I: Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. It’d be cataclysmic if it hadn’t already been rendered droll, if it weren’t routine. You open your diary, you write down: Had that dream, again, and flip through the pages where you scribbled the same thing about that same dream. First with the earnest terror of the newly-petrified. Then with frustration, vexed by repeated psychic assaults. Now, followed by a dismal sort of boredom so refined it could be described as graceful, it visits—the memory you can’t not remember—then you write, but you don’t even know why you bother to record anymore. You can barely react anymore. You just wait for it to pass. What are you—charting progress? But if trauma does anything it devours time, makes a mockery of any hint of progress, hence: the eternal return of that same dream about that same thing.
The common knowledge about trauma falls by the wayside when trauma is everyday, when trauma ceases to be traumatic because instead it is simply quotidian. Its subjects have been inoculated against angst (by way of affective-exhaustion), again and again.
II: Please, please, please, let this be the last one, I think. Again. Still. When I have that dream or when I read about the black boy last night who was shot or the black girl who was raped two the street, the black girl who was raped then shot because everyone else thought she was a boy. Impossible. I walk around with a hole, we all do. A chasm I need to fill because it keeps leaking bitter humors about the epidemic of Black Deaths in this country.
III. What could interrupt the trauma? Something beautiful. Look: The picture of him with his fist up in the air—the picture of all of them, in black, with their fists up in the air, summoning “Black Power,” summoning “Power to the People!” Something beautiful. The spirit of our mother. She made it to Cuba: Bless. The sainted revolutionaries that spirited her away: Bless. That people died in prison or newly-released to ensure she lived free: Bless. Our brothers may be dying, our sisters may already be dead, but goddamn it, our mother is free. Our mother is free. Bless.
IV: Catch for us the Pigs, the Pigs that rape us, murder our children, kill our brothers. The pigs that extort us. Remember the one your mother called on her boyfriend. Remember how he sauntered in and told her she was ‘dealing with a personal problem.’ Catch for us the men who abuse women, all women, all children, too, and hang them with the pigs. Catch for us the women, too, who “take it” from their girlfriends, who beat the shit out of them. They act like men, so let them hang next to them. Catch for us the morally vacant misers demanding we buy back everything they stole at a premium. Even our land. Even our cultures. Even our bloodlines. Catch for us all drone operators; catch for us the human drones operating without consciences. This is an incantation. It is all I have absent a movement. But then the memory. Of how it was ended. Or rather how it was obliterated. The huntings. COINTELPRO. Crack. Pigs. Jails. Disintegration. This country is a curse. Truly, this country is a curse. The curse won’t end until this country is ended. We have to end it. Someday, we will.
V: Is this trauma mine or my ancestors’? I know the pain but I don’t even have a name to associate with it. What was your name? What is mine?
Ancestor-I-Do-Not-Know, you will soon meet my brother or sister,
Ancestor, they killed him or her
Mother of my mother and her mother, and hers,
And hers and hers and hers,
You will know my sister or brother
Please tell my blood I am sorry we haven’t yet made a better world
Please tell my elders they struggled and we thank them.
VI: Something beautiful: Black girls laughing so hard they heave and sigh, black girls proud of our skin, loving our soft, wide noses, our cumulonimbus hair. Love. For yourself. For our blood. See a glimpse of it and live it in all day and all night. It is velvet warm summer nights with no stars and no moon. Serene obsidian nights, rich and dark and soft as good earth. Try to remember to put it in the chasm.
VII: But what of tomorrow? What can I do with this precariously attenuated rage? My love goes to sleep because to watch him die, watch her die. To see them buried in the rich dark soil that would remind me of my sisters’ laughing if…
Please, please, please let this be the last one, I pray to the ancestors whose names I don’t know. Again. Still.