When a person rises to the top,
more often than not,
they've been lifted.
When a man or woman
is described as "fallen",
I suspect they have been pushed.
When monuments and movements,
institutions or even empires are built,
they are not the work of one person over ten million hours.
Nor are they the work of ten million men and women in one hour.
Consider the height, width and breadth,
the time-study, the yield per acre,
the depth, the altitude,
the pounds per square inch,
the specific gravity, the vital signs
to calculate, parse and average out.
We are perched on a bubble
filled with the breath of generations.
Nihilists with needles cannot pierce it.
We sing, we shout, we bellow, we chant,
we hang on and hold each other.
Your tears rinsed the blood from my brow.
Your laughter drummed the pain away.
Our bubble rides the foaming crest
while others burst,
lost in rip tides and undertows.
When you see me slogging up the dunes,
arms linked with my compadres,
know that we were lifted.
We were pushed, fell
and helped to our feet.
When we march up State Street,
past that Forward woman,
rising up the flights of stairs
and plod through the doors
across the terrazzo,
while our voices rise up
into the dome of the Rotunda,
in every step,
we were lifted.