a new memorial day

This is a write from last night’s Write Whole workshop — as a prompt, in light of it being Memorial Day, I asked us to consider what or who we’d like to have a whole day to remember or recognize:

I want the entire country to come to a stand still in recognition and honoring of all of us–the ones who wear the breath of baited battle, the ones who got shoved open for our mother’s enemy, the ones who learned too hard to slam shut.

I want banks to close, for tellers and secretaries to type up and print out little signs on plain white paper that get taped up to the insides of office doors, signs that read: “We will be closed in remembrance of all those who have been affected by sexual violence.”  More than fifty percent of the staff will recognize it as their own personal holiday.  Another quarter or third will wonder why they’re so sad, but won’t remember.

I want a day when the leaders of our country have to use the word rape a something other than a euphemism.  I want all the survivors to get a paid day off, with money sent to the survivors who don’t have jobs or paid work, so that they can go to the hot tubs or sauna or beach or just sleep in til 2pm. I want people to feel a little queasy about holding a BBQ on this national day of remembering and mourning —

I want it to stop, I mean, just for one day, for the fathers and teachers and aunts and babysitters and brothers and priests to be hamstrung just enough by the irony of their attempts to perpetrate on this day of all days that the ones they were about to violate will have a chance to get away — and they will be free, on this day, to take that chance.

I want rape crisis workers to get a day off and not feel guilty about it, because there will be no calls that they’ll miss, no passed-over intakes, no hospital visits at all on this one day a year.  And no backlog to be made up for on the next day.  For one day, I want us to visit the planet of honoring and remembering how we got through every fucking day til this now, and the planet of here’s what the world feels like without rape, without constant creepy violations of your body, your growing, your space, your breath.

On one warm spring day, I want all the flags dropped to half-mast, and then pulled off the poles entirely: this isn’t a boundaried remembrance, not a state or noational honoring, this is that holding every human up and sayting I’m sorry.

I want good deviled eggs and ambrosia salad and sack races and no clothesline project — not that I don’t want to hear the stories, but that what I want echoing around us is the opposite of mourning, that thick flow of gratitude, from all corners, for 24 hours, for every single one of us and all that we have done to survive.

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