Editor’s Note //
ISSUE ONE :: FALL/WINTER 2015 The Black McGill zine is a space which aims to curate and celebrate creative work (Painting, drawing, cartoons, poetry, photography, short stories, creative non-fiction, ANYTHING!) by Black and mixed identifying folks at McGill University and all around Montreal. A publication that caters to all in celebration of Black art. At the core of the Black Students’ Network’s mandate/mission is providing services by raising awareness, sensitizing the McGill community to issues concerning blackness and assisting in the successful integration of Black students into the McGill community, an important aim is to bring about and discuss black representation in various spaces. So what better way than to serve a rad zine showcasing the work of wonderfully talented black creatives at McGill and in the wider Montréal community?! Questions? Got something magical to submit for the next issue? Email us!!
Editor: Richenda Grazette Co-editor: Sumaya Ugas Gmail: email@example.com Twitter: @bsnmcgill Facebook: /BlackStudentsNetworkOfMcGill
Comb // Samanthea Samuels You judge me. My gentle touch isn’t enough To prevent you from the reality. My hair, so thick, so rough Gives way to this pretence of identity. You deceive me. You part straight lines in my head Perfect cornrows like perfect cornrows That my ancestors once bent their backs for how long? Only god knows. You degrade me. You allow for a freedom to resemble Those that once oppressed me; I take my sorrows to the temple To forgive, before resentment can stress me. You laugh at me. Made up of more teeth Than can be found in my own mouth Brittle, they break, and not concrete The pull of my curls forces them to fall out. You lose. Cause now I’ve gone straight! So your usefulness is hushed, And tonight I have a date With your enemy: the brush.
I am Woman // Samanthea Samuels They point their fingers and laugh at me. Demean what little integrity I have left. Strip me to my core with their eyes; yet as I stand here completely exposed they can’t seem to read the sorrowful lines of metrical verse that twist and turn, making up the fibres of –my heart– the fabric of my existence. Instead, these are occluded by the fragility of my shell, and buried even deeper by the curves and lumps otherwise known as detrimental defects that hang and protrude from my corpse, making up this feminine body. I work my whole life to break this barrier, and after a continuous struggle to prove myself worthy of recognition and appreciation, I succeed. Overwhelmed and out of breath, I open my mouth and with a bitter taste of satisfaction, the word “finally” regurgitates from my soul. –Silence.– As the helium tone escapes, it’s lack of base causes it to rise. This rise gives way to my fall, as they are reminded by my pitch of my inferiority. I become a magnet to my flaws: to the layers of conformity that I strived so hard to emit. I am once again where I began: Clothed deeply in these traps that enclose my freedom; and once again, they point their fingers and laugh at me.
// Kosisochukwu Nnebe
// Kosisochukwu Nnebe
Fear of Black Gold // L What are we runnin’ away from? Lengths of denial like ribbons that wrap around your ankles and wrists-your nose, your lips, your laugh, your hips. Your hair. Your glowing onyx intensity, enchanting. Luminescent liquid mahogany, people gaze at your skin with wide-eyes They scared. But when you a walking cinnamon invitation They thirsty. How small. Taught to forget, to wash and to brighten. To be afraid of the magic that flows in your veins from kingdoms long forgotten. Invisible gold, inimitable and timeless. Just velvet smiles for miles. Forgotten because they made us afraid of our own fire since Genesis. Lady Antiquity fanning out her own flames, reduced to glowing embers and thin smoke in African skies. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Constantly stuck in familiar and damning juxtapositions: The hail-mary glorification of their pale eyes and systemic qualifications with The juicy commodification of your agility, musicality, and soul. Who knew Envy and Rejection live on the same 2 way-street. Exhausting. But try as they may, we’ll always hear those drums beatin’. Exquisite.
