Why Must You Be-

It really is a shame. We could have sat together in that foggy purgatory somewhere just outside history, dangling our legs over the edges of the pages and laughing when our dirty feet smudged the print. Blurry renderings of distant cousins and vague portraits with lumpy faces- poor representations of the greatness we never got the chance to enjoy together. But instead you reject my open palm, criss-crossed with lines as long as the many miles you walked away from me. You sneer at the unavoidable cadence of my step, the rhythm undercutting each movement- how unnecessary, how foreign. Why must you be like that, why must you be-

So I will try to win you over with my voice, lure you with the songs plucked on instruments whose names have long been forgotten and tunes that I was never taught, melodies that I can’t begin to remember, that you can only imagine in the most fleeting of thoughts- ghost memories fading and intensifying constantly, but never vibrant enough to pin to a bulletin board, trap in a photo frame and rub your hands lovingly across the glass barrier. It’s no surprise that my voice burns the blood in your veins, inside-out inferno- please STOP. Why must you be at all? Why must you be-

You. Reminder. Scapegoat. Neighbors in that other hazy dimension somewhere apart from history, where civilization only began on Greenwich Mean Time, or with sundials- how did they tell time in ancient Mali? Caricature. “Native intellectual”. What are you trying to prove? Your very existence threatens mine, your supposed authenticity holds a dagger to my resolute neck, veins trembling unwittingly in anticipation of the-

Slice. Away the layers of playground name-calling and experts and pundits explaining- the complexity of the interaction between- a people apart- one people, different what? Is a color still a color if no-one else was there to see God tattoo it on that canvas of cells and nerve-endings? Oh I thought you were just regular- who do you think  you are anyway- why can’t we all just get along- I promise it all started with a misunderstanding- gold was so abundant you see almost a nuisance, we thought they were stupid to want the dust we were washing off our feet in seas that had not yet developed such a wild appetite for blood and bones- when will we stop explaining- history does not care.

Doesn’t care to get to know you better, beyond tired minstrels and-stay away from those people- do you think we worked  so hard to bring you here to waste your time on street corners- but we are the same- shut up and go to bed- be careful with those people they will hate you because they are jealous-insecure- devious- why can’t you just be normal?

Why must you be

Proud. Visible. Unapologetic.

Why must you be at all.

I intentionally didn’t put too many tags on this to see if you could follow where my thoughts were going. On a related note:

http://africa.si.edu/2014/09/conversations-african-and-african-american-artworks-in-dialogue-opens-november-9-2014/

 

 

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