(Once, as a "joke" during campus visit week, my college friend C, who is Irish, and I planned to run across campus with him chasing me with a whip--an attempt to bring the racial history of the place, and its subconscious, to the fore. I'm glad we didn't do that--would have been expelled likely--but I increasingly feel like it would have been justified performance art. Aside over.)
Some poetry and protest news you should be aware of: #BlackPoetsSpeakOut will be organizing a reading on Friday, May 29th in Baltimore (event link). I haven't decided if I am going to participate (again, I am still uncertain about poetry's place in what is going on in America), but I'll be there in solidarity either way.
And the day before, Thursday Wednesday 28th, I will be participating in the Breakbeats Poet reading at Upshur Street Books here in D.C.--Petworth (event link). The Breakbeat Poets is a really important anthology that firmly recognizes the voices--the diverse voices that all found some home in the hip-hop era--who will be shaping, through poetry, the conversation about who we are going to be as Americans living right now. The silences that can no longer be endured will be broken by these writers, and I am honored to be included in the anthology and representing for the D.C. contingent at this reading.
I have been writing about what's happening, but it's "slow food" writing. It is very important that what I say be as close to pitch perfect as possible--something like a rifle shot. That is how I feel about engaging people who scoff at the idea of needing to state that "black lives matter," that I may only have a very small window of opportunity to penetrate/pierce them. It's stressful. Sometimes you think, "I need to finish and maybe publish this poem now before it becomes irrelevant" (not that such things actually happen to strong, effective poems), but it is fairly clear--sadly clear--that any writing about the State killing of people in brown bodies is not not going to be irrelevant anytime soon.