From Paris, Texas to Somerville, Mass, There Comes a Moment (poem below video)
Music: “Paris, TX” by Gotan Project
Original Poem “There Comes a Moment” by Pampi
Reading by Ishani Das
Movement by Adi Rattner & Pampi
First Performed: October 6, 2001 @ “Politics Begins at Home” Party
Song: Paris, Texas by GOTAN Project
On February 1, 1893 Henry Smith was brutally tortured and murdered in Paris, Texas.
His was a state-sanctioned execution that is now accepted as the first blatantly public, actively promoted lynching of a black man in the South.
Whatever the circumstances, the fact remains that the “justice” meted was cruel and inhumane and demonstrates just how quickly the step to brutality is trespassed when enforcers of the State are trained to view its citizenry as threats and not beings.
Just a few weeks back a man was kept waiting on a gurney with a needle in his arm by our Supreme Court only to be put to death four hours later.
There comes a moment of reckoning in every one’s life
Each day I choose to live fully
I choose to be true to myself
I choose to make a home with you
I choose to live within my means
I am the keeper of the light of love in me
There comes a moment when one must acknowledge
I am grateful for your friendship
I acknowledge and choose to question my privileges
I choose to move decisively and without hesitation
I see black, I see white and also the range of grays
I acknowledge my love for you
I acknowledge my weaknesses
I choose to be humbled in the presence of greatness
I am humbled by the greatness in you
There comes a moment when I am called to act
As a woman in charge of all of her faculties,
I choose to be a soldier* (elected to change to “warrior” when I had more clarity between the terms through deeper peoples’ movements education)
My place is not simply at home or at work
It is my duty to protect my community
I stand guard at the border
I will cut my right breast to better fit the bow of resistance
I will soldier at the front lines with a swollen belly
I will stand firm even as a thousand arrows of greed are issued against me
I will sing songs of protest even as my hands are being bound
I will survive. I will protect. I will persevere.
When I am called to lead, I will step up.
I will embrace. I will comfort. I will love with all that is in me
I will ask for forgiveness. I will forgive.
I will help ensure the safety of our children. And feed the stray dog.
I will work towards making our leaders accountable. Myself answerable.
I will bend like the willow. Weep for those those lost. And stand glorious after storms. My roots extending in great expanse, connecting with yours.
My needs are only the sun the earth and water. I will trust that those are my divine rights and will struggle to maintain access for all my fellow beings in this shared home
I will speak gently and firmly with conviction. I will lead each day with intention and compassion.
The light of love radiates from my face. This is true beauty. The smiling, laughing face. The most beautiful and the most common vision the world sees. In the midst of profound despair, it is the smiling face that devastates and rights the world.
There comes a moment when I choose to smile