Emma Anderson
3: Becoming Another

the elusive purpose of awareness


i can never forget

forty thousand kid soldiers

AK’s bridled round their necks

hit with nine wise crimes

and bullets

and shrapnel flying wildly.

One shard ricocheted off a young mother’s

back as she ran away from the bush,

and when she untied her baby sling in the morning,

there was a half-masked, bloody bundle

of a swaddled body without a head.


Even the dying know how to while away time,

sink into the void,

and conquer the fall.


Borders make killing easy.

“this is mine now

give it back!”

Bureaucracy makes dying easy.

“just like that!”

States tick Drones tick

States drone on,

moved by mass lack of attention,

misleading representations of

the incomprehensibly full scope of

the multiplicitous reality we coexist in.


I walked down five flights of stairs

to see what escalators have to do with structural violence.

And why the babies in Uganda

are the stars of American poverty porn.


The difference between charity and activism

is the object of obligation.

There is an Internally Displaced Persons Camp in the

Democratic Republic of the Congo—

where the largest conflict since World War II

has killed five million people since 1996.

And eight out of ten women are victims of rape.


So, while the conflict mineral, coltan

—used in almost every cell phone—

becomes a politicized resource

generating wealth for warlords

through the fracturing of society

for three-dozen years,

the elusive purpose of awareness

once again, recedes.