Mel Bentley :: solidarity poem
786 Thomas Street,
Beatrice, NE, 80349
You asked for the remaining rules for people who keep going.
“Prepare to travel, tie the pack. Open the flag.” yes.
1) It does not seem like a choice. The word “brave” is wet newspaper plastered to the
sidewalk, transparent, flimsy. Sometimes you can gently peel the newspaper, take it home,
dry it, and pin it between your pages. Sometimes there is no point and you keep moving.
2) The after event leaves you spinning in the quiet of it’s ringing aftermath. Things will seem
unexpectedly sharp and funny. Dissociation is your body helping. Laugh with it.
3) Your body is also a knife. Tuck yourself against those who offer to sheath you, against
whose thighs you can be a weapon.
4) Bend. Err. Be Aberrant. But with and in of and for and between. Judith Butler’s braided
self is made of many.
5) Magic is too hard for almost anyone, it takes too much time. You will have to stop having
ideas about yourself, about time, about magic.
6) Sickness covers itself with things that are crimes although the sickness is not a crime. The
word crime here has no bearing on the legal. Just as legality and justice bear no relation. The
crime of legality is in fact most of what we know but, to keep each other in this space, we
keep our toes along seems.
7) That is to say, fear is not wrong.
8) We are sick with ourselves, the city is sick with us, the world is sick with the city. How to
be alive or want to be is a problem we have to live with. It is not heavy, but it is not light.
8) All this is to say, I understand nothing but sometimes I have the feeling of understanding
when I am alone.
These are the rules I know, they make sense now. Destroy them the second they do not fit.