always look up // Jasmine Okourogo
too much // Jasmine Okorougo
carnal sin // Leslie Nikole
i. i wonder if eve’s fingers trembled as did mine as i waited for the receipt of my mistake — blatant black and white sin casting me out of the garden of peace of mind ii. i wonder how many times eve passed that wondrous tree in the middle of the garden did she try to avoid it? make efforts to ignore it? or did she wish the waterfall’s water was colder and harsher — like niagara to wash away the impure thoughts she had of it — even when lying with her husband iii. i wonder how sweet the first fruit of sin was. when she bit into it, did it’s juice run down her hands and stain her skin as it did her reputation was she overcome with euphoria as she savored it and pushed the idea of god out of her head? but as sin’s time is so short and it’s repercussion everlasting was temporary enjoyment worth being seated out of the garden? iv. here i am snaking back and forth through the grass contemplating the destruction you’d cause me at my own discretion getting fucked and ending up being fucked royally on bended knees before man then before god begging for forgiveness with his spirit still within me for a sin that probably wasn’t even worth it.
it’s about sex //
A Premonition of Fatherhood // Kai Thomas The child wriggles on his stomach as he awakens from an afternoon nap, He blinks and gurgles as he pushes his head upwards to examine his surroundings, He becomes aware that he is lying on the ground in between his father’s upper body, And girdled by his arm, The father still sleeps, The child begins to squirm before realizing that he is protected by his father’s body— Shaded from the afternoon sun, He places his hand on his father’s shoulder, and slowly lets it slip to the ground across the contours of dark brown skin, His eyes imagine the future of his own body he wonders if he will ever grow to such gigantic size, He contents himself with the slowness of each breath and drifts back to sleep.
Identity // Sandrine Ntibarigobeka Identity is defined by Kwame Anthony Appiah in My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture-African Identities as one that is difficult to label. Following European colonization, through interactions with missionaries, explorers and traders came great cultural influence and change. Neocolonialism has influenced African nations in their customs and traditions in different ways, but the remaining effect is that African identity is often defined by Europe's view of Africa, which is as a single entity. Appiah claims that "African identity is coming into being" (Appiah 174). He argues to speak of African identity before the 19th century would have been to "give aery nothing a local habitation and a name" (Appiah 174). This is because before the 19th century, cultural and social customs and traditions across the continent were very different. There was little interconnectedness between societies in different countries and no consistent 'human psychology'. One of the main ideas is the article is that race is not an adequate basis for African identity. Appiah referring to 'the idea of the Black Person' writes "Within Africa...racialization has produced arbitrary boundaries and exacerbated tensionsâ&#x20AC;? (Appiah, 176). He is not denying the role race plays identifying as African, but rather he is stating that this should not be the only categorization. One may argue that indeed there are many people who identify as African and are not black, and conversely, many who are black who do not identify as African. These contrasting ideas are evidence that race is not a defining characteristic of the idea of what it means to be African. He goes on to support the idea of Pan-Africanism and that building a Pan-African identity in unity with African-Americans, Afro-Caribbeans and Afro-Latins is constructive. However we have to be careful that it does not become what he calls 'radicalized Negro nationalism'. In short, being black should not be the only uniting force, but it is a powerful force that can bring people together-both people of the African Diaspora and of continental Africa alike. Appiah also argues that the idea of identity, particularly African identity is not static, but is constantly changing. He agrees with Chinua Achebe that "meaning is not always one we can be happy with, and that identity is one we must continue to reshape". He goes on to quote Achebe's experience with the Igbo people of Nigeria. They became much more conscious of identifying as "Igbo" after the civil war, whereas prior there was a common Nigerian identity, post colonization it was a political classification (as was Yoruba and Hausa-Fulani). This can be compared to the case of ethnic conflict in Burundi with Hutu-Tutsi divide, where the effects of colonialism and civil strife intensified the tensions between the two tribes and made the dividing lines more clear. In my own experience, as a child, I did not understand why some were labeled as Tutsi and Hutu, when we were all Burundian but learning about the civil tensions and the role the colonizers played I realized that these divides were very much present. Like race, using tribal identity as the basis for African identity or even national identity is not sufficient because its structures and prevalence changes due to the social, economic and political conditions of the time and place. Appiah states that we cannot change to the world with just evidence and reason, but we can "dispute the discourse of racial and tribal differences"(Appiah 179). The article gives a pessimistic view about the African identity today. However through unity and Pan-Africanism we can reshape that identity to become one for the better-one of economic, social and political stability and prosperity, while at the same time celebrating our diversity.
