Pandemic rituals: at the appointed time on Sunday nights, fire up Twitch and connect my phone to the nearest bluetooth speaker. Start this newsletter while listening to a live reggae broadcast by a friend from high school.
We are the same age; our schools were separated by a wall and the social distancing mechanism of the explicit disapproval of our respective educators at the notion of students fraternizing. We have the same local cultural references, as long as those rely on knowledge that stops roughly around the time I left and he stayed. We still have some of the same friends.
This time last year we were liming in the same bar in the part of the island we both grew up in. This time this year I have no idea when I will see that island again. The bar closed down.
The pandemic is a thief, of time and people and places. It has stolen present plans and future memories.
It’s hard to insure a memory. It’s hard to ensure a memory.
One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain.
“solidarity is a word”, a lot of people say it
i’m not sure what it means in the flesh
i know i love & have cried for my friends
their browns a different brown than mine
i’ve danced their dances when taught
& tasted how their mothers miracle the rice
different than mine. i know sometimes
i can’t see beyond my own pain, past black
& white, how bullets love any flesh.
i know it’s foolish to compare.
what advice do the drowned have for the burned?
what gossip is there between the hung & the buried?
— from what was said at the bus stop by Danez Smith in Homie (2020)
Editor’s note: Edited slightly on Dec 15 to correct a typo and add a missing word in the second paragraph.