This commitment to rock and remake our foundations of the world must be our constant study and this is why we can never talk of school being over but only of its constant rebeginning, that ongoing commencement that we gather here, en masse, to celebrate today. In the irreducible materiality of that spirit, given in how we live and die, and in how we think and feel, let’s tarry a while with the entanglement of art, school, protest, acknowledgment and the celebration of the mass.
Much like mid-twentieth century Rastafarian theologies, the Thmei broadsheets play with time in a prophetic language of racial redemption, extracting lessons from ancient history, recuperating and restaging ideas in ways that collapse the usual conceptions of historical time to illuminate conditions and concerns in the immediate present. Explaining patterns of oppression in ways that carry the meaning of ancient events forward into the 1950s black Chicago, the Thmei authors strive to make black emancipation not simply a distant dream but an ever-present possibility.
These things are true, told beautifully
They sometimes teach us to sleep, to learn there
That truth is beautiful while we are sleeping.
We are entertained by turns of logic
Flickering upon us with a grain of sense
Strained carefully from daylight, like a dream.
But rudely told, the truth just spreads.
Discretion lost, it multiplies its faces
Like a voice understood pealing outward
Ringing and extending its reach
Preening its facets to make echoes jealous
It tilts, at its end, from outsize feeling to more manageable action: sleeping and waking, the unremarkable rhythms of remarkable survival.