Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘George Floyd


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turn around
put my hands up in the air
put my hands behind my back
force me to re-register my right to vote
question my right to be here
deny me a loan
just pull my car over to the side of the road
don’t ask me, tell me
don’t wait to hear me explain
do you know why you pulled me over?
turn around
don’t you know that I am white?
why do you treat me different
why not treat me the very same
whatever you do to the oppressed
you are doing to the rest of us, too
might as well kneel hard on my neck
with that damn smug look on your face
gloved hand deftly crammed in your pocket
press it down harder
for a full nine minutes and more
make me beg but don’t even listen
you’re too busy putting on your sick show
we all died that day in Minneapolis
in an unceremoniously incremental way
and we can’t turn back our collective clocks
to a time when it wasn’t this way
so just simply turn around
let’s all walk the other way
to the place they don’t want us ever to reach
the one in the magnificent dream
in that inspiring speech
at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
August, 1963
let’s just turn around and go there
because here 
is not where
we want
to be




Protest Exhaustion

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Night after night, we who aren’t out violating curfew instructions just can’t get ourselves to stop watching the uninterrupted live coverage of what is happening in our communities between people protesting police misconduct and the battalions of police and the national guard who are tasked with enforcing regulations. It’s exhausting.

I think that’s one of the points the protesters would be happy is being made. Imagine how exhausting it is to be “living while black.”

Three nights ago in Minneapolis, the drama on our television screens was hours of media coverage revealing overt vandalism, looting, and arson in the unbelievable complete absence of police action. Two nights ago, the scenario changed dramatically in that the freeways around Minneapolis and St. Paul were closed early and a very heavy police and national guard presence showed up within an hour of the curfew to control outcomes.

There were a lot fewer fires.

Last night, there was hope that a full day of peaceful protest would end quietly, but then a maniac driving a semi barreled toward thousands of people crowded onto the 35W bridge, and chaos ensued.

Even after a full night’s sleep, I still feel exhausted by it all.

When can we get back to just worrying about the contagious virus for which we have no vaccine?

When can we get back to concerns over how the millions of people facing financial calamity resulting from the pandemic will keep from going hungry or losing what little possessions they have?

Which came first, the angst of racial oppression or the angst of the pandemic?

One foot in front of the other. One deep cleansing breath at a time. I think we are going to need to figure out the trick of carrying on with everyday life even while exhausted, because the change we need to happen is going to take more time than just a week of overnight riotous protests.

Afternoon naps make a lot of sense in times like this.

We could also work on the visualization of planting our love to the world like a seed in the ground that we feed and nurture and watch as it sprouts and grows into a towering tree. Make it a time-lapse visual, so we don’t have to wait a hundred years for the love to get to its maximum height.

<yawn> I’m going to do my visualization while lying down. With my eyes closed. For a couple of hours. Couple-eight.

Oh for a full night’s sleep again…



Stress Squared

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Just when we thought the problem commanding our attention was an invisible virus contagion with potential to kill that has shut down life as we knew it, centuries of systemic oppression have boiled over in response to another murder of a black man in police custody, this time in Minneapolis.

It’s mind-numbing.

Unfathomable that so many people were present during the incident and either chose not to or were unauthorized to intervene.

My commute home yesterday took me uncomfortably close to some of the riotous protestations underway beside the freeway, but beyond a momentary slowing of traffic in the area, the worst disruption for me was hearing details of what was actually happening at that moment on the live radio coverage as I passed by.

The activity in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul was disturbingly close to where our daughter, Elysa lives.

Hearing about the transformation from protesting to arson and vandalism by some people is heartbreaking.

There is stress stacked upon stress, stacked upon stress.

It is hard to know how much influence one can have from a distance, standing among the trees of our forest amid a chorus of bird songs and frogs beckoning, sending love to all those people in the thick of things just 50 miles away to the northeast.

Today, that’s what I’ve got to offer.

I wish it could put out fires. Or, better yet, keep people from ever starting them.



Written by johnwhays

May 29, 2020 at 6:00 am