Respecting the awesome power of words!

Collateral

otj

Photo by Owen Jenkins

 

The word means
“standing side by side” and
“descended from the same stock 
but of a different line.”

Do you remember a time
when this word could
stand on its own,

when it wasn’t nearly
suffixed with “damage”,
as if we couldn’t fathom
connotations in a different universe?

Maybe in the banking industry,
where it takes money
to make money;
and you can’t qualify
for a loan unless you can prove
that you’ve already got enough
to not need it in the first place.

We have warped
the word collateral,
using it regularly
to excuse the extermination
of people we are not quite
willing to stand beside,
whose DNA we have declared
is not human; but maybe

we are the ones
who’ve lost our humanity
one noose, one injection,
one massive surge of electricity,
one drone mission, one baseball bat,
one wall, one border patrol,
one round of ammunition at a time.

© 2017 Todd Jenkins
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4 responses

  1. thank you so much for the reclaiming of a word and a whole world of meaning.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 7, 2017 at 6:11 am

  2. Dee

    Love this, Todd! I like how you expand the sadly contracted word to make us think about our collective choices…

    Liked by 1 person

    February 7, 2017 at 7:07 am

  3. I had never thought much about the word “collateral”. Todd Jenkins gives me much to think about in this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 7, 2017 at 9:55 am

  4. katiejkester

    Truth bomb!

    Liked by 1 person

    February 7, 2017 at 11:19 am

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