the world
asks me to harden

to stand on one side
or another

to yell slogans
and convince someone of something

to prove
someone is the bigger fool

it has begun to feel like
a deafening not-listening

self-righteous derision and humiliation
disguised as tools of persuasion

the world is getting far too loud
with declarations of i am better than you

i am not the gun-wielding revolutionary
i am not the masked guerrilla
i am not the raw-throated protester

my defiance is quiet
and complete

in resisting unkindness
i feel strong

in practicing gentleness
i feel powerful

i don’t know if this
is the way

but it is mine.