There Was A Time

Caitlin Johnstone
2 min readMay 27, 2024

Listen to a reading by Tim Foley:

It’s hard to believe there was a time when I didn’t know what a child’s insides look like.

That I didn’t know how limp babies’ limbs go when they are dead,

when they are missing parts of their body,

missing their head,

limbs dangling lifeless as parents hold them in front of the camera,

screaming, crying, pleading, desperate.

There was a time when I didn’t know how it feels to watch a man scream “Free Palestine” while burning alive,

until there was nothing left to scream with and he lost his voice forever,

but still by some power remained standing long after his voice was gone.

I didn’t used to know just how sadistic people can be,

how hateful they can be,

how apathetic they can be toward the suffering of human beings,

or how heroic others can be in times of great need.

I didn’t used to know. Now I do.

And now I sit here, head heavy like lead, tongue limp like a baby’s corpse,

hands feeling older than the stars,

and I don’t know what to do.

There is nothing I can say to make this okay.

There is nothing I can say to make any of this make sense.

This is the civilization we were born into.

This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal,

as the airman said before he burned.

I lift my ancient hands to my sore heart

and say a prayer to the great Whatever

in a desperate plea

for a better world.


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