When I can do Nothing Else, I Can Write.

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When I was an undergrad student at SUNY New Paltz my major was English. My degree required six credits of writing courses and I took the opportunity to enroll in creative writing classes. I learned a method of writing called “stream of consciousness”. The technique, defined my Masterclass.com as such

“Stream of consciousness writing refers to a narrative technique where the thoughts and emotions of a narrator or character are written out such that a reader can track the fluid mental state of these characters” (Masterclass, 2019) 

Essentially, a fancy way of freewriting. Our professors would encourage us to use the technique when we were stuck on our writing pieces. “Write what comes to mind. Let the emotions flow naturally” With all the pent up frustration built up over the past few days, I decided to just write. I owe them that much.

A Most Peculiar Dream

Where do I start? When does it end? My voice, silent, my prayers unspoken, my Bible untouched. Lord forgive me. Forgive us. We failed. We continue to fail you, to break your heart. What’s one to do? You tell us to turn the other cheek and our skin has been slapped raw by racism, oppression and violence. The blood. So much blood. So little air. I hide in your fortress, yet the cries of the suffering overpower my ears. I see George Floyd, his eyes bulging oxygen swiftly leaving his body like leaves being swept up by a powerful Autumn wind. He looks at me and cries “help”. I look at the man with a knee to his throat. He eyes me, reaches behind him…

BANG!

I jolt up from my sleep. A nightmare. Yes. Has to be. Then I hear a gasp beside me. I turn and like my brother George, the air rushes out of my lungs. Breonna. Blood soaks through the blue fabric of her EMT uniform. Her eyes. Blank. I can’t tell if she looking at me or past me. I reach for her but she falls back. I try to grab her and her clammy hands grab my arm. We both fall.

I slam down on concrete. My ribs sting from the impact and gravel embeds in my palms. A shadow envelops me and I look up. A tall, African-American male stands over me.

“Are you alright?” He asks. He frowns and bends down so he can meet me at eye level. His eyes are the color of freshly ground coffee beans.

“Where-Where am I?” I stutter. What’s happening?

He places a hand on my shoulder. “Hey, let me help. It’s alright, don’t be afraid” He holds out his hand. I take it. It’s ice cold.

We walk and I glance at the young man. He smiles back.

“What’s your name?” I ask.

“Ahmaud”.

I stop.

“What?”

He stops in besides me. His smile is gone.

I can’t breathe.

“Run”. I gasp.

“What?”

“Run!”

I grab his hand. His palms have grown colder. Almost wax like. An engine revs behind us. Headlights.

I take off. We run and run and then BANG!

I fall back to the ground.

I wake up.

I see Ahmaud. I see Breonna. I see George. I see Tamir. I see Trayvon. I see Sandra. I see Michael. I see Alton. I see Eric. I see Philando. I see Amadou. I see Sean. I see Oscar. I see Rekia. I see Botham Jean. I see Aiyana. I see Emmett.

I’m stand up. I drift towards them.

I’m sorry I say.

Someone hands me a book. It’s black with Gold lettering on the spine. I recognize the title.

“Then fight back” they say.

I sit up. Silence. I’m back in my room.

I pick up my Bible. Time to read the battle plan.

(Written in honor of those we’ve lost to violence, bigotry, fear and hatred)

I John 1:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (NIV Version)

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