September 25, 2016

Hayden Saunier


To stay alive do not resist
that’s what you’re told

as if it were a simple act to make yourself
be only meat

and bone
pressed down into an asphalt street

and not a form of suicide
erase yourself be dead enough

that he or she or they’ll decide
there is no need to kill you

though do not resist
can make no guarantee of this

but if you stay alive
do not resist will mean you have to stand

your dead self up
walk out into the world alive

which is another kind of death
and harder every single time

you have to kill yourself enough
(do not resist) to stay alive.

Poets Respond
September 25, 2016

[download audio]


Hayden Saunier: “Two more police shootings … ‘Do not resist’ saved my life years ago when I was raped at knifepoint. Black men and women have historically, repeatedly, and continue to this day to be asked to submit their bodies and selves to the total control of another person under threat of immediate death. It isn’t easy, doesn’t always work, and even when it does, the toll is devastating.” (website)