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If I write a love poem
In praise of the liberatory imagination and a poem by Miguel James.
The cool thing about liberation is it happens twice.
First in the mind.
Then in the world.
So maybe here's a good place to start: when we say liberation what do we mean? Freedom from what? Freedom to what?
When we look across the world or the country or the block or the room and see suffering, what do we long for? Freedom from suffering. Freedom to live without fear of annihilation.
What would that look like? What does that demand? Joy, doubtless. Probably indulgence, for a time, though ultimately, safety. For everyone. Which requires everyone else to prioritize their own as well as others' safety.
What makes us feel safe?
Shelter. Companionship, maybe. The certainty of food and water. A large heavy blanket. Touch. Intimacy. Care. Patience. Fidget spinners. The presence of people who can be trusted not to hurt us, at least not on purpose.
For me, anyway. For me safety does not involve guns or intimidation. It certainly doesn't involve nuclear weapons. I'm not sure the world can be bullied into keeping us alive. I'm not sure spending $180 billion a year on policing and prisons has made anyone in these united states feel any safer. I'm not sure spending $778 billion on our war machines while throttling public education and healthcare is working. I'm not sure we are well. I'm not sure this is working.
So I imagine other things. Because I am sure of this: I love to imagine what liberation might look like.
What happens in a world where people feel safe? How’s it different from the one we've got? I've got some ideas. A lot of people do. Turns out, most of us don’t dream of falling deeper into a weaponized surveillance state teetering precariously forever at the precipice of nuclear apocalypse and climate disaster.
Particularly if you’re given to despair or helplessness and wonder what to do in times of crisis, I highly recommend taking a stroll through the responses to Charles Preston up there to get a clear, concrete sense of who and what needs support and investment right now, this instant:
Reliable internet access for everyone. Reliable housing. Well-staffed libraries. Mobile health. Fruit. Free insulin. Free healthcare goddammit. Walkable cities. Parkland. Healing. Basic income. Teachers who are paid fairly and treated well by the families that need them, which is every family on earth. Just to start.
We know what we need and what people in our communities need and we’d do well, I think, to think about it all of the time. To make choices that call it in closer. What will change when it’s ours. How it will feel to feel alive then.
We have to imagine it first.
Anyway, do take care of you today and again tomorrow, and also the day after that. Do more of what feels good, and less of what doesn’t. You know how to do this.
Here’s a poem that I love.
Against the Police
by Miguel James
My entire Oeuvre is against the police
If I write a Love poem it's against the police
And if I sing the nakedness of bodies I sing against the police
If I speak wildly in my poems I speak against the police
I haven't written a single word, a verse, a stanza that isn't against the police
All my prose is against the police
My entire Oeuvre
Including this poem
My whole Oeuvre
Is against the police.
i want more.