This is Real America: for Jacob Blake and Everybody Else, Too

Julia Jackson, Jacob Blake’s mother

This is Real America: for Jacob Blake and Everybody Else, Too

This is real America.

When they kill us in the streets we march and burn and get arrested.
I guess they want us to act like Georgians
And meekly go to the grave without complaint.

Or wait like Floridian teachers for a judge to agree with them that
The same children who give each other 
colds
pink eye
head lice
ringworm
And the traditional herd diseases
Will just as easily spread COVID-19
Without a concrete plan.

The answer must be given in the form of a question:
What are diseases caused by human proximity?

We are using our children as lab rats to see what happens
When they cluster together five times a week
And then go home to Ma and Pa 
And Nana and Big Papa

What happens when you push that button?
And which company’s “bug juice” will work first and best?

I had a friend ask me how I was doing during these times
You know as a Black person
And I said:

You mean during this time of political upheaval
During a pandemic
In the face of denial as the American bodies pile up (for various reasons)
And ubiquitous cameras capture the savagery of American life

You mean during a time when
context is still needed because the camera 
And the piles of bodies 
Can lie
And not give the whole story

You mean at a time when America is fighting for its soul
During a presidential election year 
With hearings going on about blatant voter suppression 
Through a manipulated Post Office
And the closing of poling locations in “certain communities”

You mean when leather clad bike hoards cause a super-spreader event
In America’s heartland 
‘Cause ya know we all love a good party 
Especially one straight out of a Stephen King novel
Or a George Romero Zombie Apocalypse movie

You mean at a time when college students have been told they were invincible
And they believe it
So they party like it’s 1999
And everyone goes home sick

It’s only a flesh wound
Rub it
You’ll be alright

Like the Martians of an H.G. Wells story 
All of our technological terror 
Is being humbled by the smallest of things 
The infinite humiliated by the infinitesimal 

A family in Wisconsin clusters together and prays for peace
Prayers from two religious traditions
And asks the question 
Why is my son’s spine shattered 
And why was he shot seven times 
At
Point
Blank
Range

An emasculating extrajudicial judgement in front of his three sons 
They say it will take a miracle for Jacob Blake to ever walk again
Repeating over and over again
This is real America 
How dare we hate what we are, his mother says

You mean at this time when things are so obviously bad that 
It causes you to pause and to offer an earnest existential inquiry?

Oh I’m just fine, I said.
And you’re fine, too.

About Heidi Lindemann Michael Perry

Heidi Lindemann and Michael Perry are Washington, DC, based activists. Together, they have taught meditation and Kriya Yoga at the Jung Society of Washington, DC, the Theosophical Society of DC and at the Kanyakumari Yoga and Ayurvedic Wellness Center in Milwaukee, WI.