A Slightly More Modest Proposal

For the containment and selective eradication of so-called BIE (Black Identity Extremists)

 

by Dr. Milton Milquetost, Director of Denegrification Department, F**** C***** I*******, Washington, D.C.

Note: this modest proposal analyzes the poverty and anger of specific members of the population in question: African-Americans, popularly known as “niggers,” “spooks,” “coons,” “monkeys,” “apes,” “baboons,” “jungle-bunnies,” “tar-babies,” “quashies,” “spades,” “ink spots,” “sambos,” “Negroes,” “coloreds,” “basketball-Americans,” “spearchuckers,” “moon-crickets,” “jenkem-sniffers,” “groids,” “nigras,” etc.

In light of the revelations that BLACK IDENTITY EXTREMISTS pose a unique and grave threat to the established order of the Republic, we of the F***** C***** I*****¹ have offered our own unique proposal for the containment and eradication of this said threat.

It has been discerned that the African-American population is widely held in contempt by the general population of the United States (and by not inconsiderable number of people throughout the world). That this contempt is largely a result of systemic indoctrination through the U.S. media (e.g., Hollywood, Madison Avenue) is a matter which does not concern us here. Entire tomes have been written about the plight of the Negro/nigger/ape/coon in the United States (and elsewhere, but for the sake of conciseness we shall concern ourselves entirely with the American Negro/nigger/coon/ape). In these texts we have discerned certain incontestable facts:

  1. that the black* in America is still largely segregated due to his race and ethnic background, and that this segregation is all-encompassing;
  2. Has restricted access to meaningful and gainful employment which would allow him (especially the males) to earn a living wage;
  3. The extreme difficulty of obtaining gainful employment due to previous convictions;
  4. Social conditions, such as the disagreeable emotional reactions of non-blacks to the presence of blacks in eating establishments, bathrooms, shopping malls, churches, mosques, temples, synagogues, etc.; the widespread reluctance of non-blacks to eat, work, live, drive, play and intermarry (in the majority of instances) among blacks, generally due to indoctrinated fears
  5. Relentless stigmatization of blacks;
  6. “Colonial mentality” (see Fanon), “plantation mentality,” subsequent and largely justified collective paranoia which often manifests itself in grotesque fantasies (so-called “urban legends”): the “Lynch Letter,” which never existed until c. 1973, and is a proven fraud. Nevertheless, the history of slavery and Jim Crow is still one that the black has yet to overcome, and manifests itself within the group with widespread obesity, high suicide rates, high infant mortality rates, high homicide rates, high rates of incarceration, drug usage, STD infection, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, hypertension, police abuses, racist attacks, schizophrenia and other forms of mental illness, self-contempt, class and even color divisions to a degree unheard of in the general American population, and correspondingly low rates of college attendance, business ownership, home ownership, employment, marriage, etc.
  7. It has been noted that the considerable creative drive that spurred on the black to create ragtime, blues, the spirituals, jazz and other forms of music (which have been justly acclaimed the world over) has been sorely depleted as of late. “Thug rap” and endless regurgitations of generic sixties “soul music” are virtually the only forms of music that this group can come up with in the 21st
  8. Likewise, the black seems to be content to be defined as a “thug,” or a “bitch,” or “skeezer,” “chickenhead,” “ratchet” (aka “wretched,” possibly a reference to Nurse Ratchet of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), etc. Our media has defined and pictured the male members of the group as big burly negroes, black bucks, coons, pickaninnies, apes, etc., and the female members as whores, cunts, strippers, obese freaks, etc. It is mind-boggling to think that any group of people anywhere in the world would choose to define themselves strictly according to the xenophobic fantasies of an ethnic group which hates them, as we clearly (though not admittedly) do African Americans. Yet such is the case with the blacks of this country. It is a situation genuinely unique in the history of mankind.

In spite of the aforementioned situations we still find the African American—in the generality—to be childish, obnoxious, doltish, ignorant and primitive in his thinking and behavior. While acknowledging centuries of systemic dehumanization and depersonalization from Anglo-American cultural and political domination, we must also realize that the race problem is indeed a drain on the national purse and a burden on the collective conscience of the United States. It has, more often than not, manifested itself as a physical threat, largely due to the astonishingly high rates of crime among the African American lumpenproletariat.

The African American elite have a substantial amount of capital at its disposal. However, this is a lazy and unproductive class, as outlined by Fanon (Wretched of the Earth). The African-American elite exhibit all the foul and socially perfidious traits of Third World elites. See Fanon: the bourgeois phase is a useless phase. This useless bourgeoisie, seen in hindsight, would function merely as parasitic classes were it to declare independence from the American republic and set up its own state somewhere in the US. The egregious example of Liberia, to say nothing of Sierra Leone—two failed African states founded by repatriated black Americans—should serve as a dire warning. Because the African American is clearly still functioning—albeit mentally—as a slave, it would be ludicrous to expect of him to function as a politically independent entity. He is a slave—period. It makes no difference whether we were his enslavers in America or whether other Africans enslaved him in Senegambia or Benin or Dahomey. It has proven too costly to this republic to extricate the African American from his slave mentality. All attempts to educate the African American according to Western norms have largely ended in spectacular failure, and it has been noted that even educated blacks are still burdened by pathologies induced by slavery. We must reiterate that it was indeed we who imposed this slave mentality upon him, that our social conditioning has depersonalized him. This depersonalization was unintentional. However, this is entirely beside the point.

We must admit that our experiment in “multiculturalism” (concerning blacks) has not worked. The long-term consequences of importing millions of Africans from various nations of the African west coast—many of whom were enemies of one another—were not foreseen by the Founding Fathers, who insisted upon viewing the African American as “three-fifths of a human being.” Clearly this is not so—the African American, by all accounts, and judging solely from the historical evidence provided us, is very much a full, 100% human being, capable of the highest human achievements. This has been amply illustrated by such illustrious niggers as Frederick Douglass (one of the most eloquent men of the 19th century), Booker T. Washington, Henry Highland Garnet, W. E. B. DuBois, Scott Joplin, Will Marion Cook, Countee Cullen, Sissrietta Jones (aka “Black Patti”), Leontyne Price, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Roy Eldridge, Francis Johnson, Benjamin E. Mays, Benjamin Banneker, Jelly Roll Morton, Edmond Dedé, Muddy Waters, Ida Cox, Bessie Smith, Chano Pozo, Fletcher Henderson, Joseph “King” Oliver, William “Bunk” Johnson, Freddie Keppard, James Reese Europe, Alain Locke, John A. Williams, Buddy Ace, Ann Petry, Mary McLeod Bethune, Langston Hughes, George Washington Carver, James Weldon Johnson, J. Rosamund Johnson, Dizzy Gillespie, Hazel Scott, Jackie “Moms” Mabley, Piri Thomas, Antonio Maceo, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Sun Ra, Eddie Murphy, Bert Williams, Eubie Blake, Luckey Roberts, R.Nathaniel Dett, William Wells Brown, Albert Nicholas, Nicholas Gullién, Ollie Harrington, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Gladys Bentley,  Augusta Savage (who designed the “Roosevelt Dime”), Scott Hayden, Wynton Marsalis, Sojourner Truth, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Charles Lloyd, Redd Foxx, Jamie Foxx, Clarence Williams (the first and third), Ida B. Wells, William Wells Brown, James Brown, Son House, Tom Turpin, Louis Chauvin, Artie Matthews, E. Franklin Frazier, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, Shirley Chisolm, Nina Simone, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Bobby Short, Curtis Mayfield, Run DMC, Sammy Davis, Jr. (Jew), Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Jackie Robinson, Smokey Robinson, Reginald Robinson, Aaron Diehl, Gordon Parks, Jr., Eartha Kitt, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Jack Johnson, Venus and Serena Williams, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., Roberta Flack, Arthur Ashe, A. Philip Randolph, Josephine Baker, Jesse Owens, Duke Ellington, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Assata Shakur, Tupac Shakur and Stepin Fetchit. Inventors Granville T. Woods and Lewis H. Latimer were instrumental in the development of the modern light bulb; Latimer’s innovations in particular—the perfection of the cotton filament—made the light bulb a viable option to gas lighting. Elijah McCoy’s inventions were reliable enough for one to coin the term the “real McCoy.” Dr. Charles Drew’s contributions to modern medicine are indispensable. Even today, the renowned Neil DeGrasse Tyson is, as members of this ethnic group would so aptly put it, “doing his thing” in the field of physics.

However, we reiterate: all of this is entirely beside the point.

The behavior of the black American is best understood when seen within a colonial framework. In this instance, the mystery that shrouds his/her behavior ceases to be a mystery.

We had deduced that the so-called “black problem” or “Negro problem” is basically insolvable, save for a radical restructuring of the American socio-political order. Such a restructuring would result in chaos. Consider the conflagrations of the former Yugoslav republic, or French Algeria, or the current morass in the Middle East, for instance. Since the African-American elite isbasically uncreative and unproductive, the middle-classes struggling merely to stay afloat, and the underclasses continually committing random crimes against the general American population, it has been suggested by us that these primitive people simply be contained. The containment process would be conceivably costly but the long-term results of non-containment would mark the end of our republic as we know it.

Indeed, as Fred Reed, American iconoclast and internet blogger has aptly put it, we have the feeling that some people are simply more useful than others.

Our continuing “exploitation” of the African American at the current rate would inevitably result in total civil/social/political breakdown, and subsequently economic catastrophe. Adolf Hitler had outlined in Mein Kampf that the Jew was a rootless, cosmopolitan parasite and a drain on the German economy and a blot on the German soul. Celine, in Les Beau Draps, had suggested urns for the Jew, the Oriental and the Negro. Monseuir Fragonard, writing of the Algerian, and most recently Thilo Sarrazin of Germany has suggested that the criminal Turkish population be deported; likewise for Oriana Fallaci’s Rage and Pride, in which she suggests that Somali and Moroccan hoodlums get disposed of in the canals of Venice. Easy for Germany, or even benighted and incompetent Italy, but not so easy for we here in the United States, where we are saddled with 40 million chronic malcontents who have been so thoroughly depersonalized by their inability to adapt to Anglo-Saxon cultural norms that they have become a global threat.

