Untitled/ On Bad Days

On bad days, such as this one I feel as though I’m wasting my grind. I’m no longer thinking like an artist. I’m hanging on to the old days like the neighborhood addict who used to be the captain of the football team that one year they went undefeated. Back when they were raw. All the teenage boys think that he’s lying, but he really was a star athlete back in the day. None of it matters too much to anyone else but him now though.

 

At any rate that’s how I feel when I tell a college student that I once wrote a book. Or that I used to get published in magazines, and they look at me like I’m a panhandling junky in Fisherman’s Wharf. And actually, I kind of am. My cardboard sign reads “Haven’t had confirmation in years. Anything helps.” It’s all very pathetic.

 

I used to have a jones for this shit. Writing before the sun came up. Performing new material at readings around the Bay Area at least one weekend out of every month and only associating with other artists. Now I have to force my own hand. It makes a man wonder where do waning passions retreat to and does Southwest fly there?

 

Without my drive I am incomplete looking back down the road of past success. Scared to go forward and scared to put my art out there. I’ve allowed myself to become spoiled by the complacency of having dental benefits and a professional title. I have forgotten that I am a savage. I forgot that I don’t care. I know I promised myself that I never would but I fear that I have indeed lost my soul.

 

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Notes on the killer of Jazmine Barnes Being a Black Man

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Earlier today it was revealed that the killer of Jazmine Barnes is not a white man in his forties but rather a black man in his twenties. My thoughts on the matter can be summed up in one sentence: “We need to keep that same energy.” A seven-year-old girl was murdered and we should be just as appalled that a black man did it as we were when we thought the killer was a white man. There should be just as much outrage, there should be the same outpouring of sympathy, and there should be the same amount of media coverage now that we know that the killer is black. As a matter of fact, even if we knew that the killer was black to begin with there still should have been national outrage.

 

The other day I wrote a blog condemning America for its racism as it manifested itself in the murder of Jazmine Barnes. Today I want to speak to the problems that come along with not highlighting black on black crime as the most significant issue facing our community. And I think that everyone who lives in predominantly black communities from Newark to Chicago to Oakland would agree with me when I say that a black life is just as precious no matter what color the perpetrator that decides to take it.

 

When Nia Wilson was killed by a suspected white supremacist in July at Macarthur BART Station there was international outrage. There were even several celebrities who condemned the act. Less than a week later a 21-year-old woman was shot to death along with a 19-year-old man in East Oakland and there was nothing. Outside of the Deep East Oakland community where the killings took place it seemed as if no one cared. As if black teenagers being killed presumably at the hands of another black individual isn’t quite sensational enough.

 

I blame the current state of lack of outrage on people who don’t live in the ghettoes of America controlling the Black American narrative. For everyone who lives in the hood knows that the dialogue of improvement needs to begin with us conversing with ourselves first. I hate that anytime a black person says “What about black on black crime?” when the topic of violence against black people comes up they are more often than not generalized and dismissed as being a sellout or being out of touch. It bothers me because it focuses the conversation on victimhood instead of control. We, as black people, control whether or not our lives matter we just don’t know it. We control whether or not middle class white people around the country make a living of us as police officers and prison guards we are just blinded to this truth. It is our job to keep our little girls alive and free from violent deaths. Jazmine Barnes is dead at 7-years-old and a black man killed her. We should all be outraged.

Notes on the murder of Jazmine Barnes

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Jazmine Barnes was gunned down by a white supremacist the other day. She was 7 years old. No less than 6 months prior Nia Wilson was murdered by a white supremacist. She was 18 years old. There’s a good possibility that Nia’s killer may be deemed unfit to stand trial. The killer of Jazmine Barnes has not been apprehended. I don’t want to hear anything about progress. Race relations have not improved. We are not becoming a more perfect union.

 

Do you know how exhausting it is to be a member of a race of people that have to organize an international campaign to prove to the world that our lives matter? How hopeful can I be when a 2nd grade girl can be murdered with impunity just for existing while being black? Our little girls and our women are being attacked. What recourse do we have but to protect them by any means? In the mind of the public this has to constitute as justification for revenge. Wars have been waged for less. I mean what would your people do under the same circumstances? Would the world at large expect them to sing, pray, and instantly show forgiveness? Or would the world be on edge anxious to see what your next move would be?

