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How Do You Know When You Have Power?

I wrote this poem about what happened to me this year at Kansas’ Mental Health Advocacy Day in Topeka. We had about 350 consumers there and we were staring at massive budget cuts to the mental health system. I realized, while talking to the TV news reporter, that people were going to die if we cut essential mental health services. People that could have recovered, people like me. That realization changed me profoundly and gave me a sense of urgency that has not gone away. This poem is about that realization.

How Do you Know When You Have Power?

You take your own power.
It comes from the hole in your heart when your world falls apart.
It’s knowing the pain that something’s got to done.
It’s desperation so wrong the stain’s on all of our hands,
It’s the click, pop, gasp in my brain, that became the moment of change,
Frozen in time like the day I set my mind
And said, I’ll be the one, I’ll stand ground till this is done
I’ll pound down the haters and destroyers
Make my words weapons of mass deployment
Send my stories soaring skyward burning holes in blindered liars
I joined this war on information my pen battles for the planet’s frustrations,
I fight for human rights with each line that I recite
Each night I take the mic my soul turned inside out to make it right
My pain dripping from my palms, my heart aching all night long,
Waiting for the moment my rhymes can force through a little clarity
For everyone who can see what true- this world depends on me and you.

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