Unity

What does unity mean to you?

After all, it's just a word.

It's a strong emotionally charged word, and shouldn't be used recklessly. Right Rick James? Specially after you've punched someone in the forehead with it.

Before I begin...you are not mistaken. This is a music and art blog and an international compilation of original content. There are pieces from 17 artists, including myself, in this single page, and they are at the bottom of this essay. I just have a lot to say about this word...

 

Featured Artists

Naghmeh                           Home & Chau Argentina

Marissa Kay                       Trans is Love

Mikael Cardin                    Unity

Joel Alan Taylor                  Chicago

Eileen Torrez                      Freedom

Ryvo                                  Promise to wake me

Aydin Matlabi                     A Toy that Reaches

                                               Past the Physical

Netiel                                 Todo mi Ser

Zulu Irminger                      The Embrace

The Wrong Mr Wright               Open the Door

                                               & I'll be Damned

Dolores Cobach                         On my Way

Sergio David Saveliovsky            Never Too Late

Martin Clarke                           The Bell of Peace

Angela Gomez                           There is Power in We

Sella Malin & Maysan Nasser       We're all People

Sella Malin                                Here

David and Daniel Wilkenfeld       Daddy Don't Cry

Gotie                                        One

Where was I? Right. Unity.

At the risk/pleasure of sounding like a flower child tree hugging hippy communist, to me, unity is about being one big global family, that sticks together, trusts, forgives, and loves. Would be nice to have everyone agree on certain points, but a unifying ideology is not a prerequisite. Unity is about functioning together in spite of our differences because in my mind, everyone is equal and deserves love and kindness. Unity isn't just about others belonging to our clan. It also refers to the confidence and reassurance that you too belong. It's a circle. Not only do you let others inside the circle, but you are also confident that you belong. This clan belongs to everyone equally, and we all have the right to be in it. That's the beautiful thing about circles: they don't have any corners or sharp edges. This circle is our earth; this clan is the human race.

The reality is that words like “unity” serve as a vehicle to transfer a sexy idea. Yet words and ideas are meaningless without concrete and congruent actions to bring them to life and make them real. The sense of belonging and including others is something that is challenged time and time again, and for some more so than others. We still have barriers to break, and recently, it feels like we're being crushed by the weight of the same old ones. Women are still (again? No, still) fighting the battle against inequality. Our LGBT brothers and sisters still fear for their safety and rights. People from eclectic backgrounds who have called an adopted land their home for years and even generations still find themselves in jeopardy. There are a lot of us who are made to feel unwelcome in our home, place of work, in our own damn body. We don't all feel like we belong.

On this massive beautiful blue floating rock with enough land, water, resources, entertainment, intelligence, love, cellphones, WiFi zones, laptops, books, music, clothes, money, oil, anything you think is crucial to our livelihood or merely comfort, there are still those who believe that some are better than others - and in spite of the scientific evidence, we still have to explain and enumerate all the reasons why and how we're equals. And don't fuckin' tell me it's because of survival, I don't buy that shit. Don't tell me there isn't enough food for the world's population when grocery stores throw away a massive amount of food every night, and make it illegal for you to feed hungry people with it (except in France. Merci France! No fromage, or food should go wasted). Don't get me started on women's rights and role. Don't tell me that war protects "our" people when all it does is kill the youth in order to protect the interest of those who push the buttons. Don't piss in my ear and tell me it's raining. 

If it's not a lack of resources that divides us, then what is it. Why are we so divided? Why is the government trying to put up more walls between us and prevent us from becoming a single entity?

When united, we are unbreakable, and they cannot win over us. They cannot control us, sell to us, kill us aimlessly and shamelessly, because together, we will say no. We will mock their wars and walk away from their speeches. I have a hunch that they don't really want that. The ruling class conducts market research to find out what's a good way to manipulate and distract us while they play their game of world domination. Now, and maybe for as long as humanity has been around, it's been hatred of the other. Whether we fight for religion, land division, class, skin color, genetic makeup, or political belief, it has always worked on us. We can blame the government for creating a divide and normalizing hatred towards certain groups. But what they're really doing is profiteering. We the people have normalized hate. We are the ones that have shown them that it works. Therefore to address this situation at hand, we need to address the problem of hate and division between us people. But how...?

