to other gen z and millennials;

to other gen z and millennials;

the noise, the grief, the terror

come sudden and aching—

take our breath, our thoughts, our senses away.

we don’t know how to stop faking

that we’re deaf, and have nothing to say.

 

and when the world is this loud,

isn’t it easier to keep quiet?

our voices would just get lost—

in the sea of cries,

             and crying,

                          and trying.

 

after all,

the figureheads close their eyes,

plug their ears, and

send their thoughts and prayers

in singsong unison sighs.

there’s only one side to the story:

a boy fulfilled one of his nation’s biggest fears—

there couldn’t possibly be any more layers.

 

the world is so raw and

we can’t bear to touch its gaping wounds.

all we can hear are screams.

we just can’t take it,

we want to scream—

but isn’t it easier to keep quiet?

 

we have to breathe, because

we owe them this—

we can’t close our eyes,

plug our ears, or

send our thoughts and prayers

in singsong unison sighs.

we have to think about other sides to the story:

we have to look into the mirror,

and we need to show we care.

 

we have to listen.

                          we have to listen.

                                                    we have to listen.

we can’t surrender to the noise;

go quiet,

or go quietly.

we can’t go numb.

                                                    we have to feel,

                                                                                                        and we have to scream.

 

Starting in the first week of March, this poem, along with five others, will appear in a poetry series on Check Your Head's blog, entitled 'Journeys'.

• • •

Our thoughts are with those affected by the Florida school shooting, by the many other school shootings around the United States, and by the many acts of violence committed against youth around the world. We recognize, however, that thoughts aren't nearly enough, and we promise to take your stories into our hearts, and to use them to educate others and prevent further incidences like these from occurring. Knowing that gun control, as well as the eradication of stigma around mental illnesses are only two of the many steps necessary in order to achieve our goal of peace in schools, we pledge to do whatever we can to ensure that all of these steps are put into place, and we call others to work with us and do the same.