“The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” – Saul Alinsky
To secure a future we must understand
The difference between terror and fear.
Walk into a room and hear a snake’s sudden hiss,
See it squirming in a dark corner, two reptilian eyes
Piercing darkness like fangs in search of your
Flesh, its body curled up like a muscle shorn of
Reason—that’s fear. Walk into another room
And hear nothing but a window rattle, a pipe
Creak for no reason you can discern—that’s terror.
The powerful don’t want us to focus on the snake.
They keep it there like a pet, a reminder of their
Power to obscure the truth, not hidden—no, that’s
Not the way to do it; we like to check under rocks,
To sift through old files in the basement—
Their crime takes place in the open for us to
Nod at on the way to work.
The snake’s power is not that it bites but that
We know it can bite; a snake is easy to subdue.
The powerful want us in the other room,
Rampaging like a battalion of lost souls firing
Mortars at the tile because we suspect something
Gnawing away at the sub-floor.
Or they have us take our shoes off,
Pat us down, rummage through our things:
Which shampoo bottle
Is a bomb and which grandmother a bomber?
And where was the bomb made and the bomber bred?
And shouldn’t we bomb them first? And do we want
The smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud?
The difference between terror and fear is this:
On 9/11, we ran into a tower on the verge of collapse
To save perfect strangers;
On 9/12, we enlisted to deliver
Daisy cutter bombs to Afghan villagers, 
Flatten what barely stood on its own.
The difference between terror and fear is also this:
Yesterday I marched for climate justice
With 500 youths. We marched in cold
And in spite of what we’ve been taught,
That idealism is a phase and we’ll all have
To get a real job someday: 
The kids were warned
That they would serve detention or be expelled;
Today I read that the oceans are running out of
Oxygen and my lungs went dry like gills gasping
In places they weren’t designed for. 
The difference between terror and fear is
Marching in the streets and gasping for
Air on beaches where the oceans creak menacingly
And we are too dumbstruck to understand the science
And too on the verge of death to fight for all creation.
 Jones, Josh. “Saul Alinsky’s 13 Tried-and-True Rules for Creating Meaningful Social Change.” Open Culture, 21 Feb. 2017, http://www.openculture.com/2017/02/13-rules-for-radicals.html.
 Norton-Taylor, Richard. “Taliban Hit by Bombs Used in Vietnam.” The Guardian, 7 Nov. 2001, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/nov/07/afghanistan.terrorism6.
 Posner, Andy. “Chicago Youth Climate Strike: December 6, 2019.” AndyPosner.org, 7 Dec. 2019, https://www.andyposner.org/2019/12/07/youth-climate-strike-chicago-december-6-2019/.
 McGrath, Matt. “Climate Change: Oceans Running out of Oxygen as Temperatures Rise.” BBC News, BBC, 7 Dec. 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-50690995