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Tuesday, January 20, 2015


by Mary R. Finnegan

Cartoon by Tom Tomorrow at The Daily Kos

I stand outside Notre Dame
quietly, for a moment of silence,
after a lifetime of silence.

Je suis Charlie

I write my rebuke in 140 characters
for the hashtag 
is mightier than the sword.

Je suis Charlie

I unite with all mankind
to strongly condemn
this horrific shooting
or whatever the masses are saying.

Je suis Charlie

I do all these things from over here,
and not too loudly, and only
among friends and infidels 
on the internet and possibly
with the saucy courage of alcohol
in a dark bar 
on a flag draped street somewhere 
in an undisclosed location
because I am only 
looking at blurred cartoons
and pixelated slaughter.
I am only in my pajamas
complaining of the cold
and the price of oil,
keeping my head 
below the parapet.
I am only 
wearing these boots
to wade through
the frigid streets because

Je ne suis pas Charlie.

For when the liar speaks
I do not wish to agree
so I say nothing

Je ne parle pas

when the threat is made
I do not wish to disagree
so I remain silent

Je me tais

for when prayer is called
I do not wish to offend
so I believe nothing

Je ne crois rien

because when the scimitar is raised
above my slender white neck
I do not wish to lose the head
that has done nothing
said nothing
believed nothing.

Non, Je ne suis pas Charlie.

I do not agree 
or disagree.
I do not offend.
I do not blaspheme.
Can you not see
I am on my knees?

Je ne suis pas Charlie.
Je ne suis personne.

Ça va.

Ça va, oui, ça va?

Mary R. Finnegan is an operating room nurse in the Philadelphia area who also writes poetry and short stories.