And the lord sayeth

*Fiction

 

45ED8E1B-F202-492D-B1C9-91C9459DE499We kissed first. Then we talked about god later. I inquired more about her soul than her sex drive and thusly I became too much for her. She wanted to get back in bed and I wanted her to tell me about scripture. Explain to me how it is that God calmed down so much in the New Testament. Is it because he had a child? Do you think that made him compassionate? Without answering any of my questions, she sauntered back to my mattress which lay atop an old box spring on the floor. I hadn’t yet put my bed together because I had just moved into my apartment and I hate putting things together. I lack the patience and dedication. Which is why I think that all Ikea furniture stores should be burned down to the ground Old Testament style. She got to the edge of the mattress and crawled across it ever so slowly and it made me feel like Quavo in the “Working Me” video or like Richard Gere in “Pretty Woman”, but I wanted to feel like Jesus in the book of Matthew. This was not written.

 

She kissed me on my neck and then starred right at my waistline before asking “What you want me to do?” I said nothing and my silence was more truthful than any words I could have uttered out loud. I honestly didn’t want her to do anything. I just wanted to hear more about her summer in Jerusalem and her experience working on a doctorate in ministry at Azusa Pacific University before she dropped out of the program. Then I wanted to know why she dropped out, and what did her parents say, and how bad are your student loans, and would you ever be willing to start a megachurch in order to pay them off? Before I could put more questions together she started to suck my dick so sloppily and with such vehemence that it legitimately frightened me. It didn’t scare me because we were having unprotected sex or because I figured that the technique that she was using had to have taken hundreds of hours of practice on dozens and dozens of dicks to master, but it scared me because I knew that God was watching. I saw him when I closed my eyes. And just like he spoke to the Holy Prophet Isaiah he spoke unto me. The Lord sayeth “Do not cum my son.” And I obeyed.

 

I wanted to talk but she didn’t. She felt rebuffed while I felt totally objectified. In fact, if we were anywhere but at my own place I would have left. I didn’t want to ask her to leave because I don’t think Jesus would have done that. He would have just laid there and refused all fellatio while making her put her soft brown titties back in a bra where they belonged. The conversation grew clumsier until she eventually played her favorite Spotify playlist on her iphone and fell asleep. Another thing that we didn’t talk about in the month that we had known one another was that she obviously had sleep apnea because she snored like a fucking grizzly.

 

What was the Lord trying to tell me? Why had he sent this woman of uneven faith into my life? And even though I had gone against his rules prohibiting premarital sex, his willingness to give me the strength not to cum inside of her ravenous maw, proved once again just how awesome of a god he is. For even in my most carnal moments the lord hath never forsaken me. I got down on my knees and began praying with my elbows on the mattress and both of my hands clasped together in the front of my nose. I prayed for continued strength and thanked him for his guidance. I took an extra blanket from the linen closet and slept humbly and comfortably on the living room floor. That night I vowed to fight harder to live up to his glory. I promised that the next mouth that I came in would be the mouth of my wife under the holy covenant of God.

 

I’m talking Global Blackness with Kumi Rauf

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In this episode Roger welcomes the founder and CEO of “I love being black” and “Traveling Black” Mr. Kumi Rauf. They discuss global blackness, quitting your job and bossing up, and racism in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to all of this in a thought provoking session of “Black Decisions” Kumi begrudgingly reveals how he likes his grits. From Brazil, to South Africa, and back to Oakland this episode covers every major part of the black diaspora. Tap in and be forever changed. Click the link below.

 

http://www.kgpc969.org/the-ghetto-sun-times/2018/11/2/season-ii-episode-iii-talking-global-blackness-with-kumi-rauf?fbclid=IwAR1zzdjcTH5DGAts-PGas4El3iIEJSc4EfR2aZHYJaUVUl4ZFZv6DATChRU

White Homeless Privilege as it manifested itself at McDonald’s

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I was at the McDonald’s on 14th and Jackson and I was hella disappointed because anytime I’m eating at McDonald’s something has gone terribly wrong. Like I forgot to bring my lunch to work, or I ate my last meal at 3:00pm and mistakenly thought that I would be full all night but now my 6:00pm lecture is less than an hour away, and I question whether or not I can be on my feet for 3 ½ hours without more food. So, on this day I panicked. I walked down the street and around the corner to Mickey D’s.