Children Of The Sun // Shaa Bailey & we walk with our spines vertical & our shoulders firmly lodged back, forcing our breast to kiss the sun & our foreheads to shimmer. & with our heads raised, making home to Crowns made of burgundy and wine colored linens, & Golds & Topazes Rubies & Amethysts. & with Emeralds swinging heavy from our lobes, & Gewone Troupant feathers dancing from our lashes. & with Africa in our follicles, & Akan drums embedded in our hips. Ankhs in our wombs & virgin oils in our wrist. With finely braided tongues & heavily woven fingers & Acrylics and pastels spread thick upon our skin. & sentences descended, from our forefathers, stained like poetry amongst our nail beds. With lips fat and full, injected with nectar and laced with prophecies. Our eyes magnified & our toes fastened. & HE has crafted our hearts from metal, & our bones from cement, & blessed us with bamboo like veins. & He has painted us in Ebony, hinting that we are children of the Sun. & He has written us hymns to sing, long before our chords were stolen. Long before, Sand & rivers & sidewalks & continents. & trees. HATE. & Scorn. & He had whispered in the eyes of our ancestors, that tribulation will stain our soles But callused skin will form upon our heels. & we will continue to walk. with our spines vertical & our shoulders firmly lodged back, forcing our breast to kiss the sun. So it is written, so it shall be done
Breaking Down Barriers // Keshia Adjei - 1 I had my first encounter with mental illness when I was about 13. A friend of my mother’s who suffered from schizophrenia (I was not aware of this at that point) had a sudden episode at a party and began to threaten my mother and kick her chair. Now you can imagine my surprise at such a tender age as I could not comprehend what was going on. I felt nervous and I was embarrassed for him. “He’s crazy”, I thought. Of all the emotions that I was experiencing in that moment, the most poignant one was fear. I was so afraid of what he might do. Now we all know what was really at the root of my fear: ignorance. In fact, ignorance breeds fear and fear breeds hate or in this case, misunderstanding. My fear and ignorance pushed me to place him in a specific category: people you stay away from. Now that I am older, somewhat wiser and find myself facing mental illness once again, I find my initial attitude terribly devastating. This is but one example of the impact of stigma when it comes to mental illness. If I, as a person who is “normal”, am afraid of the person who is suffering then who is supposed to help? If the “crazy” person cannot take care of himself then how can I expect him/her to get better? What can I do to ensure that people around me are willing to seek help when needed? I started asking myself these questions and it pushed me to write this piece. Every year, Bell organizes a BellLetsTalk day. On this day, people are encouraged to show support in ending the stigma associated with mental illness by joining in on conversations on the subject. The BellLetsTalk initiative operates in four specific areas: anti-stigma (effort to eliminate stigma associated with mental illness), care and access (improving access to mental health-related services), workplace health (making sure that people receive guidance in addressing mental health issues in the workplace) and research (investing in research programs that may potentially aid in finding treatments and cures). The initiative I am most interested in and that I believe is the most important in generating a long-lasting change is the anti-stigma initiative. If we can change our perception of mental illness, then we can begin to really encourage people to seek the help they desperately need. Let’s talk numbers for a minute. According to the Canadian Institute of Health Research, one out of five Canadians will experience some form of mental illness in their life. Now if we take Statistics Canada’s estimations of Canadian population in 2014 (around 35, 540.4 thousand people), that means that roughly 7 million Canadians will suffer from some type of mental health illness in their lives. This is a devastatingly high number of people. If two out of three Canadians suffer in silence out of fear of rejection and judgment then that means that roughly 24 million people are missing out on much needed help (Canadian Medical Association). The Canadian Mental Health Association stipulates that 27% of Canadians are fearful of being around people with mental health issues. This percentage may not seem so substantial at first glance but once converted into actual numbers (27%= roughly 9, 595.9 thousand people), it represents a whole lot of people. I think we can agree that something needs to change. Let us keep in mind that if people continue to be ashamed of being labelled as “crazy” and consequently be marginalized, they will not seek the help they need. Although the problems with the lack of willingness to seek help go deeper than simply being ashamed (ex. lack of trust in healthcare services),
