Oh, I have been so sad today, grief-struck, dumb. I think the last bits are dissolving and detaching and being washed away: the last bits of feeling I have any power, any influence, any say in how the world goes. People will listen to me, sometimes, and along with the special gift of idiocy that goes with growing up a straight white male, that can support the delusion that I can move them this way or that. But the fact is, people only listen while I'm saying what they want to hear.
I am so tired, and so frightened. History is snaking up and around me, and around my children. It will eat us all.
And the words, the words that used to be my friends, turn into enemies in my own mouth. I start to speak and my mouth is full of lies. Spit and try again; spit and try again; but it's all lies, all the time.
Or say, sometimes, truths past their sell date. I just want to say something simple and true. I want to say, "oh yes, I see it, the glints and reflections of that plastic shroud of racism that settles over all our shoulders." But even to say it is to make claims and jostle others away from the mike. And I'm just timid and fat and old, and terrified of imprisonment. And I have nothing. No advice, no power, no good ideas.
Two strangers, young black men, embraced me on the street downtown a couple nights ago. "This guy needs a hug, doesn't this guy need a hug?" So we had a group hug there on the sidewalk, and one of them shouted, "I love my city!" I was grateful for the hug, which I did need, but I thought, "Oh, my dear young men, don't trust this city. It has an old and ugly heart"
You know. I love this city. I love coming over the bridge in the morning at sunrise, and all the gold-leaf windows, and the cold dark river scaled by the the wind. But that's different from trusting it.