Thursday, May 14, 2015

When the white heckler said "No Lives Matter"

This Saturday I was at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in solidarity with the Baltimore uprising against police brutality.  We were gathered outside the Mariners game at the stadium and I was with a group of friends and comrades, mostly Black folks.  A middle aged white man came up to us and started shouting "what would you do if the police shot a white person?  I bet you wouldn't even care."

I figured he was one of the many white people who like to come up and demand that we chant "all lives matter" instead of "Black lives matter".  I usually  try to talk with these people and pull them away from the crowd so that Black friends won't have to deal with them at the same time they're trying to organize the demonstration.

So I walked up to him, looked him square in the eyes, and asked him "what would YOU do if the cops shot a white person?"  

He hesitated for a second and then said "probably nothing." 

So I responded: "so I guess you don't really care about Black people OR white people then, huh?"

He said, "the police killing people is natural, it's part of population control".  

I responded, asking "what are you some kind of Nazi?"  

He puffed out his chest and started reaching for something in his pocket and with a glare he said "are you calling me a Nazi?"

"You're the one talking about population control" I replied, scanning his shoulders and hands for any sudden movements.  

Then he just grimaced and walked away, like a pile of wreckage from 500 years of disaster.  

I looked around the stadium and thought "cynicism must be America's favorite pastime. "

Noel Ignatiev wrote that before the 1930s labor struggles, workers would have to clean their bosses cars on the weekends in order to keep their jobs.   After the strike waves, that kind of behavior was looked down on as demeaning and your fellow workers would mock you if you kept doing it.  He said that in the future we will look back and recognize white behavior as similarly demeaning.  In fact, whiteness itself is an embodied philosophy of degradation: "I don't want to fight back against my bosses and the rich people who oppress me, I'll accept my miserable lot in life, as long as there are Black people worse off than I am".   

This man, slumping toward the scrap heap of history, could not have illustrated that mentality any better.   

A bit demoralized, I turned around and saw my friend and comrade standing close to me.  They are a young person with pale pink skin like mine, and they've gone very hard in the Black Lives Matter movement the past six months.   I realized they were getting my back the whole time.  When I thanked them for that they just responded "that's what we do." 

Someday, after the revolution, whiteness will no longer matter, and we will all matter to each other.  It'll just be what we do.  


  



St. Mary of Perpetual Revolution Pray

for Black Lives Matter  



the congregation sings and chants

instead of working and worrying

our lives away - the communion of saints

stays singin’

hosanna  in the highest.


It’s like a beat looped through their bodies and ours,

from creation to  infinity

but still all  freestyling,  perfectly imperfect

the beat is the left, and we’re it’s right hand



singular variations in the multitude of  liberations

brothers, sisters, living, dead

and those who break  the binaries between ‘em


and still harmonizing - or better yet  arpeggiating

each other into higher chords of mutual inspiration


somewhere in that multitude my ancestors are murmuring

at a parish in the heavens called St. Mary of Perpetual Revolution


as the organ beat drops

and they pass the bread and roses

They  might be  praying rosaries

for  the people in the streets of  Baltimore.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Philia

she said we get free with our hearts
he said that we bond with our heads 
so i sensed the vibe of the congregation
and this is what i said: 

what connects our heads and our hearts
are necks we stick out for each other
when we get each others’ backs our hearts
beat through them towards each other

but our heads stay faced out toward the crowds
so we can love in all directions; 
we’re not a closed off family, 
we’re a complex insurrection 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Neo-Platonic Love

souls fertile as fuck
fuckin’ with each other 
without necessarily
fucking each other 

‘cause we make our own gifts: 

shaped to transgress 
the city’s standardized sex

swetting beauty in all directions

code-switching lanes

our homies’ arms
our vibes and lips 
conceiving
combustible 



(this is a re-mix of Plato’s Symposium, Sam Cook’s Jesus Gave Me Water, Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus, and the Infinite Venom Girl Gang's essay “Against the Couple Form” from Lies: A Journal of Materialist Feminism