Breaking Down Barriers // Keshia Adjei - 2 is important to understand how stigma affects mentally ill people on a daily basis. Indeed, we must be able to recognize that the fact that someone needs help does not equate them with being unworthy of dignity, respect, love and care. Indeed, mental illness is not a valuable reason to dehumanize a person. Instead, we must be able to accept that perhaps someone we love and care about is not okay and we must do whatever we can do to contribute to seeking out help. Sometimes we hold back out of fear of losing the affected personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s trust. But we must not forget that they need our intercession. In fact, a good support team is so crucial in addressing mental illness. We must therefore break the silence and contribute to ending marginalization by having open discussions and looking for areas in which we can improve. I think that being conscious of the way we speak about mental illness is already a great beginning. I would also like to encourage people who are already involved or plan to help those afflicted with mental illness to remember to take care of themselves. When there is an emergency on a plane, parents are urged to first use the oxygen mask on themselves before putting it on their children. This is simply to say that we cannot expect ourselves to be of much help if we do not take care of ourselves first. Although the focus is to help the suffering person, we must not neglect ourselves. I am by no means attempting to romanticize mental illness- yes it can be scary and yes it is okay to feel scared. However, it is important to be able to move past this fear and think about what we can do. I think that oftentimes we get so overwhelmed with all the things we canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do that we ignore the little things we CAN do. Kindness and a willingness to simply listen are such little things. If we keep this in mind, we can all contribute to the much-needed change.
Photogenic // Isabelle Oke
I spent half my childhood photobombing, and I live with the consequences of this to this day.
A Rant On Worth // Nathaniel Kennedy-Noble To Young to old To Shy to Bold We are all here on this earth for a purpose We can all agree we are not synonymous with worthless Pause, let that thought resonate in your mind Pause, let's stay in your mind, because there you will find, the answer to all your problems You are the solution! Because no one knows you better than you know you better than you know you. No one will be honest to you better than you can be honest to yourself. Before you reach out for help, pick yourself up first. Position yourself and welcome progress. Brush off the cobwebs of fear and doubt and discrimination and failure Prepare yourself for the inevitable help that will guide you to your purpose. Build yourself each day because the opportunity will come and you need to be ready to show your worth. Now doubt is fictitious but success is real. So get out of your own way. No one can tell you how to get out of your own way. Because no one knows you better than you know better than you know you, better than …you …know… you AND YOU.. Are.. Wor
Untitled II // Meghan Watson
Wrinkles & Dimples // Meghan Watson
That Time I Made Out With Langston Hughes // Jordan Brown - 1
Summertime is an exhausting friend to have. She's the girl you know that’s always piss drunk in the middle of the club, that's always cracking iPhones and never saying sorry. Enigmatic and divine, she lives in the sky—grey eyes, and flight, and mystery. Actually, her name is Gemma. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I snorted cocaine off of a toilet seat somewhere in the middle of New Orleans. Gemma is standing above me, her face a swirl of earth tones: raincloud-grey eyes; skin a deep, satisfying brown; hair a tragic, artificial shade of red. We first began our tumultuous friendship in our 5th grade Drama class, in which we were requested to “Try that scene again, but from the perspective of a bird.” I stood there bewildered and slightly terrified, but Gemma laughed in our drama teacher’s face. Also standing above me is a man I have a silent crush on, but only because of his striking resemblance to Langston Hughes in his younger days. Gemma has been enamored with this guy for about a week, ever since they met as we attempted to figure out the appeal of Bourbon Street. In any case, Gemma has now been jerked by this impostor into a greasy, pizza-crust littered corner of the bar and he places a lit cigarette into her open mouth—a deranged Josephine Baker. It's a hot day, and Gemma has dressed like a true thot. With her prize coiled around her hands, she moves languidly through the crowd, her feet only kissing the ground at random intervals like a puppet in a show. Her head swivels to face me. Only for a second, when the oscillating glow of the bar has reached its ephemeral peak, her eyes cry out to me, crazed grey orbs fixedly vibrating in the air. Meanwhile, however, a true denizen of the nightlife sleaze is slyly moving his hand towards my waist. “What is that?” I think to myself, suppressing a gasp. “Hey papi, let’s dance ;) I wanna dance witchu baby ;)” “Oh my god it’s a real person oh my god wow” “;) ;) ;) ;)” I’m appalled! I’m astonished! I immediately question my self-image—why do I only attract degenerate inbreeds? What am I? :O Before I have time to really think about how I got to this point, I see Gemma storming through the bar, tears streaming, with Langston Hughes chasing after her.
