Today is my parents’ 52nd wedding anniversary, and I sent them a card with a hand-written sentiment inside. The truth is, no writer or poet could write a love story as true as theirs, but I once wrote a poem about life. It’s about everyone, and how 52 seconds or years is often the beginning of something far greater. A love that never ends.
IN A MOMENT…
Contented people make shit activists, because they don’t have much to be pissed off about in their closeted, entitled lives. I’m angry about many things, but lack the energy I once had to be an effective protester beyond the written word. My faith lies in the younger generation, so I wrote a cross-generational poem.
Our children are growing up to be activists by default, with more UK school kids joining the #FridayForFuture protests every week. Theirs is a growing movement against capitalism, fascism, war, human rights abuse and climate change. We should not dismiss or ignore them. As parents we won’t, but we can’t ignore the ugly wall of politics we made for them, like so many rods for our species’ spine.
The UK government’s response to the student protests so far has been typical: The strikes are increasing the burden on teaching staff. From what I’ve been able to find out, most of the teachers are behind the students. To the detractors and deniers who say that striking affects their education, they ask, what’s the point of preparing for a future which won’t be there unless the world changes?
Our kids shouldn’t have to grow up this fast, but we made it that way. We didn’t change politics, but the children of humans could.
Some will use it as an excuse to play truant, but most are acting out of an existential fear, and better that their energy and anger is directed to a social cause than an alternative tribalism.
Perhaps eventually there’ll be civil unrest, but even a police state like the UK wouldn’t use tear gas to control children, would they? Once it really kicks off, I predict the Tories imposing martial law, and the death of policing by consent in the UK.
My own kids may or may not walk out of lessons on Fridays, and if they do, they have my support and admiration. As a punk in the 1980s, I didn’t always know what I was angry about. It’s pretty clear now what I missed.
Our children are the future. They’re precious and powerful assets, and they’re wiser than we were, because they can see what we didn’t see coming. We dismiss them as young and innocent at our species’ peril.
These kids will make a fine next generation of adults, because they’re activists. The world will not be at peace until we can see a future where we can all be content to live in a home we made for everyone together.
#PowerToTheChildren #ExtinctionRebellion #FridayForFuture #ClimateStrike
THE WRITER’S LIFE
Living and working in a small studio, I save space and increase the functionality of the room by sleeping on a futon. It’s guest seating when folded by day, and a reminder of nights sleeping wherever one could unfold at night.
It’s like sleeping on packing crates: just enough of a bed to allow the spreading of one’s weight, but not so comfortable that one is ever likely to sleep soundly (which I never can with PTSD from sleeping on the streets, waiting to be set alight and ready to run). It’s sleeping with one eye open, and a restless leg hanging out of the side; then tucking the feet in, even if the head can’t sleep.
I’m lucky to have a crate to sleep on, which can be folded away as I unfold myself from it. If I didn’t, I’d spend all day on it. I know I’m not alone in there.
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