December 29th

I sold myself today.
Came up shot of a reasonable price.
Decent,
yet and still
it.
Fire and fury
for a stem offering.
Hot shot- a fleeting moment.
Steel horses escaping violently down my throat.
Degradation. Wet inviting.

What is price?
Value or worth?
Flesh worth.
What is flesh worth on an open market?
What is price worth?
Self worth. Commodity. Fetish.

This submission to longing
has kept my hands from grabbing
an M16, a bottle of whiskey, and
obliterating every life including my own.

This submission
is the reason I am dying twice as fast as my brothers.
Be it by the bullet or spoiled seed.

I belong to a select few.
Those left dancing red
in the avenue lights
on crushed cans.
on exposed hope. . .

I will always be there
behind smiles,
behind heads,
in the corner of family photos-
performing my duties in silence.
Begging acknowledgment or death.
Begging some reprieve from the monotony of sorrow.

silence. fear. shame. reflection. patriarchy and other #hashtags to give this.

if you follow this blog close enough- then there is certain things about me that you know. 

one of the most prominently talked about things being my HIV status. I am positive. Have been for a little over a year now

and i don’t believe in hiding that. and i don’t believe in not holding that.

this has been probably one of the roughest years of my life- just trying to exist. i am black. i am positive. i am a recovering drug addict. i am male. i am queer. i am poor. i am a rape survivor. i am an artist. i am single. i am what i have allowed my self to be- what the world has made me- and what it has labelled me. And i am told that it is important for me to continue. And i am told that i matter. And i am told that this is not what it was 20 years ago but still … it hurts to the point of immobility.

And there are times like now when i spend the entire day biking around this damn city trying to find peace and i cant. i still feel like everything is closing in and i don’t want this life anymore. And there are times like now when i wake up in the middle of the night and i feel very alone and cold. And i really want someone to hold me because i feel abandoned by so much and so many.  

And i know i need to do that for myself. Because ultimately i just have myself to be with and depend on. And i need to find a way to hold myself throughout this life. Doesn’t make that any less difficult. Doesn’t make the reality of my thoughts stop. 

there are exercises that i use: i remind myself of three beautiful things for every negative thing i see or think. i write. i draw. i bike. i observe the negative or unfortunate for what it is- hold it and then try to move on. i remember that i have teeth and a mouth to smile with and i find something to cause that sensation- cause despite being depressed, i do like to laugh. 

and these work- sometimes. they stop me from using drugs or sex as a means of escape- sometimes. 

this is tough. and i am scared. and there is no point to this piece of writing other than to say that.

and be ok with saying that: i am scared and tired and most days do not want to be here. and for right now i believe that it is ok to say that because it is honesty and because those feelings do need to be acknowledged. 

part of the patriarchy- the ways in which people are taught their social/ gender roles (in this particular case- male bodied people) is a particular silence. 

another is the shame of emotions and of sex.

admitting these very personal struggles is apart of my work in trying to undo what the patriarchy has taught me. 

writing these things makes them real. materializes them so that not even i can escape. 

terms & observations. (a poem to ground the old me)

i’ve found myself enticed by the thickness

that lay below waist level.

Dragged off to dungeons.

Shitting blood, butterflies, and metal horses.

Called master. Dominated.

a nigger. down-low slut.

fuck toy. pig. pissed on.

Wrapped in loving arms at the advent of misery.

held and kissed passionately.

Fucked violently and repeatedly in the same week.

And never once did I think I was a slut.

Places of Healing.

 

I wish my experiences with health care were not lived through the parameters of race, class and gender, but they are. I cannot conceive of hospitals and medicine without thinking about the thousands of African slaves brought to this country and worked to their bones. I cannot conceive of hospitals and medicine without thinking about the thousands of Black womyn who were involuntarily sterilized in this country. I cannot conceive of hospitals or medicine without seeing my grandfather – in his winter – lying on the couch, exhausted and in pain from chemotherapy. I cannot conceive of medicine or hospitals without noticing that the majority of HIV/Aids deaths (and infections) in this country are usually poor people of color who have little to no access to the medicine and precious knowledge that would save our lives. These experiences stay with me. They are apart of my very being and breathe as real as I do.

