275-10 When the Motor Cuts


When the motor cuts off and the silence of the seas speaks urgent nothings to the cold darkness, I wish to kill my brother. I would muster up what little strength still lurks in my gaunt frame and with one desperate heave I’d topple his snoring ass overboard. The sudden force would rock the overcrowded pirogue, waking the others from their uncomfortable slumber. Startled, they would shine the one flashlight that still works and someone would realize that a body has disappeared. I bet they would look at me, with cutting stares that sting of indifference and mistrust and understanding. They would close their eyelids again, resting their head next to their rusty knife, or stone or whatever impromptu weapon they have befriended on the trip.

He sleeps, and I don’t know how. His buttocks cushioned by the few CFA bills stuffed in his pockets, the continual waves of hunger pains banging at the side of the bottom don’t seem to bother him as much as they do me. To think, he is not even a fisherman like the rest of us, and we trust him to bring us under the cover of night from Saint Louis to Casablanca. I think that is where we are going. I hear the names of far off cities in prayers and mumbled dreams. Here we are, my fisherman intuition drained and depleted like the life from the sea below, knowing full well that the weight of our needs cannot compete against the merciless western waves. .

The motor coughs and rumbles again, its humming second only to that of the floating Russian fish factory towering next to us.

275-9: The Black Rivers

A stream of brackish water trickles down the pavement’s slope and conflates before it kisses the brim of my shoe; and I am thinking of black history month. My vision simultaneously focuses on two streams, divided, yet from the same source, heading in the same direction. I focus my attention on the stream on the right and listen to the sweeping undercurrents of assimilation. It meanders, compelled by the gravel stones of capitalist interests , municipal planning and negative peace. It exhumes the stench of a sweat-stained gym shirt, worn proudly by a gaunt rookie. Relentlessly he reaches for a bar set just out of his reach and insidiously smothered with grease by his his very own teammates. They have no intention of making you captain, bruh. In fact, they don’t want you on the team. The first stream crashes against the clipped wing of decaying pigeon. The other stream quickly rolls by with direction and conviction, galvanized by the pull of frustration and non-conformity. It pushes paternalistic pebbles out of its path, losing a bit of itself at every encounter. It loses steam despite its militant efforts to push through. It exasperates, inches before reaching a nearby puddle.

I inhale and place the butt of a tightly rolled joint at the crest of my ear. Bending down on one knee, I trace my two index fingers along the wet paths of the two black rivers. Each finger then draws intersecting diagonal lines across my forehead. I breathe deeply and swallow the taste of earthy contemplation soaked in my spit. I light up, inhale and extinguish in the plant outside of my office building. Onward.

275-8: Church the Underpaid Robot

Laughing to himself, Church stiffens his back, his entire body becoming erect. In a slow and lazy fashion he lifts his left arm then snaps his neck to the right, his small afro shaken by the sudden stop. The robot dance never seemed more appropriate.  In his corporate attire, Church continues with his B-boy Babylon moves, his pop-lock-your-ass-is-got breaking.   The plantation boogie has now moved to Church’s knees and to the bottom of his feet as he begins to moonwalk across his living room floor.  There is no synthesized beat to keep rhythm or hard bass line to guide his meticulous footsteps.  In his mind, the beat is stronger than any.  It’s the rhythm of punching clock, the tempo of metro doors closing and opening, the monotone melody   your pupils murmur when staring at a computer for hours.  It is the white collar jive, the no-money minstrel show.  Church is on a roll and sweat beads down the side of his cheek.  The well-toned muscles tense and release making Church’s body jolt, coil and sway. Instinct, Doubt and Temptation.  Streams of hot sweat begin to meander around the neck of the urban Zulu dancer and soak the collar of his pressed business shirt. Under it, his tank top clamps unto his rib cage, a new bright white epidermis on the melanin stricken skin of your average black nobody. The movements become more frantic, extensions of the limbs more sudden and vibrant.  Friction between his socks and the apartment’s musty carpet set the sole of his feet afire. The  thump from the apartment above doesn’t even phase Church instead it serves as an audio catalyst enhancing the otherwise soundless high-fevered prancing of an underpaid, under-appreciated but dangerously well-groomed and disturbingly polite new-age field negro. But man, can this brother jive!

(excerpt from a story I started writing a few years back….)

275-7: The Whip and The Horn

This someone insisted that I remove the words honky and cracker from my facebook status.  They scowled me for using racist terminology. This someone said that I am committing reverse-racism.  This someone warned me that by calling people honkies or crackers, that I may risk alienating allies and other white supporters that are also down for the cause.  This someone insinuated that I may lose my job.   This someone says “ You don’t like it when a white person calls you a nigger?  So don’t drop to that level by using the word honky and cracker.  Turn the other cheek.” This someone quoted scriptures to denounce my actions and then paused to let the deafening silence of white jesus approve this someone’s moral sermon.

Cracker please.

Cracker and Honky are descriptors that stem from one’s actions.  A cracker cracks the whip of white supremacy and white privilege on the backs of working blacks and beats them senseless with unjust laws and capitalist agendas.  A honky toots his horn at two in the morning in low-income communities, accosting vulnerable people in order to assuage his self-centered desire for sex, drugs and power all while non-chalantly breaking down the many social structures set in place by the people.  Don’t want to be called a cracker? Simple, drop the whip.  Don’t like being called honky? Well, get out the damn car and act like you got enough sense to know that the world does not revolve around you.

The crazy thing is that this someone is my Afrikan ass.  It’s the second-guessing that despite all the evidence, my reasoning may not be logical. Or valid. Such is racism.