Rosamond S. King Can't Breathe

“Breathe. As in”

Breathe. As in to take a breath.
Synonym for breath: respiration.

Can’t. As in unable to.

I. As in first person singular.
Homonym for I: eye.

Everyone knows who the I is – who is the we?
How big are your eyes – whose suffocation are you able to see?

Police and state violence against trans people is (also) spectacular.
As in a spectacle, often resulting in rape, other grievous injury,

or death.
But the I can’t see.
Police and state violence against women, especially
poor women of color, is so normalized it is
typically invisible to the I.

can’t breathe = lack of respiration
respite ≠ respiration
aspiration: not a loosening of the chokehold/noose                                                                                                       but its removal:

Body cameras will not change
the over-policing of communities of color.
The  re-training of one-on-one tactics is not a solution
to the militarization of police tools and tactics.


Revitalization (from vīta, Latin for life) of people of color communities, beginning with schools, job training, and the physical environment, providing an accessible route to legal, living wage jobs.
Dismantling of the economic, political, and legal structures that have supported underdevelopment of particular communities.
Work by white people, among white people, to destroy ideologies that result in the ability to see other human beings as beasts.

I/we/you should not act like the only right we have is the right to remain silent.
Breathe. As in:


Rosamond S. King is a critical and creative writer and artist teaching at Brooklyn College. Her book Island Bodies: Transgressive Sexualities in the Caribbean Imagination was published in 2014 by the University Press of Florida.

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