My prose poem "Black Bloc" appears in the latest issue of Side B Magazine along with my friend Emily O'Neill's magazine artwork debut. Check it out.
Since the poem somewhat addresses this idea, I want to say a little bit about the events of the Boston Marathon, and particularly our reactions to it:
Yesterday I was taking my usual walk down Mass Ave, and I saw that somebody had stuck a bunch of pink post-its on the buildings and signposts. On the post-its were written various positive statements and commands, such as "You are loved," "Heal others," and "Trust." These are all well and good, but the one that troubled me was the one that said, "You are safe."
Now, it is one thing to ask your fellow citizen not to fear. Fear is a cruel master, of course, and some ugly actions can often be taken in retaliation to ugly actions. But nonetheless, I think the better lesson is this: You are not safe. You can never be safe. Death and chaos are all around us even when they are kept invisible. Even if we arm our police officers to their noses and put them on every street corner, painful and senseless tragedy is always a possibility. Tragedy comes when you do not expect it, it comes unfairly, and it devastates for no good reason. That's more or less what tragedy is.
We are not safe; we are alive. Maybe we should just get used to that and try to make it mean something beautiful while we still can.