Monday, June 15, 2015

Open Swim (not Sink) St. Louis

I wish you could have been there.
I wish you could have splashed in the water.
I wish you could have seen the dazzling smiles the spectrum of skin.
I wish you could have moved aside for children scaling the perimeter, unable to touch bottom, unable to swim...yet.
I wish you could have heard the collective joy and music rippling around and through the scene.
I wish you could have helped strangers offered to fix their goggles, to find their mom.

I had those pleasures and more at our Pool Party.
It was a sight to behold: neighbors, friends, and strangers-- a jubilant jumbled buoyant mass
Knotted together.
As it should be.

Happy to be together.
Happy to claim a new season.
Happy to swim,
St. Louis.

*Special thanks to everyone who helped make the Marquette Pool Party  an event I cherished. That means you, Cara Spencer, Blank Generation, Sleepy Kitty, Black James, Southside Forever, Mayor Slay, and Parks Department,

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Overheard in St. Louis

Not so long ago, I was walking to a coffee shop in a suburban-ish neighborhood. I was approaching a group of three workmen getting ready for their day to begin. Two had perched themselves on the trailer bed full of equipment. One was facing them and the homes. I could hear what they were saying from 15 feet away because of the quiet hour.

As I approached, I saw one of the men look up into a yard. He made a glottal noise- a mix between a grunt and scoff.

"They have a 'Black Lives Matter' sign."

I stiffened and felt my pulse quicken. Instinctively I was preparing myself for whatever he was about to say next. Trying to anticipate it, so I could respond.

Then I heard...

"Black lives do matter." 

One of the man's partners spoke up. Simple. True. Stated without anger by an African American.

There was no response. Not a rebuttal or effort to refute. It was so unlike what'd I've seen unfold online. No splitting of hairs. No, "But all lives matter," retort.*

Just, "Black lives do matter," and silence. It was beautiful, really to see and hear. It said it all.

*If you hadn't noticed already, this is an axiom leveled to negate the point of the Black Lives Matter campaign. Both are true. One needs to be said more and lived out.