by Patricia Monaghan
(Madison, Wisconsin, February 19, 2011)

My friend called to say, “I’m waiting
at the top of State,” but I was across

the square, so I kept walking with the crowd
past the media stands where a few angry

men screamed through bullhorns while
we answered the call: Show me what

Democracy looks like, singing back over
and over, This is what Democracy

looks like, the marchers slowing to let
parents with strollers cross to the Capital,

past the costumed onlookers, past the sax
player giving us “Solidarity Forever,”

past the Harley-jacketed family, past
“Queers from Chicago” with raised fists,

Show me what Democracy looks like—
This is what Democracy looks like—

but at the top of State, amid thousands
of marchers, my friend and I could not

find each other, so I called and told her,
“Look for the man dressed as Liberty,”

and cut through the crowd to stand
beside a young black man in green silk

and a plastic-foam Lady Liberty crown—
Show me what Democracy looks like

This is what Democracy looks like—
and he told me he was from Milwaukee,

and that his mother was a teacher,
and I told him I was from Alaska

and my father was in the service,
and all the while music was pounding

out from the Capital steps, and after
a few minutes we were dancing to

Michael Jackson, swaying and pumping
our arms, Show me what Democracy

looks like—This is what Democracy
looks like—and somehow, my friend

never did find me, and none of us
who are hoping for justice know

whether we will find it, now or soon
or never, but what the heck, my friends,

isn’t this what Democracy looks like:
each of us, all of us, dancing with Liberty?
 

Moral Monday
Moral Monday 2013 in downtown Raleigh. Credit: Al Drago/Raleigh News and Observer/MCTvia Getty Images

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