Sparking arms, busted legs, broken heads, and smoking torsos, fell into the sewer with splashes and wet slaps. I listened from the top of the pile, upside down and pressed between a torso and a cement wall. I heard, above me, men return the cart to SynCorp’s loading dock. I paused for a few beats of silence and turned on my ocular lights.
Wives pick through the avocados, press the rinds, sinking their thumbs into the meat to ensure that this one will produce quality guacamole. In the carts, small children wind their fingers around their metal cages, burn their palms on the nylon safety belts better suited for suicide. Where are the husbands? The only man in sight stands behind the chilled meat counter. He leans now, over the grinder, making sausages. His hand rests on the control, missing an index finger, perhaps an accident that someone has served on a plate of hors d’ouerves two plates down from the guacamole. Almost unseen, a teenager with unnaturally blonde hair sweeps the floors, down each aisle in an easy, angled movement that dances under the wheels of the carts, the only sound the leather pants she wears in defiance of the dress code. The one she tells her manager she would follow if only the job provided health insurance and now she slips a pack of Virginia Slims from behind the counter and steps outside. Nearly invisible, and she promises herself she only took the pack because wages are so low they really stole them from her anyway.
In my blackened room, I leapt from a tall building, I descended past the ends of the earth and there was nothing to stop my fall.
My neck wrenched as I shouted, “It hurts.”
The pain paused for a moment and it returned.
I was not the one falling it was my pain it was intimate it was generous.
To regard the struggle, the pain of a revolution, is not to deny the magnificence and optimism embodied in it. In order to fully look to the future, we have to reckon with the immensity of creating it. And acknowledge that we may fail.
Victor Serge knew this. He supported the Bolshevik Revolution enthusiastically, but as he saw its direction thrown off by civil war and rising bureaucracy, he had little hesitation in dissenting while remaining in absolute solidarity.
This video is part of Adam Turl's installation, The Barista Who Could See the Future, on display as part of the Exposure 19: Jumbled Time exhibition at Gallery 210 in St. Louis through December 2, 2017 (also featuring artists Lizzy Martinez and Stan Chisholm). The installation and short video “documentary” above center around the story of Alex Pullman – a coffee shop worker and artist who claimed he had visions of the future. A zine accompanying the installation, supposedly written by Pullman, reads as follows.
Dre Harris is the bravest person I know. Facing the mirrored horrors of Nazis with metal poles and state-employed pigs who must have heard his screams, Dre survives. He tells his story. He tells his story knowing that a vicious beating is only the beginning of their attack and that rotting hearts beat in all in the institutions around him.
Mark is the bravest person I know. He is the first person to step out from the park as we march to defend the public housing complex from the fascists.
Life was smithereens of decisions and constant problems and challenges. And so were her stories. She stuck the smithereens of stories together with home-made glue, with the cracks between them still visible and the glue all pungent, and made a novel.
Someone else kept a diary the old fashioned way, with smithereens of thoughts jotted into a notebook he kept tucked under his pillow. And Eduardo Galeano wrote history as a series of little stories in Memories of Fire, and in Children of the Days he wrote one vignette for each day of the year.
The very idea of “President’s Day” has always been a farce. But in the age of Trump the idea of celebrating the American presidency’s unchecked power just feel bitterly ironic. Red Wedge isn’t the only one feeling this irony; today, in several cities, “Not My President’s Day” rallies are taking place.
When our editorial board adapted the text below and designed its accompanying image, it was intended as a reward for our fall fundraising drive (which we are in the process of mailing out as we write this). It is now available exclusively to anyone who joins the Red Wedge Patron program at ten dollars or more each month.
The question “what can a poem (actually) do?” has been a part of the philosophical debate about art for a long time. It is impossible to know when it was first asked, but I’m willing to bet that it had something to do with the onset of the Industrial Age, and the coming of age of Capitalism. That the lack of a definitive answer, or any recognizable material profit tied to its production hasn’t stopped people from either writing or reading it, is probably answer enough, but in the Fall of 1977, I moved from Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies to Winnipeg, Manitoba – the MidWest of Canada. My step-father was working with the Canadian government and so, we were migrating.
It's midnight when you and your girlfriend, Elka, have your first fight since you moved in together. Words wound, tears flow, doors slam. You storm out of the apartment, not caring where you go as long as it’s far away from her. When you step off the front stoop onto the sidewalk, that's the moment when the newest version of me is born.
You get on the subway heading toward Brooklyn and ride until the train rumbles out of the tunnels and squeaks into a familiar above ground stop. The neighborhood isn't good, but a friend of yours used to live a few blocks away, so you know the area pretty well. At least you won't get lost while you work off the rest of your anger. You disembark, let your feet pick a direction, and start walking.