A Nightmare and a Dream

I started writing this as prose and then it shifted to a poem.

I’m nearing the final weeks of a pretty hellish school year, working on book things, and just trying to keep it together. And this week? This week is strange. I truly don’t know any other way to describe this bitter fruit that we’ve been forced to eat so many times.

But I’ve been wanting to cleanse my mental palate so I recently started meditating, simple, guided. I don’t exactly know what I’m doing but I’m eager for some clarity and peace. Because peace has really been on my mind lately.

There’s a constant assault on my humanity, even as I lie back in the privacy of my own home and try to weave a cocoon of mental evenness around me. It’s odd. I can’t experience the neutrality of equanimity or work through who I am and who I hope to be because the everyday requires absolute alertness on the now and not some uncertain future.

This line of thinking usually pops up just as I’m starting to fall into a rhythm that promises a calming, albeit false, sense of peace.

Each time a Black person dies at the hands of the police or some racist vigilante, I feel my most unwell. Because in addition to the individual mess that I am trying to navigate on the day to day, I also have to wade through the never-ending muck that is racism and white supremacy.

——

A Nightmare and a Dream

By: Maika Moulite

To write pretty words for a hideous truth.
To explain the horror of existence.

A nightmare
fog that never lifts.

You’re in a constant state of high alert.
No way for you to relax.
To drift off into sleep.
To dream. To imagine better.
To hope that there might be a day
when people who look like you can can live with dignity
and not have their lives snuffed out
for something so

mundane.

You might’ve been riding around with expired tags
on a Saturday,
got the chance to go home to your family
at the end of it.

And that very same thing
on the very next day
is what someone pulls their gun out
at you
and takes your life for.

Likethat.
Quicker.

It’s the mundanity of it all that’s so insulting.

Someone can look
at you
and say that you were rude
and choose to end you.
A frightening level of power.

A one-dimensional villain
in a terrible movie
who’s only there to show you
what pure evil looks like
in that world.

Except the world is real.

And in real life,
people try to convince everyone
that the folks who kill you,
and the ones who look like you,
for the mundane,
are the good guys.

But you remember,
because they’ve forced you
to be alert.
So you don’t buy it.

It enrages.
Struggles to engulf.
But you can’t let it bubble out,
so bottled up it remains.
As you’re forced to act like the fact
that your humanity
dangling precariously

at
the
end
of
its
rope
(because of where you happened to be, what mood you might’ve been in, what words you decided to use in a sentence, emphasized with this tone instead of that one)

is nothing.

Cognitive dissonance isn’t enough
to describe this splitting
of your mind.

Because no matter how you slice it, your
mortality is always at the forefront.
And that’s no way to live.

Every day you walk around with the knowledge
that on some everyday type of day,
like today,
you might meet your end.

That your friends
and children
and family
might have to see you breath
your last breaths
in real-time,

         on            loop.
 a                                  induced
 24-                                 cycle-
           hour- news-

And that their grief is so palpable
that your people can see themselves
in your people’s pain.
In you.

That folks you would’ve never met
will write books
and essays
and poems like this one
inspired
by you,
invoke your name in desperate rallying cries,
use your beautiful image in precious art…
not because they knew how much you meant to the ones who love you
but to your memory.

The memory of you smiling.
Of you yawning after a long day.
Falling asleep,
only to wake up
Wake up
Wake up
and do it again.

We want these moments.
The daily.
The everyday kind of days.

We want to celebrate
the preciousness
of the mundane.

So we dream.

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