All the Forgotten Things

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I’ve forgotten how to write.

Forgotten how to trust the flow of words. Forgotten how to be easy with my yeses. Forgotten how to reach out to heal old wounds. Forgotten how to write down my dreams. Forgotten how to care what others think. Forgotten how to believe it gets better. Forgotten how to give up the good fight.

I’ve forgotten how to look away.

From the water cannons. From the raised arm salutes. From the inexorable forces of corruption, greed, and power drunk superiority.

I’ve forgotten how to let sound come out of my mouth. Screams locked in my throat.
I’ve forgotten the address. Where do I send this scream? How much will it cost to get there?

I’ve forgotten how to tremble in fear. Something tells me I should, but I just can’t do it. Can’t or won’t? Can’t or don’t want to? Is there a difference?

I’ve forgotten how to sip from the fire hose of history. I’ve forgotten that I’m supposed to speak up in one breath and listen in the next. I’ve forgotten how to dance.

I’ve forgotten how to share a meal with strangers. This is the saddest part. I’ve forgotten
to give up trying.

I’ve forgotten how to make nice. I’ve forgotten how to act as if. I’ve forgotten how to live in a land of what ifs, for better or for worse. I’ve forgotten that Будь что будет sounds like suicide (que sera sera, whatever will be will be, the future’s not ours to see…).

I’ve forgotten that we are not hearing the real news, not even on the real news.

I’ve forgotten that Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder is not a real thing, because this morning I decided it is a real thing.

I’ve forgotten that the imagination can be a brilliant and dangerous place.

I’ve forgotten how to have a nice morning with my kids without mentioning institutionalized racism. I’ve forgotten how to tune it out. I’ve forgotten how to live in a bubble. I’ve forgotten how to delineate between privilege and struggle. I’ve forgotten how to pick a fight, win a debate, or speak truth to power.

I’ve forgotten that white power is not a fringe thing. I’ve forgotten that alt-right is a euphemism. I’ve forgotten how to ignore the artists who risk their lives and the people whose bodies are on the front lines and the poorest among us who sleep out of doors without blankets. I’ve forgotten how to show up. I’ve forgotten how to shut up. I’ve forgotten how to make myself invisible.  I’ve forgotten how to power through the day without a nap. I’ve forgotten that love will never tear us apart. I’ve forgotten to hide. I’ve forgotten how to put my own interests first. I’ve forgotten to worry about perfection. I’ve forgotten to fit into any of your boxes. I’ve forgotten that I wasn’t Muslim. I’ve forgotten to fall down nine times, get up ten. I’ve forgotten to damn it all to hell again. I’ve forgotten sweetness and light. I’ve forgotten how dark it could get all up in here. I’ve forgotten to tear down the walls inside. I’ve forgotten to give a shit about factions.

I refuse to forget the past. I refuse to close my eyes to the present. I refuse to hand you my children’s futures on a paper plate for you to fold in half and trash. I refuse to forget how to be my brother’s keeper. I refuse to stop learning how to remember.

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