Motion and Resistance


by Harold Abramowitz & Janice Lee

One wakes up in the morning and laments on how he might get out of bed in the morning. It is cold on this winter’s precipice—outside, a sad song—and the silence he has inherited isn’t an easy hurdle to overcome. Still, the heater is much too far to walk to right now; his feet aren’t accustomed to traversing kingdoms. Still, he isn’t completely awake yet, hasn’t had his morning coffee yet. Still, he ought to check what is happening online, watch a cute animal video to lift his spirits because it is cold this morning and the world is cold and dark and gruelling and it is a difficult time to be alive.

One, in a conversation with another, hears something said that resembles a shot fired. It is unclear whether the shot misses, and despite the trajectory or intent or possibly “accidental” slippage of the tongue, one feels they ought to speak out. Did anyone else hear what was said? one wonders, and in the wondering, the majority, the individuals that constitute the majority—on the cusp of being united and acting in accordance with the moral beliefs the individuals of the group want to believe they believe in—slip into impermanence, have been convinced one is in the minority, have been convinced it is better to stay silent or to avoid a ruckus.

One wakes up in the morning and understands that the trauma he has inherited is something to be grappled with, every day. One wakes up in the morning and every morning, it is a small victory to find the courage to get out of bed and do anything.

One decides to speak up, because this happens every day, and each event of speaking out is another time that someone decided this isn’t okay and did something about it.

It was one morning. There was waking up in the morning. There were nightmares and bad dreams, and insomnia. The thoughts wouldn’t start coming. But, then the feeling of feet on the streets. The moment to meet the times. The places we live. Feet on the streets. My feet on the streets, or my ears on the ground. And then we turn and look at each other and understand that these are the times we live in.

And whose feet do I hear, as I simultaneously listen for feet and feel my own feet.

I was never going to wake up to the sounds of vacuums, to the sounds of songs about the devil or any other god. And what is my response?

So, every motion that we make: We set up our signs and our candles on the street and it might be raining or there might be wind or it might be a sunny day. I am told that it is important to maintain my health. To hear, to listen, to what the times call for because we are living in today and are yet becoming. To not internalize oppression before it occurs, to not anticipate and act on, and therefore create, that which has not, and may not happen. That all forms of resistance matter: Large or small. Familiar or unfamiliar. That there is no time to hierarchize forms of resistance. That Carrie Fisher said, “Stay afraid, but do it anyway.”  That this is how some of us have always been doing it, as if we have been in training for these days all of our lives. That we need to acknowledge that, that which we do every day, that which we have done all of our lives, acknowledge that the tactics, resistances, large and small, familiar and unfamiliar, are valuable, are nothing new, are the ways we have been living, are that which will see us through until tomorrow.

Don’t tell me not to be stricken with horror when I am stricken with horror. Don’t tell me not to be paralyzed by horror when I am paralyzed by horror. Carrie Fisher said, “Stay afraid, but do it anyway.” That is what I am doing, what I have always been doing, doing for a thousand years. I can do this thing. I can do this thing. Because it helps to talk about these things. Know that I have something I have to talk to you about. And then, should we whisper when we talk? What should our tone be? What should the level, the volume, of our conversation be? I know what I am talking about because I have studied, because I study, because I am listening to what the times are telling me, and I am here to help others who, for whatever reason, are not able to hear. I am here to listen to what others are saying. I am in the street, carrying a sign. I am talking on the telephone. I am listening to people talking. Sign o’ the Times. Time is a way in which we persist. “Aging is a sin,” said Madonna. “The most radical thing I did was stick around,” said Madonna. And yet the persistence is an insistence on number and on a present moment that has depended on a past one, that will affect the future one, but we know already that time is not linear, that time does not move so swiftly or regularly, that there is no such thing as “now” and so that because experience is embodied, so too is time, so too is the lifting of a finger, the utterance of a word, the balling of a fist, the resistance, the resistance, another resistance.

Last night I crossed a river in my dream and so today I translate the journey into thinking for tomorrow.

Last night I did not die in my sleep, and because time passes faster for my head than for my feet, I saw the trajectory out the door before I was able to walk down the hallway to place my hand on the doorknob.

Outside it is quiet, but it is raining.

Outside it is raining, and I can hear the cars on the wet pavement.

Cement is only one ingredient of concrete and the manufacturing process has been around longer than the freeways.


About the Authors:

Janice Lee is the author of KEROTAKIS (Dog Horn Press, 2010), Daughter (Jaded Ibis, 2011), Damnation (Penny-Ante Editions, 2013), Reconsolidation (Penny-Ante Editions, 2015), and The Sky Isn’t Blue (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016). She writes about the filmic long take, slowness, interspecies communication, the apocalypse, and asks the question, how do we hold space open while maintaining intimacy? She is Founder & Executive Editor of Entropy, Co-Publisher at Civil Coping Mechanisms, and Contributing Editor at Fanzine. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Fiction at Portland State University.

Harold Abramowitz’s books include Blind Spot (Civil Coping Mechanisms #Recurrent, 2016), Not Blessed (Les Figues Press, 2010), Dear Dearly Departed (Palm Press, 2008), Man’s Wars and Wickedness: A Book of Proposed Remedies and Extreme Formulations for Curing Hostility, Rivalry, and Ill-Will (with Amanda Ackerman, Bon Aire Projects, 2018), and UNFO Burns A Million Dollars (with Amanda Ackerman, Gauss PDF, 2014). Harold co-edits the short-form literary press eohippus labs, and writes and edits as part of the collaborative projects, SAM OR SAMANTHA YAMS and UNFO. He lives in Los Angeles where he teaches in the Department of General Studies at Charles R. Drew University.