If I am anything at all, I am a misanthrope and a writer. In that order. The world continually offers up evidence that people who look like me--simply because they look like me--must continually prove that they are human, and not merely human, but some extraordinary version of human, in order for their lives to matter in the official narrative of this country and I take this as reason enough to retreat from the world, into my room, into my books. However, once I get there, I cannot help but write and put those words back out into the world. This must mean that, despite myself, I have extraordinary faith (however tentative or fleeting) that language, the act of writing or interpreting, of telling a new story or revising an old one, matters in some large, tangible way. I don't know what way that is exactly. But I do hope that, by providing a space for those stories to land, this feature will contribute to the necessary work of providing evidence to the contrary--evidence of the sustaining power of outrage, of the creativity needed to imagine and render the world otherwise, and of black thriving despite everything.
Cam Awkward-Rich has represented the bay area at multiple national poetry slams and is on staff at Muzzle Magazine. His work has appeared/is forthcoming in Nepantla, The Bakery, The Seattle Review and elsewhere. He is also a PhD candidate in Modern Thought & Literature at Stanford University. You can find Cam on public transit somewhere.