Christian Bowe

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"You can visit just about any long-operating city in this country and find a local monument to the rich capitalist who built the mansion during year whatever. But you have to look far and wide to find memorials to the people whose labor created those riches, to those who died in the battles for such modern-day givens as the eight-hour work day and weekends off, and to the organizers who brought the workers together into the unions that helped create the nation’s now-disappearing middle class. That’s something worth contemplating today amid the holiday sales and barbecues." (The new battle over Blair Mountain — with lawyers instead of guns)

"For the black middle class, respectability becomes an aspirational fable, a promise that they, too can be free of racism if they become successful enough to transcend their race. For the black underclass, it becomes a morality tale that explains their own destruction. Respectability politics is a false narrative, but it maintains its power because, like so many powerful lies, it sits adjacent to the truth and set slightly askew: they are looking for a way to turn you into a nigger, and if necessary, they will find one. You will never leave a body pure enough to not be judged complicit in its own destruction." — Ezekiel Kweku, The Parable of the Unjust Judge


I lie on the bed with my arms outstretched.
I am an anchor that has dug itself down and holds steady
the huge shadow floating up there
the great unknown that I am a part of and which is certainly
more important than me.

—Tomas Tranströmer, from “Carillon” in The Great Enigma, New Collected Poems, translated from the Swedish by Robin Fulton (New Directions, 2006)