A global threat, since the Anglo-Saxon norm is the global norm, for better or worse. We are not at all suggesting a return to Anglo-American, old-fashioned imperialism of the Roosevelt/Saxe-Coburg variety. We do not find this desirable. However, as it has been said, “the show must go on,” life must continue. We must acknowledge reality and be reasonable and forego romantic notions of swift social/political change for pragmatic solutions to America’s domestic ills. Many, if not most, of those ills originate with the black population of the United States, and to a slightly lesser extent the Latino population, commonly known as “beaners,” “spics” and “wetbacks.”

However it has been found that the Latino population is more industrious and makes more contributions AT PRESENT to the American economic well-being than does this black population, which prefers to wallow in collective self-abnegation and even goes so far as to destroy any member of this population which attempts to pull itself out of its physical/psychological misery. Barring the Puerto Ricans or Dominicans, who have been defined jocularly as “niggers who can swim” or “negritos de Español,” or the towelheads, or the equally useless white rural lumpenproletariat (aka “trailer trash”), we know of no other ethnic group who is so destructive to the overall fabric of American cultural life.

Booker T. Washington defined this as “crabs in a bucket.” James Baldwin spoke of the “profound, almost ineradicable self-hatred” of the African-American. It has been noted (see Herbert Aptheker’s “Slave Revolts”) that every instance in which the black slave has attempted to strike out for freedom, he was betrayed by a subservient “Uncle Tom.” The massive slave revolts of Jamaica, Brazil and Haiti were unthinkable in the United States.

However, we must be pragmatic. The effects of “exploitation” (and ours is a society—like all others—founded on a certain degree of what liberals term “exploitation”) are not so easily eradicated. We cannot continue to let past mistakes in racial/intra-ethnic relations burden us. If we do so we will be condemned by our children for perpetually walking in the shadows of our ancestors. We suggest a series of proposals to deal with the crisis in race relations in America:

  1. Walled cities. These are more effective than one thinks, considering the effectiveness of the Berlin Wall. Of course, there are also the probabilities of blacks escaping the wall, so we suggest another: deportation to semi-abandoned cities such as Detroit or Camden, and using depleted uranium to help depopulate said areas.
  2. A more pragmatic proposal is simply to accelerate the dehumanization of the African American by simply admitting to ourselves that he is, indeed, an animal. By turning him into an animal, by completely stripping him of his humanity, we no longer have to burden our conscience with what we might do to him. Rest assured that what we will do to him will have far-reaching and ultimately beneficial consequences to humanity the world over, particular in those parts of Africa still suffering from food insecurity.
  3. Our ultimate suggestion is to reintroduce public lynchings. In this instance, the lynching of the African American will be a legalized and controlled affair and not simply a mob assault. Furthermore, police beatings of African Americans, whether in prison or outside of prison, should by necessity result in the death of the African American. The corpse of the African American can be properly disposed of without fear of international obloquy—in this instance, as food. Many Africans have been known to be cannibals, so selling this African American meat—in particular, the illegitimate offspring of black women—to starving Africans for a pittance should help immensely in alleviating hunger in Africa and other parts of the world currently afflicted with food insecurity.
  4. For those of a more discriminating palate, certain brand names would be helpful in discerning high-grade nigger meat. A “Fats Waller” would have a certain light piquancy and go easy on the stomach, and preferably seasoned with lemon, dill and white onions. Meat should be cut from the middle thigh, through the bone, into T-Bone Walker steaks. Serve with mint juleps. A “Tupac” would be best served as a strip of steak, the meat removed from the flank, smoked with hickory over a low-burning flame for three months. The resulting meat should be sliced against the grain, between 1 and 2 inches thick and carefully marinated in Schlitz malt liquor overnight, then garnished with Louisiana hot sauce while grilling. The resulting taste is tart, hearty and slightly chewy. A “Foxy Brown” calve of a negress should be removed carefully at the joint. Since the meat of a negresses’ calf is generally rather thin, plump calves would necessarily be in high demand. The meat should serve up to three. Preparation: bathe in brine before smoking with hickory and dried fruits for up to 3 months. Cooking with bitter chocolate and red wine is preferred for those with rather romantic tastes. The meat should be tender and almost melt in the mouth, somewhat like braised lamb. Serve with Chardonnay and couscous. (Also: the James Brown, for those with the toughest stomachs, very hot sauce and highly spiced in the Ibo Nigerian style, with lots of peppers and a dash of soy sauce, since most African American meat is not of pure stock. Preferably very rare; well-done “James Brown” tends to be rather chewy, since it has plenty of fat streaks.)
  5. Jewlattos, or The Sammy Davis.The Jewlatto stock should be prepared in the Kosher fashion. Note: do NOT kill the Jewlatto livestock with such generic rat poisons as Zyklon-B or by gassing. This will render the meat inedible. First club the Jewlatto in the head; try not to agitate it with racial epithets. Then slit the Jewlatto’s throat at the jugular and hold it near a drain. Do not listen to it when it starts making noises about “holocausts” or “lynchings” or other such nonsense. Jewlattos are known to combine the worst traits of black and Jew in one body and soul—containing all the tartness of the black and the mental edginess of the Jew. However, Negro-Jewish meat, because it is generally raised in superior social surroundings, is usually of the highest class. We have tasted this meat and the author, for one, finds it tastes much like a cross between mutton and pastrami. It has an unusually musky aroma. Serve with Manschewitz and/or egg cream, rye bread and pickles.
  6. Blasians, aka Tiger Woods. Best served with wasabi and Barbeque sauce. Meat tends to be rather stringy with a somewhat smoky taste. We cannot entirely explain why this is, since Blasian meat is generally soaked in vinegar rather than smoked.
  7. Black Muslims, and/or Afro-Arabs, aka Farrakhanesque. Follow advice of number 5. Halal preparations of food are a must. Hardcore Nation of Islam followers who don’t smoke, drink, do drugs, fornicate, or eat pork generally produce very high grade meat. The females of this species makes excellent ground beef, especially when spiced with coriander, ginger and cardamom. The liver and kidneys make delicacies; the jowls, when sliced, make a perfect alternative to pork bacon, as they generally are crisp when sliced then and fried.
  8. Black/Irish, or The O’Neal. As can be expected, a piquant corned-beef flavor is usually yielded. Marinate with Wild Irish Rose over an open grill. Especially fun during lynching bees. One must use caution when cooking this meat since it tends to smoke heavily. The light “Ronald” meat has a slightly blander flavor than the darker “Shaquille” brand, which is tougher yet very strong-flavored, very similar in taste to Smithfield ham.
  9. Black Latinos, or Blatins, Blatinxs or Blatinos. Very tender and yet very spicy. The meat tends to be very lean and burns quickly, so it is best to cut into strips a la Tupac and served like New York steaks. The Pele is a must-try–it’s got a kick. The Del Rio is best served at dinner and between consenting adults, preferably with candlelight, oysters and pineapple juice, as it has shown to be a marvelous aphrodisiac. This is hardly surprising since Blatins are known to be the most oversexed people on the planet–even more so than the so-called “African-American.”
  10. Much of the fatty and coarse grade of negro meat comes from ghetto/project stock, and this can be sold at cut-rate prices to starving Africans, or even given away gratis.
  11. We are not at all suggesting that African Americans be exterminated. This proposal is simply a method of containment. Extermination naturally means destruction of valuable livestock, and it is crucial to the well-being of our society that African Americans, from the degenerate elite to the violent sociopathic underclass, are at least of some good use.
  12. Of course, nigger-hunts should be encouraged. When niggers are hunted for sport, it must be remembered that the meat, unless it is diseased by HIV infection (and naturally cooking the nigger meat will not kill the virus), can be sold for a decent price.

 

¹Fucking Cannibal Institute

*since there are many terms to describe this designated ethnic group, most of which are considered by said group to be grossly offensive, we shall stick to the term “black” as a matter of convenience. However, it has been noted that many members of the aforementioned group prefer “black” as opposed to “African-American,” which requires seven syllables to pronounce.

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American Book Award-winner “NATE” Being Reissued in November, 2017–on Kindle

From Ishmael Reed: “I enjoyed reading NATE so much that I read scenes to anyone within hearing distance. P. Lewis is an original talent whose English cuts through a lot of contemporary BS like a butcher knife. His characters don’t give a flying F- whether you feel for them or not. It’s important that a powerful novel such as this surfaces at a time when the black lit. scene is being smothered by a lot of dumb frivolous chick-lit and down low scribbling. Anybody want to know where the kick-behind black male literary tradition of Himes, Wright, John A. Williams went? It’s alive and well in Berlin.”  

From Darryl Dickson-Carr: “A brutally funny novel satirizing diverse subjects from American military misadventures, African-American cultural politics, to the chaos of contemporary American life. Like the protagonists of Nathaniel West’s The Day of the Locust or Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, the eponymous hero, Nathan James Morris, is a classic picaro, a naive everyman and would-be artist whose foolhardiness shows us more about American life and the human condition than would seem possible in one novel.”

 

My second novel, Nate, won an American Book Award in 2006. A lot of people have been asking about this novel and how they can get their hands on it. I’m putting out an e-book of it in November, and the following year a CreateSpace version will be available on Amazon. (That’s the best I can do right now.)

Also keep an eye out for my third novel, Berlin Asylum, in the Spring of 2018. The both of them will certainly raise eyebrows. 

So for a little taste of the novel which rubbed black middle class sensibilities the wrong way, read below…

_____________________________

Chapter Thirteen

Imagine yourself entering Robeson Hall, early in the morning, hungry, exhausted, unwashed, your brain inundated by everyone’s wild screams. Look into their faces as you pass: there’s your story. They make you reach for your revolver. The coeds are everywhere, with plenty of time on their hands and nothing to do except sit on the stairs or slump against the walls and around the soda machine or filling up the lounges and the bathrooms, eating, drinking, playing their radios; they look so charming and luscious, like JET centerfolds—you’d love to have them dangling from the end of your dick—until they open their mouths, roll their eyes, and look at you. They BREATHE hostility and contempt. It oozes like sweat from every pore of their over pampered skins.

They look even more brutal than the 34th Vandal’s worst MP’s. They look ever more mercenary, more cold-blooded, more hostile, and often, they even strike you with terror. I listen to them speak; it sounds so affected, so childish, I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Absolutely superficial. But they seem contented enough with life—so whenever I see one of those cute, cuddly coeds coming up my way as I pass through the lobby to see my name on the Dean’s List—after licking asses and not getting my due for it—I deliberately let the door fly into their face. Some of them are scared of me; others resolutely hostile, though I haven’t been attacked—not yet. “Dirty black-ass motherfucker!” one cute coed clucked when I hurled the door in her face.

