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Ten people lost their lives in 2021 as a result of the cruel, abusive supervision and careless procedures at the Pima County Jail in so called Tucson, AZ. A rally was held at the jail on New Years Eve to mourn the loss of life and envision a world in which our communities are truly made safer. A world in which care-based solutions to violence and harm are prioritized over institutions of punishment that harden and further destabilize those they claim to reform.
This poem was originally written for and shared at the opening vigil that evening as a reflection of current societal practices and possibilities of where we can heal and rebuild.
After the vigil, where attendees voiced their greif and rage, a playlist filled of FTP vibes began to blare while the crowd added their own melodies of clanging pots and pans and anything else within grasp. Through the jail windows, those held inside could be seen joining in by flickering their cell lights on and off while those in the streets danced under fireworks lit by protesters and families of those killed at the jail.
Another world is possible
Buzzwords of 'COMMUNITY'
flung through the sterile structures of society
a hollowed word we deeply wish to know
clinging to as if a dear friend
an imaginationless ally, all the while
no where to be found.
if we truly looked, peered in too closely,
we'd have to face the empty room
just turn away, much easier not to notice.
as individuals in this mess
forgotten sense of self, needs numbed
constant trickling pain already too much to hold
disconnected and divested
from our bodies, from the Earth, from each other
never shown how or allowed the time to fully inhabit
the Trees call to us, leaves of gentle rhythmic flow
the Water calls to us, quenching drops of symbiosis
have you held your ear to the dense ground to listen?
societies of micro biomes set examples,
multiplicities of tiny nothings working in networks
creating, nurturing everything left of any real value
captivated by stark screens
we hurriedly walk past, paying no mind
to the infinite teachings of this wild Land
only noticing the Earth when it's in our way
destructively molding it to squeeze out monetary values
quelching its spontaneity, imprisoning it along side us
disjointed from nature and our own bodies,
mere empty vessels entering the collective
for transactional encounters within faux friendships,
segmented, othered, atomized, compartmentalized,
from neighbor. clerk. boss. even brother. discarded elder.
shallow niceties. sharing only necessities.
leaving us dreadfully dependent
on cold artificial systems
that suck our resources and eat us alive
cliché epithets of 'school to prison pipelines'
when in reality, we are imprisoned straight from the Womb
the only sacred space many of us have ever known
bleak hospitals offer an illusion of health as a child is born
bright pupils dulled in indoctrination, creativity killed
squished into workspaces where we endlessly push buttons on demand
for the lucky ones, that is.
limited opportunities and unlimited punishment
for those who don't quite fit the mold of colonized conformity
there's a prison cell for each of us. we're already in it.
a cop around each corner, so slick they've even implanted one
in each of our minds, policing itself and everyone in sight
A vision for the future
looks a lot more like returning.
the Land we are on
the Ecosystem -
a sense of care, of love for
all that this world takes from us:
our autonomy, our bodies, our lives -
how can we attack from a place of love?
a place of deep reverence for all that makes us whole again?
how can we not just reclaim our imaginations from the claws of the leviathan but take it back with an even mightier force than it was stolen from us?
our dreams are more powerful than their ability to stamp them out if only we could embody them -
where are the avenues where we can collectively support and arm our desires for a new way of being?
a way without prisons
incarcerated imagination bumping up against the cold brick walls of carceral society
a way where our lives are not dictated by shame or by punishment but by our sheer desire for unadulterated joy and celebration that we
another world is possible
if we only dream and act
on our own will
out of our despair and hopelessness does not blossom a false hope but rather an attack on suffering, on authority that seeks to kill our individual and collective joy, on everything that denies us life, that denies our loved ones life, that takes and takes and takes but does not give, that leaves us with nothing left to lose.death to this grey cinderblock world!
dancing on its corpse.
playfully breathing life
into intentional acts
of exploring...of living...