“Academically speaking, protest is a performative act.”
The air, rife with loaded statements, holds me —
it’s one of those meetings.
A short-haired Bo-Ho type
gives a presentation on The G20 protests.
Half awake I observe her slide show:
long-haired men and women clamber over the Bank of England,
denim limbs wave left and right, chased by uniforms,
open mouths chant for change, to no one;
the usual.
We compare activist points,
we are all really radical right now.
“What is the risk?”
asks a young girl with a Belarusian accent,
the air, thick with unanswerable questions, waits
to be broken.
“My risk is not as big as yours”,
said the Bo-Ho type, acknowledging their cultural differences.
What’s a casual stint of community service
compared to sexual abuse by the leg of a chair?
The air forced in our mouths tastes sour,
leaves us hanging open, choral breathing.
No one ever laid freedom on the table like that.
The chairs feel uncomfortable.
“My risk is not as small as yours,
but only chalk lines stand in my way,
and rain will fall when prison walls become dust
We will cross their lines.”
I suppress a yawn,
it’s hard to know what’s jargon
and what’s the real deal.
“There’s fire in her eyes”
whispers my co-worker,
taking notes.