The last words said by Black youth murdered by policemen.
this is so powerful
Bless them and their beautiful spirits
Go ahead and complain about something today. I dare you.
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Sometimes someone we love dies before their body does. A failed suicide doesn’t change the fact that the moment came when leaving was a decision to finally act upon. The failure is sometimes a blessing for the person, and sometimes it’s just a delay. Does your heart hurt less when their body breathes on, defiantly? Is there hope in the pill swallower’s miscalculation? In the blade wielder’s imprecision? In the bullet missing its mark? For me, it can feel eerie speaking to someone that wouldn’t be here had they had their way. But in my world, eerie is also beautiful. You know what a morning feels like to me? It feels like a dozen people in my personal life that decided today wasn’t the day, though it could have been. Though tomorrow they may feel it should have been. But it wasn’t. Perhaps that, too, is a miscalculation. But the morning brings the miscalculation I am grateful for. Who did I send my love to today? Who needs it without my knowing? Who might my five minutes of time move them to delay their exit? I’ve no idea. That’s the whole thing about leavers. We, the left behind, often tell each other just as much: we’d had no idea.
Ancient moon priestesses were called virgins. ‘Virgin’ meant not married, not belonging to a man - a woman who was ‘one-in-herself’. The very word derives from a Latin root meaning strength, force, skill; and was later applied to men: virle. Ishtar, Diana, Astarte, Isis were all all called virgin, which did not refer to sexual chastity, but sexual independence. And all great culture heroes of the past, mythic or historic, were said to be born of virgin mothers: Marduk, Gilgamesh, Buddha, Osiris, Dionysus, Genghis Khan, Jesus - they were all affirmed as sons of the Great Mother, of the Original One, their worldly power deriving from her. When the Hebrews used the word, and in the original Aramaic, it meant ‘maiden’ or ‘young woman’, with no connotations to sexual chastity. But later Christian translators could not conceive of the ‘Virgin Mary’ as a woman of independent sexuality, needless to say; they distorted the meaning into sexually pure, chaste, never touched.
The thing is, I DO want my writing to matter to people. All my life I’ve desperately wanted to communicate with people but I couldn’t. When language came crashing along, I knew I had a way. It’s naive, but I still believe literature can save lives, even as some cynicism has crept into my personality. A book or story or poem is like a sacred kind of dialogue between a writer and their reader. Sort of like prayer, but a two-way prayer: the writer needs the reader to believe in them just as much as the reader needs the writer. The faith must be reciprocal, or God (which is the book or story or poem itself) crumbles.
Characters in poetry are a test of empathy, really. Can you project yourself into a myth? A mascot? A cartoon, or a waterfall? What is the most unlikely space you can think yourself into, can you look out through those eyes?
“Lesson learned: in the court of public opinion, nothing carries more weight than a well-timed poem.”
Jada was waiting at the door with a small stack of papers. “This is your MSR. Memory Sifter’s Report. You can verify what he says with this info. You ready?”
Alexis nodded, eyes grim. Jada placed a hand gently on her shoulder. “Take it easy, okay? I know you’re upset right now.” Her eyes reflected genuine concern.
They opened the door and entered the questioning room. Braden was blindfolded and cuffed to a chair at a small table. Alexis and Jada sat opposite him. Alexis felt such rage building at the sight of him. Her hands shook. The report floated slightly from the table; her field was emitting beyond her control. Jada placed a hand on Alexis’s hand, and spoke softly to Braden. “So you know you’re not in a position to lie, right? We have a report that can verify what you say. So let’s work together, deal?”
His voice was low, almost cold. “They threatened to kill my kids.”
“We know that, you said it before. But who was threatening you?”
“The force. They picked me and they weren’t taking no for an answer.”
“Why’d they pick you? Why are you so special?”
He was quiet for a moment. “They have somebody, some kind of psychic guy. He can sense what powers people have.”
“I see. So he’s kind of a scout? He tells the boss what a target can do and then picks somebody to attack the target?”
“Yes. They told me that Keira senses physical moves, but her mind has no defense.”
Alexis felt something like a growl escape her throat. Jada gently squeezed her hand and continued.
“What is this psychic guy’s name?”
“Vladimir. I don’t know his last name.”
“No problem, that was plenty for me. So how many of you does the force have at their beck and call?”
“I don’t know.”
“Not very helpful, dead man walking.”
“I honestly don’t, I swear.” His voice now betrayed his fear. “They were going to kill my kids. What was I supposed to do?”
“Well since you failed so miserably they probably will anyway.”
“Oh god. I’m sorry. They made me. I can’t lose my kids, I can’t—“
“Enough.” Alexis finally managed to speak calmly. “No one but us knows that you failed.” She let that statement hang for a moment, then continued. “If you give us every name you have, we’ll let you go home. You can tell them you succeeded. We’ll make sure Keira disappears, so that they believe you. Then your children can be safe.”
“Why would you do that for me?”
“We need the names.”
“I could make them up.”
Jada snickered. “You could try.”
I’m against suffering, but when it occurs, why waste the experience?
People always say that it hurts at night and apparently screaming into your pillow at 3am is the romantic equivalent of being heartbroken. But sometimes it’s 9am on a Tuesday morning and you’re standing at the kitchen bench waiting for the toast to pop up. And the smell of dusty sunlight and earl gray tea makes you miss him so much you don’t know what to do with your hands.
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