A few months ago when I was diagnosed with having the HIV virus (something I will formerly address on this blog later- but it is part of the reason why post have been so scattered), I immediately found that having to come into more direct contact with Western medicine was going to be a rehashing and analysis of trauma. Part of the mission of this blog is to express and explore the human experience from the perspective of a Queer, Black, Male bodied, Communist and that still holds true. I am excited to start a new chapter in the life of this blog- starting with this post. I hope it makes up for my long absence.

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“That’s a lot of trauma.”

The White doctor uttered as I sat in the chair giving him a rundown of my childhood. I suppose that I can be summed up in that manner: trauma. I also suppose that most of the people I grew up with can be assessed the same . . . But our lives are not merely death marches. People of color in this country have had to make beauty from the torn shards or poverty and destruction. And so it naturally follows that we would not solely view our lives as that. I may have grown up materially poor and dealt with the ills of drug abuse and domestic violence but I also knew about “love” and the movings of things not understood by White folks. In this case – as is most times the case when White folks seek to analyze experiences they have never had- cynicism is a White thing. Because that Doctor, in all of his knowledge and wisdom didn’t understand what Nikki Giovanni put so well in a poem: “Black love, is Black wealth.” Because of their privilege and materialistic socialization of Western thought, I would argue that White people have a harder time understanding the meaning of that quote because they see narratives of color as a doomed work of fiction- where there is little hope because of the poverty and inability of the people to move out of their social condition. (Never mind racist capitalism and the absurdity of pulling one’s self up by the bootstraps) I understand the trauma of my youth and the joy. I see them as the ongoing dialectic that has created me. I understand and love those experiences in order to make peace with them, so that when life’s great storms return I can better deal with them. I left the office horribly upset. It wasn’t until later that day, once I could process with a friend, that I realized how important race was in that situation. The doctor’s inability to connect with me on that spiritual point was an issue for me. With the HIV population growing in communities of color, there is also a rising need to have care providers that are of the communities they serve. I do not need to be under that White gaze while I am trying to figure out what is wrong with my body.

This is true of healthcare in general. People of color often have distrust for medicine in this county because of the historic underpinnings of the interactions had in the hospital. Black folks, in particular, have been the subject of experiments with drug vaccines, disease, eugenics, forced breeding, and other genetic manipulation. When you combine that with the fact that most people in this country cannot afford health care decent enough to see a doctor whenever necessary and the additional fact that the institutions of high education that give out credentials, to become licensed, are mostly White- then you have a pretty strong material reasoning to avoid/ distrust hospitals. Western medicine has given us little hope, despite the immense promise it holds when combined with a more holistic realm of thought.

Part of my communism, is believing in an alternative health system. The advancements of technology under capitalism are wondrous. The beauty of humanity is that we have become able to envision and see a world much larger than the one that currently exist- this applies to medicine and the science that is constantly pushing it forward.  The tragedy of capitalism and the mind/body dichotomy of the West is that we cannot see the full potential of our work because of the nature of the system. Capitalism is a system of waste and profit: it wastes our energy and planet in order the gain profit for the wealthy. Because the goal of these industries is capital then it makes no sense to cure disease or make medicine free because fully healthy workers could not be as easily exploited due to the fact that our minds and bodies would be stronger. We would be more able to struggle against our conditions. Western thought, in medicine, has led us to view our bodies as battlefields. Most medicine is designed to destroy the problem at all cost- meaning you might end with a more severe problem than you started with. One has to look no further that the barbarism of chemotherapy to see my point. I believe that this is because the West has never understood that treating the body requires spiritual health (by this I mean things like: being at ease with a doctor who understands you, having a peaceful home life, having meaningful relations with other humans) and a connection with nature. More and more research is finding that the biggest part of fighting the diseases we face is no more than changing our diet and pursing bliss. [that was overly simple but still truthful.]

