Invictus

I was waiting for friends when I heard the news. The Mizzou football team’s boycott and Jonathan Butler hunger strike, among several public and private actions, has resulted in the resignation of Tim Wolfe. When I hear about the political and social justice actions of young people I feel optimistic about 2016. It’s hard to believe that Sanders or Clinton won’t be in the White House in 2017, despite the media’s fetishizing Trump and the other loonies in the Republican Party. I have to believe that this country is continues to move forward, dragged into the future, but moving forward nevertheless. It’s with this thought in mind that I encountered two city workers while waiting for friends. The action of resistance is universal—thanks! Obama—and we aint taking the okeydoke anymore; not that we ever did, which brings to mind the following quote:

We are not wrong in what we are doing. If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong. If we are wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong. If we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong. If we are wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a utopian dreamer that never came down to earth. And we are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.
–Martin Luther King, Jr., 5th December 1955—

An Earful of the Elders

I went to the polls today. Got there around 12:30 and despite the density of my neighborhood I was #70! But I did my duty and got my sticker, however, I didn’t go unnoticed as I got an earful of the elders who were administering the polls. There were three women who confronted me, two of whom were very upset at my accoutrement but cooled out in once they heard my reasoning. Words were minimal but anguish is great. Although I am becoming more comfortable wearing the noose the agony I hear around me is almost unbearable.

A Slight Denial

selected washroom portrait

A friend asked me who is this piece for, who’s my audience? And just what is my objective? Fair questions. To the first and second question my experiences, and, I presume it’s the same experiences for others, are when a racial slight occurs, it’s such a jolt that I quickly deny it. I think this denial is endemic. However, just because I dismiss it doesn’t mean I forget.   I just add it to an already unfathomably long and immense list; it’s as long as I can remember, but, to be sure, it’s even longer. Of course there are far greater, more direct, and, incredibly aggressive confrontations I’ve experienced but it’s the slight ones that gnaw at me, and they are most brutal because they happen most often, however, my experience is not to devalue the horrors the arrests, shootings and murders that have been chronicled over the past few years. But, what I’ve observed is that when a slight does happen, and it happens often, I ask myself if it actually does happen. I am so good at denial that afterwards, and this afterwards can be as short as a millisecond apart, I wonder if it’s happened at all. I do this each and every time, like, reality stops, when in fact, this is the reality. So, to respond to the final question, my audience is everyone who sees me. I want n00se to give clarity and shape to remembering.

UHO

UHO

I was just approaching Radnor when I saw this out my window. At first I didn’t know what it was, no, actually, I didn’t want to know what it was. It seemed unimaginable, yet, there it was. I looked at the other cars rushing by, even the road crew that was a few yards away, the cause of this morning’s congested commute and they all seemed oblivious. Driving on, the image stayed with me and I began to take inventory of everything else that was there. Was this some kind of crazy prank—after all, Villanova was just down the way—but they wouldn’t do such a thing or even allow it; would they? And who would tolerate that thing dangling in front of their business? I continued driving, trying to make sense of what I saw just hanging out. My rationale failed, that noose didn’t make sense. It couldn’t be. Rage was filling the car as well as fear. Just when my anger was about to spill out in the form of tears, I decided to turn around and get another look, never mind the construction, the commuters and my being late.

Conveniently there was a parking lot in which I was able to leave my car and get a closer look. Okay, okay, it’s a cable with a box attached that had come away from the rest of the cables—it wasn’t what I thought it was at all.

Yet, even close up it still looked like a noose; can I be the only one who can see the resemblance?

Close encounter at Target

It’s getting more comfortable wearing the noose. And I feel I’m getting better at positioning the camera to face participants. What’s more, and this may be coincidental, but, I’ve observed people usually approach me on my right, but, my camera is in the left pocket. By switching pockets I don’t have to be so obvious when facing people. The more I wear it the more it becomes a part of me. I also noticed that more and more, people give me a lot of latitude. Except for the women with a wry sense of humor I encountered at Target.