I know a guy

Is what we joke the mobsters say. Is the nepotism famous in our state. I know a guy is how anyone becomes president, how anyone wins. It is the knit cap with eyeholes that all the real thieves are wearing, their power suit. I know a guy— colloquialism for privilege— it's in a handshake, hidden cash— white power + patriarchy passing bills back and forth.

Power relies on our isolation, our dependence, our last dollar. If we don't know a guy, we have to buy: food + medicine + booze + gas + infant formula + abortions + legal help + bail. We have to buy internet, and then search it obsessively for a beating heart.

But it's not just the gangsters and billionaires who know a guy. It is actually an age-old attitude of resilience. Everyone whose people have survived under conditions where power preferred them dead or submissive has survived because of the network of care fostered in service of survival. It is also a profoundly agricultural attitude— it is only since I started farming that I really began to understand the subversive reciprocity that is possible in community. This season I "knew a guy" who could drive my hogs to slaughter and a guy who could slaughter them and a guy who let me butcher by her side. I knew a guy with a basement full of grow lights when my greenhouse fell through. I knew a bunch of guys also trying to grow vegetables in a drought, each with helpful advice. I knew a guy with a pie. I knew a guy with manure, a guy with leaves, a guy with a post-hole digger. I knew an elder with herb knowledge, I knew a child with good ideas about the shape of a garden.

I know a self-taught HVAC expert; I know a guy who reads law all night for fun. I know three plus herbalists, four plus masseurs. I know a guy who really knows her history. I know 3+ DJs, 5+ drummers, at least a flash mob's worth of ass-shakers. Several well-read intersectional feminists. A lot of poets. My sister got in the truck the morning after the election and said "Well. I guess I've got to study law." Another friend said she's learning nursing. Another, midwifery and abortions. There is what you know and what you are ready to learn.

I woke to Trump-elect and did a quick inventory of what I've got:

How to can tomatoes— write poems— bake bread— large-item bike transport— wintertime ocean swim to confirm you are alive— vegetable tips— moon-howl— a recipe for dandelion wine— books for many occasions— amateur tarot— last-minute Seekonk campout— a buddy at the poetry slam— hangin out with your kid— amateur officiant at your queer love ceremony— white friend at your sucky confrontation with a racist dude— sure I will do the North-South trail with you and bring good snacks—

and that's just what's legal. Depending on who you are, I might be your guy deep, beyond the reach of what can be printed.

I want to practice saying that: "I'm your guy." And also asking are you my guy when I need something. Just in case obamacare crumbles and food stamps disappear and ICE shows up and the cops multiply; in case we encounter even more frequently the many faces under the knit mask. Two can play the favors game.

We can meet online, but we also have to be face to face and hold each others' babies. We have to meet at the soil, around a fire, around actual hot food reading poems.

This is all to say that Sidewalk Ends Farm is here for you— we know some stuff and have some stuff and know a lot of awesome people who also know and have a lot of caring skills + useful tools. One of the young women at our camp pointed out that spade forks make good riot tools— just sayin. HMU.

 

 

L