Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams

MAGDALENA OLSZANOWSKI, CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATION STUDIES

 

Summer started right? Yes. Long bike rides in the midday sun. Rocks between my teeth.

In the sun, the tear gas smell goes away. In the sun, I forget Montréal by night. In the sun, I can’t stop smiling. But then the sun slowly sets and my new city turns into a playhouse for the

police.

Arrested and charged right? Yes. Moving peacefully, moving, moving, because I am able, because these are my city streets too.

In the night, the police are not accountable. In the night, being a woman or a child makes little difference to the popping of sound grenades. In the night, the police claim to be “protecting the streets” except they are the ones making me afraid to bike through downtown alone. In the night, I hear constant helicopters idling in the sky. In the night, closing my eyes and seeing throngs of armed and protected police charging me, comes so easy. In the night, my ears pound with the stun flash grenades. In the night, my throat seizes up unable to forget the tear gas claiming its space in my

body.

In the night, wearing my carré rouge (red square) is reason for profiling, potential abuse and arrest. In the night, they are trying to break us down and tear us apart. In the night, the police stomp their boots and bang on their batons in unison marching through the streets. In the night, I remember the baton across my chest.  In the night, I see women attacked by police and hold my breath.

I wait for the sun to rise, to see the streets again, to get on my bike and start smiling again. In the sun, I wear my carré rouge and acknowledge others doing the same thing. In the sun, I see the disapproving faces of my emblem but I

don’t worry.

In the sun, I am alive again. In the sun, I can wrap my troubles in dreams.

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