Allow me to take a stab at the psychology of racism, sexism, LGBTphobia, any form of hate, or in short alterphobia (fear of the other). Imagine being afraid of the water because you have no idea how to swim. You avoid and even hate water because you're afraid it could hurt you, even though your body is made up of about 60% water, and it's your damn fault you don't know how to swim. Maybe you nearly drowned when you were young, or maybe your mom nearly drowned and didn't let you anywhere near a pool and thus passed her fear onto you, or that all you hear on the media is about water related deaths and injuries, never seeing the beauty of a splash fight in a public pool, synchronized swimming, sailing, you get the picture. So you have this unjustified fear of water, and you avoid it with all your might and even go as far as saying you hate it. Now imagine we're not talking about water. Alterphobia, is not necessarily justifiable or even based on real experiences or information, and ultimately leads to hate, avoidance, and hate-related actions and speech.

Hate/fear exists on a spectrum where on the one end you have no fear and thus no hate, and then you gradually move to the other extreme where you have people willing to shed blood in its name, and might even be willing to die themselves. This latter end of the spectrum has served as the motivation for people to commit unspeakable acts. Every day, we lose more lives people to blinding hate. How does this fear infect people? Is there a cure?

Maybe alterphobia is a form or mental disorder. We can recognize some tell-tale signs of psychological instability. In some of the extreme cases people display symptoms that might hint at a panic or anxiety attack, borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, paranoid schizophrenia, or even psychosis. Throughout time, one of the most misunderstood and marginalized groups have been those with mental disorders. This is no laughing matter, and these are very serious and damaging symptoms that when left untreated, can be harmful to the individual, their family, peers, and society as a whole. But this isn't representative of the majority of the alterphobia we are dealing with.

Most likely though, alterphobia is not an incurable mental state. Rather, the majority of the cases are a resultof underexposure, inexperience, and in short, ignorance. Fortunately, there is a cure for that: exposure, education, and experience. I now have the good fortune to live in a very multicultural city, but I was born and grew up in a homogeneous society and I remember what that kind of ignorance looks and feels like. I also know first hand how a few years and a couple of good conversations can truly change a person's perspectives towards the unknown. However a lot of people might not get the life opportunity to change their environment to see and experience diversity. It could be that because of fear/hate, they don't want to, or are more resistant to opening their mind and heart. Perhaps they don't even have an excuse for their narrow mindedness and avoidance. People will use the negative and positive outside influences to form an opinion about the unknown. This persuasion can be swayed in either direction based on the type of information that they either chose to surround themselves with, or in most cases, that is readily available to them. Yet, regardless of the underlying cause behind alterphobia, there is hope. Hope that with a holistic picture and enough information and exposure, the person will let go of unfounded fears and hatred. Hope that eventually, this person who has been afraid of the water their entire life, will finally get on the ledge of that pool, jump in, splash around and swim goddamn it, swim!

We are not voiceless in this process. Love, acceptance and coexistence are values that we should hold dear, and have to give it a stronger and louder voice than separation, division, fear and hate. We can't play a passive role in this and complain that the media doesn't paint a just picture of minority or marginalized groups. The media hasn't done a great job at focusing on love and goodness, and there is yet to be an executive order on loving thy neighbor. It's up to us. We have to normalize unity. In order to truly give love and acceptance a voice and the chance that it deserves, we need to discount hate, drop the labels, avoid categories, and steer clear of assumptions. We're not getting more people to believe in love if we go around branding people, calling them names, giving up hope for them to change, thus resorting to our own brand of alterphobia and exclusion. We have to promote peaceful discourse, to listen, learn from and teach to one another, and find out how we can all trust one another again. Together, we are more powerful than any law or government agency.

