The scrolling pictures on the TV screen will cause me to cry uncontrollably. I will arrive at work tomorrow morning with swollen eyes and an aching heart. What is so painful is that it feels like a part of me has died with him — just as he was likely an innocent Black man in America — I, we, or you could find ourself in the same predicament simply due to the circumstances of the our ethnicity as Black men and woman in America.
The salty burn of tears surrounds the perimeter of my eyes. I let loose a few deep cries in an attempt to exterminate the pain. I was frustrated, I was angry. I sat buckled over face in palms…with purple half crescents forming above my cheeks. I felt a thick wave of collective sadness only discernible through raw emotion.I am afraid for the world we now live in…something is so gut wrenching and regrettable. What did we do? What could we we have done? How can we as a country change?
Photographs of Troy Davis litter social networks. They photos tell a story. There are childhood pictures and current photos that depict a man who once vibrant and youthful has began to wither away in jail. His cheeks bones were once rounded and popped like the contours of proud apples. Now the face plastered on the posters of protesters appeared weary and destitute as if 20 years behind bars isn’t enough to shatter the physical appearance of a man.
He was executed tonight but they began killing him long ago. He began dying a long time ago. I had dreams that his eyes, now sunken in, would raise back to the surface of his face and he would see the world again. I allowed myself to entertain the possibilities that he might one day be exonerated and free. Perhaps blinded by my northern naivety.
Last night I imagined a free T.R.O.Y. and the tensions in my chest released. I let go of anger and we all began to heal. However the reality was much different and a young black man did perish at the hands of the state. My breaths were slow and deep, I played music to maintain my composure.
The morning after I woke up contemplative and draped in prayer like a cloak. The sunlight felt like love and it was everywhere. Maybe T.R.O.Y. wasn’t taken away but was given back to us in that now his spirit/memory will permeate the entire justice system. Who now can carry out a death sentence without first thinking of him.
I was confronted by that sun, the warm southern sun. I work in Texas – a southern state that executes more people than any other place in the country and those statistics haunt this state. I close my eyes and hear screams of the innocent. We are all haunted by the stringent history of the south. There are emotions that oscillate from fear to anger to helplessness; nobody really knows what happens when you die but the spiritual can conclude that at the moment your physical life ends the spiritual you exits to another realm.
I remember when fasting last month, it seemed like it made my soul malleable like clay — I could touch, feel, sense everything. I had an outer existence. Perhaps that is why Troy Davis chose to fast his last day on this earth — to unlock that endless chamber of emotion, to give way and let go. (How does one prepare to die?) maybe he needed to access to those elusive avenues of himself, where there was freedom for him somewhere in this world or the next.
What will remain in the collective memory of Troy Davis is unbeknownst to me. Whether he’ll be made a martyr and spark the flame of a new movement or fade into tragic oblivion. Grief is a transferrable emotion and can galvanize that movement, so he may not have died in vain. T.R.O.Y. lives on.
I have used T.R.O.Y. interchangeably with his full name Troy Davis given that this moment calls upon a 90s hip hop song by Pete Rock and CL Smooth entitled “They Reminisce Over You” or better known as “T.R.O.Y.”
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