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  • Lindsay S. Wheeler

Reverse It.

This is a "reverse poem" in which the words read top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top. It was challenging to write, stylistically. But with the challenges we face today, I found that the most difficult part was meeting my goal of having it be more hopeful bottom-to-top.

Reverse It.

There is hope


We can’t always see it

Through the veins of human apathy:

Hate spreads like fire

Isn’t it wild?

How beautiful our world is

So much good still binds us

Love is the most powerful weapon


Our affliction has a cure

Make no mistake, though,

Tension is nurtured by homebrewed hate


Neglecting your part in this epidemic

You feel compelled to shut it off

The minute the news breaks


Detachment is active participation

Why must guns always win

When evil and courage collide

Throwing your hands up isn’t enough anymore

The L train is not safe for everyone

Don’t let ignorance blind you

Even punching bags implode


Though new wounds may heal

Scars can’t simply be erased

The “American Dream” or a Ponzi scheme?

Shiny on the outside


Rigged once you buy in

Is it diversity or division that makes this America?

With power to transform

We are the sole actors in this story

Our world will never be perfect


Whatever your politics,

You aren't exempt,


Things can't stay this bad

The human potential we haven’t lived up to

Enables us to be mere products of

The culture of hate in which we are immersed

Reverse it.

In 100 years you will long be forgotten


Your silence will bury you

Without a story

Your grandkid would want to tell

An account

Of when you fought for something real

To craft your own story

To use, not abuse, constructive friction


A privilege you have


The choice is yours

Challenge structural oppression


Passively observe

We owe more to our world


Respect is a human right


Empathy is a dying virtue

It is undeniable that

Only as strong as our weakest link

Systemic hate immobilizes us

49 humans were slaughtered because they were gay


Pastor Roger Jimenez


They were “disgusting”


We are all somebody’s babies

Change must be a part of our future


When much of the hate comes from people who look like me

It’s hard to confront past wrongs

And still these destructive acts go unchanged

As you read this

Suicide is a leading cause of death

While politicians fly confederate flags

Human beings are forced into the confines of a label

Leading some to feel unsafe in their skin

The privilege of whiteness

Of a glorified standard of beauty

Unachievable expectations

Go unchallenged

And still

Many subsist on ignorance

Afforded by privilege


The presence of racism is indisputable

Everywhere we go

Women are reduced to voiceless objects

Each of us a bull’s eye in another’s quest for power


I come from a time and place where this wasn’t talked about


I can’t change that alone

Though I wish I could

A trans woman was shot in the face last week in Indiana. I never saw her picture


We are infiltrated with the names and faces of murder

Brock Turner only got 3 months

For his "20 minutes of action"

How can it be:

If “love is love is love is love”

Why is hate so repetitive?

The victims won’t come back

From the 250 mass shootings in the U.S. this year

We’ve made closure obsolete


Families can never be revived

A hashtag can’t bridge the widening divide between us

There are things we should scream in crowded rooms


We are averse to attention that isn’t positive.


Have some heart


Stop filtering your inner malice

for the sake of “political correctness”

It shouldn’t take effort to say what’s right


We choose violence


We sit idly

Afraid to expose how we really feel,

We use ammunition

Instead of words



The ideas of MLK are still preached today

Because language is a powerful device


53 years ago

He had a dream that changed the world.

Yet the racism endured

MLK was only 39 when he was murdered


We can’t reverse it.


We are resistant to change

When it demands culpability


Personal agency is a pillar of revolution


We can move mountains if we have it

Write me a story rooted in hope

But still

Please stop neglecting the sad reality

This is all of our own accord

Reverse It.

#poetry #poem #reversepoem #depression #mentalillness #bipolardisorder #mentalhealth #writing #selfdestruction #hardship

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