Two Weeks After The Presidential Election of Men Who Want Me Dead

Two Weeks After The Presidential Election of Men Who Want Me Dead

1.

I pause
to sit quietly and gather myself back
together, after all of the coming undone.
I’ve been running around with all of my parts
in the wrong places.

My heart in my hands, my guts in my mouth,
my eyes stretched out over my skin
so I can see in all directions –
a panoramic view of potential violence.

Yesterday, I sat next to another
Black woman on the train,
because statistically speaking,
according to the election results,
there is no safer demographic
of people – or more sane.

My brain pounds through my arteries and veins
pressuring my feet to run, to run, to run, to run, to run.
My feet flee without waiting for the rest of me,
to take up residence in another country,
one I pretend will love and shelter me,
but there is no home,
there is no sanctuary.

All of my internal architecture
is shattered and smashed.
I’d patched it back together hastily
with lots of rolls of duct tape and a staple gun
and several gallons of krazy glue.
It held up well for a week or two
while I kept alive the traumatized,
the desperate, the targets of hate crimes,
the ones they want to put on a registry for death.

But, traumatized myself
and with a bullseye on my back,
who will keep me alive
as my insides begin to buckle,
to tremble, to crack?

2.

I sit by the lake
where birds come to take
breadcrumbs from little ones
and dazzle them with their freedom.

A little brown child
in a bright pink bicycle helmet
runs to the edge
of the water, squeaking at birds
and stomping with giggles.
This is still possible, I think.
When will it end?

The geese honk at me.
“They’re coming for you, too,”
I say, seditiously.

Clouds billow and gather all the pink from the sunset.
They make an offering of softness and empathy.
I drink it in. My lungs are where my ears used to be.

3.

I sit in the grass and dismantle myself,
unpeeling the duct tape, prying out the staples,
spreading out the wood and memories,
the broken foundation of faith and hope,
the flesh and all its tenderness,
sharp shards of heart and glass,
the bone and bricks that I am made of.

Blood and bile and fear and panic,
dread and devastation and grief and gastric acid
splash out and drench the grass,
the crickets and ants, the loam.

I give up any hope of putting myself back together.
I surrender to gravity,
the grasp of the earth holding me close
clasping me between her solidity and the spaciousness
of the sky, infinite, and expanding
full of patience and possibility.
I drink in all that vastness with what is left of me:

Flesh, ear, tongue,
Skin, eyes, nose,
Heart, hands, lungs,
brain, brick, bone.

I become all that I behold.

4.

When my feet have been found and returned to me,
I stand and feel the enormity of the earth inside of me
and the vastness of the infinite sky
and everything they know
about patience and persistence
spaciousness and solidity.

Relentlessly resilient, the earth
who has seen several mass extinctions already
and is unperturbed by the possibility of another,
determined to make life emerge again and again,
drinks my tears and drains me of my desperation,
tells me, “Anywhere you go, you are always home.”

Anywhere you go,
you are always home.

In this moment,
I am here and I am whole,
relentless in my resilience.

If my days are numbered,
I will cherish every minute.
If I am imprisoned,
I will cherish every breath.

The birds and the little brown children
dazzle me with their freedom
and draw me on.

11/20/16 – 12/01/16

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Play: I Call My Brothers

I just went to see this exquisite play at Crowded Fire Theater in San Francisco.

It is too rare – on a stage to see a play where brown folks are telling stories about what it’s like to be brown and hunted, brown and haunted, brown and broken, brown and enraged, brown and innocent, brown and violent, brown and blending in as best we can so as to stay alive, broken, bucking, aching, hungry, hopeless, loving, holding on.

This play depicts a kind of mental fragmentation the likes of which I have felt so often over the last few years as I have been walking the streets feeling haunted, vulnerable, as I see sirens and feel the threat in my body of being one of the hunted and wonder: “Will a cop pin me down and kneel on top of me while I am at the swimming pool? Will I be forced out of the bar or the train because I laugh too loud? Will I be Sandra Bland today? Will my everyday ordinary composure crack in the face of the next fucked up thing and will I do some kind of extraordinary violence?”

Or will it be my friend or my cousin or my client or my colleague or my neighbor? Harassed or abused or shot in the street before there was time for explanation or translation. Or all out of fucks to give, exploding into violence, tired of the tyranny of racism, tired of turning the other cheek, tired of twisting into pretzel shapes in order to appear harmless and nonthreatening to white people, to the police, to the power structure.

Will it be someone Black, someone brown, someone trans, someone with a disability, someone who doesn’t speak English (Rest in Power, Luis Gongora), someone who speaks several languages of which English is only one, someone Mexican, someone with Middle Eastern features, someone Muslim. We, the hunted, are haunted. Is today the day I die or lose my mind or lose my composure?

I am grateful to see the truth of this kind of experience represented in this way.

You’re lucky: The play has a week left and tickets are still available.

https://youtu.be/MzLAbNGmnks