That Time I Made Out With Langston Hughes // Jordan Brown - 2 I very carefully, as not to startle it with any sudden motions, escape from my predator. Outside of the bar, Gemma is deflated on a curb, half-crying, half-gasping for air. In the name of total clarity, she really looks a hot mess—but I keep this observation to myself. “Gemma…wyd?" I say, "What happened? Get off the ground! Your weave...” Langston Hughes makes a valiant attempt to comfort her but, before he can make first contact, she lets out a deafening groan and he slinks away. “Dude, I cracked my fucking phone for the 3rd time in a row,” she says, literally drowning in a puddle of her own tears. “This is the big crisis? Girl, get up, shut up, and let’s go. You’re annoying.” In what seemed like a cloud of smoke, the scaly creature of the bar appears out of the woodwork and is suddenly whispering in my ear—again. “Seriously—wtf???? You smell HORRIBLE,” I say to him as Gemma stands up. “Oh HELL no!” She says, summoning the strength of a thousand Nene Leakes’, “Step ya dick game up, get a tic tac, step ya shoe game up, step ya clothes game up, get a job—“ This is when I love her most—in attack mode. I remember once, while hiking in the mountains of Peru, we were faced with a sudden visit by a deranged, shirtless crook. Wielding a machete, he attempted to slash the strap on her bag but missed and instead nicked her arm. I could feel the flames ignite inside of her—she charged headfirst into his bronze stomach and sent him tumbling down the side of the Andes. In the glimmer of the streetlights, her feline eyes flicker and she traces her claws along his collarbone. “Fuck off,” she hisses into his ear, “Don’t you ever touch him again." “Alright fuck you then papi—and ya wack ass friend. U aint no Denzel.” The drunken narrative shifts to Langston Hughes' apartment and I sit cross-legged in a semicircle of oddballs. Gemma is now intoxicated in the middle of the room. She has a cigarette hanging out of the corner of her mouth while she dances, pausing only momentarily to take a quick drag and returns to her random flailing. A stern-faced, witchlike Ethiopian girl smears lotion over her legs while muttering to herself, her long black hair hanging dangerously close to a lit candle. There’s a forlorn male of questionable ethnic origin
That Time I Made Out With Langston Hughes // Jordan Brown - 3
sitting across from the witch dressed in a pair of boxers adorned with varied food items (the genital area is, of course, devoted to the more phallic side of food geometry) and to my direct left is a pair of girls who look like delinquent versions of the Mowry twins. “Hgve u ever been n love ?” a visibly inebriated delinquent Tamara slurs into Gemma’s ear. “Love isn’t real! I’m not real! You’re not real! None of us are real!” Gemma half-yells., still flailing around semi-rhythmically. “…o…,” garbles the helpless girl, defeated and shamed into departure. Some of the stuff Gemma says sometimes is weird af. Our visit to the Audubon Zoo earlier in the week replays in my mind. “This is the most beautiful creature in the world,” Gemma says, standing in front of the Puma cage. “What? I couldn’t hear you over the crunch of my Gator Tots.” “The most beautiful creature in the world. Trapped. The specter of an omnipotent set of iron bars glaring from all sides,” she says to me, breathlessly, with a strained look in her eyes, “I am only as high as my ceiling—I am my own cage." ?????????????????? “Behold,” bellows a now-shirtless Langston Hughes, “the God of drug paraphernalia.” He places the Bong of All Bongs in the middle of the circle—an ice blue totem to the Marijuana Gods. I’m only able to very briefly acknowledge the massive amounts of urine that I now contain before I am placed at the head of the ceremony. I inhale powerfully—in that moment I think I felt weightless, supported by nothing but thick smoke and aether. Maybe it was all of the phallic imagery combined with the night’s incongruous religious references, but I tragically must admit my susceptibility to the male predator—and a brief lapse in moral judgment. Chemical happiness surging through my veins, Langston Hughes has me pinned horizontally against a wall made of pure grime and murmurs something obscene into my neck. An avatar of Lil Kim appears in my brain in a puff of pink smoke, elegantly squatting over a bearskin rug and commanding my lips to commit the ultimate friendship no-no. In total devotion to the Goddess of my decision-making, they follow her orders and inhale Langston Hughes' tongue along with a few quick chugs from his beer bottle until we feel invincible.
