The Verses of Versus/The Verses of Verse Us

Virtuoso Subversive
Conversive in love, conversive in hate
The verses of Us versus the verses of Them, play over and over,
as we excavate
the fault lines,
of this old record spinning
round and round on our Big Blue Marble,
With you over there, And me over here
Us in the North, Them in the South
We in the West, They in the East

All of it weighing us down, to say the least,
leaving us simple beasts
of a palimpsest burden.

Verses. Versus. Verses of Us.

I’ve grown averse to the verses
of the greedy terse version of our species,
with its incessant timpani of gun fire,
and the ragged edges of blood on its barbed wires.

Its genocidal symphony of grotesque attack
on those who transition,
and used to stab in the back,
but now do so boldly in the plain light of day,
looking straight into their eyes as they strip away
their rights.

Our verse of us cannot be the worst of us. Can it?
Verses. Versus. Verses of Us.

We can’t con the verse of the ant on the ground.
We can’t con the verse of the star in the sky.

Their verses mark Earth’s rhythm like
the wings of the Monarch butterfly,
guiding us by the ocean’s sound.

God, I’m ready to dance to their ancient tune, aren’t you?
For wings holding us up in the air
For fins keeping us on course in the water
For voices ballooning
new verses of the living
For all of our sons and daughters,

that leave our Spidey-senses tingling,

in a new universal verse of us…
with You over there, And Me over here
Us in the North, Them in the South
We in the West, They in the East
at the very least
becoming Virtuoso Subversives
by risking the Conversing.

Mary Lynne Gasaway Hill, Ph.D., FRSA, is a poet, writer, and professor of English in San Antonio. She is the inaugural Edward and Linda Speed Peace and Justice Fellow at St. Mary’s University, Texas, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. You may reach her at Read other articles by Mary Lynn.