Sunday, July 6, 2014

Occupation of Nihilistic Spaces...

Archann Nair Dream Theory
Occupation of nihilistic spaces
deadens naivete and births the jaded
kills cool judgement, revives outrages
chaos reigns when order is betrayed 
where once pulsed joy without pain
soon failed, gave way
so the demise of order swayed and madness freed
atmosphere rife with confusion and panic and nightmare dreams
hope faith and love were soon allayed
cometh now the darkness
the hunger 
want of peace want of light
for want of action to stop the madness the multitudes knelt and prayed

I Can Do Bad All By Myself: The Ballad

In honor of the Black woman's time honored  Declaration of Indendence I present I Can Do Bad All By Myself:The Ballad
You gave me very little and I said it was good
When you asked for much, I stole all that I could
Unbalanced affections never bothered me very much
The smallest sip of love potions made me reeling drunk
And I never noticed that the heaping portions I poured into your cup
Hardly addled your mind, barely swelled your emotions

You were the strongest moonshine 
But you never swooned for my love--
My gaze never caused you to burn--

By the time I recognized that my poverty was extreme
That your wealth was so great (just like your greed)
I was a beggar, on the streets, but you owned my life
Little enough good it has done for me and the storm inside me rages in strife:
Possession, they say, is nine-tenths of the law

So I sold you my heart; a 90% markdown on sale
And now that I see how rich and fat you've grown from my love
There is a freezing in my veins and desire is deadened, numbed
When here I am poor and cold--
Now I know I don't want you or need you--

I can do bad all by myself, all alone

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Struggle Epic: Black Women Embracing the Enemy Inside Ourselves

This morning I came across an excellent question posed by the bloggers of the Facebook salon For Black Women ONLY.

I think that every black woman who is in the process of escape from these demons of tradition is haunted by this question.
Further, I think the "we gon make it " attitude stems from the fact that so many black women are born into a family and surrounding world of poverty and ignorance that for many the attitude of surviving the Struggle is itself a kind of positive outlook. 

We see our mothers and sisters and grandmothers struggle under these burdens and considering how little they have, many women often make what seems under those circumstances to be "the best of a bad situation". They support families after all and on occasion manage to scrimp and save just a little bit of something to have something nice when they can.

 My grandmother used to say that some folks don't know and they don't know what they don't know, which I think applies to so many black women in America who are shut out of participation in the American Dream through systematic structures that are designed to keep black women poor, uneducated, unable to access even the meanest of available resources like grocery stores that sell fresh food. When was the last time you saw a Whole Foods in the ghetto? Exactly. NEVER. This is not accidental. It's a national obsession to fight obesity and a simple observation can demonstrate that so many black women are obese. Do these people just sit up and eat like nasty pigs? What is wrong with those people? Well, for one, black neighborhoods do not have access to many of the most basic resources that are taken for granted in better neighborhoods. While there are many and many liquor stores, check cashing and payday loan businesses, pawn shops and mini-mart gas stations full of sugary soda, and junk food you'll be hard pressed to locate a decent grocery.

 On tv black women see sit-coms, dramas, and rom-coms about white people who pursue fulfilling careers and professions that require extensive university education. They live is fabulously plush homes that are large and airy and beautiful in neighborhoods that filled with wealthy, pretty people who own multiple luxury cars. It was being reported this week that half of Detroit, that City that God Left Behind, more than half of the residents have no running water for weeks since the city cut off water due to financial strain on the city's empty coffers. Does your city have running water? Don't worry, that is a rhetorical question. 

On television, impoverished black women can witness white men on golf courses discussing their stock portfolios and how they intend to produce more wealth for their personal disposal, and to black women born to ignorance, poor education and poverty it's as good as watch aliens from another planet. I'm a black woman who is frequently  called "over educated" by other black women who've had to labor from young ages without the benefit of being educated at fancy East Coast universities, women who have worked all their life....but don't you know that even I don't know many things about how white people obtain their wealth  beyond my understanding of well,  the old boy network, corruption, coded rules to keep out brown folk....