Look (wo)man, I'm not here to make excuses for alterphobia. I don't stand in unity with a hater- au-contraire mon frère. What I'm trying to say is, I think we can change the world with love. We won't make a person's heart open up to love by hating them. That will actually put up their defenses and isolate them, reeling them back into their circle of haters. Assuming everyone who voted a certain way fits into one single category doesn't make us right, or better than the people we're avoiding. It actually makes us sort of the same, fearing for our safety and that of our kin. We need more people in our circle- the circle I talked about at the beginning- the one with no corners, full of love and acceptance. In this circle, we need to discount hate as an entity, and believe in the power of love to move mountains, and even change people's minds.

To make the world a better place, we have to allow love to win against hate, and that it's the right way to go. It's not beyond repair. We can't give up on so many, so fast. We are the parents, the teachers, the fearless and the lovers. We are the people, the masses. Who, if not us, will take on this impossible feat? Who if not us will spread the magic of love and peace?

After all, it's easy to stand united with those we agree with and love.

But that's just me. What is unity to you?


Unity

Below is a compilation of original art from around the world. This is what unity looks and sounds like.

Peace, love, and unity.


Naghmeh, Chau Argentina, and Home

Montreal, Canada

Chau Argentina
A few weeks ago, I went on a trip to Argentina. For days and even months before I left Montreal, the world was going through dark days. I wanted to escape it all.
I was afraid. Afraid of having a layover in the USA, afraid to backpack and camp alone as a woman, of the people I would meet and the ones I wouldn't meet, the darkness at night and the lessons I would learn in the light of day. All of these fears were shaking my being and belief in unity and love. So I knew I had to go- to break down my own barriers and to abolish my fear.
There was no time for fear; there was just the moment, the people and the places. No need for politics and religions; there was only love. Love, coffee, water, music, land, sea, sleep, laughter, advice, chocolate, trust, cheese, mountains, love. With some, I simply shared a few words. Others, I shared a lifetime's worth of memories and a friendship that I hope will endure the test of time and distance. Regardless of the why where who and how, I was united with these beautiful souls from all around the world. This video is a collection of greetings, from some of the people I met throughout my journey. Some say hello and goodbye more than once- funny how life kept reconnecting us and giving us the chance to share more together. There are many missing from this compilation; it was hard to remember and maintain cellphone battery life to document every goodbye through the different experiences and emotions. Our magic is still in my heart.
To those of you who put up with my iPhone in their face, thank you! I have really loved putting these videos together and reliving our experience together, over and over.
We may be far apart, but we are united.
Chau.
Con mucho amor,
Naghmeh
Smokey cloud came down to town
It was carrying fresh rain wore a golden crown
Cloud itself came down to see
What a year and a half can do to me
To me
Lavender winds came howling in
Everything impossible was happening
All I could hear was a single heartbeat
Thrashing till it swept me off my feet
My feet

When I came the doors were shut
You wound up with the key to my heart
I hung the pillars beneath the dome
All the roads and every path leads home
You’re not alone
The sun masquerades amongt the stars
We watched it unfold ‘tween Jupiter and Mars
Caught between the moon and the haze
We all went through an existential phase
Phase
Ground beneath my feet stood tall
Wrapped a spell around my legs had me enthralled
Fallen star for a wish without a trace
I watched the land of fire as it went a blaze
A blaze

When I came the doors were shut
You wound up with the key to my heart
I hung the pillars beneath the dome
All the roads and every path leads home
You’re not alone
"Home" is about regaining your faith in humanity through the darkness. It's about giving up on love, only to be reminded why it's still worth fighting for. It's about a town with no borders, and unity without boundaries. 

My name is Naghmeh and this is my RockBlock. You can navigate through the rest of my website for more about me and my music, and you can like me on facebook to stay posted about the blog posts or subscribe to my mailing list at the bottom of this page.

