First visit to market

 

How do aliens buy local?

What currency do they use

Food stamps, time shells

Blackblood fuel

 

How do aliens eat local?

What appliances do they need

Sun Rays, X rays

Radon seeds

 

How do aliens think global?

What conscience should we use

Third Eye, World Lie

Mapa’s Blues

 

by: Chris Vaughn

A poem inspired by the Alien Nation project

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.

275-6: Tobacco, Sugar & Coffee

Whenever Baby cries, mother would fetch a bottle of tobacco leaves, coffee grains and sugar water, shake it up and give it to baby.  Delighted, baby would expose their black tongue and yellow gums. Baby goes to sleep and mother slave puts on her high heels and leaves for work.

Tobacco, sugar or coffee will never feed a community.  Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade kidnapped Afrikans and forced them to grow tobacco, sugarcane and coffee; cash crops that did not value subsistence but prioritized profit.  The expansion of such cash crops are one of the metrics that differentiate Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade from slavery within the Motherland.  Close-minded scholars would compare these different types of slavery to diminish the ruthless and continual effects of imperialism.  Look to agriculture as an indicator.  African slave-owners had slaves, yes, to grow cassava and subsistence crops to maintain the health of a society. Agricultural techniques and culture were shared between captor and captive because despite differences, there is a respect for humanity and a reverence for the ground that provides food.  Captives, in their lifetime, could have land and be leaders in their new community.

When tobacco and sugar were exported to Europe, it was not to sustain a population, it was to quench the bourgeoisie’s greedy addiction to luxury items.  European aristocracy had no vested interest in the humanity and culture of slaves, nor did they value the soil that provided them with the commodities they desired.  They worked both Afrikan and soil mercilessly.  They were not feeding families, just potbellies and egos.  Slavery sucks. But do not put slavery in the Americas and slavery within Afrika on the same level.

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Panafrikan dances

Panafrikan dances when and where they please.

Harlem-shakes in the courtyards of Harare

Isicathulo deep in the metro stations of Montreal.

Capoiera on rooftops in Grenada

Slow whine in front of cracked mirrors of high-school washrooms in Belize

Panafrikan can sway, lunge, lift, slide, whine-up, twerk, twist and shout across borders, checkpoints and coat check lines. Nuh mind dem.

Panafrikan rubs shea butter on their hard thighs.

Cassamance mango juice lick dry forearms as fruit flesh and skin fuse in the clenched black palms of dancer.

Sovereign and untaxed.

Panafrikan is not exotic. Not an anomaly to be praised, or shunned, or studied.

They are not the exception

Dancing since a time before their watches and their watches

Chuh.

Panafrikan, like Panafrikan, sings in sun and sense

Improvises on patterns of leaves and stories

Strikes decisive chords of Discipline Sharp

And chops a clean development

How yuh mean? Our Panafrikan!

Watch ah dance so sweet!

They must get it from they gran-gran so.

Feel ah whine so sure

they must get it for they gran-chile  so.

How yuh mean? We Panafrikan!

Briefcase hail mop and

Rake teach diploma.

Panafrikan dances where and when they please.

If you please. Panafrikan.

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…Who Got the Flyest Chain

These cats drink champagne and toast death and pain like slaves on a ship talking about who go the flyest chain.

Talib Kweli &DJ Hi-Tek, African Dream from Reflection Eternal: Train of Thought.

pawel05

One of the hauntingly breath-taking pieces from Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski.  Click here to see more of this amazing series.

 

 

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275-4: Black Gold, Black Power

Composting is the managed biological process that optimizes the conditions for microbes to break down organic waste in the presence of oxygen, transforming the organic waste into a versatile soil amendment primarily used to improve soil quality.

Composting, a stream of organics recycling, is location-specific, which physically ties the process to a limited circumference.  This differs from other recycling processes, where materials are shipped across oceans to be used or discarded.  The enforced circumference of organics recycling has people at its center and calls for greater stewardship and communal responsibility over the management of food waste.

The result of this process is compost also known as Black Gold. As communities of colour work towards self-determination, I believe that Compost can be a useful aid in reclaiming agency over oppressive living situations. The discipline of composting and the product that it yields can serve as a testament for communities to acknowledge their potential involvement in the food cycle.  Labelled as consumers, black communities if they so choose can identify themselves as producers, as agriculturalists  and in so doing, access more decision-making power  as to how their neighbourhoods flourish.

However, there is much work to be done to insure that organics recycling brings power to the people, and not get co-opted and green-washed by removed, capitalist interests.  This is hard.  Large-scale compost facilities tend to be built in struggling neighbourhoods often without consent from residents therein.  Traffic increases, pollution skyrockets all at the expense of the peoples’ health.

I do believe that organics recycling can be an integral step towards Afrikan Self-determination, symbiotically balancing black gold and black power all while resisting climate change and environmental degradation.

275-2: Black Green Consciousness

A greater enlightenment of the environmental consciousness of Black peoples living within capitalist nations is the necessary harbinger for solid actions towards true environmental sustainability.  White environmentalists cannot fully strategize for worldwide environmental stewardship without acknowledging the active role that white society continually plays in dehumanizing indigenous cultures by the fundamental reality of exploiting lands and waters. Once they have patted themselves on the back for humble declaration of their privilege, the white environmentalist should then take the extra step and stand the fuck down so that the victims of environmental racism can find solutions that work for them.  Afrikans of the diaspora, like the rare metals of the earth and the biodiversity of the waters, have lived through and continue to be the victims of the most violent environmental atrocities, atrocities backed up by ill-thought out policies that prioritize profit.  Many cultures across the world  have been manipulated, indoctrinated, accosted and bamboozled by academics, missionaries and governments all of whom want nothing else than to secure their own social position and economic superiority.  Displaced Blacks have suffered a particular offence by being ripped from their land and exploited through slavery. Today, it is the chains of waged labour, over-consumption and environmental indifference that keep us in bondage.

However, like Mother Nature, Blacks are resilient. We must resist following the allure of the thoughtless greed machine and understand how we are connected to land, air and water.  We must understand that we cannot afford (nor should we seek) the false luxury of over-consumption that media titillates our senses with.  It is bad for our health and our earth.  We must act and find a different way.