For those black women who don't know and don't know that they don't know they see the Struggle as a almost an optimist's outlook - the glass is half, well not full, but it's got something in it at least, even if the liquid in there supposed to be water isn't looking so clear at all... But in not knowing also produces the tragedy of merely SURVIVING  which of course is not anything similar to true living. Subsistence level  existence is not equal to thriving

Furthermore, poor schools, poverty and the absence of  other institutions of human necessity within the  structure of "blackistans" and "chiraqs" - as termed by the blogger Bruekelen Bleu of the  BW ThinkTank  in reference to black communities of high violence and low resources   insulated from the rest of civilized America which possess basic necessities such as clean water, grocery stores stocked with healthful food and thriving businesses to serve the communities needs - merely perpetuate this extremely harmful, dangerous existence characterized  by The Struggle that is so vaunted and revered among black women surviving in Americ. 

But The Struggle is also responsible for destroying black women - their health, minds that are troubled by depression and other untreated mental illnesses, their bodies struggling with excessive weight from nutrient poor foods. And, finally when one's health is gone, the mind under siege, the body suffering, it is only reasonable and tragically logical that the soul itself becomes threatened. 

And these are the dangers inherent to the cultural embrace of the very principle of survival that in the end has proved most destructive of all the troubles and struggles facing a woman with black skin within a white world that coldly blames the victim for her inability to thrive beneath the boot of the victimizer. 

As I write this, the lyrics to the song Get A Life by Soul II Soul keep running through my mind. the refrain sung by high piping children's voices asks What's the Meaning of  Life?:

Dreaming of your goals, ambitions and feeling freeI'm on this mission to achieveAchieve what?What's in your minds eyeThis is what you believe you should gain
What's the meaning? What's the meaning of life? Elevate your mind and free your soul 
So there it is, work it out for yourselfYeah, be selective, be objectiveBe an asset to the collectiveAs you know, you gotta get a life
Subsistence is only the most base level of survival; survival is not thriving; and The Struggle, endurance is merely existing. Our history as black women in America has infused our culture with the belief that black women are the least of these, and we ourselves have reinforced the idea and this anemic spirit of sufferance to our daughters; we have obediently followed the rules of hard labor with a perverse sort of alacrity even competing with one another to prove who can be the strongest, the hardest, the most run down yet still functioning; it is almost a source of shame in the feminine black culture to admit to weakness beneath the burden. The conditions that change at glacial pace have entrapped so many within a sort of volunteer slavery notwithstanding the conditions imposed upon us by a system devoid of compassion which pays only lip service to the ideals of Freedom, Civilization, Equality and Prosperity. 

Those who escape do so like our ancestors who coveted freedom so desperately that they ran from their captors fearful yet disdainful at the risks, instinctively understanding that any freedom was superior to the wicked stability of enslavement. 

Are we now enslaving ourselves to the principle of Survival and Struggle? And what meaning does life have once one accepts the principle which has been fed to us with our mother's milk? Is it betrayal to utterly defy and reject the lesson in pursuit of realizing the true nature of our soul's potential?

Or are betrayal and defiance the only tickets that will gain us passage to a sort of Underground Railroad to a new, fulfilling life of choice, health, opportunity and the tantalizing luxury of possibility, which is only second in by the ultimate goal: the  sumptuous extravagance inherent to the chance of having a Dream, pursuing the Dream of having more...more life, more love, more joy once the shackles of our destructive inheritance have been sundered forever from what it means to be a black woman.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Signs & Language

Just as a ship to water is bound to current, wave and tide
as a nimbus cloud is painted upon shell pink sky
my heart beats with my flesh and my blood, it cleaves to love
it cleaves to love

Yet when an echoing heart answers
endeavors to make its own love
nature's aphrodisiacs fueling passion
in a selective rhythm beat and rhyme
inherent to the soul that becomes like one 
to which two inseparable bodies are tied 
the space for love exists beyond, outside 
reason & space & time
thus emotion conquers and translates to code 
precious and sacred murmurs,
of hurts and thrills, of pleasure and pain, and the meaning of each sigh
is a language all their own, 
a complete world of understanding manifested in unique & secret signs
communication conducted in a perfection of silence
transmitted by lovers' eyes 

