— WEB Du Bois, in a Memorial Address delivered at the 19th Grand Boule Conclave, 1948
— Harmony Holiday, “Alternate Ending/Why We Are A Destiny/ Why Are We A Destiny”
Terrance Hayes at the Villanova Literary Festival (2011)
— Hortense Spillers
The fierce musical cries of a couple of sparrowhawks hunting
on the headland,
Hovering and darting, their heads northwestward,
Prick like silver arrows shot through a curtain the noise of the
Trampling its granite; their red backs gleam
Under my window around the stone corners; nothing gracefuller,
Nimbler in the wind. Westward the wave-gleaners,
The old gray sea-going gulls are gathered together, the northwest
Their wings to the wild spirals of the wind-dance.
Fresh as the air, salt as the foam, play birds in the bright wind,
Forgetting the oak and the pinewood, come gulls
From the Carmel sands and the sands at the river-mouth, from
Lobos and out of the limitless
Power of the mass of the sea, for a poem
Needs multitude, multitudes of thoughts, all fierce, all flesh-eaters,
Bright hawks that hover and dart headlong, and ungainly
Gray hungers fledged with desire of transgression, salt slimed
beaks, from the sharp
Rock-shores of the world and the secret waters.
But I was never there. Never
the light of my father’s eyes, or any
well-lit brother’s (that deep-husked choir).
There was no height from which to fall.
I began here in the proverbial
bottom: undertow, base from which
one may rise but briefly, like the failing horse
knowing it must now race, must tear
out of its rusted gate, must
further tear the pleuritic lining of its lungs,
allow its tongue to loll
ugly from the side
of its mouth. Have you seen such a thing?
Its brown coat salted with sweat as it lunges
forward and lunges again, forcing its measure
not up but out, knowing its ankles could fold
under such weight, its nose opened
into another being, sucking and snorting
the only thing it takes within itself that does not judge
it, the air. The sweet, sweet air as it makes its way
around the curve that might kill it, that assuredly will
kill it. Do you see me there? Of course not.
I’m over here. Here.
In this hollow running for my low life. O Father,
for the light of a hand over my back. O Brothers,
for the gold leaf wreath that might have meant
a stroke of my neck, for that, I stretch these legs to breaking,
I wrench this belly’s hull, dark
as all alluvial things are. Lucifer’s
is a common story, a child’s bogeyman. What should frighten
you is this: Imagine what he would be had he not fallen,
had he never seen the elusive light at all, never been privy
to the cords of God’s neck, if he in fact, doubted
such things, believing only in what anguishes and writhes,
trusting nothing more than what soils his hands.
Again. I’m not doing the writing that I should be but folks are out here collecting my words for me. It’s appreciated.
— James Baldwin, “An Open Letter to My Sister, Angela Y. Davis”
My anaconda will consider it
XXYYXX - Alone
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