I think I needed to wait until there was good news to write.
The bad news came so quickly my words couldn’t keep up, and they gave up easy. I was so furious when I went to the impound lot and gave them $800 just to be shown to the burnt out shell of what had been the car my family used to go on road trips in, picked up groceries in. What was the car I was so excited to have so I might finally be able to pick up hitchhikers.
But that felt like nothing, quickly, when I was standing in front of a giant glowing TV screen with the face of Donald Trump the rapist. Donald Trump the racist. Donald Trump the fascist capitalist who emboldened the neonazis to march in the streets. Donald Trump the President. I wasn’t sad that Hillary Clinton, the neoliberal bureaucrat, lost. But I hadn’t expected this. Not even at all.
And standing in that room full of white people with buttons reading “I’m With Her” I felt even more scared and isolated. In every possible future the world felt bleak and terrifying. Was this the moment of collapse? It has all already been happening. 3 million people deported by Obama. Attacks in Syria, Lybia, Afghanistan, Iraq, continuing day and, day out. The massive prison industrial complex stocking black and brown bodies branded with the word “CRIMINAL” and cast out. Thousands in my own city sleeping on the streets. Now without tents, thanks to Measure Q. Even Sweetheart started to feel far away.
Surfacing, then, in Oscar Grant Plaza, named by a city in mourning for the lost life of a young Black father, to a sea of other angry, isolated people dressed in black and wearing masks, I felt suddenly held. Held by the writhing mass of contradictory feelings and anger and relief and confusion, and by the flames keeping the cops on their side of the streets. If they can’t keep us safe, we keep ourselves safe. And night after night we took the streets and I felt safe, and I didn’t feel alone.
My lover held my hand as we ran from the tear gas, billowing from the line of riot cops. A fight broke out and they disappeared, resurfacing moments later with blows to the head and stomach, an aching wrist, skin cold, unable to walk properly. And my comrades got the car and we drove to the hospital and I sat there with them until the day changed, and then longer, and we joked and smiled for the first time since we’d heard the news. And the hospital beds slowly filled with kids in handcuffs. And it hurt to laugh.
We left the hospital and walked into the night, and as we climbed into the taxi the voicemails came through, and Sweetheart’s mom was on the other end. He is in jail, she told me. Tell everyone. Which I did, but by the time I woke up next to my moaning lover he was already out, bailed out, which means he is lucky, in some strange reading of the word. Because lucky isn’t ever jail. Ever.
That day my landlord gave us three days to “Pay or Quit” $1200 in made up fees, for paying rent late and for utilities, which we pay directly to our utility company. Because maybe just feeling the ending of the world isn’t enough if you don’t also worry that you may not have a home. He is harassing us, trying to force us out so he can rent it out to yuppies who can grow money somehow. I don’t where I go next. Everything is so expensive, and already I’m scraping.
It felt so impossible last week that I could feel happy again, but these feelings come in waves, as feelings do, and right now I don’t feel so scared, I just feel ready. There are meetings happening all over the Bay Area, the country, the world, and we are feeling.
If the state won’t take care of us, how can we take care of each other?
I am ready for that. I am ready to sleep on the floor, to lend my bed to the friend who lost their housing or who never had it to begin with. I am ready to sit in front of the ICE busses and stop the state from stealing any more people, from protecting false borders. I am ready to see the indigenous people at Standing Rock stop that fucking pipeline from poisoning our scare water, from replaying the colonization that nearly decimated a whole universe. I am ready to make you dinner when you need a friend, to listen to you cry, to get you home safe from work, to cry. I am ready to learn self-defense.
And I am ready to talk to people who may not be ready. To listen to them. To ask what they need to get ready. What would it take for you to fully see the humanity of the homeless stranger, or the prisoner? And if you saw them for who they are, what would it take for you to feel it in your stomach, for every fiber of your being to want to make the violence stop? I am ready to talk about that.
I said I needed the good news before I could find words.
The good news is that a lot of us are ready. And that more of us are getting ready.
The good news is that Ricky isn’t in prison, not yet, and that I’m not being evicted, not yet. The good news is that the charges the state brought against Sweetheart, those got dropped. And the good news is that my lover’s injuries aren’t permanent. We’ll be okay.
And this morning I found out that the legal battle that has dragged on for nearly a year, since that beautiful moment when I followed brave, Black, queer as fuck activists out onto the Bay Bridge, is over. The District Attorney just dropped all charges against the #BayBridge25, people who stopped traffic to assert the right to health for Black people. I am so ready to stop worrying about the looming charges.
Everything still feels heavy. And scary. But I don’t feel alone anymore. Because I’m starting to trust that you will have my back when things get bad. Because I’m starting to trust myself to have yours. Because I am learning what love really is, and because I love you. I love you. I love you.
I love you.