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In you I trust

A poem of sight

Over the weekend of November 6 & 7, 2021, the Tempest Collective gathered for its first convention. Numerous documents were circulated in the months leading up to the convention, and brief introductory talks were given by various comrades to “kick-off” discussions. The following poem was submitted by a Tempest Collective member at the conclusion of the convention with the following valediction:

to organize in liberation,
we practice. Your dear
Brian Young Jr.

I know you

once intangible
we collab-
a degree—a screen—
separate were we
yet moved
I knew
comfort that
dissolved the screens
and, yes, it was

you were
Baldwin “Beale Street” Black;
Emma “no dance, no revolution” white;
Arundhati “Broken Republic” Brown;
your hair is now Cornel West grey, blown-out like
Angie on Court day;
your words bred commitment, John Brown
act of faith; and you moved, yes your grace
freedom, freedom from ancient
to lasting Ballrooms of today.

but screens,
I’m reminded of
those that separate
our common
unyielding need
for camaraderie

at Haymarket
& were
reassured our mission
stands in anti-
thesis with

that hill—which is our challenge—is life. Its heights stretch
past the heavens. Its lows
pierce Hades. The end,
we know not. But that boulder,
that is our oppression, contains our ancestors’ pain. Their
blood runs down my sleeves as I push with you. They were
crushed in battle; on plantations; at borders;
in prisons; at gunpoint; on streets; at work; in their homes
—their homes weren’t their safe space; by lovers. They were
crushed by lovers,
even today.

We push to reclaim
their hope
—our mission—of liberty. And
there is no sense of futility in you, futility in me.

And screens
we’ve made
but have that
I had to see
I had to have
my faith
restored in this decree:

We can govern ourselves.
I kid you not.

Now tangible
your height un-
proved what
I perceived
you were 5-2, 6’3
5 feet, 6 feet
both above
in between

you wore
those blue
casual jeans
a gold hoop
a hat that matched
black tees
you wore 2pac
you knew, as
I know, Killer
Mike & El-P
your mouth
wide open you
chortled with glee
you ate—we

And we
we disagreed.

I ask you
a question

how might I, how might you,
how might we? Inspire us to
drink from life’s well
to trust in its history. Trust
as it flows
through us with
the force of our
evolving species.

How might I inspire you to
just keep moving? Keep moving,
when moving seems a distant fantasy. Keep moving,
when the rise of the sun encourages the
heavy chore of merely arising out of bed. Even when,
those corporate powers seek to solidify as
private property. Even when, in struggle against that small
class of the so-called elites we suffer a defeat.
We keep moving.
And not just move.

We organize, we build, we assert that tangible future of our Socialist vision.

And comrade
one more

Did you know the muscles of those who fight often ache?
Did you know those who wish to carry light
face the uncertainty of the grey? ‘Cause certainly the night
seems unyielding to the hope of a new day. But, I’m reminded that
hope is a verb. This I know,
I saw you today.

Featured Image Credit: Eric Cass, for the Tempest Collective.

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Brian Young Jr. View All

Brian Young Jr. is a Black, non-binary, socialist writer and artist based in Chicago, Illinois.