• Libbie

Screenshots - Love in the Time of Apocalypse

I've been collecting screenshots, because what else can I do? Aside from the donations of cash to bail funds and community funds and legal funds, I mean.

In the city, the police have withdrawn from the East Precinct and the citizens of Seattle have captured it and held it behind barricades and walls of warm flesh, the people linked arm in arm. These are words you never think you'll say about the place you live. Or the place where you grew up, a place indistinguishable from your heart.

They have spray-painted new letters over the East Precinct sign. It is now Seattle People's Department, not police department, with a black-and-white fist raised on the plywood coyly covering the doors. On New Year's Eve, 2014, we stopped to get coffee in the shop opposite the precinct building, because I have never been a late-night person and I was fading fast. And when even the coffee failed to pick me up, we went up to the model unit in the apartment building where Paul worked and quietly we let ourselves in. We lay on the hardwood floor and listened to the sounds of the crowd on the street below, and watched the fireworks flashbang in a different sky. A celebration over a place that is now called Free Capital Hill, and the Autonomous Zone.

Screenshots. The corner where we stopped for coffee. The alcove on Broadway where once I heard a woman playing an electric violin, and I was drunk and wildly in love, and the music bent around the corners of buildings and followed me out into the rain. And now the alcove bears the names of those who have died in an uprising, and Amnesty For All, and Please Do Not Live Stream the Vigil, and I can't separate the present from the past, the chanting from the music.

Someday, years from now, I will come across this little cache of images on a terabyte drive or whatever we'll have then for storing our data. A cloud that spins around us endlessly, that takes the bits of ourselves out beyond the mutable borders of self and into the great unknown. I will see the corner, the alcove, the fresh bright paint, the orange barricade with the cardboard sign: Welcome to Free Capital Hill. And the image I captured of the one I love, who is still, all these years later, like the sound of an electric violin to me, chasing me, compelling.

Photo: Alexander Haynes

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