That Time I Made Out With Langston Hughes // Jordan Brown - 4 Langston Hughes in his entire drug-induced splendor arrests me with his hands and I fall back onto his bed, laughing into his mouth. Lil Kim, still at the joystick of my psyche, gleefully cheers me on as she curls her lips around the lyrics to “Big Momma Thang:" I used to be scared of the dick, now I throw lips to the shit, handle it like a real bitch My heart feels like a hot air balloon flying close to the Sun—his hands are sly, dark forces focused on driving me out of my head and into the glittering radiance of self-immolation. Heather Hunter, Janet Jacme—take it in the butt…yass, yass whaaaaat! He only lightly touches my neck with his lips, as if I was poison—I can feel my hands morph into claws down his back. Baby, it’s a Big Momma Thang—can’t tell by the diamonds in my rings? That’s how many times I wanna cum: twenty-one! A soft, transparent sound wave is drawn from my mouth like string, a gossamer of indulgent pleasure hanging in the air—“Oh Papi ;)” “What?” he says as he jerks his head away from my neck, “What did you just call me?” The hot air balloon deflates—I feel my face explode. “I didn’t say anything.” “No, you definitely just called me Papi ;)…like that was creepy. Ew.” And then he left. There are moments, often very brief, when you begin to feel the crushes of humanity and become startlingly aware of your own isolation. An almighty calm (and maybe this was the drugs) blankets me, a paralyzing sense of self-awareness begins to grow and grow from the depths of my psyche, until it erupts into a massive, ontological thunderstorm that escapes with the drizzle of a whisper: “What the fuck are you doing?” Gemma’s grey orbs have transformed into knives. Before I can say anything though, she swings her head away from me, her hair haloing around her and asserting her presence. The air has gotten heavier in the languor of summertime, and she dissolves into the next room. Mortified, I tuck my tail between my legs and
That Time I Made Out With Langston Hughes // Jordan Brown - 5 The bathroom…looks like vomit. The room is adorned with framed pictures of dead celebrities, and the shower curtain is completely covered by eyeballs. There’s a sawed-off old bottle of Jack Daniels that’s used as a holder for a zebra-print toothbrush underneath a bed of toenail clippings. A porcelain clown gleams at me from atop the sink. I can hear Beyoncé’s wailing from a small speaker in the corner and I step on George Foreman’s face on the rug in front of the sink as I rush towards the toilet. I pee mightily. As I listen to “Freakum Dress,” I think back to what Gemma told me at the Zoo: “I am only as high as my ceiling." “The most beautiful creature in the world. Trapped. The specter of an omnipotent set of iron bars glaring from all sides. I am only as high as my ceiling—I am my own cage.” What the fuck does she mean? Gemma, trapped? Gemma is the freest person I know—Gemma is the human equivalent of the fucking wind. I am my own cage. I think back to her silent cry for help in the bar, the same look she gave me at the Zoo—the contortion in her eyes seemed vaguely familiar…where had I seen that look? Trapped. And then I remember: Gay Pride 2013—I remember she shot me that same look when “Naughty Girl” came on in the club, bereft of a dance partner. ?????????? What is going on with her? Is there really no deeper meaning to her cryptic glances? Am I actually the annoying one for trying to decode her? “I heard you call him Papi ;).” I freeze mid-stream. Gemma is standing on George Foreman, her face a juxtaposition of soft and hard, like a raincloud.