I shrugged. Why bother with manners if it doesn’t help?

I’ve got fifteen minutes; no assignment is due in Professor Spade’s class, so I don’t even know why I’m wasting my time here. I hadn’t been doing any homework for a week, anyway, I couldn’t concentrate. I could always do my artwork in the studios, but I had to be careful lest one of the students broke in and stole my work and fixed his or her name to it—something that happened all the time. And Leopold Spade—I finally admitted to myself, with some deliberation, that I genuinely hated him. He is one of the few people I’ve ever truly despised. I didn’t want to admit this at first; I wanted to accept his arrogance for something other than just crude hostility. Besides, I had heard from so many people that Spade really admired my work and “had nothing but praise for it”, so I couldn’t figure out why he was being so cool and nonchalant. But I was still young; I had a lot to learn about C.S.U. art instructors.

Designers, without exception, are assholes, sociopaths, egomaniacs and insufferable windbags. And there is no design teacher without a record-book full of failures and withdrawals and these sudden, strange disappearances (“incompletes”) so common amongst Coon State art students. Whenever Spade shows up in class or up the hall, every one of the freshmen groans in disgust as he whistles his self-satisfied, dreaded ass off.  Worse still, he shakes down every cunt in the classroom. At the end of each class (like at the end of his dick) all the girls hover around him like mosquitoes, chirping and cooing lasciviously: they being women, he can pass them with an “A” if he can fuck them. That’s how he shakes them down, the bastard. But he occupies an enviable and almost eminent position in the local art community. He’s gracious, so I’m told; he’s helped many a career, he’s so fucking concerned about “his people”, a man of the streets, a block boy bathing in a tub of champagne. All of which doesn’t explain why he refuses to give me an “A” or “B”, no matter how much time and effort I put into all the work I dish out to him.

Fortunately, there was a godsend seated at the far end of the classroom. I remembered her face very well—her chestnut-colored hair, long sexy legs, almond eyes, puckering lips, slender build did not escape my memory. It was Maya Arschloch. The one Marcus disdained because he said she had a “svelte” ass. At first, I was highly suspicious—I thought she was some agent sent by the consulate to have me jugged. But when I broke the ice with her I found she knew nothing of my desertion. Solid, I thought. The girl had quit the goddamn consulate two days after I called up sick.

“I was wondering why you never came back,” she said, sipping a soda through a straw. “Hell, I decided to take off myself. The nerve of you guys working there, talking all that trash about us! Especially you, Nathan.”

“Me?”

“Yes, you,” she said, “Because you’re so much better than the scum who worked there!”

“Safiya and Khalida were scum, too, you know,” I insisted.

“Yeah, but MARCUS?! I mean—damn! He was impossible. And such a fucking racist, it was incredible. He was always looking through my things—I don’t know why, unless he was looking for nude pictures or some shit. Oh, my God, Nathan,—look.”

“Where?”

I followed her finger to the man seated two rows away from us, three seats from the wall in back; his bespectacled face was filled with bruises, his hair uncut, his sport coat scuffed. “That’s onea my old boyfriends,” she told me— “you think all that stuff about him is true?”

“What stuff?”

“Didn’t you hear the rumor that he’s a male whore, and he supposedly sucks people off for forty dollars a pop? That’s—Sellers! Guy Sellers!” She gasps…. “Oh my God!”

I swear I felt my hair stand on end when she said that. But, thanks to Christ, that was NOT Guy Sellers—the man just looked very similar, that’s all. He was medium-to-dark, like Guy was; his eyes were full and round like his but, thankfully, they were grey. Never minding this strange Guy impersonator, however: some voice just outside the classroom provoked an even greater feeling of dread: Professor Spade. Guy, after all, was just a bad memory; this motherfucker was real. And he never looked more ominous when he strode into the classroom.

We all quickly fell silent.

Spade was a dark-skinned, balding man who wore round mirror shades. He had an angular face with a thick nose and a smug, tight mouth. He looked like a fucking murderer. I bade hello to him, just to say something, maybe to get on whatever good side I still thought he possessed….but Spade said not a word. He drew up his shades, took them off, and then briefly landed his eyes on me.

He stood there looking at me in a very unpleasant way. It was a strange look of disdain, the kind of look I once found in the eyes of some hateful corporal. Whatever the hell was eating him up, I knew I had nothing to do with it.

“Someone’s been smoking in here,” he said, coldly. “Was it you, Mister Lomax?”

“No,” spits the battered-faced nerd from the rear in a muffled, weak, self-conscious voice.

“Excuse me, I asked you a question, so I’d like for you to answer it, please,” he then snorts, pompously.

“I said  NO,”  Mister Lomax snorts in anger, “I didn’t smoke in here. I don’t smoke, sir. You know I don’t!”

“No, Mister Lomax, I DON’T know that you don’t smoke, thank you—for your information. You know,” he adds, icily, “you should learn to show me some respect when you walk in here next time.”

Spade takes out his stool and sits on his bony ass while Mr. Lomax looks at him perplexedly. Today the bastard is in a strange rage, and he himself admits to it. He pompously sniffs the air, and looks at me again. Uh oh. I know what he’s going to do, what he’s going to say. I’ve heard it for the past year already.

“So, Mister Morris,” he continues, laying his things out on the table, “it seems you finally decided to come to class again and take this course for a third time?”

“Yeah,” I said, “I need to. That’s the only reason why.”

“You WHAT?!” he suddenly spat, jerking his head up so vehemently it frightened even me. “Well, I….I said—”

“You said you needed credits, is that right? That’s what I THOUGHT I heard you say! Is that right?”

Everyone was looking at him and I, scratching their heads….

“Yes, I said that,” I stammered, looking into his hard eyes, “I….need them to pass. To graduate.”

The students, Maya included, found my mumbling and fumbling very funny. Spade took his goddamn eyes off me for once, and scanned the class with them. “You must be joking,” he suddenly said. “Hand in your assignment, Mister Morris. I want to see what you’ve done that makes you think you’re so damn tough.”

I looked askance at him. “I didn’t say—”

“Hand in your assignment, Mister Morris,” he snapped. “NOW.”

I dug it out of my bag and made it over to his table, almost feeling as if I hadn’t really left the military. Spade looked at it, over and over, up and down; Maya was sulking in a corner flashing nervous grins; Mister Lomax was looking up at the ceiling, and then at me—he put his finger to his head and “fired.” I know, my eyes tell him, you don’t have to tell me a thing.

“Morris,” Spade shot, “tell me, what’s so damn great about this thing? This stinks!”

He hurls it on the table.

“This is slop, Nathaniel Morris. SLOP. What makes you think you can say what you said an’ just—you know….”

“Say about what?”

“You know what I mean, Mister Morris,” he shot back.

“I think you’re nuts,” I mumbled out loud.

Spade looked up at me once again. “I know I didn’t hear Mr. Morris say what I thought because if he did, he’s not going to find being in this class a very pleasant experience at allllllll.” He cocks his head. “Let me clarify myself, Mister Morris. You—I find you very disrespectful to all the people in this art department. VERY disrespectful.”

“You told Lomax the same thing,” I grumbled.

“I’m not talking about Carl, sir, I’m talking about YOU.”

“But what the hell did I do?”

Spade took a deep breath, shook his head, and sat down. He flopped some papers down on his table; he looked over them for a long time. I couldn’t figure out what his damn problem was myself. “Morris, this is a D-minus,” he snaps, tacking a sheet of paper onto my assignment—the one I’d slaved on all night, the one I had swimming in my head for so long I couldn’t remember. Then all the other students were told to turn theirs in. I was aghast to note that theirs was shit compared to what I’d done.

“Morris,” he begins, as the students stack up their shit in front of him, “Mister Morris. Lissen to me. One month has already passed in this class, and your grades right now are so bad, I don’t even know why you are even bothering to hang around. I doubt very seriously if you can accumulate enough A’s to pass this course with a ‘D’. Maybe, if you would stop clowning around, get serious, an’ show me work comparable to what I’ve seen you do, then, maybe, we’ll see about you getting passing grades. I want to see you in this class. I am NOT going to let you slide, mister—”

“I did my work just like anyone else in here, I don’t know why YOU’RE pissed, unless you personally dislike the damn thing. Or,” I said, jerking my brow up at him, “maybe it’s something else.”

“Oh? Like—”

“I don’t know,” I snorted, “I just think you have a problem with me being in your class. But that’s tough. I gotta right to take this class like anyone else.”

“You know, you really didn’t have to come to class, you coulda stayed home—”

“But I chose to! What the hell’s the matter with that, anyway?”

“Nate, you listen, and listen hard. Do you REALLY want to learn something from us, or do you just want to disturb us again?”

“Disturb—?”

“Yes! Disturb. You disturb this class by coming in late, that’s disturbing as hell, Nate.”

“I wasn’t late this time.”

“Listen, man. Don’t you even care if you graduate or not? What’s the reason for all the clowning around? The bad assignments? What?”

“I’ve been doing my very best,” I insisted.

“I asked you a question,” he shot back—“What is the reason for it?”

“But you come in late, and others do, too! Why single me out?”

“Me?” Spade spat, pointing arrogantly to himself, eyebrows raised, half-smiling. “What about me? I’m not talking about ME, Mister Nate. I’M talking about YOU.  What is it now? Too much fun? Alcohol? Drugs?….Sex? Don’t tell me….it’s the sex, isn’t it?”

I try to keep from hurling something into his face—a bottle on the floor, a thick piece of wood, a stray tire-iron, a balled-up piece of paper. I feel his hatred building up in my bones like poisonous phosphates. The guy starts getting red underneath his ebony tint; my stomach tightens. Every week it’s the same old dreary shit. Spade glares at me one more time and then snarls “get out”. Just like that. “Mister Nathaniel Morris,” he says, “please leave this classroom immediately, and come see me after class.”

“I didn’t do anything,” I protested.

“Now,” he snapped.

