I’m quite positive that if I was watching tv and saw you in an air force commercial I would actually slit my wrists
our train is delayed and i am late for lunch
with a boy i like because he makes me feel
less lonely and that seems like a sufficient
definition for love these days
in this city where it is possible to be surrounded
by the warmth of millions of apartment lights and
still feel cold
the lights turn off.
and it’s one of those moments
when we are forced to look up from our screens
and remember that we exist outside of them
they tell us that someone jumped in front of the tracks
that he died upon impact
so we just sit there in silence
as they remove his remains.
and some part of us
is happy because this,
this is the first time we have
felt like part of something greater than ourselves in a while
in this city where sometimes it takes
an accident to remember what the purpose of a
body is to begin with.
when the train starts up again
the woman next to me starts complaining
and asking why he didn’t do it at home
how he could have saved us the trouble and time
by taking a bottle of pills before leaving the house
how selfish it is to delay others with your death
and i want to hug her
say: “remind me the purpose of this arm”
want to love her
say: “remind me the purpose of this heart”
but you see this is america
where people scatter on streets like discarded leaves –
only touching accidentally as we
land on these cities we grew up circling on maps
saying “remind me happiness”
and somehow convinced ourselves they did
the same way we believed in the borders between
countries so well that we built a wall around
them: called it ‘mine’
this is america
where pain is a ritual we are required to conduct in private:
an elaborate symphony on mute
call it “he died in his sleep peacefully”
(as if the stroke did not tear him to pieces)
call it “he lived to be eighty six years old”
(as if he didn’t hate himself for at least thirty of them)
call it “accident”
not no healthcare
call it “casualty”
death is a distraction.
it is thirty of us sitting together underground on a subway train
unable to hold each other and weep so instead
we sit in silence and wait until we can move again
back above ground
into the light
and forget how much death must be in the soil
to grow such
i want to text the boy above ground waiting for me, ask:
"have you ever been to a funeral with complete strangers?"
but instead i look at the woman next to me, the one
who told a dead man to die more considerately and
i remember that to live in america is to attend
a funeral with complete strangers:
how many ghosts does it take for a cemetery to call itself a country?
to live in america is to blame the
dead for their own death, not
the country for creating the very
conditions that already killed us
before we caught up and
made things more clear.
which is why when i tell the
liberal who wears words like ‘diplomacy’
and ‘democrat’ that i will not pay his taxes
because i do not want my coins to cause carnage
and he calls me a terrorist
which is why when i tell him
that i do believe in monsters who come
out at night, call them ‘men’ for short
and he tells me that i only dress femme because i want to be bashed
which is why when i tell him
that the very women who started our movement
are still being murdered in the same cities where
men are getting married and calling it momentous
and he gasps: “that happens here? in america!”
the ways we have been taught
to apologize for our sadness.
to blame ourselves for the hurt.
to erase the violence.
to numb the pain.
to wake up in the morning and
deny that sometimes when the
train crawls into the station that
we may see a pill in its place.
that we may wonder what it
would mean to have people
empathize with our suffering
for once in our goddamn life
what it would feel like
to hold the captive attention
of a funeral of strangers
so i want to embrace to this woman on the train
and say: “i am afraid too”
say: “remind me trust”
say: sometimes this silence feels like the highest pitch of screaming.
say: i understand. say: these past thirty minutes were the first time i have
been forced to publicly grieve death in a long time
and there is something
beautiful about that
say: what if we stopped moving more often,
took a second to
absorb the pain,
let it fill us a little less empty.
but instead i will sit here and wait until the train starts up again.
i will exit the car without saying goodbye to her.
i will walk up the stairs to the boy outside with the smile that makes me feel less lonely.
i will apologize for being late.
i will not have the words for a type of loss that is so distant it is intimate.
after lunch later i will get back on the train.
i will remember.
i will soon forget.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
this is an original poem by alok of returnthegayze.com . please consider supporting the artist
So they were trying to re-invent themselves and their universe. Science fiction was a big help. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
is “queer time” an actual thing or are people just copying cpt?
I know that Black creativity has saved your life many times before. I know, because I’ve seen it happen. I’ve listened as non-Black people in my communities raised on Hip Hop talked about how it was the only relatable, empowering culture they found that also educated and radicalized them as a youth. It was formational. I’ve watched people become politicized, shaping their new political identities after bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Assata Shakur, Angela Davis and Frantz Fanon. I’ve watched as folks become activist celebrities using radical ideas from Black Power and Civil Rights movements to shape programs that do not benefit Black people. I’ve watched as people make livings and loads of social capital off of DJing Black music, dancing, walking and dressing like Black people, selling the Black aesthetic to others. I’ve heard that friends use Nina Simone and Sade to sing them back from depression, Rihanna and D’Angelo to get them in the mood. So many people in my communities, lately, have been using Octavia Butler to renew their hope for radical futures. Without Black people, what would your lives be? You might be thinking, you know, it’s so much more complicated than all this, race is complex, we’re all part of the human family, etc., etc…
Black art is not free for all damaged souls. When Nina sang about strange fruit, she was talking about a lynching…of Black people. When Black rappers say Fuck the Police, they speak to a state system of lynching…Black people. Your pain and isolation, however real it may be, is not the same as being Black. Your self-adoption into hip hop and djembe drumming and spoken word, makes our art forms all about you. You, however well meaning, have stolen Black labour and invention and used it for your own purpose. It warps the medium and changes the message, the magic, the healing. From now on, consider how the cost of consuming, appropriating, regurgitating, and getting your life in multiple ways from Black art, Black culture, and Black peoples’ creative genius detrimentally impacts our lives. Being Black in an anti-black world means experiencing daily attacks that threaten our dignity, our happiness, our freedom, and often our lives; and in order to enjoy Black culture, you’re going to have to take action to help get these back.
But because Black people’s labour, language, intelligence, creativity, and survival arts have always been considered free for the taking, you probably didn’t feel ways about using it. You probably didn’t think twice. Black culture is the most pilfered, the most ‘borrowed,’ the most thieved culture, and we’ve seen this happen time and tie again.
Quote is from her essay Black Art Is Not A Free For All on Black Girl Dangerous. Read it all. Truly exquisite writing, especially as non-Black people continue to use, consume, pilfer, plagiarize and be appropriative of Black cultural production and art while simultaneously suggesting that Black culture, especially that Black American culture, does not exist.
I’ve also watched non-Black people suggest Black people contribute “nothing” to anti-oppression theory or praxis while their ENTIRE FRAMEWORK for approaching it is via Black cultural production or Black women’s epistemology.
Like…the cognitive dissonance proffered via perspectives shaped by anti-Blackness is astounding.
thinking about how much a dog would love me literally makes me want to cry?? like why have i never felt that type of tenderness before and why do bodies exist and how do people deal with being angry because i’ve been kind of angry lately and it’s making me very uncomfortable
who am I drinking all this pineapple juice for
i just can’t believe how mean and vindictive some people are