 

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Marissa Kay, Trans is love

San Francisco, CA


Never gonna run away again
Never gonna hide my voice and feel the shame
Never gonna let them hurt me like they did back then
Gonna make them look me in the eyes and say my name

Trans is love
Light this candle hold it to the sky
The world’s against us but we’re fighting every night

Every day I’ve lived a lie until today
Every day I’ve tried to fight who I really am
But now I’m seeing all the world in a different way
And all of this is just one step in the master plan

So dance with me
And we’ll sing until the air leaves our lungs
So dance with me
And we’ll scream until our days are done

Marissa is a singer-songwriter, and you can find out more about her work on facebook and her website.

 

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Mikaël Cardin, Unity

Montreal, Canada

Mikaël has a lot in store in the coming months. Subscribe to his YouTube to find out more.

 

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Eileen Torrez, Freedom

San Francisco, CA

I can’t fight fire with water
If my water runs with oil

I can’t breathe, or plant truth as a seed
When lies seep through the air and the soil

I can’t reach the hand of my sister
If between us there rises a wall

But I swear on my grave
Til the end of my days
I will fight till each tyrant will fall

Because
Freedom lives in my body
Freedom lives in my soul
Freedom lives where my spirit lives
And they can’t take away my home

I can’t find food for my daughter if
They take what our ancestors found
I can’t believe in a future of peace
When police put my son in the ground

I’d like to see the sun rising
On a heart in that house on the hill

But until then I rise
With the truth by my side
For justice, which no man can kill

Ohh
Freedom lives in my body
Freedom lives in my soul
Freedom lives where my family lives
And they can’t take away my home

Ohh
Freedom lives in my body
Freedom lives in my soul
Freedom lives where my people live
And they can’t take away our home

Eileen typically sings with a guitar in her arms, and it's pretty magical. Check out more on her website and don't forget to like her on facebook.

 

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Aydin Matlabi, A Toy That Reaches Past the Physical

Montreal, Canada

"I work in violent environments. From war zones to communities struggling for freedom. Therefore I create art in relation to these challenges.  During all my trips, I have been exchanging gifts with local children who build or find their own toys.  
I was curious how a simple object can psychologically protect a child from the atrocities he/she has lived and is living in. Collecting toys from around the world, I try to bring to a presence that power of protection these object give a child. I have collect over 30 of these toys. Yet one of these toys has more power then all the rest. The tuna can car build by Michel. 
Michel is an orphan at the orphanage Bumi in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which I am an ambassador at. Michel exchanged his tuna can car for a soccer ball. He was excited cause his "worthless" tuna can car brought him a new soccer ball. Five months later Michel passed away. 
His tuna can car is always on my desk. I keep on thinking of how we are all united, and how we are all one. A simple old tuna can, some soda caps and a string, all coming from around the world, to finally be reformed as a toy.  I was united with Michel, his tuna car was build to unite him back to his childhood and now that toy unites me with him, wherever he may be."

Aydin is an award winning humanitarian photographer, and an ambassador at Orphanage Bumi. Find out more about Aydin's work as the founder of Foundation 64, and don't forget to like his facebook page. 

 

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Netiel, Todo Mi Ser

Buenos Aires, Argentina

I turned you into a song,

So i can hear you at any time,

In the emotion that breaks all frontiers.

All my being

You make me grow,

Without even saying a word

When the sun goes down

Its when it smiles, all my being.

All my being, all my faith

All my faith, lights up

It lights up.

Check out more and like Netiel on facebook.

 

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Sergio David Saveliovsky, Never too late

Montreal, Canada

David is a producer/musician who enjoys writing, playing, recording and mixing. For now, you can contact him at info.audiosurge@gmai.com

 

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David and Daniel Wilkenfeld, Daddy Don't Cry

Montreal, Canada

Last night I couldn’t sleep very well
I heard something downstairs
And I saw a blue light flashing on my door

I looked out and I saw my Dad
Sitting at the TV
But he really wasn’t watching very much anymore

So I came down and sat next to him
I knew we were looking at
The same scenes we were looking at the day before

He said “Baby, please go back to bed”
And then, with a tear, he said
“Bad things can happen in the world”