Joe and Jacky Cooke appear just as I’m making it out the gate, past the entrance where the cars come in. Two of my “good friends,” whom I’ve known for about a year. One of them trim and smartly casual, the other a big, fat, tall behemoth dressed in shabby T-shirt and jeans. Of course, Jacky is the monster, the toughie, who was so hurt by Coon State’s rejection of him that he went mad, grabbed his soprano sax—and bopped his music instructor in the head with it. Joe, on the other hand, is just a nice guy who amuses himself observing my social gaucherie. Remember him? He was the schmuck I encountered a couple years ago when I was living in Adams-Morgan. Along with him comes Carl Lomax, bemoaning his own plight at C.S.U. and pathetic as usual. Joe calls out to me while I’m down on Georgia Avenue, and, as is the custom, I snub Carl and face Joe. Carl angrily walks away.

I’m sorry, but that’s just the way things are. I have a bad enough reputation as it is without Carl buzzing around me like a fruit-fly.

“Hey, Nate,” Joe says, once he approaches, “Where you headed?”

“Nowhere special,” I say, still angry, still hearing Spade’s sneers in my head. “I guess I’ll go to a museum or something.”

Jacky frowned. “A museum?” He raised his brows. “Oh, I get it! Wanna talk to somea those artsy-fartsy honeys up in there, huh?”

“It wasn’t even on my mind,” I said. And that was no lie. “Actually, I got hooked up with this one girl in class, she’s pretty hot.”

“I don’t believe that shit,” Jacky shot. “Really?” Joe added, right about the same time. “Joe, man, he’s just sayin’ that shit to impress his friends! Ar-hargh-har-ar! You can’t talk to these snotty-ass hoes up here, ‘cause all they want is either some fuckin’ pimp or a white dude—either which, they certainly don’t want you, Nate!”

“That’s not true, I knew this girl from Numidia, from way back,” I explained. “Her name’s Maya Arschloch.”

“That’s a helluva name,” Jacky said, “sounds like German for asshole! Nate, you sure she’s okay? ‘Cause I’m tellin’ you, I’ve been up here before all y’all. I was in this motherfucker twelve years ago. Back inna goddamn seventies! Man, that was nothing but total sell-out time! Every motherfucker wanted to be a goddamn pimp, a fuckin’ hustler—I mean, it was fucked up! The decade before they were all into that ‘black is beautiful’ shit—then, they just freaked out!”

“Tell me about it,” I snorted, “look what became of them.”

My words were complimented by the sudden appearance of three happy, merry, huckle-bucking students, dressed in loud “COON STATE” T-shirts and cut-off jeans and gold chains, yelling and screaming like lunatics; following right behind them were a group of enormous negroes with their hair shaved to the shape of Greek lettering, making funny noises right out of Monty Python, their feet ensconced in Adidas sneakers, running two and fro from the gateway entrance to the steps of the School of Business in repetitious patterns only seen in the mentally autistic. “Oh, shit,” I snorted, “the goddamn Greeks.”

The three of us continued down Georgia Avenue, until we passed the rows of rotting brownstones and store-front churches, the beer joints and crumbling sidewalks, the stripped-down cars, the post offices and cathedrals with grilled windows….We popped up in Chinatown, still talking. Chinatown looked more or less the same—the main difference being the lettering was Chinese, and that the windows didn’t have grills in them. Right around the corner from us—we were on H Street—I saw this obscenely bloated figure in pink tights and a black T-shirt pushing a baby carriage; I was aghast to see that the bloated thing had the face of Rhonda Randolph. Even more outrageous was the fact that it was smiling! “Damn, that’s a goddamn gorilla right there,” Jacky huffed, with a chuckle…. “That bitch is so fat, she can’t even make it through the fuckin’ door.” He squints his eyes at her face. He sees what Joe sees, what I saw before any of them. They turn and look at me. “Oh, my Lord,” exclaimed Joe…. “Nate??”

“What?” Jacky cracked, his mouth widening into a shitty grin. I bit my lip. “Yes, I know, I know.”

“It’s your girlfriend!” Joe giggled, and then broke out laughing. Jacky wasn’t laughing, however; his eyes said something else. “Hell, I’d fuck her,” he admits, shrugging. Joe laughs even harder, though the shit is really directed at me, as he makes clear when he leans on me when I got my back turned, trying to make sure Orca doesn’t see. “Yeah! I mean—she may be fat, but it’s the good fat, yo! She’s hugely but evenly distributed! Hell, African dudes like their bitches fat, so I guess I’m more in tune to the Motherland than you niggers are! Ar-har-har-argh!”

“Hell,” I snorted, watching that huge rear-end swish disgustingly away, “she IS a motherland all unto herself.”

“You know, it’s really fucked up, how the sisters at Coon State be doggin’ a nigger, yo,” Joe begins, as we make it onto 9th; thank God Orca goes down the escalator of the Gallery Place metro. “I mean….there’s this one bitch I heard about, right. She’s up there now. She’s such a freak. I mean, she’s such a big freak, Vanessa del Rio don’t have nothin’ on her, okay? Light-skinned bitch. She’s got this answering machine, an’ all these niggers kept callin’ her ass up, one after the other. ‘Cause she had this message on it where the girl was actually rubbin’ the phone up against her pussy an’ sayin’ some wild shit, lickin’ the phone an’ stuff. She looks almost white.”

“Oh, yeah,” Jacky says, cutting his eye at me jocosely, “I remember. I think I recall. Melvin told me about that bitch when she used to work overseas! She got those long, sexy dancers’ legs, like a, a ice skater. Yeah, she’s fine! Got that luscious skin, that svelte ass….”

“She’s the one Luc’s in love with,” Joe says, cutting his eye at me. “The stupid-ass fool!” Jacky replies. “She’s like the fuckin’ mirage you see inna desert. That’s all she is! A goddamn flirt! You think you gonna get something but you don’t get shit from her! Goddamn dickteasin’ bitch! She be whippin’ her long dark hair around, flashin’ them sexy cat eyes—she ain’t nothin’ but dirt. She ain’t but nineteen an’ she’s already had five abortions, slept with about a thousand niggers, Melvin told me he’s got this film of her with eight guys shootin’ sperm into her mouth, big ol’ fat juicy gobs, too, not that small shit, you know, these ol’ tiny-ass droplets—I mean, BLISSSSSSSHHHHHH!! Shit looked like she got doused with wall-paper paste….Damn!”

“The nastiest, sluttiest, whore-ass high-yellow bitch of the class of 1992,” Joe said, mordantly. And then he turned and faced me, and said: “Does that sound like somebody you know?”

“Well….”

In my silence the void was filled with raucous laughter, with Joe laying it on thick for effects. No big surprise: his whole face seems like it’s been constructed just for that purpose—to laugh in other people’s faces. “An’ to think he’s been to bed with Orca an’ shit—bitch is so goddamn fat that when a nigger fucks her, the motherfucker sinks right in! Takes him a whole week to find his way out that bitches’ pussy!”

“Man, Nate,” Jacky laughed, “I thought you had some good taste in women.”

“She’s my ex-girlfriend,” I snorted, angrily. Then, for some strange reason, Orca reappears, through the Metro’s elevator. Joe and Jacky are in stitches watching her huge thighs wobble around; I move away from them. They follow, sheepishly giggling. “Okay, man, we got you. FORMER girlfriend.”

“I’m serious!” I furiously whispered, in vain. Jacky nods. “Okay, man. Gotcha.”

“I mean, we don’t even know each other anymore,” I continued.

“Yeah, man, we get the point already!” Joe snorted, still laughing. “Former girlfriend. FORMER GIRLFRIEND. Shit, that’s what they all say.”

They are still laughing when we enter the clothing store further down on 11th Street, North West. I didn’t care to go in to the goddamn place, since I usually picked up something cheap at a flea market. And I know that THIS IS A STICK UP! doesn’t have the kinds of things that I like to wear; their stuff is too hip, too self-conscious. “Look around, man,” Joe says, once we’re into the men’s section, the sounds of Public Enemy pounding over the intercom. “All this,” I snorted, “just to lay these stupid cunts on campus. They won’t give a shit! I’ve been through this whole thing before!”

“Nate,” Joe says, as I pick up a black long-sleeved shirt with red poker-dots, “you may be a veteran of a nasty war, but there are other wars to be fought. Keep your head up, you ain’t goin’ nowhere.”

Joe moves away from me, over towards Jacky, who’s checking out a new pair of Elleese tennis shoes. Yesterday it was Fila; the day before that Gucci; the day after tomorrow it will be Timberlands….and these silly names will be the only reasons why guys like us will die in these streets.  Nearby, two beefy security officers, one a fat black woman, the other a jaunty-looking white guy with a mustache, are watching me discreetly but carefully; a sales representative, dressed smartly and casually in jeans and olive sport coat, Asian with unusually round eyes and slick, trimmed, oily hair, a face full of acne and thick, pink lips, a white name tag reading “DOUG” stuck on his coat, starts hovering over me when I’m looking at a double-breasted suit. The sales rep says, “Need any help?”

“No,” I say, “I’m just fine.”

I put the suit back down on the rack, and then pick up another one, a single-breasted jacket with one button only. “No, that’s not you,” says “Doug” the retailer, who pulls out something strange— “this is. Yeah.”

He holds it up to me as I face the mirror. The thing is triple-breasted, with buttons running up and down the bright blue fabric like black cockroaches. “Now, that’s bumpin’, that’s cool. You a Coon State student?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“I figured you were,” he said.

I go into the fitting room and try it on. The pants are too tight, and they haven’t even been cuffed. The shoes are too stiff, too shiny, like they’ve been made out of plastic; besides, I don’t like the combination of red and black. And the jacket is a four button-holed monstrosity. Only a lunatic would pay three hundred and forty dollars for this trash. Of course, I don’t say that to “Doug’s” face when I give it back to him, and simply take the black poker-dotted shirt for twenty dollars.

Joe and Jacky are in the women’s section talking to a coed from Howard University. I am just leaving the cash register, ready to walk out the door when “GREG”, the other sales rep, black and medium-complected, narrow-featured and Latin-looking, calls out, while striding towards me:  “Oh, sir?”

“Yeah?”

“Could you mind putting that shirt back where you found it?”

“You mean this? I just bought it,” I said.

“No,” he says, grinning forcibly, suddenly tugging on the one I’m wearing. “I mean this. Please take that off right this instant and give it back to us.” Very strange how he has suddenly become so rude.

“Oh, no, this is my shirt,” I say, watching his face—it isn’t moved once. “I’ve had this shirt for a year.”

