Screaming Just To Scream.

Screaming Just To Scream

By Jenna Knapp

Photos by Flow Johnson
Photos by Flow Johnson

I grew up in a small town, two hours west. Where my graduating class had an entire fifty-nine kids in it. The best week of the year was homecoming. Where we got to make floats for the parade before the big football game. We hooked them up to tractors and moved slowly through the practically empty streets. Cheering for ourselves, more than anything. And screaming just to scream.

I couldn’t help but think about that feeling, last night, on my first underwear bike ride through Milwaukee. Biking down streets, some as empty as my small hometown, screaming just to scream. And being screamed at. Thank You! What. The. Fuck. Oh, I get it. They’re all naked! You’re an inspiration. Whoooop. Yesssss. This is spectacular. What. Are. You. Doing! Where did y'all come from?

Hundreds and hundreds of people. Celebrating summer. Their bodies. Their thongs riding up. Their skin exposed. Their Milwaukee beer bellies bouncing. The way it feels to be practically naked on a twelve mile bike ride after a ninety-degree day. The way it feels to be sprayed with a garden sprinkler by a stranger as we bike past her home. The way it feels to sit in the middle of Washington Park at the pavilion as the sky turns bright orange. The way it feels to yell through Miller Valley and hear your voice bounce back at you. The way it feels to ride alongside strangers. The way it feels to swerve and speed and slow and stop, collectively. The way it feels to forget about the pain of this city, for a night.

Because the problems will be there tomorrow, on both sides of the highway. West to East. And Milwaukee’s segregation will still be palpable. And they will keep building the arena. And blocking the view of the river with more and more condominiums, anticipating people moving back into the city. And there will still be hungry people at intersections. And too many police at the lakefront. And not enough smiling at strangers. And no screaming just to scream.

But tonight, tonight, we ride 

photos, WordsFlow Johnson