We jumped in front of traffic. Car headlights blinded us; we held up our hands and yelled, “I can’t breathe.” These were the last words of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old Black man who was strangled to death by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo on Staten Island. Running between cars, we slapped high-fives with drivers and held signs above our heads.
Paranoia is the first symptom of a plague. When news of an infectious disease like Ebola, SARS or swine flu breaks, the risks quickly ignite underlying social fears that themselves become a danger. When the disease passes, carrying off however many or few to an early death, what remains is the bigotry. Today it is West African immigrants, yesterday it was gay men during the HIV panic and hundreds of years ago, during the Black Death of the 14th century, it was Jews.
On August 9, about a month and a half ago, we heard news of police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, shooting an unarmed black teen, Michael Brown. Instantly, we people of color saw in him our sons, our brothers, our friends, uncles and fathers. The bullets that killed Brown ricochet throughout Black America and it felt like our spirits were bleeding drops of gasoline on the smoldering coals inside. And when the rage erupted, we filled the cities yelling, “No Justice, No Peace!”
Join us for a lively, thoughtful, informative panel discussion between artists and activists on environmental justice in the African Diasporan community.
As we got further away, the Earth diminished in size,” said astronaut James Irwin. “Finally it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful marble you can imagine… Seeing this has to change a man.” Standing on the moon, Apollo mission astronauts sometimes wept, seeing our planet as a small blue dot easily blotted out by a thumb. After landing, they spoke of planet Earth as a tiny pearl of life engulfed by the vast- ness of space.
As the latest cease-fire holds, a bomb-battered people pick through rubble and find rage, pain and more rage. Worldwide criticism of Israel, most of which is fueled by sympathy for Palestinians, some by anti-Semitism, has like acid begun to erode Israel’s base of support in the United States. Israel has won in Gaza, but it lost the war over the war.
The flag like a curtain, a wizard behind it, counting money
an idea colored red, colored white, colored blue
of Americans cheering independence
drunk and dancing around a fire, the smoke of war
If you enjoy Nicholas’s work, in any form, consider picking up a copy of his latest work: THE GROUND BELOW ZERO. Unfortunately only available online on Amazon and B&N, but you can always ask at your local bookstore to see if they carry or would carry his book.
As well Nick does a number of readings in California and New York City, so if you’d like to meet him or host a reading email email@example.com to set something up.
Inside the factory, cool, sweet air filled my nose. It was a rusted cathedral of industry, held up by blistered girders. Across the warehouse I saw the white Mammy sphinx. Visitors bunched around caramel-like statues of children holding baskets. They were antebellum figurines of slave boys, made of resin coated in molasses. The irony of them molded into sugar was of course symbolic of the money and power distilled from their bodies. Viewers seemed to get it. Maybe, I thought, it was safe to turn off the alarm? And then I saw a balding white father, posing with his son next to one of the boy statues, his arms folded across his chest “gangsta” style as the mother took a photo.
When in the Course of human error, it becomes necessary for lovers to dissolve the emotional bond which had connected them, and to assume a tongue can tower over the earth and create a separate but equal sign over the Nature of Desire, a decent into the opinions of others requires one to declare the cause of separation.