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POEM: WHEN TIRED ISN'T ENOUGH

TW/CW: police brutality/murder, suicide and depression, violence 

what do you do when “tired” isn’t enough?

“i’m tired” isn’t an adequate response to what i’m feeling anymore. murder after murder. slain Black flesh after slain Black flesh. i’m too tired to lament, but also too tired to do anything else.

we write, we organize, we cry, we hashtag, we get angry, we riot, we make music, we make art. we exist on a continued loop of hope-turned-hopelessness-turned-hope. because we have to hope. because if we don’t hope, then what do we do? because if “i’m tired” doesn’t begin to tell the truth about what we actually feel, then what good is hopelessness?

but maybe hopelessness is good. because i don’t have hope. i’m a writer, but i have no more words. i’m an organizer, but i have no more will to fight. i’m an artist, but i have no more art to give. and yet, somehow i’m going to have to do just that; i’m going to have to write, and organize, and make art because the alternative is nothing. and how can i do nothing when nina did something? when harriet did something? when zora did something? when kwame did something? when langston did something?

but how many more Black mamas we gotta see beg for “justice”? whatever that is. how many more times we gotta see politicians use our deaths as political dollars for their own self gain? how many more times we gotta scroll through inescapable violence on our timelines?

we can arm ourselves, but who is there to protect the ones for whom depression in the midst of state violence is their most prevalent enemy? and what is justice to a slave? i don’t know. freedom, perhaps. but what is freedom when our flesh—made Black by colonialism—never knows peace, even in death?

we walk, we die. we run, we die. we stand still, we die. we learn our rights, we die. and what are rights for niggas—the inhuman? on the ground, we lay, with their arms or knees pressed into our throats, and we die. because who needs a noose when you have a badge? on the ground, we lay; there, four, five hours, buried by our own blood. we live, we die; because what is life when every action leads to death?

what do you do when “tired” isn’t enough?

i don’t know. but i know that all i got are these feelings. these feelings of rage, and anger, and sadness, and exhaustion, and discontent. and all i can do with that is deposit it. leave it sitting with all the feelings i saved up from before. and then i keep going until the next time. this time, with interest. because i’ve learned that when “tired” isn’t enough, it’s because there has yet to be language created to name the pain i feel, we feel; the exhaustion we feel; the rage we feel. and there won’t be.

when “tired” isn’t enough, our commitment to ending the world as we know it must be.

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Da'Shaun Harrison is a nonbinary abolitionist and organizer in Atlanta, GA. They write and speak publicly on race, sexuality, gender, class, religion, disabilities, fatness, and the intersection at which they all meet. Their portfolio and other work can be found on their site: dashaunharrison.com.

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