how did we let it happen?

this televised delusion

spectacularized demons who accuse us of their crimes

while they are still committing them

like a schoolyard bully asking

why are you punching yourself?

and we reply politely

offer counter points of view

and they laugh and call us snowflakes

and we let them

let’s go on strike

whenever someone uses a lying word like



those people

those queers

those…aw, but we can’t say that word no more

go on strike

walk off the conversational job

demand better conditions

or walk away

“I don’t owe you my time.”

“You call it an opinion but to me it sounds like hate.”

“We work together.  We don’t need to be friends.”

“You’re talking about people I care about.”

“How could you believe that about another human being?”

do not do their labour

don’t scab yourself to their delusions

refuse to negotiate on the definition of your selfhood

or the selfhood of others

their lies have no authority in the court of your self-worth

they are the ones in prison

they have built the walls themselves

and here we are outside

you and I and all of us

together in the garden




I originally thought of calling this not-quite-a-poem “You Fuckers Wanna See Some Cancel Culture?” but sometimes short titles are better.

I also acknowledge that many of us live and work in unsafe places and cannot ‘walk away’ without causing ourselves immense harm. It’s perfectly acceptable to strike by simply not dignifying the offending party’s remarks with a response. A blank stare can work wonders when someone’s fishing for a laugh.

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