And so, in my journey and in the service of communism, I see it as an important part of the project to share my narrative and examine the intersections of these life events as they (and I) evolve.It is important to reclaim the older knowledge from our ancestors as we move forward. Solutions to our problems will come from the combining of old wisdom and new thought. I apologize for my absence from this blog and promise to be more active. Here is to a new and powerful 2012, filled with health, life, and revolution! Luta continua!

“I remember the sounds of bombs. . .”

 

The following post is short and sweet. The Black Power Mixtapes stands as an important piece of film because of its revealing of precious revolutionary history. Angela Davis speaks in this clip about what violence is and how Black militants view the subject. She makes the essential point that we must understand what the term truly means. Is property destruction (breaking a Footlocker window) during political rebellions violence? Is fighting back against the fascist police violence? Is stealing from a corporate store violence? Davis answers “no”. These acts, which are usually so quickly pointed out by the liberals and conservatives as acts of deviance and destruction are reactions to a systemic injustice. They are reactions to the true violence of the society.

Black folk have been the subject of Capitalism’s dehumanizing violence from our initial encounters with the West. Violence is the ghetto, the slave trade, the police state, inadequate schools, the prison system, the courts, welfare, patriarchy, capitalism, racism, homophobia, unhealthy foods, a lack of nature in your surroundings, the demeaning and degrading of all that your culture admires, being trapped behind cement walls and green shades. Those things are violent acts. So when we talk about what violence is, it is important to remind ourselves of the entire picture. The entire scope.

 

An Involuntary Recognition of Life

Some calm . . .

setting like sun done come upon me

as I find pieces of myself that were kept away for birthdays, family gatherings, and first dates.

They lie tucked under the bath house bed.

My palm, pressed to skin, feels like solace and I feel still

Laying transfixed, still. . .

My eyes find some man being fucked, violently

His head bent low.

and I saw you laying parallel.

Playing majorette with a couple of torn heart-strings.

Twirling about with some other man’s ruined symphony.

You blew smoke- thick like illusion – and sang of worlds where we weren’t prey for White men eager to waste salt on our endings.

Some part of me sat with you back when food was homemade and basons were bath tubs and we laughed at uncle Floyd’s missing teeth

and dirt roads that no one can drive on

and night’s out and even crack pipes

and we laughed.

And thought on how ghetto life seemed easy compared to this numb terror.

Still . . .

Barely understood thoughts: gold bands and dark skin

Sarah Bartman

melon patches

mule bone

Hurston and Hughes.

gin joints

spades tables

grandma’s hands

reconstruction

a month of Sundays

Loretta

pale skin and Betty Gene

South Carolina

insertion and pain

bleeding at the start

black balls

white dolls

and minstrel shows

money shots, towels and still . . .

we all lay under some White man’s gaze.

Seeking Boys With Soft Skin and Big Hearts

The outlines were once bodies

blowing gently on bathroom floors

and empty wash house basons.

Carrying war wounds

and lifetimes of “I’m sorry, you know I can’t love you like that.” or “What we got is real”.

Torn bits

reaching to cradle one another.

Pulling at skin,

holding each other as they dance about.

Struggling to make sense

out of lifetmes of having hearts at the bottom of shoes

or floating in the tips of condoms

or singing love songs to themselves

while pretending that fingers are some dream lover’s dick thrusting violently.

Wrapped in a cold embrace listening to pretend voices that sound similar to their  father’s-

whispering affirmations.

Longing to be apart of the chorus of “I love you’s” present at some family gatherings.

And in some intentional way. . .

lusting to subvert that love

with cock rings, gags, and whips.

They exist in some wet nexus trying to crack light

and see how big the moon is

and how soft skin is

and what human looks like