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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Holkenbrink-Monk

Breathing, Fighting

I wrote this poem in the summer of 2020, but I wanted to share it now so it's more recent and accessible.


Feeling, breathing, fighting,

Micro and macro criticized at once,

Separated in talk yet always working together in action.

Tidal waves of change will hit,

With liberatory views just behind the swell of water.


Never stop,

Push forward, together,

For beautiful is collaboration, and necessary for transformation,

With creative thinking and critical awareness making moves and change.


A need to value the big questions our children ask,

Wrought with recognition of a problematic system,

Merely overlooked as defiance,

For simple compliance will benefit those who reap profit from oppression.

We see the different machines of subjugation,

Masked differently for all, robbing us of our humanity,

All while we reproduce it for our kids for the sake of authority, power, and to climb to "the top."


Weighing heavy,

Change will not come easy,

Liberation will be, but will be toiled with labor and tears,

Don't forget to act in solidarity,

Striving for emancipation.


Don't let these moments cease your breathing,

Cease your love,

Cease the voices that have already made strides toward destruction of the status quo,


Our resistance is captivating,

Dissent is necessary,

For conformity will only hinder the revolution.


Charlene Holkenbrink-Monk, 2020

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