The security’s ears are pricked up: the fat black female one wobbles over, eyes popping, fingers itchy to pull out that pistol she’s got in her black leather holster. “Don’t start that shit with us,” I hear her snarl. I froze: my mind rambled back to Pointe-Blanche, to Adjrar, to Camp Jejune, to Freedom College, and all the past humiliations I had ever suffered at the hands of authority figures.  “Take it off.”

“But this shirt is mine!” I exclaimed, and then wheeled to Jacky and Joe, who were still in the women’s section, still talking to the Howard U. coed. I tried to wave them over—but, lo and behold, I found them acting like they didn’t know me. Neither one of them said a goddamn word when I asked them had they seen me with my shirt on. The female security officer tugged on the sleeve of my shirt…. “I’m sorry, boy,” she barked, while the other one came closer, chewing gum, eyes set dead on me, “but you gon’ have to show a receipt if you claim that shirt’s yours!”

“I bought it a year ago,” I said, my breathing starting to speed up apace. “Why would I have it? Those guys over there, they’re my friends, they saw me with this shirt….”

All along, the burly white guy with the moustache kept nodding, chewing, nodding, nodding, chewing, chewing, and then going, “uh, huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, sure it is. Sure, pal. We believe you.”

“Take off that goddamn shirt, nigger!” the fat black bitch rasped.

I started arguing with them, thinking, this is the last straw, I’m not going to take this crap. But everyone else in the store, save for the personnel, was indifferent, even though I observed the cashiers laughing and joking with some customers about the absurd scene. Then the big white guy seizes me roughly by the arm. “C’mon, c’mon, let’s go, kid,” he snorts, hurtling me through the doorway of the room reserved for “employees only”.

C’mon, Nate, I thought, wake up. Stop dreaming, you can’t fight the world all your life. Give them the shirt, and walk out of the building, back to campus, back to school, and get your degree. Maybe they will let you off easy. You know they are right after all—even if they are wrong. What are you going to do about it, motherfucker?

The door closes on a room filled with unopened boxes, scattered tables full of invoice papers, trash cans filled with discarded Dixie cups and soda cans and potato chip bags and empty boxes of Kentucky Fried Chicken, a water cooler, a soda machine, and two bright, dangling bare bulbs. They say, after they lock the door, “Take your pants down.” I refused to take them down. So the two guards held me as “Doug” reached for my pants. I smashed my knee up in his face and the two guards wrestled me to the ground; I punched the honky in his face with my left but the black bitch quickly pointed her gun between my eyes. Then “Doug” ripped my pants off, zipper and all. “Greg” filched out my wallet; the honky took the wallet, went directly for the ID’s, pulling each and every card out, VISA, Master Card, etc., etc. “Is your name Nathan James Morris, or is this some shit you made up?” he spits. “Yes,” I say, “it’s my real name.” “Well, is it!?!” “YES,” I shot back, observing “Greg” put on rubber gloves, and “Doug” filching my remaining cash out of my wallet and sniggering. “Fuckin’ sonofabitch,” “Greg” giggles, while he sticks his hand up my ass and starts probing around in my asshole for what he thinks he can find….Unfortunately, by the time the cops come, it’s all over, the damage has been done, my pants have been buttoned back up. Five police officers stream in through the door and, without a word, point their finger outside, towards the waiting patrol car. I stroll through the doorframe feeling one of the security officers kicking my sore ass. Joe and Jacky have long since left. People stop and stare at me; the old Korean owner of a nearby hat shop puts down his broom and, his wife coming out, starts pointing, jabbering stuff in Korean; both their slit eyes carefully follow my clumsy steps from the STICK UP!’s doorway to the patrol car. The mastiff in back of me keeps barking down my ear, giving me a head-splitting headache by the time we get to the precinct station.

The precinct is an olive-green walled hell-hole alive with the endless ringing of greasy telephones, the ruffling of papers, and swarms of dick-headed cops of every race(though mostly black men)and their equally repulsive victims: hookers, drunks, armed robbers, gang-bangers, pushers, etc. By now, after a year in this goddamn city, it comes as no surprise to me that nearly all of them are young black men. The man behind the desk, a patrician-looking fatherly guy with gray speckling his neatly combed kinky hair, keeps asking me a whole bunch of insulting questions, one after the other. My only line of defense, unfortunately, is to tell the truth. “Uh, huh,” he merely snaps, after everything I tell him. I give him Joe Washington and Jacky Cooke as witnesses, provide their phone numbers and campus addresses—all of which comes in the end to nothing. They take me into the booking room for “attempted petty theft”. They flung a sign around my neck, snapped some horrible pictures of me, had me roughly fingerprinted, then led down dark, stale corridors to—the Drunk Tank.

Why the hell were they arresting me for public drunkenness?

I go inside the place, and there are about fifteen mothers in there, all black, and all male. Eight of them are huge brutes, eyeing me very, very carefully as I’m shoved inside. The other six are non-descript-looking, dirty fellows clad in dirty jeans, torn overcoats, soiled pants, some wearing only underwear; one guy masturbates in a lone corner while talking loudly to himself. The whole place smells of piss and rotten blood. The fifteenth guy stood out above all, because he was dressed in drag. He had on a shiny black wig with black fishnet stockings, red plastic earrings, a tight pink mini-skirt obviously padded around the hips, breasts and ass to give him the semblance of woman ness. Had not this figure stunk so bad of alcohol and unwashed ass, I would have never guessed—though the prickle of beard should have told me so. And, above all, the eyes: they were too green, with that coldness that one sees only in snakes.

“Hey, man,” he says, when he sees me, “what’s happening? Whad’chu do to get in here?”

After my shock wore off, I only said, “whatever it was, it certainly wasn’t what YOU were doing!”

“Man, it was just a ruse,” Guy insisted, stumbling around drunkenly, “it’s not like I was selling myself.” He then began a spiel about how he worked with some other guy in a fake prostitution scheme: Guy, dressed up like a woman, would lure suckers into a trap in a dark alley, pull open their pants, go through the motions….when the other guy, unbeknownst to the sucker, would bash him in the head. It sounded very believable, but I couldn’t be so sure after noting that the front of Guy’s dress was encrusted with flecks of what looked like dried wallpaper paste. Myself, I said nothing, wanting to believe it was all a bad dream.

“You got twenty dollars, man?”

“No, I—the security officers took my money,” I stuttered.

“Where was this at?”

“THIS IS A STICK UP!, you know, that place,” I said. Guy laughed. “Man, I don’t believe that shit,” he snorted.

Hell, I thought, I don’t believe you, either. What the hell happened to all your money?

Late that night I managed to place a call directly to my dormitory at Hillcrest Heights. But it was four days before Lucius followed up on his promise to get me out. Guy, on the other hand, stayed behind. I watched the look of despair on his face as I left the Drunk Tank, thinking to myself, it’s the fitting end for a stinker.

Notes for Today (2)

Something has been bothering me for the past three or four years while stuck here in the bowels of Berlin. I have already accepted the fact that Berlin is incapable of making itself into a true cultural mecca because it doesn’t really know what the fuck “culture” really is. Actually it has a set idea of “culture”–spelled with a “K” and minus the “e” on the end–an idea set in stone and worshiped at special shrines throughout Berlin. You know–the Deutsche Oper or the Volksbuehne or some aging gallery where one can see what the greats of decades and centuries past once achieved. In other words, people here subconsciously (or even consciously) think that true cultural achievement, cultural greatness, is yesterday’s news. Today, we’re lead to believe that everything “cultural”–and not just in Berlin–is just fucking finger-painting, mental masturbation, funny clothes and house/techno/rap crap, or gypsy swing minus the soul, to say nothing of the swing, much less the funk.

But the thing that has me irritated is not so much this phony-assed Berlin art scene. One can easily write that off. In fact mocking Berlin’s shortcomings is easier than shooting fish in a fucking barrel. One can get so wrapped up in making fun of this place that one can forget a more pertinent question, which is: how in the hell are we–we being SERIOUS artists, and not hipster/poser assclowns–going to go about creating a new, living, distinctive and vibrant culture of the TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY?

And another question–exactly which culture? A national culture? Or an international culture–a TRUE international culture, as opposed to fake mass-manufactured “global” kitsch-culture designed by Sony and Seagram’s and imposed upon us?

I can’t answer that question right now, and won’t try to.

Instead I’ll just throw some ideas around. Most of them are scribbled from my notebooks.

First off: what the hell is “culture,” anyway? It’s funny that in the whole time I have been preoccupied in trying to redefine (in my own way) Afro-American culture and identity through my own art, I really haven’t taken time to define just what “culture” means. So I simply looked it up on Google and came up with this:

A culture is a way of life of a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.

Well hell, if what we have now is a “culture” then we’re fucking finished as a species!! Everything has to be changed fundamentally. Practically nothing of what we are doing now in America (especially) should be passed down to the next generation. As an artist I am responsible for either changing or redefining the behaviors, beliefs, values and symbols of my own group of people–Americans, and not just Afro-Americans. (After all, the American majority is always dick-riding off the African minority.) These changes and re-definitions are done on paper, canvas and keyboard. As for the current cultural ugliness, one has to examine it closely from afar, in order to turn it upside down and inside out, and make it irrelevant.

