He is taking a course on Marxist ideology.
He says, “The only real solution is to smash the system and start again.”
His thumb is caressing the most bourgeois copy of the communist manifesto that I have ever seen,
He bought it at Barnes and Noble for twenty-nine U.S. American dollars and ninety-nine cents,
Its hard cover shows a dark man with a scarved face
Waving a gigantic red flag against a fictional smoky background.
The matte finish is fucking gorgeous.
He wants to be congratulated for paying Harvard sixty thousand dollars
To teach him that the system is unfair.
He pulls his iPhone from his imported Marino wool jacket, and leaves.
What people can’t possibly tell from the footage on TV
Is that the water cannon feels like getting whipped with a burning switch.
Where I come from, they fill it with sewer water and hope that they get you in the face with your mouth open
So that the hepatitis will keep you in bed for the next protest.
What you can’t tell from Harvard square,
Is that when the tear gas bursts from nowhere to everywhere all at once,
It scrapes your insides like barbed wire, sawing at your lungs.
Tear gas is such a benign term for it,
If you have never breathed it in you would think it was a nostalgic experience.
What you can’t learn at Barnes and Noble,
Is that when they rush you, survival is to run,
I am never as fast as when the police are chasing me.
I know what happens to women in the holding cells down there and yet…
We still do it.
I inherited my communist manifesto,
It has no cover—
Because my mother ripped it off when she hid it in the dust jacket of “Don Quixote”
The day before the soldiers destroyed her apartment,
Looking for subversive propaganda.
She burned the cover, could not bring herself to burn the pages,
Hoped to God the soldiers couldn’t read,
They never found it.
So she was not killed for it, but her body bore the scars of the torture chamber,
For wanting her children to have a better life than she did,
Don’t talk to me about revolution.
I know what the price of smashing the system really is, my people already tried that.
The price of uprise is paid in blood,
And not Harvard blood.
The blood that ran through the streets of Santiago,
The blood thrown alive from Argentine helicopters into the Atlantic.
It is easy to say “revolution” from the comfort of a New England library.
It is easy to offer flesh to the cause,
When it is not yours to give.
“What I’ve Learned:
1. A girl can lose feelings for you over night.
2. A kiss can be just that, a kiss. Completely meaningless.
3. Love can be one sided but I still wonder if that is love at all
4. Never beg for someone to stay or to love you. You shouldn’t have to beg for someone to be a part of your life or to love you. You deserve better than that.
5. Stop breaking your ribs to make space for those who do not belong there.
6. Learning to breathe again is harder than the doctors said it would be.
7. I don’t know what hurts more at night; being alone or being in love.
8. Laying with someone in bed at night is temporary. It won’t get rid of the lonely. You will still wake up and leave in the morning with a heavy heart and no hand to hold.
9. Sometimes the sky rains gasoline instead of water and you have to be strong enough and ignore the urge to set yourself on fire.
10. I will be okay someday. Bad things happen for no reason sometimes and things end but that shouldn’t mean you should come to an end too. The ocean will always have waves; I just have to learn to swim through them for a bit longer.
11. The stretch marks I left on my mother from birth will not be another suicide letter I never finished.”—Oliver Nolau (via oliverwr)