Affirmation

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But what about the redwoods, and the black women, and the future? What about cool days when fog protects you from the sun and you know that god has your back. What about all of your trophies in the living room and the recognition plaques on the walls? What about all of the people that appreciate what you do? Some of them tell you and some of them don’t but they all need you to be here.

 

Sometimes I wish that I didn’t bruise so easily but I do. Sometimes I bruise when I’m touched and the pain lasts for years. Sometimes even words leave permanent marks on my flesh. Sometimes cruel text messages do as well. Sometimes when people act like they don’t need me, I believe them.

 

But what about views of the Pacific Ocean from the Berkeley Hills? What about Lake Merritt on Sunday afternoons? What about fresh doughnuts from King Pins? What about your purpose? What about the fight and he struggle? What about taking a nap in the parking lot when the day is hot and being woken up by the beads of sweat gathering on your cheek only to roll down your window at the exact time a breeze is passing through, and all at once you are revitalized.

 

You deserve awesome things. You were born deserving them and before you perish you will get them and so much more. Be patient and be persistent. I love you. I will continue to love you. I believe in you. I trust you. I got you. We will do this.

 

-YB

Writing in bed

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As I lay here between these sheets using these letters as a pianist uses the keys of a piano to express himself through sound, I write for clarity and not necessarily for the final product. I just want to make my ordeal visible. Whatever kind of joy or yearning that I am experiencing I don’t want it to fester inside of me. I need to be able to dissect it. And I need to know that I will not be judged for my humanity. That no one will talk wreckless to me for not healing fast enough or for being petty. I need a place where I can be in my feelings without someone telling me that I’m in my feelings. I need to be able to take that mask off that Dunbar was talking about and be me, while I still know who I am. I write in my bed before I brush my teeth or use the bathroom or return that phone call or put my Pop Tarts in the microwave so I can know what I’m up against internally. So that I can know how I feel and deal with it accordingly. I write to remind myself that I am a human-being.

-YB

The Voices

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As I navigate the world I feel the burdens of my darkness making every step nearly impossible. Eventually I become overwhelmed so I stop to sort things out. And then when I stop everything is gone. As soon as I stop moving, the puzzle pieces disintegrate then they disappear and I am left with an empty box and no chance at putting it all together. It is in this sense that rest becomes an oasis. For every time I go to sleep I wake up knowing that true rest doesn’t exist. How can a man wake up feeling tired yet he has nowhere to be?

The voices that speak to me are barely audible and when I try to listen to them they flee. I keep telling myself that I should be grateful but I am not because I know that I have lost something very essential to my being. And that is the ability to assemble love from blocks of depression. For so many years I have been able to duck right before capitalism beheaded me. I have been able to go deep inside of myself and mine for solace until I reached my quota. I have, in the past, been able to keep my muse from moving but now she runs. I am hideous. I am pathetic. I am lost.

You can’t pay me for my identity. I’m not going to sell my dreams for an office with my name on the door. My life is haunted by struggle. Whenever I get my hands on money, poverty beckons. The Trap tells me to come back home. Indeed I never left. Poverty is when you let an outside entity tell you who you are and even worse, what you should strive to become. I live my life the eternal outsider, never interested in opening the door, never in the middle of the dance floor, never a member of the rank and file.

Let them distance themselves from me and I will feed off of their repulsion. Let me be young and black, let me be the ghetto sun that provides the heat and the fire and always rises. Let me be misunderstood. Let me be crazy. I want the voices in my head to trust me again. Trust that I will never betray them, that I will depict them accurately. That I will never place any occupation before them ever again. That I will never pursuit ungodly things before I have first given you life. I will accept your anger, your screaming, and your rage if only you will speak to me. For without your presence in my soul I am an ordinary man. A worker. A follower. A completely disposable human being. A wasted dream. This time around you won’t have to chase me down after work. This time I will come to you.

-YB

Soulful Presents The Fire THIS Time

imageIf you will be anywhere near the San Francisco Bay Area on 5/28 the you need to come to this event.

The Fire THIS Time” will be a night of SUPERDOPE poetry you won’t soon forget, with dynamic performances by:

Dom Jones & Donte Clark!

You will definitely want to be in the building as two of the illest poets in the state of California tell us what it means to be young, black, and aware in these tragic yet inspiring times.

There will also be an open mic session so don’t forget to bring your own poems with you. This musical, poetic and politically conscious event will be hosted by the lyrically gifted and all around righteous brotha Davin “Do Dat” Thompson. Not to mention sets buy the ultra smooth band WVG.

In addition to the excitement onstage,

The hottest young entrepreneurs in Oakland will be selling their products in the lobby. So please support:

“Dope Lash”
“Oakland’s Own” – the freshest clothing company in town &
“The Cake & Sugar Company” – the best cupcakes you will EVER taste!

This event is guaranteed to be the realist thing to happen in Oakland since Festival at the Lake.

Only $10 at the door / you can purchase your tickets early, here!

See you all at The Fire THIS Time

The Real American Flag: Notes on Bree Newsome, Dylan Roof, and the Confederate Flag Contraversey

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.

 

-YB    

Reading by Roger Porter (Music by Azuah)

Nomadic Press

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area then you should come to this event on Friday Night.
Show Map
Nomadic Press
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.

Parking

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+Parts/@37.789393,-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!