  1. American architecture is UGLY. The street layout is UGLY. Everything about an American city–well, just about everything–screams cheap, makeshift, brutalist, inelegant, stupid and just fucking ugly. Like in some ex-commie country, everything is strictly functional in design with virtually no thought at all to beauty. Somebody should consider rebuilding ruined cities in America in a truly elegant and dignified way, like a medieval African, European or Asian city. But I guess that’s a tall order for an American city (outside of San Francisco).
  2. Speaking of behaviors: the current snarky, falsely ironic “hipster” pose has nothing whatsoever to do with the true “hipster,” who is a hep-cat and usually black. The old “hep-cat” had a hard-won cool and detachment if he didn’t get it through shooting smack (heroin). The detachment was necessary to not lose your cool in a society that was (and still is) always trying to grind you down into nothing.
  3. The same rule would apply today. Don’t get involved in mainstream shit if you are serious about making a 21st century culture. Culture is not about money. Cultural arbiters’ main goal is not to sell units–it is to help shape people’s minds and attitudes in such a way that is spiritually beneficial to them, individually and collectively…unlike these coons running around snapping at each other about the number of “units” 50 Cent sold in contrast to fat, greasy-ass Rick “Warden” Ross. Who fucking cares? I can’t listen to royalty statements!!
  4. The “mainstream” Kanye West/Pharrell Williams/Will.I.am stuff is not hip. When the mainstream co-opts something (duhh) it isn’t hip anymore–it’s square. You want something hip? Make it your goddamned self, and do it right. Be creative and put feeling into it. And as usual, you need to keep your eyes and ears open; you need to see things as they are and not the way you wish to see them. You have to do the hard work of looking past the gaudy curtain (re: Milan Kundera) and observe what is really going in America and the rest of the world. You need to know people and what makes them tick; don’t just assume you know them based on stupid stereotypes or hearsay.
  5. Of course if you don’t have any feeling or drive to do these things, you should get into a different line of work.
  6. American “art” music has already crossed a certain threshold, pushing it some ways beyond the limitations of European classicism and Romanticism. Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen and Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge in spots merely hint at the possibilities of what Afro-Americans achieved in jazz and its predecessor ragtime. The trouble with American musicians is that, 9 times out of 10, they have no idea what they are doing with their own music; they don’t really know how to play it. And if they do, they simply cannot approach this music with the dignity and respect that this music (American classical music) demands. Even if they try to do so, they still fail, since true dignity, true respect and above all true feeling, is simply not in most American classical musicians. In other words, the American is psychically cut off from his own folk heritage.
  7. American singers, and the non-American bitches who cunt-ride off them, all sound more or less alike. Why is that?
  8. African American culture–I prefer Afro-American–has become outdated, parochial, stereotyped, and just plain corny. In its current attempts to be highbrow it becomes  ponderous and pretentious in the extreme; when it tries to “get back to the roots” or “to the people” (whom these black artists usually barely know; they barely know themselves) it becomes nasty, vulgar, insupportably stupid–a virtual parody of the worst sort of KKK fantasies about black people.
  9. The fucking “cultural nationalist” wants to go back to an Africa that exists only in his head. Let’s make one thing clear: Africa never was a wild jungle full of gorillas and spear-chucking negroes. It had empires stretching back thousands of years. We know that, or should know it. What we refuse to know is that these empires were just like all other empires the world over–that is, riddled with empire problems such as maintaining control over subject peoples, feudalism and other banal details. Most people could not read, let alone vote. We were not all “kings” and “queens”–most of us are descended from the subjects and slaves of those very same kings and queens. We don’t need to return to a feudal African empire where guys like myself would be condemned to being blacksmiths or shoemakers for life simply because I happened to be born of a blacksmith, or a shoemaker, or worse yet, a slave. (Note: in Ancient Egypt and Meroe, Medieval Mali and Renaissance Songhai or Kanem-Bornu (just to name a few empires), occupations were hereditary.)
  10. The block boy (or block boy middle-class wannabe*) wants to “keep it real” while not knowing a goddamned difference between what is truly Afro-American and what white liberal paternalists concocted and passed off as “black.” Naturally, Mr. Keep-it-Real prefers the white liberal fantasy of the Noble Savage which, no matter how noble it sounds, is simply not who or what he is. In fact white liberal fantasies about blackness are merely the flip side of what the KKK thinks about blackness, but Mr. Keep-it-Real is so embroiled in concealing just who he is and what he thinks about life that he might as well stay backstage and not torture us anymore with his confusion. Mr. Keep-it-Real wants to be ignorant, primitive, corrupt, base, BAD, because that’s what he thinks “blackness” is. He sees himself as the white man’s shadow and can’t function without him or knowledge of him.

To be continued…

 

A Requiem for Uncle Sam

 

Note: I completed this poem back in August of 2012. At the time I actually felt it was too strong to post online(!). Thankfully, in the following years, I decided to grow a pair of balls and put excerpts of it up for free. The rest will be featured in a poetry booklet due out later this year or early next year, regardless of the political situation in America.

 

A REQUIEM FOR UNCLE SAM

For Henry Dumas and Trayvon Martin

I

Now

Now is the time to tell the truth

About you

There is a conspiracy of silence

That must be broken

Concerning you

An elaborate system of manners

In referring to you

Must be violated

The universe

Must be exposed

From the bottom up;

The cover must be broken,

The compromises must cease;

It’s high time someone snatched

The veil from your face;

You’ve been too long

In self-imposed exile

From reality

 

If the time comes for me

To be arrested for saying these things,

To be sent to Guantanamo Bay,

Or imprisoned in a lunatic asylum,

Then let the chips fall where they may

All your Mickey Mouse novelists

And Hollywood shills

Can’t keep the truth sealed

Forever

No secret shall stay hidden,

Nothing is concealed

That shall not soon be revealed

I shall tell the truth

About You,

That you live in a bullet-proof

Glass house

With no mirrors:

Only flattering portraits

Hung on every wall, even

In your bathroom

No need to see what

You really look like, right?

No need to check if

All your hundreds of millions

Of flatterers and flunkies

Are actually bullshitting

After all, You think, the world

Loves you

Everyone wears your clothes,

Everyone listens to your music,

Everyone dines at your tables,

Eats your food,

Wipes their ass on toilet paper

Made in China

(for you)

And pukes in the same toilet bowls

You puke in,

Washes their hands with the same water

You drink from,

Reads the same newspapers

And books

You not only read, but wrote

Dreams the same silly fantasies

You not only dream, but conjured

Screams the same racist insults

You not only scream, but invented

Everyone is walking in lock step

Behind You, believing all

Your dreams, all your little

Fairy tales

Everyone believes in Santa Claus

And the Almighty Ringtone,

In Justin Bieber, Kanye West

And the War on Terror,

saline injections, Brazilian waxes

And the funny little notion

That Elvis is still alive

The whole world wants to live on your block,

Walking your dog,

Playing your video games,

Fucking your old lady,

Or sticking their face in your favorite

Glory hole,

Eating chocolate

And cream

before bedtime

No one is allowed to step inside your house,

Because no one is allowed to see your face

In fact, You never leave your house

Although you think the world

Loves You,

You don’t love the world.

 

Sir, your flunkies and flatters

Have deceived you

And as Nizar Qabbani writes,

It’s time to break the cover,

And let the people pass

Through the armed guards

To peep inside your house

And if the guards hold them

Back, I shall tell them what’s inside

Worse yet, I shall tell them what’s inside

You

The world hasn’t a clue,

they don’t know

How flowers and trees

Make you cringe,

How a simple act of making love

Arouses your indignation,

How the sight of a woman’s nipple

Drives you to homicidal fury…

How even the sunshine

And sea breeze

And fresh vegetables

And fruits

Nauseate You…

Everything, to You,

Must be contaminated

Everything must be filled with poison

Everything must be made ugly

And useless

Everything good and true must be rendered obsolete,

Every candlelight must be snuffed out,

Every breath of air must be stilled,

Every laugh must be choked

Or shoved in a barrel…

Every scent of jasmine

Must be fumigated…

Every old house in the world

Must be destroyed…

Beauty and Joy must be criminalized,

And Love made an alibi

For the death penalty…

Every conscience must be erased,

Every mind stuffed with your conceits,

Every bone filled with your cynicism,

Every heart weighed down with your

Hatreds,

And every soul possessed by your

Foul spirit

 

No

The world has no idea

Of what you have accomplished

In the name of Beelzebub

They have no idea

How you have silenced the world,

Silenced all your musicians,

Snuffed out all your poets,

Starved all your artists,

Bought out all your visionaries,

And assassinated,

Down to the last man

And woman,

Every single one of your leaders

It wasn’t (so much) their bodies that you killed,

But their memory

You shoved them under the rug of

What you think is your “history”

Turned them into cheap ad copy

For Burger King

Or stuck them on the shelves of libraries

Or the storage rooms of museums

(where Americans never go, anyway)

Or in the lurid bios

Of lying historians,

Eager to reveal all their flaws

To a perverted public

You call them heroes now,

But You called them terrorists

When they walked the earth

You still do, anyway, behind

Closed doors

You should know best what a terrorist looks like

Since You wrote the definitive edition

On terror

Stop screaming about the Arabs,

They are just doing your dirty work

(like Israel)

They have learned a lot from You, by the way

Was Osama Bin Laden not on your payroll?

Did Saddam Hussein not dine with You

At the Waldorf-Astoria?

Was it not true that the lunacy

Of Sayyid Quttub

Crystalized

When he came to your shores?

And was it not true that Hifter,

The Nathan Bedford Forrest of Africa,

Spent twenty years sucking at your

Sagging teat?

 

Shall I remind you of your crimes

With yet another roll call?

Shall I bore the reader (yet again)

With another long list

Of your fuck-ups?

Does Martin King

Ring a bell

Or is he just another holiday,

Another excuse to stay home

And get drunk while watching

the Super Bowl?

Is Malcolm

Only fit for the prurient speculations

Of yellow journalists

Or just a face

To be slapped on a t-shirt,

Or a meaningless name emblazoned

On a ten-dollar baseball cap?

Is John Brown still just a madman

With a funny-looking beard?

Was Huey Newton just a

Cocaine addict?

Were Sacco and Vanzetti

Just a couple of terrorists,

Or was Marcus Garvey just a big-time crook?

 

Is Leonard Pelletier just another wild,

Drunken Indian

Like Crazy Horse,

Or Geronimo, or Sitting Bull,

Or Tecumseh, or Montezuma,

Or Atahualpa?

Was Gabriel Prosser just another bad nigger?

Was Che Guevara just a loud, cigar-chomping

Spic?

Was Sojourner Truth just another Negress

with a funny accent?

Or was H. Rap Brown merely guilty

Of trying to break inside your glass

House?

__

 

How do you silence a musician?

Did Jack Purvis really kill himself?

Was Bix the jazz god You insist he was

Or are You ashamed that he dropped

Dead at 28, screaming of “Mexicans” under his bed?

Or Fats Navarro, dead at 25

Or little Hersal Thomas, dead at 16?

What was the real reason Yardbird flew away?

Or why The Prez started drinking

Or why The Hawk stopped eating?

Or why Lady Day

Was arrested on her death bed

With several hundred dollars

Between her thighs?

Remember Bessie Smith’s end

On the Mississippi backroads?

Remember Lee Morgan?

Louis Chauvin?

Scott Joplin?

Leon Roppolo’s last days in the

Nut house?

Or Buddy Bolden’s last days in the

Nut house?

Or Eric Dolphy, dying on the Ku’damm in Berlin,

Or Bud Powell’s last days in a Parisian stupor?

