The Poetry Project

“there are people who will not [help you] & there are people who will stand in the way”

Oki Sogumi

I think you are already stronger, threaded with a sunshine conviction, more than I ever was

I remember being 21 years old, weeping in a meeting after arguing, begging for a resolution from people much older than I, established, educated, to make the weakest statement of support, I saw how little it mattered that I wept, how they still made their excuses and this became a thread in me

I saw the police take one of us as hostage, and our march and blockade was negotiated away on our behalf, by representatives who named themselves and would prefer to barter than resist and this became a thread in me

All these threads were gathered one by one and found each other within me

I booed and kept striding as people with bullhorns tried to block a march and children on bikes from entering the freeway, the children were laughing at their attempts, someone else took the bullhorn, and anyone who wanted to: we made it anyway

There are times when we find ourselves outnumbered, small, not flush in general strike nor massive riot

There are times we look desperately for a hand, and a hand that looks strong and active

Whose hands are you or “we” reaching for? Will their other hand have a pinkie link or full lock to the State?

In the definitive hour, will they try to take the bullhorn and tell you to stand down? To walk away? To demobilize? To not do “too much”?

We may find ourselves few, but we only delay yet ensure our demise if we hold hands with these demobilizers, the ones who will always eventually tell you to accept your destruction as a victory, your consolation prize as a win

And we may hold hands with people we disagree with, but are with us in that definitive hour, that’s important too

Clarity and honesty about what we think and desire, can go some ways in deciding who chooses to be around

What do they support and in what specific instances, what do they decry and in what specific instances

Will they work with the State, the police? Will they satisfy themselves with moving some pieces around and consolidate their own power, or do they want this thing to come down

But there’s nothing like the definitive hour itself to show people and groups for what they are, and if you weren’t there to witness their past track record, other people were

I think you are already stronger, threaded with a sunshine conviction, more than I ever was

I say all this to bear witness to that as well, and to offer my threads to add to yours

* title from Wendy Trevino’s “Revolutionary Letter”

#275 – Winter 2024