The Survivor's Tale

Survival has no mercy
it only cares for itself
it destroys every barrier with a wrath
it demolishes emotion
and upon such weakling nonsense
casts a pall, eliminates softness
takes the hard road for its path
Survival has one single motive and only loyalty to itself
and its power is selfishly devoted
and after serving for its sake 
often one finds  oneself alone 
when the greatest need and desire of every survivor
is just to find and hold her own home

Pray for the Survivor

Pray for her Cause
Pray that she finds her way
and that her survival superpower soon and soon decays
for peace comes only to the one who knows
how to relinquish control
to she who can lay down the sword 
to at last end the war

The battle waged for survival

is that for her very soul
which brutalizes every survivor
for, if too long and fearsomely engaged
she dies - loses more than life - never tasting
peace comfort or rest
found at the labyrinth's end

Yet when the brutality of Winter is passed away
Spring greets the Warrior with the key to her peace:
the blessing of the precious gift of Grace
the Survivor is freed from her battle of subsistence
liberated she has endured and outlasted
 now safe in the Promised Land 
far from Survival's bare life in death, 
no more to suffer that twisted & wicked maze 

_~The Survivor's Tale~

A Heart, Beat

Brown Blues One Eyed Tulip by D. Lannie Hanson
If it hurts, it must be love
she thought
So the tears were bittersweet
And if there's pain
then the love is truer still
because intensity brings climax
and the sharp edges cut deep
like the words that he hurt her with
and the feeling of loving, after the fights and bruises
ache inside
heartrending and its pace 
resounded as proof of romance with every beat

The NutCracker Sweet: A Lady Baller's Anthem

He desired proof what truly was up
That you, indeed, were the one rocking biggest nuts
Now this is how you play a fool who don't believe
      that fat meat is greasy
Fuck his mind first, good & deep
Drop to your knees & suck like it's nectar sweet
Don't even let him come til he 
calls out and pleads your name
"I love you Mama Goddess! Please! I repent! Forgive me for tryna run game!"
Then spank his ass quite harshly and send him on his way

Make that fool remember:    
      that you balled him for (your) pleasure
      you balled him for (his) pain                                    
     that you balled him for power
     and you balled him for play
You balled him up & down all night long
     on & on for days
Quite frankly he will always recall
A Great Lesson and Mighty Moral:
Woman is Creator 
Earth Mother
She is the Queen in charge and always, everyday
She is the one rocking the hardest balls
with the power and sense and aesthetic principle
to keep them hanging neatly inside pelvic walls.

For Mommy: A Prayer

The Universe ~ God's body ~ is pregnant with love
     that is stronger than pain
     than hunger
     than nihilistic darkness and absence of    hope
His Love escapes Time, prances and capers across the conscious Universe
     dusting us, His creations and image, with the power of light
     the powdery stuff of stardust to blanket us
     and protect from sorrows in dark of night
Within His luxuriant embrace we are sheltered from hollow despair

 Surrender and abundance are the ecstatic destiny awaiting us all
      transformed through each lifetime
      if you would but travel his roads
      for you should discover the finale to toil and sweat soaked years
      and the infinite shall enfold you to bring you home again
      to grace and mercy beyond the veil of tears.


Robin Thicke Conjures a Memory Regarding This One Time a Boy Named Duge Asked Me Out

My internet has been off for two weeks because I am poor, so this morning I've been bingeing on internet gossip to make up for all the time lost. I tend to skim since it purports to be feminist but in reality is just about as feminist as pink and violet Lady Bic razors. But yeah I still read that mess and so it was that I came across an article -- well, "article" is perhaps to strong a word to use about anything that is Gawker Media -- trying to make meaning of the spectacle Robin Thicke made of himself at the BET Awards soul-moaning on-stage in his much publicized bid to win back his wife Paula who put his skeezy ass out for the ho-ish disrespect of her and cheating ways.

I am not a fan of Robin Thicke and never have been. Even though he's been receiving a lot of limelight in the past two summers when he hosted on the one-season long musical duel "Duets" and then the explosion of "Blurred Lines" last year. Lots of people (whom I don't know) swear that he's actually a fairly decent musician but I'm just totally skeeved out and I cannot explain it...until this morning as I was reading through Gawker's typically mean-spirited comments section which triggered a memory twenty years old and buried deep in my psyche.