Remember Pinetop Smith catching a bullet

In the gut?

Remember Jelly’s last jam

Under a hoodoo curse?

Did the Melrose Brothers

Ever pay his royalties?

What became of poor Herbie Nichols

And his music?

Or Sam Cooke?

Or Chano Pozo?

Or Chu Berry?

Or Clifford Brown?

Or Billy Banks?

Or La Lupe?

Or Little Walter?

Or Little Willie John?

Remember when Gerry Mulligan died

And You chose to write an obituary of

Minnesota Fats instead?

Remember Fletcher Henderson, ending his days

as a pathetic charity case?

Remember when they found Wardell Gray

In the desert with a broken neck?

Remember King Curtis, stabbed by junkies on a

Harlem stoop?

Remember King Oliver, fat, blind, toothless, dying in a

Run-down pool hall in Savannah?

Or Tommy Ladnier, dying in a Harlem rooming house

With only a walking stick and a pair of underwear

To his name?

 

One could wrap a list of your fuck-ups

Around the world

Several times

And still have room for more

One need not go on

No need to explain why David Walker

Ended his days on a

Boston doorstep

Too many people have perished

On those same doorsteps

They are still perishing,

Their voices drowned out by billions

Of ringtones and screeching cop sirens

Nobody’s left to hang around

these stoops

Playing music

Or singing songs

Or reciting poetry

Or serenading a loved one

No one hears the screams of

Children playing

You’ve killed the children

with gangsta rap,

poisoned school lunches,

play stations, iPods or

Neo-Nazi message boards

Single parents beat them

Within an inch of their lives,

Murderous pedophiles

bugger them in

Every street,

Killer cops and gangstas

Use them for target practice,

And jail-like junior high schools

Teach them the law of the jungle

You’ve raised a new generation

Of faceless, soulless robots

Not one of them will rock the boat

Not one of them will lift a finger in resistance

Not one of them will give the lie

To all your crackpot sophistry

Everybody knows their place

Everybody knows when to keep

Their windows closed

One might as well, because outside,

There’s nothing but silence

Not even the howling of the wind

Not even the braying of a dog,

The chirp of birds

Or the yowling of cats

Not even the buzz of bees, flies or

Mosquitoes

We can’t even hear the rustling of leaves in the trees

Mother Nature has gone into exile

The sun is afraid to show its face

And roses are too ashamed to open their petals

In this hell

 

 

 

 

Notes for Today (1)…

berlin_asylum_frontcover
Coming to a website near you–in the Fall of 2016…

 

I’m merely flexing the muscles in my head today. It has been so cold over here in Berlin I can barely even think, let alone write. And yet I have a mountain of literary work prepared for this year; in fact I’ve been preparing this novel for the past six or seven years.

Ever since coming to Berlin I had promised myself to complete a whole laundry list of literary works, including a book of poems and a play, of all things. Very few of these things have actually been completed or even started. I still have the play in my head and an outline for it on paper (or to be more precise, on the hard drive). But anybody who has lived in this fucking city for any amount of time knows that it is extremely easy to get sidetracked into petty shit that has little or nothing to do with art. Worse yet, the city is full of so-called “artists” who spend much of their time hanging out in cheap dives (no, not “cheap” in regards to the food and drinks, but the decor and attitudes), generally just going through their phony shit. Ever see “Fritz the Cat”? (I mean, the animated movie, not Crumb’s cartoon.) The opening scenes dealing with those spaced-out, pretentious potheads in their “pads” having orgies and talking pseudo-left pablum are Berlin right down to a “T,” only I don’t see too many orgies. (Or maybe I’m not invited to them. Anyway, it doesn’t matter if I get invited to an orgy at a Berlin loft or not; I don’t find these hipsterettes, with their Mary Poppins clothes and 29-inch hips, to be all that sexy.)

So if I want to write, I simply don’t go out, I shut off the cell-phone (called “handies” over here) and, preferably, the internet. And since I’ve picked up the bad habit of composing music as a way of avoiding literature, I put my scores and midi files away. However, I can’t avoid the art. Most of it, admittedly, is not really serious art, but quasi-kitschy pinup art. I’ve been drawing these things for the past seventeen years and quite frankly, I’m tired of it. It’s boring. But people like this stuff a lot, and it brings in the bread.

51F5M8CH3WLThe creative stuff I do in the daytime and the grunt work I do at night. Or vice versa. When I begin the new series of novels I will have to get the grunt work (ie., pinups) out of the way during the day so I can write at night–I usually write at night, sometimes until 3 or 4 in the morning. I said series of novels. In reality what I’ve planned is a very large novel on the order of Hermann Broch’s Sleepwalkers. I would like to give out details but I do not want anybody stealing the fucking plot, so I will let it go at that.

Die Schlafwandler is actually a trilogy of novels dealing with the disintegration of values in pre-war Germany from 1888 to 1918. I like Broch’s idea, but not necessarily his approach; to me his writing is very detached, very dry, shorn of emotion, to the point where much of the novel reads more like sociology than fiction. One could call it “objectivism” in novel form. (I would use it sparingly, only where needed, when writing my own series of books.) But I like the idea of presenting the current American “disintegration of values” in book form, particularly over a series of books–maybe as many as five or six, but most certainly four. I like the idea of highlighting this disintegration through several different points of view, from various people from varying backgrounds. AND THAT’S AS MUCH AS I’M GOING TO SAY, THANK YOU. WAIT TILL THE BOOK COMES OUT.*

Berlin Asylum, the 673-page book I completed four-and-a-half years ago, will be published as a Kindle Book this fall. I have already designed a cover for it. I planned on something a little different, but as I was playing around with this design on CorelDraw last year I came up with something striking. I don’t think it’s too amateurish, don’t you? It’s a lot better than the “NATE” cover, which did not help in selling copies…

Coincidentally, it is the 10th anniversary of the publication of my second novel, Nate. Between 1993 and 2016 I’ve only published two novels. And back in the late 80s I naively imagined I would be a famous, rich and well-published novelist and pundit by now.(If I had only known!!) However, I think Berlin Asylum will do surprisingly well. I think. I would assume that people are finally fed up with the same old middle-class, semi-respectable voices detailing their tired semi-privileged lives in the redneck version of Paris.

*I already know the publishers won’t be much interested in some darky analyzing America’s own disintegration of values and destruction of ethnic identities in favor of a false multiculturalism that claims to celebrate Afro-Americanness, Asian-Americanness, Latino-Americanness–but is really keen on appropriating our identities and defining FOR THEMSELVES what a black, brown or yellow person is. But fuck the publishers, anyway.

*

Another note: the older I get, the more I find myself completely disgusted with every aspect of contemporary American culture, especially African-American culture. I no longer have any patience for these black idiots who keep on whining about how horrible Hollywood is when black America quite literally doesn’t need either Hollywood or Madison Avenue or Silicon Valley. Black America is stuck in a mental and spiritual time-warp; they seem to think it’s still 1962 or 1972 or 1982–whether that’s B.C. or A.D. is debatable.

It doesn’t matter a damn whether white people have a culture or not, or if they are basically still stuck on Plymouth Rock (especially regarding their religious or sexual mores). The fact is that it is increasingly clear that we do not need to put up with any more of their primitive and self-righteous shit. Black Americans are worth 1 TRILLION dollars a YEAR, for fuck’s sake. Rather than try to take over NBC, they would do better and create at least two or three completely independent media stations. But they don’t. They’d rather sit around and whine about “thug rap” (which I have already talked about and analyzed to death and will reprint the article shortly) rather than stop listening to that crap. After all, nobody is forcing them to watch “rap”. Nobody is holding them back from creating their own industries, AND IF THEY CAN’T DO IT IN AMERICA THEY CAN JUST AS WELL DO IT IN THE CARIBBEAN OR AFRICA.

After all, the first step towards a genuine revolution (providing that’s what Black America wants) is economic independence, economic autarky. Trying to buy NBC or trying to be the first African-American head of Mutual of fucking Omaha is not revolutionary.

Brief Reflections on What a “Black” Writer Should Do (or, rather, what I think “Black” writers should do)

In the global media, the African American has been obliterated as a human being and as an historical and cultural entity. In fact his identity and humanity are subject to change and manipulation at any given moment by forces more or less beyond his control. One moment he is an amusing entertainer, a powerful and loveable athlete; the very next he is a wild, raging beast who needs to be subdued.

Black American writing should be an effort to reclaim and reinvent, or reconstruct, a history and identity which has been relentlessly trivialized. Americans deny the importance of history because if they were to remember anything that they had truly done in their past, they would probably hang themselves in shame. American history, for the most part, is an ugly testimony to humanity’s failure; it shows one just how exceedingly monstrous people can be towards other people and towards their environment, and above all, just how immeasurably stupid, cruel and callous. The “history” is built on lies, and for a very simple reason that James Baldwin pointed out earlier: in order to tell the truth about the African American, one must tell the truth about every other American, particularly white Americans, and their interaction with African Americans. Such a truth telling would render virtually every American history book useless. The lies continue to the present day: idiots like T-Pain and T.I. and 50 Cent and the rest of the thug bunch were invented and hyped for a clear reason: so that the world can’t see the rest of us. The thugs are a smokescreen.

In the Name of The Father

In the Name of the Father

 

for Nizar Qabbani, Pablo Neruda, Federico Garcia Lorca, Henry Dumas, Harold Carrington

 

 

In the name of the Father, the Son

And the Holy Ghost.

 

We, The People,

 

Thank you for your blessings

These past ten thousand years:

 

We thank you for not listening to

A single one of our prayers.

 

Thank you, O lord, for stuffing

Your blessed ears with wool,

 

for turning your backside to us,

for an eternity of neglect.

 

Thank you for mocking our struggle,

 

For making of our misery

A source of endless entertainment.

 

Thank you for gangsters and thugs,

Thank you for allowing cops

 

In New York, San Francisco,

Washington, Milwaukee, Houston,

 

Toronto, London, Paris, Budapest,

Cairo, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro,

 

To beat us with impunity,

To kick us in our genitals

 

And sodomize us in filthy alleys

And police stations.

 

Glory be to God,

For blessing us with a nation

 

Of Nigger-lynchers:

Praise Allah for the most honorable

 

Obeidah tribe of East Libya,

Who aims to finish the honorable work

 

Of Nathan Bedford Forrest.

