A poem reflecting on George Floyd’s murder, the subsequent protests, and my hope to stand in solidarity with my Black siblings in their weariness, grief, and anger.
I Do Not Wish to Perform My Grief I do not wish to perform my grief as if it could be part of a persona crafted carefully to please and curry favor, as if it wasn’t real and raw. I wish to honor memories of lives locked in as targets of police, locked up by racist structures and those willing to execute them, yes, execute, another murder, another life destroyed by the perverse pseudo-logic of white supremacy, all-pervasive, suffocating, not dysfunction or anomaly but locked from the beginning in our nation’s DNA. I shed my tears in private and do not know what to do when people talk about it like it’s just another distant bad thing on the news and not our sin to claim. I’m not the type to weep and wail on a Facebook wall, a perfect pose, mascara dripping down a made-up face, that’s not my style, but I will walk with you, and hold your grief, and not paint thinly over it with platitudes or try to force it into shallow resolution. I will be angry by your side, a quiet rage that burns into the night and understands why protests sometimes color outside bounds of order drawn by whiteness. I will not move on too quickly or affix myself to the convenient lie that white supremacy is only real and violent and destructive just a few times every year, just when it’s captured on an iPhone for the internet to see. I do not wish to perform my grief, but I will let my weariness hold yours, let you embrace me if you wish, or stay away―I understand. In all these things I have no interest in attempting to police the ways you grieve.