i sat paralyzed through sunday, the wash of glittered june light through the trees a happenstance horror show in contrast to the reticent reality sitting around the edge of my line of vision. too close, too close to home. too real now, too real. a veil has been pulled off and i don’t know how to put it back on. something has been broken inside and i don’t know how to fix it. i don’t know how to heal. i’m not ready to focus on the positives yet. i can’t think of anything but trails of streams of blood flowing through our art gallery, splattered onto the canvases and casings lining the floor. still not okay yet. i’m still not okay yet. i feel gutted that people are continuing to live their lives.
i could feel the tension growing like a circus around me, i told my friends we had to go, i had no idea why, we just had to go. now. a few minutes more and we would have been there. but the carnival of careening and jeering and jolting and posturing and gang colors was flooding the streets, spilling around, about, hopping over cars, each and every side-street i sputtered over to get away.
i am angry at the wealth inequality in this country. i am angry at our justice system – because this man was in solitary confinement for 12 years, since he was 17 years old and it apparently affected his cognitive development. i am angry at our country. i witnessed the police doing the right thing. i want to talk in specifics and in nuance and i want the conversations to be about the right things. i want to focus and pinpoint the enemy at where it truly is – the systematic disenfranchising of the poor. the stratification of class and wealth and the inability to locate a coherent community. the posturing of masculinity, the toxicity of the patriarchy which seethes the need to be tough as a means to appropriate empowerment in a society which gives you no outlets for meaning, identity or empowerment. the glorification of gun violence, of war rhetoric, of violence in general, of solving problems quickly and acting on anger. the great holy upholding of anger and of violence. anything, anything, anything that glorifies or props up gang culture, gang violence. i am angry at the news, the media machine that keeps churning out tragedy porn. that keeps filling our psyches with horror and ratcheting up our minds away from peaceful and calm life-filled moments to the desensitization and normalization of horror and violence.
the next day our art gallery was a crime scene. yellow police tape stretching the entire perimeter of the block, closing off side streets. you couldn’t get anywhere close to it. you can’t pick up your art because now it’s part of a mass shooting investigation. and maybe it’s covered in blood. everything lay where it was precisely at the chaotic peak of 3am – shoes strewn about the block, trash, food, bottles. the scene of a grand party now an abandoned and haunted memory. the way everything changed in a minute. i’ve always thought about what that feeling would be like. because the media is always filling my head with it. the reality of it was ten times heavier than i imagined.
i am angry. i am sad. i am profoundly depressed. i have never felt what i felt yesterday. i have never lived through i what i lived through yesterday. i am angry that i had to. i am heartbroken, for our community, for this city, for people trying to bridge gaps, create art, come together peacefully. i am confused about reality, confronted by so many people’s daily reality, i feel difficulty living my own privileged life, i am at odds with the universe, i know not why humans are so blind. i am haunted by the feeling i had walking around that place just a half an hour before, as the walls dripped with a tension i had never felt before, an atmosphere that felt alien to me. i am grateful for my intuition, but it doesn’t make it better. i am grateful it wasn’t worse, but it doesn’t make it better.
there are so many problems in the world. so many breathed in and breathed out. we can’t hold on to these things, nor should we. but i can’t help feel the brush off; some gang violence happened in trenton and we all move on. this is the way it is. we can compartmentalize it. well i can’t handle it being the way life is anymore. i have no patience for violence. no patience for guns. we are all becoming too desensitized to violence, and we have to be, yes, because the news is too rough not to be…but we are too numb, too complacent, too conditioned.
get me out of this circus.