That Time I Made Out With Langston Hughes // Jordan Brown - 6 “Gemma,” I begin, zipping up my pants, “I am so fucking sorry—it was a stupid, stupid mistake. I’m drunk and I have no—“ “Ok,” she says, “Why would I ever care?” “I don’t know, Gemma, I was just thinking about what you said to me at the Zoo, about feeling trapped and stuff." In one fluid motion, so fast I can’t even see it, she grabs me and our faces are suddenly inches apart. “For some unspeakable reason, my brainisonlyverytemporarilyassuagedbyanynewlifedevelopments! Iliveinadebilitating, stickyennuiandforthisreasonIcraveconstantchange! BecauseIhavenofuckingideawhatIwant! Doyouseetheproblem?” “What—girl calm down.” Her eyes are crazed—she literally looks like a maniac. Thotenstein….Unleashed!! “I am nothing more but a caged animal that has developed the awareness that I am a caged animal and that is too heavy of a truth to bear so I dig deeper and deeper for the pure and truthful spiritual oracle that I believe I am!” “Girl……….wyd?? What are you talking about?? You sound crazy.” “I have elevated myself so high that I’ve lost the ability to be simple and peaceful because that wouldn’t fit in with my intellectual grand suffering!!!! My slaving away in the pursuit of pure truth!!!!! My noble role as a martyr!!!!! Me being the only one that recognizes the hypocrisy and cruel hilarity of humanity taking itself seriously in any way!!!!!!!!!” “Yeah,” I say, wiping the snot from my nose, “I get that. Sometimes I just feel like there’s something big out there…and we’re just wasting time?" “Yeah maybe,” Gemma shrugs, “Come on Papi, l wanna dance witchu baby ;)” In our sober asylum away from the world’s vices, we laughed and we danced to “Freakum Dress” until our bodies dropped.
That Time I Made Out With Langston Hughes // Jordan Brown – 7 Morning was a brick wall dotted with flickering sunlight and an intolerable migraine. Gemma is perched on George Foreman like a taxidermist’s masterpiece with an eerie calm spread across her face. The Lil Kim in my brain yawns and blesses me with a rather powerful erection, inevitably and regrettably pulling my thoughts back to Langston Hughes. Cursing my treacherous libido, I wade towards his bedroom across the sea of broken glass and cigarette butts that remain from last night. In the sober light, his face looks a lot less Harlem Renaissance and more like The Wire. “He looks like Nas! Yass,” Gemma chirps from behind me. Our now-nameless one-night stand is starting to look more and more like a crestfallen zombie—his skin is cracked and speckled with ash, his cheeks are now home to a sparkling, crystalized glob of saliva, and from his mouth escapes a weak, stale breath that reeks of a rough night. “No, picture this. Imagine Tupac—All Eyez On Me—with that same mole on his cheek the morning after New Year’s Eve 2k15,” I say. “What!! That’s a postmortem assault on his entire discography!” Gemma exclaims. All of the intensity, embarrassment, and bad decisions that characterized the previous night erupt into a thunderous laughter. I grab my best friend’s hand, our clothes soaked in alcohol and fresh memories, and we walk barefooted into the torrid Louisiana afternoon. “Dude, you slept with George Foreman,” I laugh. “You asshole,” she cackles, “we are such whores!”
Paper Bag Test // Vanessa Anglade
billie’s song // Sumaya Ugas the noose almost rips. rips you. Drips. sweat tears. a smile. the noose loosens. a sigh. but yours, heavy. pained. the noose is still there. still the same It’s a new season new fruits. still a harvest. still the same. tombstones tell stories of tenderness. i pray you find peace. as we wreack havoc. jimmy said it. many others too. 1969. still baldwin’s nigger. 2014. still. still drips. 2015. “and you watch, literally, the corpses of your brothers and your sisters pile up around you. and not for anything they have done. they were too young to have done anything, and any case too helpless. but what one does realize is that when you try to stand up and look the world in the face like you had a right to be here, when you do that even without knowing this is the result of it, you have attacked the entire power structure of the western world.”
