To the one insisting “All Lives Matter”

You have made
a protest,
albeit a small one.

I am listening.

I am listening.
I am waiting to hear
what is required of us.
If all lives matter,
then surely we need to be
outside the immigrant detention center,
looking to get inside,
to be with those who are told
with iron bars and silence
that they are nothing.

If all lives matter,
then surely we need to feed and clothe
and house with us and sing to and listen to
the refugees from the world’s wars.
If all lives matter,
then surely every classroom
in every neighborhood
needs our attention, now,
to be funded well enough
and staffed with the best-trained,
most supported, most lionized,
most highly paid teachers
so that children are proud and excited to be a part of it.

If all lives matter,
surely an adult who wants for a job
will be a collective failing
and only a collective failing
and you and I will start looking
for jobs for everyone who needs one.

If all lives matter,
surely when a man objectifies a woman,
in any way, anywhere,
it is an outrage upon our selfhood,
and in determination we will go back
to teaching young children
and corporations.

If all lives matter,
surely we will not rest
until women are paid right
and until the struggles of mothers and fathers
are regarded above the Dow Jones
as the main indicator
of how we are doing.

If all lives matter
then a young woman being followed
around a mall by a man with a gun,
or an old man being approached on the street
by two men with guns,
or a young man being pulled over for,
say, a broken taillight
by a man with a gun
will surely be a matter of the utmost concern for us.
And if there is a pattern of this happening,
over and over again,
throughout lifetimes,
surely we would be utterly provoked
to overturn heaven and earth
until our children are safe.

And if all lives matter,
surely the men and women who carry guns
and wear blue
and try to keep us safe
would be worthy of a better world than this.

If all lives matter,
surely the ghetto
would be a place
we actually want
to know more about.
Not as an investment opportunity,
but as proof of history,
and our spiritual home.

If all lives matter,
then our trade policy
and our defense policy
and our immigration policy
and our education policy
should be based on that premise
before anything else.
And we will never speak again
of getting the best deal for our country,
for we have determined together
that all lives matter.


When you say “all lives matter”,
is that what you mean, and if not,
what on earth
do you mean?

How can we possibly say
a life matters
if we’re not willing
to do anything about it?

I am listening.
Tell me what you mean
by all lives matter.

I want to live a life that matters,
and be a person that lives with the recognition
that all lives really do matter,
and I am willing to believe
that you want that too.

It will not be easy or comfortable
for either of us,
if you are telling the truth.
Yet I am listening.
And I am ready
for you to help me
grow into your vision.
Now let me know what it is.

I am listening.
Speak the words on your heart
that are worthy of the saying.

About bobjanisdillon

Unitarian Universalist minister, poet, husband, father, three-chord guitar wonder.
This entry was posted in Other poetry, Your Monday Blessing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to To the one insisting “All Lives Matter”

  1. John Augustine says:

    Love this You continue to rock. !!

    Sent from my iPhone Excuse typos


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