 

Thank you, O lord, for upstanding men

like Pinochet, the Assads, the Obammys,

 

the Reagans, the Bushes, the Rockefellers;

Thank you for Hosni Mubarak.

 

Thank you for Syria

and a mountain of rubble

and an avalanche of corpses.

 

Thank you for Dylan Roof

and Jim Jones at Guyana,

thank you for understanding

that Yes, indeed, Black Lives

don’t really matter.

 

Thank you, O lord, for deposing our King;

Thank you, O lord, for killing Thomas Sankara;

 

Thank you, O lord, for Tupac Shakur,

Zip Coon, Amos and Andy, J.J., Nicky Barnes,

P. Diddy, Rick Ross, Hip-Hop, Crack, Crunk,

And the brilliant minds who produced it all.

 

Thank you,

Glory be to God.

 

Thank you for the International Monetary Fund,

And guys like Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

 

Thank you for reality shows,

Thank you for Jersey Shore and Bensonhurst.

 

Thank you for Maury Povich, and all

The lumpens who parade

 

Through his camera lens—the better to

Distract us from Afghanistan.

 

Thank you for Michelle Malkin, Ann

Coulter, Michael Savage, Ken Hamblin,

 

Joseph Goebbels, Julius Streicher, Rush

Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Howard Stern,

and Donald Trump.

 

Thank you, O lord, for Obama’s waffling

And Oprah’s mammy-made re-runs.

 

Thank you for Wolf Blitzer,

Thank you for Likudniks,

 

Thank you for Ricki Lake, Jerry Springer,

Judge Judy, the Supreme Court Justice

 

System, for Homeland Security, for the Trans-

Portation Security Administration, and all

 

The perverts who grope girl’s pussies

For plutonium.

 

Thank you for playing worker against worker,

straight against gay,

 

Thank you for playing man against woman,

Old against young, north against south, east

 

Against west, spics against niggers,

gooks against spics, kikes against

 

gooks, Ay-rabs against

kikes, and so on and so forth;

 

Thank you for the Middle Passage, for

Nanking, for Hiroshima, for Libya,

for Baghdad, for Afghanistan,

 

Thank you for all the Holocausts, for

All the Conquistadors, for King Leopold and Tippu Tib,

 

Thank you for the destruction of Timbuktu,

Benin City, and Tulsa’s Black Wall Street,

 

Thank you for burning our libraries,

Thank you for destroying our culture,

 

Thank you for forcing us to live in the ghetto,

Thank you for making us hock our kidneys

 

Just to eat a hamburger;

Thank you for killing us

 

For stealing a slice of pound cake:

 

Thank you.

 

Thank you for flooding Harlem with

Heroin, Hipsters and Walt Disney,

 

Thank you for Hipsters, Hipsters, Hipsters,

Hipsters, Hipsters, and more Hipsters,

 

Thanks for gang-bangers

Who shoot at the drop of a pin.

 

Thank you, O lord, for forcing Cuba

To eat its own shit,

 

For forcing Haiti to grovel in the dirt

For yet another century,

 

For forcing Somalia to choose between

Starvation and piracy,

 

For forcing Mother Africa to sell

Her ass again.

 

Thank you, O lord, for bringing back

Torture camps and Inquisitions,

 

Thank you, O lord, for the guys

Who hacked off the manhood

 

of Hamza Khatib—

 

I mean, it was really his fault that

He was a mere thirteen year old,

 

Wasn’t it? And maybe his big, fat

Stomach should not have been in

 

The way of the bullets that struck him,

And maybe his dick should not have

 

Been in the way of the knife that

Removed it.

 

Glory be to the Creator, to God,

To Jehovah, the One and only—

 

Et benedictus,

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you,

 

Thank you.

 

We are eternally grateful that our

Earth has been hopelessly poisoned.

 

Thank you.

 

We are eternally grateful for facing extinction

at the hands of morons.

 

Thank you.

 

We are eternally grateful for you,

British Petroleum: you’ve done it again.

 

We are eternally grateful for the

Radiation eating out our insides,

 

O great guys of TEPCO:

Thank you for not telling the truth,

 

We did not need to hear it.

 

Thank you.

 

 

© 2011-2015 Philip Lewis

The New Absurdism: the emergence of an American literary sensibility (or, don’t conceal the real)

Absurdism is not the cheap toilet-paper irony of white school children who have just learned to masturbate. Absurdism is rooted in a blues sensibility and a blues aesthetic. Once again, it must be made perfectly clear just what we mean when we define a “blues aesthetic” in neo-modernism and absurdism. It is not merely “singing the blues,” let alone wearing Ray-Ban sunshades and pork-pie hats and playing bad imitations of Son House. The “blues aesthetic,” for us, is rooted in an acknowledgement of our historical and contemporary struggles to stay afloat in a hostile universe. Fiction, like the Blues, is a vehicle by which we give expression to our anger, our sense of confusion and outrage; it is a vehicle by which we keep alive the “jagged edges” of the experience and by which, we transcend that experience, at least through art. To quote Elif Batuman in “Get A Real Degree,” her rebuttal of Mark McGurl’s defense of “program writing”:

At a certain point in the history of the novel, Jewishness, having ceased to be a merely comic or villainous attribute, had come to operate as a reality principle that exposed the machinery of social life. Swann’s way – the prosaic way of the narrator’s half-Jewish next-door neighbour – revealed the truth about the Guermantes way, and Jewishness became, to an extent, identifiable with the mechanism of the novel itself: the comic, slightly vulgar exposure of the world as a place where would-be knightly heroes have to eat, sleep and carry money…. To justify its perpetuation, the novel itself had somehow to become Jewish. Jewishness, which had once been a codeword for the changing of the times, came to represent a kind of tragedy that would never change, no matter how much time passed. (Italics mine)

As with us, the American and/or modern novel, if it is to exist, must become Black. Our fiction requires distillation, rejection of the academic aesthetic and creation of and/or appropriation of older techniques and aesthetics in expressing what is real to us: we, the so-called “marginalized,” whose thousands of deaths each year barely get an inch of space on some off-beat web-blog. It should be understood that the academies of the West, or even the non-West, are not going to take us seriously; they have trained themselves not to take us seriously, except when we function in the capacities they have created for us. And these capacities, of course, have nothing whatever to do with so-called “high” art.

We writers need to assess for ourselves what constitutes “high” art. How any form of art became “high” in the first place is cause for careful examination. Students of Dante Alighieri often forget that the Divine Comedy was written in what was considered a “low” language of 13th century Florence: Italian. Before Pushkin Russian literature, as a rule, did not exist; the Russian elite wrote and spoke in French. Russian was considered a “rude” language.

*

The African American is in more of a disadvantageous position than he or she realizes. The main disadvantage has less to do with the sorry state of the American publishing industry and more to do with actual matters of craft–or, to be more specific, matters of language. Each black American writer (providing he is serious, and not a hack) has to reinvent the American literary language in his or her own way. He must virtually reinvent the Black vernacular by reclaiming it, by taking it out of the hands of rednecks and clueless minstrel rappers. This is not an easy task. Much of the so-called Black vernacular defines African-Americans in ways that are just as trite, just as stale and stereotyped, as that of the dominant American vocabulary. (Which is tantamount to saying that no true Afro-American language really exists!!) Furthermore, the Vernacular itself often comes off as sounding really hackneyed–the whole “whassup, nigga” thing is more than just played out. Enough should be enough: it’s time to step outside of the narrow confines of the American and Afro-American vocabularies and at last give a true account of what it means to be black and American in the world today.

The African or Arab writer, by contrast, has it easier: armed with his or her own language, he or she is already in an advantaged position over the poor native black writer: the Ghanaian-American or Nigerian-American–unlike the native black–already speaks a language that does not define him as a nigger. This is not to say that African or Arab writers don’t have their own hurdles to jump over. The Nigerian novelist, by and large, writes in English, not in Edo, Yoruba or Hausa, nor in any of the dozens of languages of Nigeria. The “Arab” writer, who in reality is an Egyptian, a Yemeni or a Moroccan, writes in a language that virtually no Arab speaks anywhere in the world. This is tantamount to saying that Egyptian literature, for example, doesn’t really exist…

African-American literature doesn’t really exist, either: when Amiri Baraka proclaimed “Negro Literature” to be a “myth” he was not necessarily hyperbolic. There are a few examples but by and large, African American literature has been deformed by the expectations and demands of American publishing editors, almost exclusively white, who think they know what “black” writing is supposed to be like. “Black” literature has been largely tailored to the expectations of a reading public that wishes to see what it wants to see of Black America, and the end result is that there is a distinct unreality about most Black writing, as it is for Latino, Asian and Native American writing. (For white writers, the problem is virtually the same, save that ethnicity and race are more or less out of the question. There is a 180-degree difference between Raymond Carver in book form and Raymond Carver on manuscript. “Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?” was not written by Carver; it was written by Gordon Lish. Carver merely handed in the manuscript.)*

*

Today, in place of Absurdism, we have polite writers (largely white and upper-middle-class) who–to be concise–are in the business of concealing more about life on this planet than revealing it. To genuinely reveal anything in literature one must be willing to face reality: our inner reality, our true feelings and passions as well as the sorry state of the world outside of ourselves, outside of our neighborhoods, outside of our cities. Reality is often unpleasant and unnerving; it all to often provokes feelings which make us, in some form or another, extremely uncomfortable. Contemporary Anglo-American literature functions in much the same way as cutesy-poo cat designs on the panties of Japanese schoolgirls: cheap kitsch to conceal the real.

American literature does not exist. Maybe it had existed in the past, but it does not now. In order for American literature to exist the point-of-view must change; the cultural referents must be considerably broadened to take in the Asian as well as the African, the Latino as well as the Native American, the Jewish as well as the Arab, and so on and so forth. Meaning that from now on the American writer, if he or she is to be a writer, must have a lot more on the ball than before. No more of that cozy provincialism of the past decades, slumming in one’s own ethnic ghetto writing only of Puerto Ricans or Jamaicans or Italians or Jews or Jordanians. And no more of that phony inclusion, writing of Puerto Ricans, or African Americans, or Jews, or Irish, or Armenians, as mere gaudy novelistic decoration to make the book “colorful.” A thorough grounding in the concerns and problems of each group is necessary before any real American literature is to be written, and as always, the viewpoint must be that of an outsider, one who has rejected the national fantasies.

*I will make more personal observations on Raymond Carver later.