And I said
Don’t cry
You and me together
Is one thing they’re never going to
Break down
And we’ll find
Flowers in the meadow
And music in our hearts
In the end
So Daddy, don’t cry
He wrapped me up in his big warm arms
The way that he does
When he knows I need to feel it’s OK

He told me ’bout a bad dream he had
And I said, “You know, Dad
Sometimes, even kids dream that way”

He said “Let’s go back to sleep”
I said “Dad, lie down with me”
And sing me a song for a little while”

We both laid down in my bed
And as my pillow touched his head
He fell asleep, and I smiled

And I whispered
Don’t cry
You and me together
Is one thing they’re never going to
Break down
And we’ll find
Flowers in the meadow
And music in our hearts
In the end
So Daddy, don’t cry
"The song was written a few days after 9/11. The world was still in shock and I thought of writing a song about parents comforting their children . When I realized it was the parents who really needed comforting, this song came to me very quickly. I rushed Daniel, who was 11 at the time, into the recording studio immediately, and he nailed the vocals. At the time, I figured the song would be irrelevant after a while, but it seems it never really will be. The message is that together, we can survive anything." 

 

Daniel, the voice of this song, is a part of a non-profit organization called WISTA. Find out more on their website, and like them on Facebook. Find out more about David, the writer and composer of this song and like him on facebook

 

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RyVo, Promise to wake me

San Francisco, USA

Mommy, Daddy, turn it off!
The angry voices freak me out
On the T.V. is a scary man
I don’t know what he’s on about
He’s making all the people mad
I don’t know why they’re cheering him
I see someone in pictures torn
A man with my same color skin

Mommy, Daddy, make them stop!!
The angry taunts of my schoolmates
They joke about our temple burning
I don’t think that this place is safe
We live & pray with bloodshot eyes
With fear of talk & White disgust
They’re on about someone with guns
I don’t understand, it’s not to do with us

So much fervor on great divides & battle cries
Never a thought of what passes through our children’s eyes
When we’re ready to greet the lows from way up high
Promise to wake me

I can’t take another thought of a tear-stained, tiny face
People reaching for hands in the gloom & empty space
When we’re ready to come back around to the human race
Promise to wake me

Promise you’ll wake me

Mommy, Daddy, pray for me!
No relief when I cough & hack
So many here are getting sick
Since that pipeline turned our water black
Beaten down for our right to life
So many tried to speak for us
Money speaks louder than we
Oil mixed with native blood & guts

Mommy, Daddy, I want no more!
The hateful jeers from so many people
Crossed that border for a better life
Only to be told we’re all rapists & evil
They say you took their jobs away
Sulking in their gated communities
They want to make this country great
With border walls & fear for humanity


So much fervor on great divides & battle cries
Never a thought of what passes through our children’s eyes
When we’re ready to greet the lows from way up high
Promise to wake me

I can’t take another thought of a tear-stained, tiny face
People reaching for hands in the gloom & empty space
When we’re ready to come back around to the human race
Promise to wake me

Promise you’ll wake me

So much passion for living in the fear & lies
Never a thought of what lurks beneath the tainted guise
When we’re ready to break rank from the hypnotized
Promise to wake me

I can’t take another thought of pure thoughtlessness
Watching a better world gain focus and then sharp regress
When we’re ready to come together, give hate its final rest
Promise to wake me

Promise to wake me

Promise you’ll wake me

Don't forget to like RyVo on facebook and to see more on YouTube.

 

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Joel Alan Taylor, Chicago

San Francisco, USA

I’ve been livin’ by the rules that they gave me
on the day, on the day, on the day I was born
It’s been makin’ me uneasy lately,
a little like a run down skid row whore.

These arms of yours would be nice to lay down in
if they could just make me feel whole.
These arms of yours would be so nice to lay down in
if they could just make me feel at home,
so wont you take me in, take me in Chicago.

I tried movin’ to Colorado,
but everywhere I go I’m just bound to follow.
I like down there in Sleepy Hollow,
but the ladies down there are so deeply shallow.

