13 January 2021

1 i do not know what to tell you

the helicopters are back. 

they were notably absent on the 6th. 

it was weirdly quiet. every time i'd think the sirens were out my window, they were actually on tv. 

all of it was on tv. that was not true in june. 

there was a hearse, right? a black hearse, parked in front of the capitol. i saw it. i noted it to debo on the phone and she saw it and asked what it was and i said that is a hearse and there is a poster on the windshield with nancy pelosi's name

i've not heard anyone mention that. 

did you see it? 

truly, i do not think i made it up. if so, it's a delusion into which i carted debo fully. 


there was a time in london, early on, when i was grief-stricken and wounded and those are the times, i find, when it's ok to watch horrific things, to fully let one's self submerge in the horror so you can write about the horror. because you're already there, in the horror, yeah? so why the hell not. 

i was Writing then. i am not Writing now. 

this was really early days. i didn't even have a desk yet, but was using the coffee table that came with the apartment, sitting on the floor in an L shape with my back against the plastic sofa and my feet under the table. 

i wrote assignments #2 and #3 of my phd in this pose. the chunk linking jackie to 9/11, which years later became this article

and watched the entirety of the CBS and NBC coverage of the jfk assassination and the CNN coverage of 9/11 in this position. 

"the fog of war" mcnamara called it. the way the story is told when we are in it is how i apply that same notion. 

we don't know how it's going to end, nor when. the outcome is unclear. we narrate as best we can, but the details slip through and later, weeks on, slowly in a trickle, they come out. and we learn the panic buttons were disabled and congresspeople were giving tours on the 5th. 

i wonder about the hearse though. because you know that took planning, some level of coordination. children are not allowed to sled on these grounds and these guys drive a hearse up to the capitol steps? 

when lindear and i talked the other night, we workshopped worst case scenarios for the coming week, in an effort to neutralize our fears. our scenarios were pretty brutal then. today, they seem rather quaint. 

i would say the situation is evolving. 


i went on a date last night. twas a trés trés 2020/1 DC date. 

we walked from my house down past the white house and the mall and over to the korean war memorial and up to the lincoln memorial, all heavily fenced, all surrounded by military. 

it was so dark it felt like 11 o'clock. it was 6 pm. 

the police seemed to be closing roads behind us on the whole walk back up. 

there were more helicopters today. maybe one every hour or 45 minutes. 

there was a proper plane late last night, as i lay in bed reading a book about the splintering of the republican party. a distinctive and inappropriate noice that made me clench my jaw so tight that it was still sore this morning. 


i spent late last week so grateful that i wasn't teaching during the putsch. joke's on me! i get to teach next week. TWICE. i have to paint my face and costume myself and explain this to 80 people, aged 17-19, approximately. lord, be with us all. 


K and i have been going for four mile walks around the mall on sundays. this coming sunday is cancelled due to the insurrection. 


my grocery order came today. i've planned ahead so i can make burgers and homemade pretzels and mulled wine and tofu katsu. 

odds are high i'll be living on cereal. 


the helicopters are back. like, casually. circling. surveilling. throughout the day. 

i don't know why that's the thing but it is. 

they're flying high so it's nothing like june. 

nothing has been like last june-- which isn't a consolation but an indictment. 

june was hellish and that hellishness was unwarranted. this, THIS is hell and hell has not been brought to bear. 

they drove a hearse up to the steps of the capitol. 


my aunt texts me that i should order printer cartridges because there's going to be a shortage due to people working from home. 

i feel like this was a story that went viral last april. i text back that i'm focusing on food in expectation of a curfew and an inability to leave my house. 

she tells me that there has been violence on both sides and its overblown and she just wishes people would stop being so political. 

my sore jaw clenches. 


i'm teaching a class on anger this semester. in constructing the welcome email to tell my kids it's going to be ok and that i'm aware there's a pandemic, i wrote that i hoped the class would help them process their feelings over the last year. 

and then i realized that was not enough. 


it is a LIFETIME. 

of grief and violence and discrimination and anger. 

pelosi's staff knew to cut the lights, block the door and get under the table. 

that is what we are working with this semester. 

they are 17, 18, 19. this is their first year of college, second semester. this was their first election. this is their first "peaceful transition of power." 

my anger, it is capacious.


the helicopters are back. my jaw is clenched. my plants, they are all stationed nearer to the sun. they do no longer try so hard. spring is coming. that man at the end of the street is moving out. the fence is probably gonna be there for a long, long while. the fencing surrounds us, we fling our embellishments upon it. 


i do not know what will happen. like you, i do not know where this will end. 

to be clear: i do not think it has ended. 

and that is a fucking terrifying thing to sit with, to write with, teach in, live in, date in, cook dinner in, go to sleep in and awaken to.

not that statehood is a cure or anything, but seriously, for real, c'mon: #DCStatehoodNow.

1 comment:

jmillewitz said...

I hadn’t heard about the hearse. This is horrifying. I love you.