 

I suppose I could have gotten inside my car and drove to Lucky to buy a chicken salad, but then again fuck salad. I don’t even like salad. I’m one of those strange people that believes eating should always be pleasurable. No matter what you say about the negative side effects of fast food and how it doesn’t decompose and how the chickens are treated—Yo! That shit tastes good. The fries are magnificent and the sweet and sour sauce is the best thing to ever happen to a nugget. McDonald’s is cheap and there’s always one nearby. They say that relapse is a part of recovery so on this day I went on a binge like Pookie in a Crack house. “It just keep calling me.”

 

At any rate, I’m sitting at my table eating my food in record time so I can get back to the college where I teach before my class starts, when this brazen unsheltered man walks to the back near where I am. He’s white, mid-thirties, sagging pants and has a confident gait that seems to move him from side to side rather than forward. One of his hands is holding up his baggy pants while the other is free. He goes up to a table of four older Asian men and says in a forceful voice with three fingers out as if he is about to pick something up “Aye, can I get some of them fries!” Then he actually puts his nasty ass fingers on their tray and gets some fries. I am astounded. In a city full of homeless people, I have never seen anyone living on the streets do such a thing. I was perplexed. Was this white privilege? After all a shocking 70% of the homeless population in Oakland is African-American, so maybe this guy viewed himself as a member of the homeless elite.

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Even though this man was addicted and down and out, he felt like he was above begging in front of the McDonald’s like all of the darker skinned homeless folks. He was entitled enough to walk in and take what he thought he deserved. This was all conjecture on my part. Obviously, I didn’t know anything about his thought process. Then he looked at me and I got the same feeling that I’ve been getting since elementary school when I know there’s about to be a confrontation. It’s a moment of intense anxiety and instantaneous preparation for battle. Because no one was going to touch my fries. I would have given him every dollar in my pocket but if he would have touched one French Fry there is no doubt in my soul that very bad things would have happened to that man. Bad things that would have made me drop to my knees and pray for forgiveness after it was all over. However, he did no such thing. Our eyes locked. My right hand held a freshly dipped nugget. My left hand was clenched into a fist on my lap. It was a real Tombstone-esque Doc Holliday showdown moment. I took a swig of my small coke until it made that slurping sound that you hear when there’s nothing but ice. Then he looked away and gangster walked toward the front of the restaurant.

I didn’t see it coming. Why did he retreat? Surely he wasn’t full. Was the beat down that I would have given to him conveyed through my eyes? I doubt it. I can’t look intimidating to a homeless dude. Especially since I had on a collared shirt, slacks, and hard soled shoes. I mean I had a damn nugget in my hand. Was it because of my race? Did he feel more comfortable extorting French Fries from four Asian men than one lone African-American gentlemen? Or was he under the impression that my French Fries were below him because they were tainted with my blackness. Similar to those southern whites that wouldn’t let negroes swim in their pools during segregation because they thought we would dirty up their water. Was this unsheltered white man a southern transplant that moved to Oakland to avoid the comparatively harsh winters of rural Virginia? It was all very confounding. What was going on with me? Did I actually want to fight this man or at the very least verbally reprimand him for plotting on my fries? And why was I willing to land an overhand right on a man who was at the absolute bottom of society for a few pieces of fried potatoes? And there it was.

 

My anger stemmed from the fact that he was not on the bottom of society. Though he may have lost his family, fell into depression, been priced out of his home, and abused drugs and alcohol just like any other person living on the streets—he still had his whiteness. And his whiteness was enabling him to separate innocent people from their French Fries. This made me irate. That’s why I wanted to confront him. It wasn’t about that crispy goodness or even the four packets of ketchup that my fries were doused in—it was about the culture. I was there on 12th and Jackson ready to defend my culture from this white, delusional, French Fry Jacker.

I was ready to get down for mine

He wasn’t

I live in a house

He doesn’t

Yet in his eyes, he still had something over me and every other nonwhite person in that restaurant. He had placed himself at the top of the homeless hierarchy. Or maybe…maybe he was just really, really hungry. Two more minutes had passed and all of my food and drink were gone. I left the restaurant totally full and ready to lecture. Feeling like I had proven something to myself—but only to myself. I had gotten the victory. I had consumed all of my fries, but not in peace. For my mind was full of turmoil. Among many other concerns I wondered was that homeless man feeling like he had lost? Did it even matter to him at all? I may never know. And in this lifetime, on this earth, in this country that we call America, inside that McDonald’s in downtown Oakland—that will have to be enough.

-Roger Porter