The welcome mat at my door says “Home,” but does it lie?
Or does it tell a truth we so often deny?
“Home is where the heart is,” or so they say…
But what happens when someone takes our hearts away?
Or when the country where we live these lives doesn’t like our face,
Doesn’t acknowledge our religion, or like this color we call race?
What happens when the world we know legislates our lives?
And says that who we are and what we feel isn’t legal now, or right?
What if it’s not safe to cross our streets or drive over to the store?
Is our home still just a heart or only four walls and a door?
Or is it something greater, something less defined?
You have your four walls, and I have this mind.
I have this voice, and I refuse to deny it.
You can bring your hatred, and I will bring the peaceful riot
Of hearts called out to meet the hate with fiercest love and song
To call you out of your four walls and say that you are wrong.
To say to you that this America is home to more than hateful men.
To join our voices with all the ones who shout, “Never again!”
And those voices will rise and crash, bringing down your walls —
To say America is all of us, or none of us at all.
*This poem was originally published on Elephant Journal. https://www.elephantjournal.com/2017/08/i-will-bring-the-peaceful-riot-a-poem-for-america/