Apparently I've been neglecting my blog. i will probably post about recent happenings and thought later but for now, here is a poem i wrote and performed.
Drawing crooked and indistinct lines in the sand between what I’ve known and what I’ve been told. Community, Humor, Family: all of it the romance that I’ve been told that my black skin is supposed to offer. Black survival and my survival are one in the same and yet are two opposing forces that I narrowly walk inbetween, always falling over one side or the other. The elements of this survival are jarring and change it's meaning everytime I think I get closer.
Community: Is it cold spaghetti at a barbeque or block parties with a broken fire hydrant?
Humor: Is humor making something so foul and stifling into a joke, so that it can unravel the bindings holding you prisoner to it?
Family: Is family the people who are the only ones who will defend you from anything and anyone?
The ante-bellum and "old time" stories detailing these attributes weave throughout 5th grade novels and primetime on BET but rarely get to a place where I can recognize them, save for the few that I have experienced first hand.
Instead of drawing from the same stale well of what I’m told that blackness means, I recall and regurgitate how these “givens” of blackness show themselves to me.
Community was exclusive; a club that only the ones who had "made it" could be in to show off our status. It was an isolated bubble of protection from the dangerous darkies that inhabited the outside world and werent fit to dine on the delights that our community consume with the quickness. We comforted ourselves with the insulation of how they weren’t like us anyway, that they needed to get jobs, get lighter, get Jesus, and get “educated” because hey, that’s how we did it.
Humor was a self-righteous exercise as we laughed our way over uncomfortable feelings of the holes we had dug in ourselves to be filled with other people's projections. Humor was a quick pill to ease the constant ache of sitting on people who we were and weren’t a part of.
Family was a badge of honor that we used to flash at people to let them know how much we were worth. Our kids were properly mixed with good hair and even better elocution. We were kids that went to good schools, good programs, and received even better scholarships.
And even as i look at these implications, I feel the love from my family and our commitments to making each other happy. I still feel the good times filled with laughter, I still feel the comforting presence of being within my community. My home.
We are kids that need to unlearn the poison of a double-edge security that has supported us and injured us for so long.