These arms of yours would be nice to lay down in
if they could just make me feel whole.
These arms of yours would be so nice to lay down in
if they could just make me feel at home,
so wont you take me in, take me in Chicago.

Oh, soul of mine, if you’re so divine.
Oh, soul of mine, if you’re so divine.
Oh, soul of mine, would you tell me why
your river has run itself dry.
Your river has run itself dry.
Your river has run itself dry.

These arms of yours would be nice to lay down in
if they could just make me feel at home.
These arms of yours would be so nice to lay down in
if they could just make me feel at home,
so wont you take me in, take me in Chicago.
take me in, take me in Chicago
take me in, take me in Chicago
Can’t you see, I don’t know where else to go?

Joel is the front man of Taylor and the Pretty Noises. Don't forget to like them on facebook and check out their website.

 

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Dolores Cobach, On my way

Buenos Aires, Argentina

I´m on my way
Please hold on tight
Eyes on life
I am on, I´m on my way

Will it be too late,
To say goodbye,
Never said things right
Is it really time to fade out, fade away.

Roses growing wild
Safe from harm
You worked so hard
For your golden garden full of light full of life

Promise you that i´ll always recall
Your eyes and your voice
Everytime I see a golden beam on the road
On my way speaks about keeping your loved ones in your heart, about remembering with love those who have been so kind and sincere to you. These lively images, flavours, perfumes, will keep them forever united to you through the infinite and timeless power of love.

Make sure to check out more on Dolores and like her on facebook.

On top of all of that, Dolores is the producer at Sofar Sounds Buenos Aires, el Gorrión Negro and Atardecer Acústico.

 

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Zulu Irminger, The Embrace

Switzerland

Featured as the banner of this page.

If these territorial, warm-blooded animals can live in unity, why can't we?

Zulu is a full-time traveler and photographer. To find out more about his work, follow him on Instagram and YouTube.

 

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Sella Malin & Maysan Nasser We're all people

From Israel and Syria, written in venice, italy

I noticed you from over there
I couldn’t help but stare
You have the prettiest set of eyes
I have seen in a while
What’s your name?
Where you from?

Hey I like your smile
I like your style
If you want to know
I come from a land that is full
Of stories
Stories, and love and things that are holy
And so much history
They searched far and wide for a home
And then they found
A land of hopes, of dreams
Of struggles won
Of miracles fell
I come from Israel

Did you mean Palastine?
I’m sure you meant Falasteen
I come from a land where your so called holy land lands
Before you came about
I’m somewhere where we’ve long been
And long shall be after you’re gone
They told us you were the oppressor that we must fear you
They told us that your existence was a violation too
Even the word Israel sends shivers down my back
They taught us that you were the enemy we should fear and throw stones at

Why should it matter who was there first
When we all share the same hunger and the same thirst?

My parents taught me to hate you
They told me be wary of the Jews
My parents taught me to hate you
They said don’t trust him
He’s come to kill you
He’s come to take your land from you
Walk in and take your shoes
We’ve been here as old as each olive tree

They told me people like her
Only want to hurt you
People like her can’t do good
People like her they’re not for you
They want to banish you from your home
They want you and your people demolished
My mother told me don’t go into that part of town
That’s where the Arabs are
And if I didn’t know better
Then I would believe it
But what kind of fool
Believes everything that anyone would tell them
And what kind of fools put a piece of land over a human’s soul?

Because we’re all people
No matter where we’re from
We’re all people
No matter what we’ve done
אנחנו אנשים
לא משנה איפה באים
كلنا إنسان

So what do you mean you and your government are not one and the same ?
How can it be that you’re just a person, not the one to blame?
If you’re not the enemy then who should I hate?

