Tamir Rice

Move from that distance to intimacy

On Rickey Laurentiis’ “I Saw I Dreamt Two Men” and empathy

“Disembodiment is a kind of terrorism, and the threat of it alters the orbit of all our lives and, like terrorism, this distortion is intentional,” writes Ta-Nehisi Coates. In Between the World and Me, Coates illustrates how disembodiment is both the catalyst and conclusion of racist acts; he writes to his son that America’s history of racism against its black citizens, including the figuring of these citizens as black in opposition to a white ruling class, means “first and foremost, to deny you and me the right to secure and govern our own bodies.”


One of the most powerful poems I read last year is Rickey Laurentiis’s “I Saw I Dreamt Two Men,” and after having it running in the back of my head for months, I think I am starting to see how the poem responds to the terrorism of disembodiment, and how it asks its reader: And you? How does your body belong to, or participate in, this body politic?

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