Prophylactic

Prob­a­bly my favorite thing about Rafeeq is that he tells his truth and damn you if you can’t han­dle it. The oth­er night at his read­ing at the Lit he told us that unless we write from per­son­al expe­ri­ence and belief our stuff is going to con­tin­ue suck­ing. I’ve been real­ly strug­gling with writ­ing late­ly, and I think this is because I’ve been try­ing to train myself into some sort of con­for­mi­ty to sta­tus quo and accept­able emo­tion. I’ve been putting an emo­tion­al con­dom on my poet­ry. Rafeeq’s stuff is very per­son­al, and read­ing it in front of a bunch of white folks who’ve prob­a­bly nev­er even seen the inside of a jail cell must seem so futile. Para­phras­ing, he said that though we might appre­ci­ate his writ­ing, we can’t empathize with it, and that’s very true. I’ve nev­er seen the inside of a jail cell, and while I can’t empathize with the expe­ri­ence, I can empathize with the frus­tra­tion that he must some­times feel. I’m just grate­ful that he’s some­times will­ing to share those strange sides to me. Once Andy posts the video of Rafeeq I’ll link to it here.

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