Why do I need to hate someone from the minute I am born?
Why can’t we just put everyone who wants to
On a shelf to fight their wars
Why do we see each other for what our ancestors did?
I am not every man and woman that came before me
I am a new entity
Jerusalem is everyone’s holy land
The ground my feet tread on
Is the same yours have

Because we’re all people
No matter where we’re from
We’re all people
No matter what we’ve done
אנחנו אנשים
לא משנה איפה באים
كلنا إنسان
Maysan is from Syria, and I'm from Israel. We wrote this song in Venice in the spring of 2016, while on a music / poetry tour through Italy with a band of expat artists from the Paris open mic community. We had just met each other; within the first few minutes of meeting, our souls had deeply and thoroughly connected -- and we could not understand how two people who were so ridiculously similar in so many ways could come from cultures that were steeped in hatred for one another. This song is to remind us that regardless of how many ways we are brainwashed to believe that we're different, we all come from the same fucking soil, have the same bones, and would do a hell of a lot more good standing together than apart.
 

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Sella Malin, Here

New York, USA

my gender
is not an invitation to touch me.
when i am standing at the bar
and you pass by me
you are not allowed to run
your grubby little hand
through my hair
simply because i am a woman.
the tattoos etched on my body
are not a silent permission form
that gives you the right
to trace their path on my skin
without asking.
i didn’t sit through
hours of excruciating agony
as someone seared
these images and words
into my flesh
just so i could give you a reason
to invade my personal space.
i didn’t sit through
hours of burning
as someone branded messages
that i thought were important enough
to have on me for the rest of my life
so you could blow your suffocating
sticky
nauseating breath into my ear
and say
”i can get tattoos too, if that’s what you like,
baby”
no
my gender
is not an invitation to touch me.
you are not allowed to reach out
and put your finger on my nose, just because
i have a ring looped through it.
i didn’t dedicate myself to this piercing
didn’t willingly let myself experience
a sharp stinging pain
as someone pushed a piece of metal
through my nasal cartilage
for your personal gain
for you to treat me like an object
a customize-your-own-puppet.



1
i did not get this nose ring
so you could tell me
i’d look more beautiful
without one
so you could tell me
women are the most stunning
with no additions or alterations
completely natural
i did not get this nose ring
so i could fit into
your definition of beauty
your definition
of what a woman should look like.
i wear this nose ring
because i don’t believe in this praising
of pure, conformist, aesthetic appeal
because what i do with my face is mine
and not yours
because i am my own person
with just as much of a right as you do
to express myself
because being a woman is as much
of a personal journey
as being a man is.

i did not feel inclined
to let go of my mousey fear
and lose myself in the beat of this music
so that you could come up behind me
and place your palms on my ass
or uninvitingly
stick your hands down the front of my pants
when i can’t even see your face
when i haven’t even had the time or breath
to say no.
i am not dancing
because i wanted five men
to surround me
like a pack of ravenous wolves
pin me in between them
and shove all their fingers
beneath my panties
at the same time
like i’m not a person
like i only fucking exist



2
in the context of their needs.
i am not dancing
for you.
i’m just as real
just as fucking human
as you are.

i did not dye my hair
so you could salivate
at the way it glints in the sun.
i did not put on these clothes
so you could lick your lips
at the gaps of skin between the fabric
stare at me as though i’m a piece of meat
as i walk past
i did not choose this outfit
to satiate your hunger

i am not here for your benefit
i am not here
for you

i did not write a poem
pour out my innermost vulnerable thoughts
extract the still beating
bleeding
stubby shards of my soul
wring them to the tips of my fingers
step in front of an audience
and work up the courage
to release them into the air
so you could ignore the content of my words
stand there tallying and drooling
and judge
how fuckable i am
i did not gut a song from the pit of my stomach
step on stage and wrench it out
so you could tell me
my hoarse voice arouses you
my voice
which has been stifled
for years and years
by others who think like you
pant like you
grab with their meaty hands
like you.

