"In the United States . . . where such events are always now."

An excerpt from Words to Our Now: Imagination and Dissent by Thomas Glave (2005).
Chapter: “(Re-)Recalling Essex Hemphill: Words to Our Now.”

It has been said, and we recall: we were never meant to survive. Not here. No, not then or now. Not in the gorge of a grasping empire poisoned by the recurring venoms of its own antihumanity. Here, now, we can never forget that, as you did not survive, others still are falling. Falling beneath the policeman’s baton, or raped by it; expiring in the electric chair, decaying along lonely roads after the body has been chained behind a truck and dragged—the body historically and contemporarily fetishized, sodomized, demonized . . . Such horrors should occur only in the “inner city,” someone will say, has said. Not “here.” Not in this now.

“But we’re in the United States,” you doubtless would have said; your seer’s most mordant irony confronting misconception, sweeping aside revisionist muddyings of present and past. “In the United States, where these sorts of things always happen. But yes, believe it,” you surely would have said, “they always happen here.

“In the United States,” you might have said, “where such events are always now. Yes. And always here.”


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