The threat of nuclear destruction has not "passed" since the end of the "world war."
"I can't breathe" will be something all of us will be screaming across the color and socioeconomic spectrum very soon if we don't stop sociopaths from mowing down that which grows out of the ground.
Our diversity of thought (the real diversity) is being massacred. The radical right has always been transparent about their efforts. The left has yet to admit to their Newtonian "equal and opposite" reactionary response.
This has been the progress of the American project.
Fuck our "National Trauma." Any American--I don't care who--any American who cannot look beyond their own suffering is living under the most extraordinary pretense in the history of the world.
All of our hands are covered in blood.
Once it's ok to leave our homes (if it ever is, and if we even have a home anyway) these threats will not have passed.
Will our supposed "vaccine" go to our poor? to Yeminis? To Malawians?
Will we ever stop ourselves from financing the mass murder of our own species in order that we may retain our comforts?
Will our racism and classism "pass?"
Will the terror that we and our mercenary states inflict upon the majority of the world "pass?"
The only thing that is guaranteed to pass is our individual lives.
And even if our kind does not remember us,
the Earth will never forget.
And we will exit this life only with how we treated it and each other and nothing else.
I'm going to die. I live only to give others a chance to live.
"Want to know how to stop terrorism? Stop participating in it."--Noam Chomsky.
We are the threat. The enemy.
We have always been.
This is nothing new.
The first thing I heard when I saw the towers burning on our home's small, vintage general electric was,
"Do you see now, son?"
"What god can do to anyone?"
I was seven years old. At the time, it confused me.
As I grew, the coldness of it angered me.
As I became wise(er), I understood there was another side to that coldness.
It wasn't about wishing ill or violence on anyone.
The same person also said,
"war and violence, there is no reason for any of it."
The person is not evil or cold.
"What god can do to anyone" is about understanding that those who choose not to see the reality--or only identify it when it is trendy/convenient for them--harm themselves more than anyone else.
We are not gods.
There is no god,
except the one god.
But in any case,
we're not that god.
Which I think is the point.
9/11 was a reckoning.
Trump is a reckoning.
How many fucking reckonings do we need?
"I cannot vote for Obama!"
"No ma'am, he's a good man."
When I heard this,
I was fifteen.
Or was I sixteen?
My arabness has always been othered.
My muslimness has always been mocked.
My blackness has always been denied.
Just like Obama's in that glorious exchange.
RIP John McCain, I know you meant so so well.
RIP John Lewis, I will be listening to your eulogies once I post this gloriously imperfect essay/poem/effort to pass time into nothingness.
I love both the Johns.
I love all the Johns.
I love America, too.
I know how much this country hates me.
Still, I love it so so so much.
It is an extremely unhealthy, one-sided, co-dependent relationship...
me and America.
I will not stop until America can love me back.
I will not stop until America stops insisting on closing her eyes to reality and welcoming her own destruction along with the rest of the world.
She knows the truth,
she's said it to my face,
she knows how to keep my hope up just enough,
just enough that I don't finally cut and run.
But she won't do the work,
maybe it's because I'm not doing enough work.
Is it me or her?
What is this fuckery?
I'm stealing from my boy, Riz Ahmed, without even realizing it right now.
Riz Ahmed, I want your career.
I'm so grateful for you.
You teach me that our work is so essential.
Because without someone like you I don't know if I'd think there'd be hope for someone like me.
What better thing to do for a person?
Be as much of yourself as you can be,
so they think "well, I can do that too!"
Riz Ahmed, you don't even know me...
The anonymous love we pass through and to each other is what god is.
It is why we exist.
Funny how much we can still do this even as residents of the Empire.
Look, I'm aware that I'm listing problems that I'm doing nothing about at the moment. At the moment, I'm at home. Hiding from the virus. Trying to be here for my family. Failing to actually be present with them, even as I try to do this.
People in my home town might as well be running around firing assault rifles... so many of them are mask-less and heedless about the virus.
I am too weak for action. But I have words so I'm going to use them.
You're all smart. You know this shit.
Everything we ever hear or see is essentially a reminder.
We're born knowing what to do.
But the greed and blood lust that precedes us commandeers and assaults and holds our minds hostage.
We are all victims and perpetrators.
Why not end that story and tell a better one?
Speaking of story,
I must admit,
all I really care about?
Like really care about?
Is being able to be on stage again.
I'm fucking talented.
Talent is another word for privilege. I want to give it away freely.
I wake up shocked sometimes. Like I have been drowning. I get the feeling my body is telling me that I am running out of time. Running out of time to be able to do the work I know I have to do.
What's stopping me?
Are we all running out of time?
Running out of time to do the work we know we have to do?
What's stopping us,
as the hand on the doomsday clock moves closer,
and closer to midnight?
What are we waiting for?
"This too shall pass" is the most shocking pretense I've ever heard.
What are we waiting for to "pass?"
It never will.
Only WE shall "pass."
Let's change the reality
before that happens.
What the fuck else is there to do?
Photo: Edmund in Lear, by Young Jean Lee at UC San Diego. Photo Credit: Jim Carmody.