On the Other Side Mourning

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We looked out

saw streets littered with the wind

Bodies raptured into homes on lockdown

Four walls stared at me and began to whisper

I thought I was alone until I whispered back

They say that hope is a tease that lures you in

with promises that don’t always come true

I say that hope is often hidden from us

on the other side of darkness where dreams reside

It cannot be found in things that we might seek because

we only know the real world when the shades have been lifted from our eyes

Before COVID we did not see how Black and Brown bodies were being wasted

How sickness and economic deprivation were not new

Eyes would not see what was clearly in front of them until the maps came in

Plotting points that we knew all too well

That Black and Brown lives have barely mattered under the sun

They say that nothing is new under the sun

But on the other side of the post-COVID sky

They also say you can hear things that you rarely heard before

Like the tanagers singing in Central Park

Or the receding waves of pollution that flooded the skies of our cities

We see now the ways that environmental injustice bumps up against racial injustice

sits alongside economic injustice

invests in xenophobia and dudes who called themselves president

Setting precedents for closing down shit that was never theirs to close!

I can’t sleep some nights cause COVID’s got me woke as fuck

I can no longer diet in daydreams, convincing myself that remote education is a real thing

It feels like an oxymoron to me

By definition, education can never be remote – as in stranded alone on an island

Or pushed away like kids do peas or society does Black and Brown folk

Put out like trash on Sunday evenings

set aside on streets to be removed from sight

while we forget that landfills are real

They called COVID “novel,” but this shit ain’t new

Same old pains and same old struggles

Pandemics in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities are as diasporic as our kinship ties

The only thing novel about COVID is its name

and the ways that it has made some folk finally surrender to reality

But if they see us . . .

They will see that we are more than just the disproportionate percentage of bodies occupying ICUs

We are also the collective commitment of humanity daring life to respond

We are the club quarantines

And the IG live DJ battles

We are the consciousness of ZOOM chats

The counselors begging teachers to give students time to heal

We are the voice of those crying out in the wilderness

Baptizing the moment in the waters of our grandmothers’ tears

We are

Promise keepers

Peace prophets

Life givers

Collective community healers

Wisdom whisperers

We are something not even COVID can kill

Because our lives are more than the anguish of disease

Or the fixed routines that uplift capitalism and human misery

More than the death tickers that complicate our TV screens

More than the buildings and streets that longed for a pause

Our lives are the quilt-work of our Ancestors who stitched air into eternity

And we join them in this moment and in the moments to come

Knowing that, though we may be sitting alone, we are not lonely

So we raise our voices in unison

Triumphantly saying, “Weeping may endure for a night

But joy waits for us on the other side of morning.”

3 thoughts on “On the Other Side Mourning

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