Tag Archives: Quarantine Dreams

Empty Tinfoil and Tenfold Erasure – A Poem

The streets have changed we last said hi. We didn’t even have a chance to say bye.

Abandoned blocks bursting with a newfound energy that most call a problem and sometimes even call the police on.

Usually I join in with the beats of the outdoor dance parties, today’s fog, however has created an unusual sense of serenity and solemnity.

His empty tinfoil sits in left hand, red and crevassed with pain and too much labour. Unappreciated labour. Unappreciated and erased history. You weren’t his saviour.

His right hand, acting as the delivery man – delivering this man into a deep sleep but one knocking on death’s door on the daily. He does not fear death for the concrete floor feels warmer and softer either way.

Rest easy for a minute, brother. You need to rest up for the struggle.

But where is rest (what is rest?). A block away another Black man is face down on the ground. Again. Surrounded by uniforms. His screams, I still can hear those screams, falling on deaf ears today made less audible by the protective person equipment worn over their two white masks. One masking their history of brutality, today all  masking their ability to speak in their usual codes and condescension. Who needs the extra protection today?

He screams, high-pitched screams, because he is again down, again down. They formed a barrier around him, shielding the view of passersby folk – pretty much everybody is passing by. Three cop cars, two ambulances, ready to strap him into the gurney today, maybe the grave tomorrow.

The grave offenses of this society, the grave pain of those suffering. I stand between two struggles, stuck wondering whether my lack of Naloxone training and lax notions of proper witnessing make me just another culprit, another player, another tool of their society.

They paid me this month. They probably paid you double. They paid me to keep me away from troubles. Paid me to keep going through this life with a stumble, a mumble, fumbling to position myself properly at the intersection, the crossroads.

Between the man with the empty tinfoil and the tenfold erasure of the Black man being held down by an institution too often not held accountable to past and present wrongs.

I saw you. I shouldn’t have turned and walked away without saying hi. Or bye.

The Conversations For Us and the Conversations Between Us

We’re in a world stuck between two conversations.

One conversation is for us. The other is between us.

In one you are telling us what we should do, how we should act, setting the lines between acceptable and unacceptable behaviours, targets and our KPIs.

We’re always performing for you.

Always telling us we’re close to violating your rules. For violation is your key to power (enforcement) and it is only through drawing those lines are you able to keep us boxed, locked, and trapped. You need your head held high, foot stamped down on our already beaten down bodies to feel good about yourselves.

The other conversation is the ones we are having. Conversations about escaping the box you built, cutting open holes to break through, to see some ‘light’, questions about our collective condition but also, to your dismay, also about hope and prosperity beyond profitability. That all those languages and phrases you told us to stop speaking, food to stop eating, dreams to stop dreaming are actually the keys to escaping the prison you built for us, bars forming in our minds every time we do the simple task of living.

You don’t hear these conversations in full from the outside. You try and get bits and pieces and utilize what you think you know to serve your aims but I hate to break it to you.

Your messenger, agents, pawns, rooks, spies, and related people will always be outside of our conversation because you keep our people outside of yours. Your conversations are also the louder ones on big, broad stages, about institutions and where we direct funds, while we chat through hush silences, quiet daps, nods, and no hand(less) gestures on the way to cash our meagre checks at the bank. There may be a conditioned hesitation, hunched backs, broken eye contact – but our souls are still strong and our hearts even stronger than ever. You won’t destroy those.

Difference between our conversations is one of external power – the ‘I’m better than you and can enforce the rules, type of power. ‘Our conversations are about resistance, the we may be disempowered and excluded from your high tables and private consultations, but we still have each other to eat with, consult with, dance with – and believe in.

We may not have fancy plates and utensils but we have our hands and our spices. We’ll get ’em dirty too, rearranging and challenging the ‘man-power‘ of your societies by putting the ‘a’ at the front, while remembering the ‘X’ at the back. Take a minute to think about that one.

Your conversations ultimately comes down to individuals, ours is about the collective. We may be pawns, you may have have your rooks lined up ready but we have numbers and we’ll take our little steps as they come and eventually bring back our Kings and Queens, those dreams I alluded to earlier. The ones I stand with when I am surrounded by Queens in the packed malls of Flushing or Kings in the streets of Harlem.

You will realize you are the rooks of collectivity, of connectivity. You may have technology and laws, that you put in place to maintain the system but we have the root source – our minds – that will rethink your laws, build on your technology, and bring the world together in harmony while doing so.

We realize what you have done by telling us it’s not a black and white game of chess, constantly trying to argue the beige future before us is inevitable, so for the time being you need the reigns – for you are the light (right…).

Well – no – we are the light. We are the descendants of African Queen and the Mughal Kings. We don’t accept your dreams for our future. We aren’t prepared to wait future generations to make this happen.

Give us back what is ours. Either you invite us to our conversation or you be excluded from ours forever.