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personification of the real

Updated: Jan 23, 2021

The summer of 1989 in Toronto was hot and humid. I loved riding my bike through the diasporic neighbourhoods in the middle of the night after working and drinking with my radical Marxist friends. We were family. I felt a bond and a purpose that transgressed anything that I had previously known. We never stopped bantering and pursuing an end game of collectivization, poetry, art, love, environmental renewal and freedom.

Beginning in May of that year I kept an eye on the ferment building in Tiananmen Square, on those powerful beings, young and old, who demanded liberty now in that totalitarian state, the only one they had ever known.

I would often imagine myself in the middle of that ugly square with those humans- devising plans, sharing, growing, knowing that change was a mere formality. I wanted to be squatting in that square as badly as I wanted to stay with my comrades in Toronto. What eventually transpired in early June of that year, with the death of thousands of peaceful freedom fighters, was a declaration of war. I didn't know how I was going to fight. Slowly and eventually, I recognized that to win I was going to have to internalize that war, or as Nietzsche believed, become my own without any encumbrances from others.

Since I wasn't in a militia (though, I’ve thought long and hard about that), a deep interconnected underground vitality was required, as if swamp growing sphagnum moss would be my template.

Bearing witness to a daily barrage of degradation, including both environmental and animal, I'm left to wonder about our current predicament. Even though I'm as hurt as ever by our designs, I do know the fight that swells in so many of us. Resistance has a look and a feel that is impossible to pin down. Voices that are supportive, defiant, honourable, artistic, determined, loving, protective, hopeful can never be snuffed out if our tethers to each other are blissfully strategized and nurtured. Our premature blood in the fields would ensure that the weeds have their share however, the loyal air in our lungs just might carry us home.

~ jimy dawn

Addis Ababa Ethiopia

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