Archives for the month of: August, 2013

Unfinished business

Unite and fight, rinse and repeat.

Best words of the 2013 March on Washington, from John Lewis:

You cannot stand by. You cannot sit down.

You got to stand up. Speak up. Speak out, and get in the way.

Make some noise!

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This past weekend I obsessively created sketch after sketch of a gouged-out bagel (note the insides have been scraped out), because it looked so demolished yet ruggedly beautiful. This exercise was an attempt at sublimating the horror and anguish I felt about the Fukushima radiation leakage. (If you’re not informed about this, then blame the media brown-out.)

In examining the bagel, I realized it looked strangely anatomical and geographical. It had its own topology, with calderas, ridges, and valleys. It looked like a ravaged landscape, like the world that we’ve poisoned. 

What rhymes with race? Debased. Whether that pertains to the Earth we’ve defiled or ourselves as corrupting agents, it is we (or rather, our corporations and governments) who are to blame for the Fukushima mess. We can do a whole lot better than this, and we sure as hell better–and fast. 

The air is damp and bruised, like a mishandled fruit. A fan hums in the background. The house is empty except for you. He is gone. Confused, unprepared, forced into leaving.

You had tried to explain to him that race is central to your own identity as a minority. Race allows you your best days and guarantees your worst days. It gives you your strength and also depletes you of it.

He, a white male—your dearest husband, told you talking that way only made the differences between you and him even more prominent. In a relationship, he didn’t want that; neither did you.

What he was saying made sense, to a degree. But you were a fighter and activist; he was not an activist and didn’t like fights. He saw the world as flawed but improving. You saw the world as improving but still flawed. He described America as postracial. You said not to use words like that in the house.

He was hungry and tired. You were tired of arguing and hungry in a different way. You and he had pits in your stomachs. The more you both talked, the more the differences arose, insurmountable. The air grew heavy with fatigue and hurt. At last he left. You didn’t want him to but you didn’t stop him. He didn’t want to but felt he had no choice.

The world outside arose, fraught with conflicts, between you. You had not allowed it to enter your relationship in the first few years, but since each of you carried it within, it was there, bigger with every passing year. This world born between you, dividing you, was the same one that had swaddled, suckled, and eventually poisoned you.

You felt sick but knew that to talk meant to take risks, in a marriage, outside of one, out in the real world. But you never knew how loud and empty misunderstanding sounded—and how conclusive a departure could feel—until today.

You and he were two halves, two colors, two sides to an argument. These two halves could not complete each other. Instead, they made a hole. But that was not argument enough.

You put on your shoes to go find him. He was approaching the door as you stepped outside.