3
i do not go on stage and talk about sex
for the sole purpose of aiding your decision
in whether you’d want to be part
of my encyclopedia of experiences.
i have no desire to hear the verdict
you’ve deducted.
when a male comedian
discusses similar issues
you wouldn’t yell
”so you like blow jobs then?
how about you come over here
and give me one”
at the stage.
you wouldn’t say a word.
you wouldn’t
dare.

my sexuality
is not an invitation to touch me.
i am not kissing another girl
at this club
so you and your friends can grab us.
our mouths and hands and bodies
are not intertwined
because we secretly want you
to wedge your way between us
interject our private moment
press your body against us
make several attempts
to throw your lips on ours.
we are not doing this
for your benefit.
we are not enjoying each other
for you.
if the person i was kissing
dancing intimately with
was male
you wouldn’t even think about
pulling me away from him.
you wouldn’t
dare.
oh no—
you’d recognize me
as another man’s property
and that would be about

4
the only thing stopping you.
you’d back
the fuck
off.

when we engage in conversation
you do not get a free pass
to constantly cut me off
drown my words out with your voice
simply because
you’ve been taught
that what you have to say
is always more important
more relevant
smarter
than what i do.

when we fuck
you are not allowed
to do whatever you want
to my body
to enter me in whichever orifice
and take whichever liberties
you fancy
without consulting me
to put your bare unprotected self
inside of me
without checking if that is okay
sometimes even after i’ve told you it’s not
simply because
you’ve been told
a man’s role is to
take control.
and when we fuck
you do not get a free pass
to only care
about your own orgasm
and make no effort
to help me with my own
simply because
you’ve been told
that your pleasure
is the only one that matters.

the other night
i slept with a woman

5
whose way of engaging with my body
had not been not steeped
and brewed
in the patriarchy
all her life
and it was one of the only times
i felt safe
and it was one of the first times
i didn’t feel like a sex doll
in bed
and it was so unfamiliar to me
that i almost didn’t understand
the joy i was experiencing
was how one would feel
when being treated
like a human.

i will not be written off as bitchy
simply because i’m being assertive
simply because
i’m not apologizing
for speaking my mind.
i will not be pigeon-holed
with the dismissive label
of “crazy feminist”
simply because
i’m not okay
with how you treat me.
i will not be ostracized
brushed aside
accused of nagging
whining
crying wolf
simply because
you don’t want to admit
that so much is still wrong.

i am not here for your enjoyment.
i am someone.
that alone
should be enough.
did you hear me?
i am a human being
that should fucking
be enough.


6
For me, a big part of unity is the concept of minorities rallying together, and non-minorities rallying beside them, supporting them. More than ever now, in the political disaster we currently live in, we need to make it clear that the ostracized, harassed, silenced groups still have a voice, and we need to open our minds up to their perspectives and their struggles. The idea of unity coaxed this poem out of me because we cannot be unified as a people until we are fully unified with women and recognize the oppression that women still face -- until we are all willing to understand and speak up for such perspectives.

Sella is a poet as well as a songwriter. For more on her poetry, check out her blog. But definitely listen to her soulful dark melodies and like her on facebook.

 

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Martin clarke, The Bell of Peace

Montreal, Canada

This pale blue dot
This world we live on.
It’s the only place
that we all call home.
And everywhere
the hope we share
is to live in peace
and harmony.

There’s a bell that rings
it’s the sound that brings
us all together once more.
We are all sisters and brothers
Listen to it knell.
We need to hear the bell
of peace.

There’s a bell of peace in everyone
It’s the sound love makes in your hearts
It’s up to you to let it ring
Out loud and clear
so everyone will hear


The bell of peace
calls each of us
To end war and waste
caused by hate and fear.
The earth is fine
without mankind.
It will still turn around
without us here.

But there’s a bell that rings
It’s the sound that brings
us all together once more.
We are all brothers and sisters
Love is what we share
so listen if you care
to hear the bell
the bell of peace.

Listen to more by Martin on Soundcloud.

 

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GoTie, One

Montreal, Canada

Check out more on Gotie on his website, and don't forget to like him on facebook.

 

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The Wrong Mr Wright, Open the door, and I'll be damned

Montreal, Canada

Listen to more from The Wrong Mr Wright on YouTube.

 

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Angela Gomez, There is Power in We

Phoenix, USA

 Thank you Angela. Indeed! We hold the power, and drop the label!

Thank you Angela. Indeed! We hold the power, and drop the label!

 

 

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