When you’ve had the long talk about why the two of you can no longer be together
And you’ve unfriended her on Facebook and blocked her Instagram as well
When you’ve placed all the pictures of her that you have on your iPad into your digital wastebasket
When you’ve deleted her as a contact on your Facetime along with all the goofy emails exchanged during that blissful time when the two of you spoke of eternity as reality
And when you have taken the time to delete the profile picture on the Groupme account you shared with her
Then you can begin the process of forgetting the sound of her panting and the curl of her toes. The loudness of her snore and the fullness of her Afro. The way she used to beat you at every game you played with her; air hockey, tennis, wrestling, love etc. And the irony of her insatiable desire to listen to Donny Hathaway on vinyl because as it turns out, giving up really is hard to do
And then you can forget all of the ground you covered with her only to have more ground appear only to realize there lay a chasm between the two of you that your love alone could never bridge. It is only then that you can forget that you tried harder than ever before but you failed all the same. It is only then that you can begin to become reacquainted with how enormous the world can be for a person that must traverse it alone. Then you will finally come to terms with the truth. And that truth is that you were always alone and you will always be alone because alone is how god made you.
He was the most promising thing that had ever happened to her nonexistent love life. He was marriage material, and it frightened her to think like that because she had never known anyone that had ever gotten married. Certainly not her mother who had her, and her sister by a former standout high school football player who eventually turned to cocaine and crystal-meth. Not her older sister who had gotten herself pregnant by a local hoodlum and want to be playboy who, when drunk, would send her pictures of his dick on snapchat. Not herself, she had never been proposed to by the boy who had impregnated her shortly after her 20th birthday and she had never wanted him to. He was an aspiring rapper who ate with his mouth open and didn’t believe in keeping a job. He had shown an intense interest in her when he met her at the bus stop. She remembered thinking that he was kind of funny looking and had a very thin long face like a camel. She wasn’t attracted to him but she loved the way he wanted her, the smile that he had given her, the crass words about the shape of her hips came out sounding rather sweet. She was even charmed by the way he had to keep pulling his pants up because he had forgotten his belt and his skinny jeans were a few sizes too big. She gave him her number. He called, they fucked a few times, she got pregnant, she told him, he never called again, he blocked her on Facebook, deactivated his Instagram and disappeared. She didn’t really care. Honestly she didn’t. He wouldn’t have made much of a father anyway. Besides she would rather raise her child by herself with no interference.
But now she met this promising brotha at a church function. He was with his family but his soul still wandered. He stood in the pulpit briefly to tell the congregation about the boy’s camp that he had started and how he needed their help. “Give me your boys” he orated “and I will do everything in my power to make men of them.” She thought this was very corny but she was still intrigued. Her son was far too young to attend the camp but she still got his business card after the service anyway. She emailed him the next day, and when he didn’t respond to her satisfaction she called him at his job and left a message with his secretary. The whole time she thought about his cream colored suit and matching tie. She ultimately became impressed by the dramatic nature in which he spoke and his extensive knowledge of scripture, not to mention his youth. He had to be the youngest settled man she had ever seen. She envied his wife and his daughter. She wanted him for her bedroom and she wanted him for her son. She didn’t feel like she was worthy of all of him just yet but she felt like she deserved a little piece. He should be able to spare that. So she continued to call him at his job, and she visited his home church, she helped out at the fundraiser for his camp, and she emailed him inspirational quotes.
Finally he began to open up about everything that his marriage was not, and she listened. She began to talk about her son, and he listened. She began to laugh hardily at all of his jokes. Even the ones that weren’t funny—especially the ones that weren’t funny. She called him sexy and said, “If your wife ever slips up then you know who to call.” He ended that conversation abruptly. So abruptly that she just knew that she had lost him and she cursed herself for it. But the next day he called back from his job and after several minutes of small talk he asked in a nervous, secretive tone if she wanted to come and see him every now and then. She said ok. He then gave her a location to meet him and she told him that she was looking forward to it.
She felt extremely accomplished when he finally reciprocated her lust. She never felt bad at all. She felt contented in knowing that she could have a piece of something great. She felt like his touch would raise her above the predetermined fate of all of her foremothers. That if he left work to be with her for an hour then that would elevate her consciousness. And that after enough hours he would come home to her and teach her little guy how to tie a tie, go fishing, and catch a football while she cooked dinner and ironed his clothes. With this young ambitious man she would be able to press the reset button on her womanhood. She had gotten his attention. She earned her hour and now she would submit to him and he would be hers for as long as it took for him to be hers.
As much as I loved to see Bree Newsome climb that flagpole and put in serious work this morning, I have to confess that taking down the Confederate Flag won’t make me feel any better. Drafting stricter gun control laws won’t put my soul at ease either. What would make me feel better about the nine people murdered while they prayed in a South Carolina church is if the person who killed them was actually treated like a mass murderer as opposed to a child who threw a temper tantrum or unconsciously hurt someone’s feelings.