Robin Thicke reminds me of a white boy I went to high school with whose name was Duge. Yes it is spelled like DOOGE but pronounced like DUG. In every high school in every land upon the planet Earth there is a boy or girl so nerdy and odd that even the odd-ball nerds look askance at him/her. Duge was that boy. For fully three years of high school Duge was mostly silent and I can't really remember him speaking out in class. 

During school-wide convocations where honors were announced each semester or special presentations given to help students deal with the death of someone from our community, everyone from my year yelled DOOGE! simultaneously when Duge's name was called. He always took it in stride though.

Quiet as he was I should never have thought of him again in life except for a very stand-out event Senior year when Duge walked up to me in the hall and asked me out. 

You must understand that in the posh overwhelmingly white prep school I attended in the early 90s it was not the done thing to date interracially. There were nine black students out of about 120 in my class. We, all of us, simply dated black people from other high schools. Now it was known that I had spent all of Freshman year quite close enough to a particular whiteboy, enough so that even though we were never officially dating, still my friends alerted me that we were considered "together". Apparently Duge had been checking up on me.

I had to take a huge amount of courage for Duge to ask me out and I wish I could say that I considered this and acted with kindness and friendship though I was uninterested, however it would be a lie for me to say so. I was freaking horrified. 

Duge was tall and gangly with hair that was limp and greasy and of no particular color. Also his underarms stank. You didn't have to be up close to him but a little ways to catch a whiff of oniony-funk that trapped itself in the nose for quite a bit longer than seemed at all normal for average underarm funk. He was pale and sweaty and anemic looking. Nobody really knew much about Duge; he didn't seem to have any friends. He was easy to overlook that way.

But one thing was for sure: by Senior year Duge had a hardcore crush on black chicks. I don't even know what I said to him; maybe he asked for my number? or asked me out to a movie? I had broken up with my black boyfriend who was also my cotillion escort Junior year, so I wasn't able to use "My boyfriend won't like it as an excuse". 

All I know is that I wasn't brave or compassionate. I swept the surrounding lockers with panicky eyes worried at who would see me talking to Duge only to realize I was busted: two of my best girlfriends were near enough to hear the entire exchange. The witnesses skittered away quickly to spread the scandalous account which had traveled far and wide across the school by the time I entered the lunch room at fifth period. The laughter began before I could even sit down. I bent my head and tried to eat my chicken fried steak sandwich with dignity.

Duge took the rejection with stoicism. I, however, was teased and mocked unmercifully. "Hey!! Hey!! Guess who like Trixie?! DUGE! DUGE ASKED HER OUT!!" Oh it was all fun and games and laughing until about a week later he approached on of my other friends. There were only four black girls in our year. It appeared he was just going to run down the list until someone said yes!!

It was my turn to laugh now as we sat terrified at who he would pick next. Right or wrong (and I'm sure there is a heap of wrong in this pettiness to avoid Duge) nobody was tryna date stinky-underarm-Duge. And, he did indeed ask each of us in turn ....except for Jada who was known to be mean spirited and brave Duge must have had enough of rejection by that time.

One thing was for sure though: Duge was hungry for some chocolate. 

Looking at the lyrics to Robin Thicke's take-me-back breakup album brought stinky armed Duge rushing back into my pysche. Robin Thicke's favorite topic of conversation is his wife's blackness and ridiculous as he comes off in my eyes there can be little doubt that he loves his wife. (Though he shoulda been thinking about that before he decided to cheat...)

In conclusion, I cannot explain why reading about Robin Thicke conjured the

noisome memory of Duge but somehow, somewhere there is a connection; perhaps someday I shall discover the key to the mystery. This is not to suggest that Robin Thicke has stinky underarms or that perhaps somehow Duge has morphed into Thicke all these many years later.  

Indeed, I would refuse a date from Robin Thicke with as much paranoia and nervous skittering to be unseen and maybe therein lies all that there is to say about the curious intersection between two whiteboys cracked out  by Chocolate Fever.