The Hand that Clenches into a Fist, that Opens, that Gives
a rewriting of Marge Piercy’s poem The Low Road
What can they do
to you? Whatever they want.
They can set you up, they can
bust you, they can raid your station,
tear-gas you in the streets, haul you off,
pepper spray your eyes, stomp your head,
silence your word, chain down your body,
set 1 million bail, wall up
your lover. They can do anything
you can’t stop them
from doing. How can you stop
them? Alone, you can fight, you can refuse,
you can stand up, sit down, hideout,
cry out, write a letter, start a zine,
but they can put you in cuffs and take you away.
But two people fighting
back to back can cut through
a riot, think tactics, snake-dance
behind lines, coordinate, table,
leaflet, chant, sing; a line can meet a line
can meet and army.
Two people can be companer@s
can keep each other sane, can
love, massage, hope, conversation, sex.
Two people and the silence is broken.
Two people can meet face to face.
Two people can break from the grid.
Three people are a delegation,
a committee, a punk band,
a wedge. With four
you can start a pirate radio station. With six
you can form a hungry marching band or wage a sit-in.
A dozen you have a phone tree, and emergency action
network, a listserve.
A hundred can reclaim a street.
A thousand you have insurgency, solidartity, a newsletter with subscribers;
ten thousand, a national movement, a magazine like Z
35,000 and you can run Ralph Nader for President or
or take Seattle for a day and shut down the WTO,
ten million, hell, start your own country.
It goes on one at a time,
it starts with lending a hand,
a hand that clenches into a fist, that opens, that gives;
it starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again after they said No,
it starts when you say “We”
and know who you mean:
each day you mean one more.