Caves

 

Silence comes to me when I run from my own voice because I don’t want to be bothered with myself. I go deep to find peace. I once saw on a documentary that the first underground explorers of caves in America were black slaves because their master’s would send them down out of curiosity. The white men wouldn’t dare go themselves so they would send their slaves. On one occasion a slave was gone for a day and a half and his master assumed that he was dead however the man came back with a map that he had drawn which traced the route that he had taken and everything that he had seen while underground. Apparently that map is still used today.

I wouldn’t ever want to stay overnight in a cave because I’m terrified of bats but I’m sure I would get over that if my only other alternative was to work on a plantation. I think about how peaceful that day and a half must have been for that man. I wonder what he dreamed about at night and whether or not he contemplated ever coming back to Earth’s surface. Maybe while down there he yearned for all of the things that he thought he hated. Maybe he had children or a sweetheart that needed to return to.

I was once so bothered by the voices of others that I changed my phone number only to become immediately depressed because no one called me. I then forwarded everyone my new number. Misery is almost always a self-inflicted wound. Everyone can find happiness if you search hard enough for it. So many men women and children were enslaved but perhaps they were freer than their descendants. For they had one another and all we do is run.

-YB

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Leaving the Plantation

August 11, 2011

 

               I woke up this morning with the strong urge to flee. A few hours later I was in the small coastal town of Cotati, CA watching cows graze in peoples’ backyards while admiring bodacious redwoods that grew in a perfect row along the center divider of a main thoroughfare. The air was clean, the atmosphere was chill, and the town was welcoming. No one there knew that I was running from something, and if they figured it out they weren’t bold enough to ask—which was perfectly fine by me.

                My hometown of Oakland and I have an extremely ambivalent relationship. While I love the town (as we natives affectionately call it) for inspiring me to be a great person, forcing me to persevere through some very hardcore circumstances, and teaching me to be proud of my cultural heritage, sometimes I hate it for being so ugly. It really worries my nerves when Oakland puts all of its weight on me and makes me feel trapped. As much I have tried over the years I haven’t yet forgiven the town for taking the lives of so many young people who could have turned it around if they had a fair chance. Oakland is merciless.

                It’s definitely not a place for the weak. One must be very strong to make it out of the town in one piece and absolutely no one makes it out unscathed. For these reasons I reserve a great deal of respect for my city. Oakland gave me heart and I will never forget that but every now and then I need to get off of this plantation. This time it was Cotati, maybe next time it will be Madrid.

Yeah Madrid sounds nice.

-YB