Even as I often think about how white running is, and how white and privileged the spaces I run in are, I rarely (if ever?) post about it on this blog. Why not–maybe something to interrogate further? But when I saw this thread about the recent murder of Ahmaud Arbery while he was running through his neighborhood, I knew I needed to post it here. This thread offers a brief history of the whiteness of running and the dangers of running while black and links to several useful articles, including:
- The killing of Ahmaud Arbery highlights danger of jogging while black
- On Running and Gentrification: Rat Race
river road, south/edmund, north/33rd street, west/44th ave, south
Overcast this morning but not too cold or too windy. The river road is completely closed to cars now. Much quieter and calmer. Not crowded–except for all the green on the edge of the bluff blocking the view. Didn’t see the river even once. Barely glimpsed the oak savanna by the ancient boulder that looks like an armchair. Don’t remember hearing many birds. No clickity-clacks from a roller skier. Did hear a small group of bikers talking as they approached from the north. I can’t remember what I thought about–maybe that’s partly because I’m writing this hours after my run. Recited “Ode to My Right Knee” a few more times. A good, uneventful run.
After looking way too long for a poem I might post, I found this beautiful one by Linda Paston. I first encountered her through her poem Vertical (which I experimented with on this blog a few years ago).
I Am Learning To Abandon the World/ Linda Pastan
I am learning to abandon the world
before it can abandon me.
Already I have given up the moon
and snow, closing my shades
against the claims of white.
And the world has taken
my father, my friends.
I have given up melodic lines of hills,
moving to a flat, tuneless landscape.
And every night I give my body up
limb by limb, working upwards
across bone, towards the heart.
But morning comes with small
reprieves of coffee and birdsong.
A tree outside the window
which was simply shadow moments ago
takes back its branches twig
by leafy twig.
And as I take my body back
the sun lays its warm muzzle on my lap
as if to make amends.
The site on found this poem on is fascinating. I’ve been returning it to every so often–anonymous, combining fragments from their life with poems.