I was sickened when I saw the arrest of Dylann Roof. Perhaps even more sickened than when I read about his initial crime. In the video he pulls over to the side of the road and is very calmly and gently handcuffed and walked to an awaiting squad car.
It is confirmed that the officers later took him to Burger King because he said that he was hungry. There was no repulsion from the officers, no rage, no yelling, no violent search, none of the officers roughly crammed his body to into the patrol car after he was handcuffed. No. It was almost as if they all felt sorry for the kid. The 21 year-old-kid who accidentally walked into a church, befriended a prayer group and then blew all of its members away. They treated this heathen as if he had done god’s work.
I’ve seen a child as young as 12-years-old have his head slammed against the trunk of squad cars for participating in a dice game. I’ve seen suspects pulled out of car windows, and I’ve seen faces smashed into the concrete by arresting officers. Just at the beginning of this month Dajerria Becton was slammed to the ground and had a cop put all of his bodyweight on her because she was suspected of attempting to illegally enter a swimming pool, but Dylann Roof on the other hand—Dylann Roof is a special kind of suspect. He could be any police officer’s child or brother or, to be quite honest, he could be any police officer. They probably envied him for being able to kill all of those black people at same time while they can only pick them off one by one.
One can see that the officers care about Dylann Roof in the same way that the judge at his arraignment showed that he cares for him by announcing that Dylann’s family are victims. The Judge said this at a time when Dylann could have literally still had the blood of those which he had slain on his flesh. He could have still had gunpowder residue on his fingertips and his adrenaline was probably still charged from his bold strike for the white race yet, in that moment, he is viewed sympathetically and that judge and those officers and maybe even the whole system have the compassion to immediately see the humanity in this killer. Even though he has yet to apologize or express remorse. He hasn’t found Jesus or cried or looked afraid or ashamed yet the system has a place in its heart for the Dylann Roof’s of the world. I mean I’m sure that one could ask any drug dealer in Charlotte or Raleigh (who hasn’t killed anyone) is it North Carolina state policy to buy suspects fast food after an arrest and they would laugh out loud.
If one had any doubts about the existence of white privilege in every single facet of the American Judicial System then the handling of Dylann Roof should burn that doubt to a crisp similarly to how Dylann was photographed burning the American flag. So no I really don’t care if every state building in the South takes down the Confederate Flag or if every major retail store in America refuses to sell it. For the original Confederacy was a group of treasonous guerillas that rejected federal law by violent means therefore I’m sure the descendants of these individuals will not hesitate to continue to wave its flag and believe in its principles whether it’s on front of the state capital building or not.
All I wanted was for law enforcement to look past the color of a suspect just once to see that Dylann is a vile human-being who need not be treated delicately and need not be given a value meal on his way to jail. But that didn’t happen. America has waved its true flag in dealing with the South Carolina massacre and that flag isn’t orange and blue nor is it red white and blue. That flag isn’t decorated with stars and bars nor is it decorated with stars and stripes. That flag is all white. For white is the only color that has ever mattered in this country.
If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area then you should come to this event on Friday Night.
2926 Foothill Blvd #1, Oakland, California 94601
Join us for a night filled with the moving words of Roger Porter and music by the mesmerizing Azuah.
Donations will be kindly requested, though no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
Roger Porter is a writer and educator from Oakland, CA, USA, whose first book, The Souls of Hood Folk, is available at lulu.com. He describes himself as, “An average everyday man from East Oakland who writes about average everyday hood life.” He blogs at ghettosun.com.
Inspired by the mesmerizing sounds of Lianne La Havas and the soulfulness in the music of Allen Stone, Azuah is underway of making her debut in the music world as an alternative folk and blues artist with just the right touch of soul. Her emotionally provocative songwriting in juxtaposition with her haunting melodies captivates her audiences from the first note until the last strum.
There is ample street parking, but just to make it easy, there is an O’Reilly Auto Parts/Walgreens on the corner of Fruitvale and Foothill with a huge parking lot. Here’s a Google Map link: https://www.google.com/maps/place/O’Reilly+Auto+Partsemail@example.com,-122.233008,14z/data=!4m5!1m2!2m1!1so+reilly+auto+parts+near+Foothill+Blvd,+Oakland,+CA!3m1!1s0x0000000000000000:0xa74c9fbc2152bd68
Nomadic Press should show up on that map as well. We are just in between Austin and Rutherford on Foothill.
Hope to see you soon!
Somewhere along the way I lost confidence in my solitude and became dependent on that which cannot be trusted. This must have happened around the same time my soul was uprooted, the soil beneath my feet eroded, and I realized that I was disappearing. One can only trust a person to be a person. Unfortunately I put my trust in humanity and strayed away from my craft. Flesh is tempting yet woefully unfulfilling. We were all born having to carry the burden of the original sin thus we spend our whole lives falling. On this night I want to begin the process of falling in love with myself yet again.
