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Snow fall, wailing wall

March 10, 2009

The wall was wailing when we walked past the newspaper stands by Howard.  March surprised me as it often does, with its reserved sense of atonement and its off chance of snow.  I remember the March before the Iraq War.  I remember my toes and my hair and America as it used to be.  People said it would be Vietnam but I said, no it will be Iraq.  History looks similar but does not repeat itself precisely.  It is spoken word, not a record.  In this March my hair is long and my thoughts are clear.  Without love there is time for work.  Without love that work is numb.  

We walked past lots and lots of walls- down streets with names of warmer places, we spoke to a man about “Clockwork Orange.”  When will we have such movies about our time in Iraq?  I have not seen the country, but when the first soldier arrived I was there.  Even a March snowfall can’t separate Americans from America.  I am a pair of boots.  I was on the ground near Howard University.  My friend and I walked to a party where girls were dancing to protest “The Wall” and men were saying things like “wack” and “yo”.  

And I say, there is never one wall.  Every neighborhood has one, every man creates one.  Every man, woman and child is building walls to keep some people out and trap other people in.  We are all crying out from behind blockades.  In Gaza they build walls with brick and mortar, but in the Philippines it’s intimidation and fear.  In Washington it’s merely colors that separate and in California it’s language and ideas.

The snow fell like sleep from the tear ducts of God, like dust from the mines, like bodies on Mindanao.  Soldiers there can build walls with the fallen activists, with the brown people our governments say are “collateral damage.”  Is justice not of equal importance everywhere?  Do we not see that if these walls are torn down one at a time, they will only be rebuilt in other people’s cities?

I could hear the wall wailing when I was inside at the party.  Behind my cup of beer I tried to remember how to talk to strangers.  History looks similar but doesn’t  repeat itself precisely.  Iraq’s a red herring and the Philippines is a clay pigeon.  We see them behind the wall and we shoot them down, we don’t even bother to collect the plunder.

My boots touch down in the snow in Northwest.  When I walk past the wall, I caress it with my gloved fingers.

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