by Eleanor Goldfield

The whole thing feels calcified.

As if at one point it had been fluid – and malleable –

back in Viktor Serge and Rirette Maitrejean’s time.

Revolutions breaking the ornate porcelain of feudal tyranny –

ready to kill the fledgling beast of capitalism

with the pointed spear of raging populism.

But it didn’t work, did it?

That beast remade the porcelain shards into its own army

of obedient tyrants –

the spear was dulled

from internal use

made rusty in the years

when warriors sat caged, exhausted – or dead.

The beast grew –

that insatiable appetite overtaking more and more

learning the skills of old imperialism and colonialism –

fine-tuning and modernizing them both.

And the people did their best to survive –

and some did their best to fight –

but now that fledgling beast was so massive, so omnipotent –

the points of attack felt pointless,

silly even.

Resistance became an uneasy dance

on our heels,while living on our knees.

And now, it all seems calcified.

Yes, I see creacks

but I look down at my tired hands and do not see a crowbar to widen the split.

I see focus shifted by shallow appeasements –

the beast changes tone –

adopts a disguise as convincing as the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood.

Yet many lay down their anger and listen –

to the lies, content to nap through a storytime

framed by violence and deception.

The others – who pick up that long dulled and rusty spear –

fall into the same traps –

the infighting and mistrust –

learned from years of infiltration

hardened by a digital age made – for performative radicalism and mighty virtue signaling.

The out-of-touch take the pulse of a dying body politic and pronounce it


Flags made in China flutter in a toxic breeze.

Masked vigilantes demand our complicity –

in the plot to kill us.

The bottom line buckles

and the beast roars.

Like a chameleon, it shifts – avoiding attack –

now, a Black Panther with an empathetic twinkle in its eye –

scrawling solidarity on city streets.


We look down at our hands.

this facade is harder than porcelain –

this beast more conniving, more malleable in our environment –

than the stiff feudal lords.

This beast will wrap itself in rainbows as it tears apart the sky.

It’s hard to see through the sunbeams.

hard to find focus in the shaking ground.

But if you pause for a moment –

if you let break your mind

from the cage calcified

you’ll feel the fragility of this beats

you’ll sense its fear

as you step into your strength –

as you acknowledge your rage –

now pointed, instead of misplaced –

you will feel the thunder

of feet, as they pound streets.

Your feet. Our streets.

You’ll see that this beast clutches the world in our hands

feeds off our bread, our blood, our sweat and our tears.

There is no life for this vampire beyond our refusal.

And it has to be our refusal.

My refusal, your refusal – like tissues in a hurricane.

Our refusal is shelter –

it is a pointed spear –

it is the fertile ground where we plant the future –

fertilizer made from the beast’s remains.

It all feels calcified.

As I look down at my hands.

I feel my heartbeat.

I feel thunder.

And I smile.

Animal –

I can smell its fear in the tear gas

Image by Eleanor Goldfield.