No photo today.
The helicopters are circling, have been circling since yesterday afternoon when a peaceful protest turned into an afternoon, evening, night of violence and looting in my neighborhood and in downtown Los Angeles. It was deafening. I can only write what I know and what I feel. I refuse to dwell on the looting but will sit with the churning in my stomach, shooting out my fingertips. The questions. All of our blind grappling in the darkness as if answers will come. I've argued with my own mother. Carl saw a bear yesterday somewhere and I haven't had the chance or even desire to ask him where. I set up a bird bath in my front garden, powered by the sun. Powered by the sun. I keep thinking of the Wallace Stevens' poem Gubbinal, its simplicity and paradox. How tempting it is to despair. The world is ugly and the people are sad. The body. The sun. The imagination. How to inhabit the body, the individual body and the collective body. Everyone was peaceful until the cops showed up, my son reported. Showing up. Riot gear. Helicopters, their blades slicing through air. I watched a video sent to me by a neighbor of a group of young people, black and white, bashing their way into a luxury store at a local mall. Do I care about a mall? Do I care about a luxury store? Do I understand the motivations? Will I condemn them as senseless? I felt afraid and not for my body, my white body nor, even, for the white bodies of my children or the black body of my love. There's a strangeness and goodness in just feeling something, not thinking about it, and I felt afraid. Cooped up for months. Twenty percent unemployment. National Guard soldiers standing outside a marijuana store called Med Men. Jewish synagogues and schools and small stores defaced and looted. People sweeping, sweeping it up. What it looks like to step through glass buckled and shattered, your skinny white legs and bleached blonde hair, your sleeveless arms clutching a large leather handbag, a blurry computer. Do not share the faces of the protestors, the young people admonish. The strangeness of it. Yet, shouldn't this be so? There's a timeline that leads to this moment and the urge to contextualize. The timeline begins centuries ago.
I'm thinking of Armaud Arbery running through the streets of his Georgia town, chased like an animal and gunned down, slaughtered by vigilantes who were free for months.
There should not be an etiquette for people's responses.
Earlier in the afternoon, a billionaire launched a bunch of astronauts into the empty airless space over a world choking to death in a pandemic as hordes gathered in the streets to protest the slaughter of a black man who could not breathe under the knee of a white man. That is everything.