Outside the Circle

Cindy Milstein

Heartsick Rebel Hearts


There are two camps in the war zone littered, increasingly, with the dying and dead that US cities now constitute: those with hearts and those without.

We whose hearts are still beating strong battle against the tensions within our own side, within own selves. Our resistance finds irregular rhythms.

We are, after all, not removed from the “life support” that is this deadening world. Societal pathologies take hold of our bodies from birth — political sicknesses that we can’t seem to cure. From our first cry, those of us with hearts burn with rage, hardly soothed by the water of tears. We embody the pain and disfigurement of racism, patriarchy, and classism.

We take in breath, trying to feel our communal pulse, but with difficulty.

Our hearts are not faint. But they ache.

Yet at least we aspire toward empathy, to reach across divides that we didn’t build but nevertheless inhabit, despite our best intentions — separation walls constructed by force, by states and police, by capital and colonialism.

At least we yet have hearts that want to break.

We have hearts that still feel the suffering of other people; red-hot aortas that especially feel the suffering heaped on black and brown people, overwhelmingly those people murdered by police, the armies of the heartless.

At least we have hearts that also, crucially, want to break free.

“When we revolt, it is not for a particular culture. We revolt simply because, for so many reasons, we can no longer breathe” (Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks). Which side are you on?

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(Photo by Cindy Milstein, one of many heartfelt fabric banners at the memorial/celebration in San Francisco recently for Ted Gullicksen, Homes Not Jails and Tenants Union rebel.)


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This entry was posted on December 5, 2014 by in Dispatches from Rebellious Spaces.
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