today i went through and grabbed my articles off of wiretap magazine. i’ve written for them for years and in january they closed their doors. this is a tragedy – they were a wonderful space for young writers to develop skills while documenting the world around them. i felt like the vision piece i wrote for wiretap years ago absolutely came to pass, and i am excited to see it’s next iterations.
going back through everything was nostalgic and exciting – i interviewed saul williams, wrote about voter organizing, learned about tibet and palestine solidarity movements, memorialized michael jackson, moved to a more radical space with ruckus and year after year had this amazing outlet for my reactions.
the work i was proudest of were the pieces that were actual tools on privilege work, facilitation, sustaining yourself as an activist (a couterpoint with gavin leonard who i haven’t talked to in too long), relational organizing, and changing the nature of gatherings.
I can see myself growing up in these pieces.
A poem came to me today – I am immersed in the meeting place of When the Levees Broke and the Detroit mayor wanting to downsize/rightsize/shrink/colonize/displace/develop my new hometown. What has been coming to me is what passive hate allows to happen to our communities. Active hate is its own evil, but it is the complicit and structural that really allows the deepest injustices not just to happen, but to get institutionalized, normalized, and internalized.
I was around Will Copeland, Detroit poet-organizer, this morning, and on the way home a poem came up pulling some thoughts together. Grain of salt and lots of emotions…
Untitled, for those of us who are dark:
I remember every single copper
Pulled me over
Stood crotch in my face
Making me acquiesce
Thinking I done wrong
Talking down at me and certain
He knew my life, he knew better
I remember every single suit
Trying to con me
Sell and seduce me same time
Wanting what was rightfully mine
Pale faced misplaced
Always adolescent Shiva
Pillaging my people to this day
I remember every single speaker
Certainly fired up
Twisting around in they own words
Trying to find my sweet spot
So they could take a piece of my power
And count it as they own
And never make a thing better
Than it was at its worst
And most of all
I remember every single body
Bloated up face down in the n’awleans sun
Blasted apart with dynamite
On birmingham and baghdad streets
Children comatose with hands grasping rocks
What is the lullaby for your babies?
That’s all I want to know
What do you tell them about themselves
How did you fill them up with such fear
They don’t come out the womb pointin mine towards our tombs
I say it with love, for all of my people
History, dignity and memories
What do you tell your children
About those of us who are dark?