On the Texture of the Air

Tonight I read three poems to a room full of climate activists in Aotearoa.

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Activism is hard work. It’s exhausting.

After listening to the poems, someone told me how re-energized she felt––poetry the counterpoint to a long day of planning direct actions for the coming year.

“I was exhausted ten minutes ago,” she said. “Now I feel lightness. What a difference.”

Poetry changes the air in a room. This much I know.

Over & over I’m reminded of the importance of art in our movements, the necessary breath.

There are as many ways to be an activist as there are people on this planet. There is value in standing with a cardboard sign in the streets. There is value in being loud––many voices speaking for a single cause. So much planning goes into a single march. I have deep respect for that work.

There is value, too, in sitting down in a silent room with a pen and a piece of paper, the quietness of writing, of meeting oneself on the page without knowing what will come next.

I move through both worlds in my activism. The one doesn’t exist for me without the other.

& there is always more to do.

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