PETIOT SÉVÈRE RÉGNERA // Tarek Lakhrissi - 1
PETIOT SÉVÈRE RÉGNERA // Tarek Lakhrissi - 2
« Mike Waters » (2009, France), triptyque narcoleptique inspiré de My Own Private Idaho (Gus van Sant, 1991), photographie argentique : Alice Millet Modèle : Tarek Lakhrissi
PETIOT SÉVÈRE RÉGNERA // Tarek Lakhrissi - 3 Extract of « Mélopétrole », a poetic book still in process « Le café noir que je bois en ce moment dans lequel je me noie un œil qui tombe dans la tasse en y pensant à ces déferlements devant la fenêtre du matin je vois alors la forêt ou les bois ou le parc au loin par-dessus mes pensées PETIOT SÉVÈRE RÉGNERA (si j’en suis) je pose le café noir sur le rebord de la fenêtre la peinture bleue se craquelle c’est vieux et j’entends une voix derrière moi dans la maison qui m’appelle eternal habibi je me retourne à dos contre la fenêtre et je m’adosse sur le rebord je fais alors tomber le verre de café noir brisé la soucoupe cassée et le café qui s’écoule très lentement comme du pétrole sur le sol en slow motion qui avance lentement sur le parquet comme une invasion menaçante estu black panther PETIOT SÉVÈRE RÉGNERA peut-être la peste qu’elle aurait voulu que je ne parte pas de la maison ce jour-là que je reste que je ne parte pas mais il fait toujours beau à l’extérieur le soleil rentre de façon agressive dans la chambre le café sur le sol s’étend toujours aussi étrangement la matière noire sur le sol prend de plus en plus forme et devient petit à petit une masse qui grandit épaisse de pétrole sur le bois le jardin bien taillé PETIOT SÉVÈRE RÉGNERA tu te souviens alors de ta communauté quand tu jouais par terre sur le sol le père sifflait et parlait tout seul dans une autre langue c’était déjà le début tu marchais sur le sol par terre les pieds nus et puis tu voyais un peu plus loin une flaque d’eau de la terre de la boue tu y plongeais tes pieds et la sensation t’étais agréable c’était peut être la première fois que tu as ressenti quelque chose d’érotique par les pieds PETIOT SÉVÈRE RÉGNERA jusqu’à ce qu’une langue parcoure entre tes orteils cette nuit par hasard dans le lit d’un inconnu cela t’est revenu d’un coup toi enfant et la texture sur tes pieds cette langue boueuse maintenant le café touche tes pieds tes doigts de pieds sont noirs ce n’est pas la même chose tu repenses à tout ça par ce soleil qui s’empare de la lumière brise l’espace tu touches un peu des rayons tu te décides enfin à t’éloigner de cette fenêtre et en marchant tu laisses des traces noires sur le parquet c’est un loup garou qui te pénètre PETIOT SÉVÈRE RÉGNERA alors tu t’allonges sur le lit près de la fenêtre du songe et tu restes ainsi
PETIOT SÉVÈRE RÉGNERA // Tarek Lakhrissi - 4 quelques minutes tu t’endors tu rêves et tu vois apparaître mike waters lui aussi endormi comme toi l’éternel narcoleptique qui bafouille I’d like to talk with you I mean I’d like to uh really talk with you I mean we’re talking right now but you know I don’t know I don’t feel like I can be (pause) I don’t feel like I can be close to you I mean we’re close you know right now we’re close but I mean you know PETIOT SÉVÈRE RÉGNERA. »
The Black Americana // Richenda Grazette
“Two souls, but with a single thought”…chicken
The Black Americana // Richenda Grazette
“Sittin’ Soft in Dixieland”
The Black Americana // Richenda Grazette “Is I so Black”