Thursday, March 22, 2012

Seeking Solace

The need was immediate, pressing, and specific.  I needed joy.  I reflexively sought it in music, literally by Googling 'Ode to Joy' and listening to a few orchestras' recordings of it.  I love parts of that symphony, but it wasn't doing it for me.  I needed something MORE beautiful, MORE moving, to transport me from  this despair.  i knew it must have strings.  

This wasn't the seemingly universal sadness that we shared on Facebook and Twitter, grieving together when Michael Jackson died or Teena Marie or Don Cornelius or when watching Whitney's funeral.  It was sadder than that.  

This wasn't sharing the loss of icons, larger than life; this was personal.  For Trayvon's family, it was the sudden, unbelievably tragic loss of a loved one.  

For the rest of us, it  was an 'in your face' reminder,  of experiences we've had, feared, hedged against or that are otherwise there, ever-present in our consciousness:.  

"There but for ____" 
go you, or your son, or your brother, your uncle, dad, teacher, coach, doctor, UPS man.    

In an interview with the local news media, the police chief may as well have shrugged his shoulders.

My son was first falsely accused of criminal behavior when he was three.


He was barely conversant and potty-trained, and some strange man loomed over him yelling and shaking a finger at him.  

Callouses and other defenses began building then; and I am just one mother, of one Black son. 
Trayvon's  disregarded murder ripped the scab off, scattering defenses among hedges in the process.  

The pain was searing;  fresh,  yet deep-rooted.  It pulsed with the recognition that-

No matter how broadly you smile, heartily you laugh, clearly you enunciate, diligently collect initials and display them after your name, capably scale career ladders, masterfully swing tennis rackets, golf clubs, or deliver checkmate, 

No matter that you cross the street to not appear predatory, wear your pants at your waist, and your baseball cap facing forward, sing on the choir, keep your hands visible, and smugly mate with whites--or perhaps 'anybody else but';

It's no matter that you don't drink anything Grape-flavored or smoke Newports, don't go to Tyler Perry movies nor live in 'a hood' --

unless it's gentrifying, of course,  in which case, it's 'cool' to; 

It doesn't matter that you went to private school and/or send your kids to one, drive 'luxury' cars, eat sushi, buy local or otherwise act

like a normal fucking human being, an American citizen even, with the right to choose 

to do

and to be

how  - and where-

ever one pleases 

within the bounds of the law,

without being stalked, harrassed or killed -- 


You are a suspect. 

And further, you can be shot dead in a broad public space, the killer can confess and go home for days; maybe forever.  

Trayvon Martin is the Emmett Till of this era.  They both are you, and your loved ones. They are me and mine.  

We collect names on petitions, amass physically and in cyberspace, wearing hoods in solidarity; occupying and displaying our indignation, hoping that this, maybe THIS will matter--
but Trayvon's young life will still be over.   Zimmerman's may well be underway far away by now.

Swirling around the drain- sorrow, anger, pain, despair.  I thrash about.  I seek joy. I can't find it.

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