Tragedy In Free Verse


I’m trying to coax this one tear out of the corner of the room and get him to be a bit more social. I woke up to a day that should have had a trigger warning. The hashtag today had my uncle’s name and five kids.

I read this shortly after lunch today and slumped into my desk. I didn’t know this level of exhaustion was possible. I’m in mid-conversation about activism and the need to listen when this example descends from heavens…

…or hell.

My emotional conditioning is perfect, but I’m getting rusty; one person at the office says I should head home before I get back to my grind.

Have you ever been so overwhelmed by the constant stream of tragedy that you can only speak your mind in metaphor? I have.

I get in a car and when the driver asks me how I feel, I tell them I’m tired.

“What do you do?”

I explain my work and the Über driver agrees that it is likely a mental type of exhaustion. I couldn’t agree more. I tell her I decided to watch the news and that didn’t help. I say that I should just stop watching the news until November. When I hear the GPS give her the wrong directions, I correct them and we talk about the weather. I’m charming and funny and I try to give her life while I’m searching for a way to stop feeling like I’m drowning.

She says I made her day with all of my humor. My defenses are perfect; if I’ve learned anything as a black male at 34, it’s that you need to be safe enough for everyone to touch without feeling bad about it.

My DMs are full of people asking me if I’m OK. If I’m safe. If they can help me somehow. I tell them to just be present and wish with all my heart for a hug. Tré Melvin released a video that had a clip I’d been avoiding all day.

I think about how every single day this week, I’ve seen clouds coming well before the rain fell. Always dark, always looming. I come back to my room where I’m lying in bed and I wonder if this is why I hate waking up in the morning.

I read things I should know better than to read and I don’t even know how to be anything but in awe of how quickly we’ve tried to bury Alton’s murder under #alllivesmatter before we’ve even thought of burying the body.

I don’t even know how to be anything but in awe of how quickly we’ve tried to bury Alton’s murder under #alllivesmatter before we’ve even thought of burying the body.

I’m reminded that I need to continue being pleasant and funny and useful because not being those things means that someone might decide I should be dead otherwise. My friends know this down to their DNA; every new #deadblackman is a DM to me to be safe; they know there is no escape for me anywhere in America. The death of another black male is the same as my own.

I wish all lives really mattered. Even a little. Anil Dash posts something that almost makes me cry for the first time in a decade. A text comes to mind where I’m talking to someone that I spend a lot of time sad or angry about all of this and their response was:

Is this person meaningful or significant to you? If not, then you should know death is part of life like everything else.

They mean well, like so many do, but they have no fucking clue what grieving for two straight years feels like. I have to wonder if the bodies are forming a barrier that he can’t hear my voice through.

I’m bored and by this I mean that I’m too exhausted to enjoy anything. I’m in a drought for laughter and I spend a little bit longer in this 95+ degree heat in 80+% humidity to remind myself of what joy feels like. I’m more afraid of Florida than ISIS; ISIS is at least straightforward in their hatred.

I think about where I would go if things got really bad and there isn’t any safety here. I wonder when I’ll be mistaken for the wrong person at the right time and how many bullets I can handle before I breathe my last. I hope it’s 3, 7, or 13 as I have a like for those numbers.

I’m wondering if I should check my DMs on Facebook; I’m sure I have messages there to grieve over, too. I wonder if the idea of a blood bank for black people was a cruel joke considering how often police are trading bullets for cash.

I’m tired. Very, very tired.

, ,

Leave a Reply