Sunday, May 31, 2020

Meditation 64

31 May 2020

I turn away each time, but it keeps coming back. The white cop, the black man’s head on the ground, police peering in a car, girl weeping who filmed the murder. I turn away, as if to turn my other cheek, but it’s not my cheek to turn. My eyes see in not-seeing. “I loved my brother; why do I have to feel such pain?” There’s acid in the cup that spills over in the street like tear gas, like smoke grenades, like milk that’s use to cut the sting. She asks what the ordinary is now. An orchid pushing open on the lanai; a cop throwing a woman to the ground. Cat curled at my feet; empty clothes scattered on a sidewalk of shattered glass. Shama thrushes in the puakenikeni; “what’s the use of sirens if that’s all you hear?” Neighbors tell me to turn off my television; it doesn’t concern your life, one adds. He’s a good cop. My mother stopped our car on Fort Hunt Road, 50 some years ago, to ask a black man in a stalled car if he needed help. “You know why that policeman just drove by,” she said to me, who did not. At five, I joked back and forth with one of the moving men, until I said in triumph, “you’re a Negro!” What I knew already cannot be forgotten, no matter how often we delete our cell phone clips, turn off the sound, put ourselves under house arrest. You put the rest there, between the sharp and the flat notes. While grieving, Denise Riley notes, time stops for us. It’s as if we’re erased, but still move like we want to be in the world. And we do.

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