I slept for far too long last night. So long that I woke up still feeling lethargic as if the entire day had escaped my grasp and I would have to wait until tomorrow to do something productive. I lay in my bed feeling like stagnation is my only option, like why should I even try, like my efforts won’t make any kind of difference in the world. I woke up feeling like no amount of education that I could ever receive would stop any white authority figure from killing me in the street or prevent any group of neighborhood goons from robbing my house or stop my loved ones from losing their minds.
I could get a PhD and be a professor at the most prestigious university in the world yet somehow, someway I would be reminded everyday that I was brought to this country to be a slave and nothing more. To be dependent and illiterate, to never own anything, and to always be humble. Lauryn Hill once said, “I look at my environment and I wonder where the fire went” and she spoke the absolute truth.
Every time I walk down Macarthur Boulevard or Bancroft or E14th in East Oakland I wonder what happened. Why can’t we have a thriving black business district like Mexican-Americans, Asians, and Whites? Why do we allow Arabs to sell drugs legally (alcohol which they do not consume) from every corner in my community while young black men get arrested for selling drugs in front of the same stores? Why do we create music that places strippers on a pedestal while simultaneously devaluing educated businesswomen who work for paychecks and not dollar bills? Why don’t we have our own police force comprised of people who are actually from our community and look like us instead of a bunch of white boys who grew up in places like Castro Valley and Napa and have no idea what its like to grow up in the hood? And finally why is the objective of successful blacks always to leave the hood as opposed to making the hood better? When experts speak of the phenomenon of brain drought they often discuss it in reference to developing countries like Pakistan and India when they ought to be looking at how this phenomenon has manifested itself domestically. The American ghetto has been the birthplace of the most creative, brilliant, and transformative minds that this world has ever known yet with each individual success there is a departure, which leaves the same void that ultimately, keeps the black ghetto from becoming a respectable fully contained black community. Our most capable compatriots would rather work for the white man than work for themselves. We have digested so much hatred for so long that we no longer question what white society is feeding us. So we spend our whole lives trying to be validated by our oppressor and of course we fail. We move out into the suburbs in an effort to be accepted by whites and of course we are rejected. We go to their schools and sacrifice knowledge-of-self for academic success only to spend the rest of our adult lives confused about who we truly are.
What happened to the revolution? We are currently in the midst of a movement that is screaming Black Lives Matter to white people in an age where we don’t value our own lives. We don’t know that we come from greatness. We don’t know that we were the original people. We don’t know that our women are the most envied in the entire world. At what point do we put ourselves first? At what point do we keep our resources in our community?
To be a Black-American in the 21st century is such a bizarre experience. The summer before last I found myself in Paris approaching the Eiffel Tower when I saw a young black man with a Wiz Khalifa shirt on. The day before that I had seen a young Parisian man driving down the street with a Compton hat on. It tripped me out when I realized the impact that my people have on global culture. I thought about the dichotomy of on the one hand having the entire world wanting to be just like you while on the other hand being a member of a culture that continues to be robbed of its self-esteem and made to feel inferior to every other culture. And so many of us die not knowing that so many people the world over would die to be us.
We have been asleep for too long. Our luminaries have left us in the dark and we have somehow learned to make being blind fashionable. But we still need vision. We need to see that how other people see us is not nearly as important as how we see ourselves. We need to see that we can make our own community better but first we need to see that it’s worth it. We need to see the humanity in one another. We need to see the beauty in ourselves. We need to wake up, get out of bed, and unlearn all of this hate.
I stand alone even when I am in the middle of a great body of people. I don’t lend myself to the movement or to the moment but rather I am always hyper-aware of my own individuality. People die not knowing what love is. At times I wish that I could have spent my entire life in such oblivion. If only I could have never loved then I wouldn’t know the acute pain of having to lose what you are convinced that you need. My circle of family and friends is too small to even make a circle. Trust is an issue and love is a liability.
At some point I adopted the mentality that a man should never be vulnerable and when I think about it, isn’t that what love is? Isn’t love accepting the reality that you need another person to feel complete? Isn’t falling in love merely a romanticized sacrifice of one’s own individuality? Love is a stain. Love is a handicap. Love is a selfish thing that never gives back what it takes. Often times I’ll sit back and reflect on all the ways that my own lens victimizes me. How the trauma that comes along with betrayal has tainted my interactions with others.
There are gorgeous days when I somehow manage to keep the pain contained in my subconscious mind. Days when I feel free enough to ask for guidance, to ask for help, to ask for salvation. There are nights when I feel connected to an entity that exists outside of my own flesh. There are days when I allow myself to draw the conclusion that staying alone does not necessarily mean being alone. And on these nights I dream half a dream and she conjures up the missing piece. When the sun rises we put the pieces together. We speak on a shared future. We plan out our day, our weekend, our lives, and everything feels very normal. Then I fall asleep again in poor health and wake up feeling just as guilty as a junky that has relapsed once again. I stand alone in front of the shrine paying homage to my lost soul and hoping that god will listen to a man who refuses to get on his knees.