In Praise of Black Weariness

I think of Black weariness as a specific condition born from the Middle Passage and ongoing genocide, a continual state of being that is distinct from resolvable feelings like "sleepiness." Black weariness is both intentional and environmental, a technology of survival in a world which has never left us any other choice. It is found in the procedural, grief-laden repetition of M. NourbeSe Philip's "Zong! #14" ("the truth was/the ship sailed/the rains came/the loss arose") and the directness of jay dodd’s "In the Age of Audacity" ("i don’t want a Solution/i want People to know/Everything hurts"). It's the flippant, sacred feeling writer Morgan Parker gestures towards in "Magical Negro #217: Diana Ross Finishing a Rib in Alabama, 1990s" (“Since I thought I'd be dead/by now everything/I do is fucking perfect"). Black weariness is the creation of luxury and time under impossible conditions. It's a balm, a speculative tradition, a freedom practice



Zong! #14

 the truth was

                                 the ship sailed

                                 the rains came

                                  the loss arose

the truth is

the ship sailed

the rains came

the loss arose

the negroes is

the truth was  

Magical Negro #217: Diana Ross Finishing a Rib in Alabama, 1990s

Since I thought I'd be dead by now everything I do is fucking perfect walking wreck wreckless and men I suck their bones until they're perfect I don't sleep with accolades I don't get touched in the night all men do is cry and ask me to be their mammas I can't get a decent fuck to save my when I think about their feelings I don't care It's cool it's cool come to mama there is so much death here she is casual and almost fragrant like the word kill doesn't sound as bad as it is All my friends are sisters and husbands I'm afraid to be uncharted I want an empire in my teeth but I can't be bothered to not wear silk or nothing I have grown up less mysterious than my myth All men do is think I'm looking at them When I think about them tasting me I don't I mean don't google my tits when you can just Unfortunately I have a body and I'm the only one in charge of it you know what I eat the bones too I'm in the world I'm in the world nobody cares where I came from

If You Are Over Staying Woke

Water the plants. Drink plenty of water. Don’t hear the news. Get bored. Complain about the weather. Keep a corkscrew in your purse. Swipe right sometimes. Don’t smile unless you want to. Sleep in. Don’t see the news. Remember what the world is like for white people. Listen to cricket songs. Floss. Take pills. Keep an empty mind. When you are hungover do not say I’m never drinking again. Be honest when you’re up to it. Otherwise drink water lie to yourself turn off the news burn the papers skip the funerals take pills laugh at dumb shit fuck people you don’t care about use the crockpot use the juicer use the smoothie maker drink water from the sky don’t think too much about the sky don’t think about water skip the funerals close your eyes whenever possible When you toast look everyone in the eyes Never punctuate the President Write the news Turn into water Water the fire escape Burn the paper Crumble the letters Instead of hyacinths pick hydrangeas Water the hydrangeas Wilt the news White the hydrangeas Drink the white Waterfall the cricket songs Keep a song mind Don’t smile Don’t wilt funeral funeral

[lady in red] "at 4:30 AM"

at 4:30 AM
she rose
movin the arms & legs that trapped her
she sighed affirmin the sculptured man
& made herself a bath
of dark musk oil egyptian crystals
& florida water to remove his smell
to wash away the glitter

to watch the butterflies melt into

suds & the rhinestones fall beneath

her buttocks like smooth pebbles

in a missouri creek

layin in water

she became herself


brown braided woman

with big legs & full lips


seriously intendin to finish her

night’s work

she quickly walked to her guest

straddled on her pillows & began



                  ‘you’ll have to go now/ i’ve

                  a lot of work to do/ & i cant

                  with a man around/ here are yr pants/

                  there’s coffee on the stove/ its been

                  very nice/ but i cant see you again/

                  you got what you came for/ didnt you’

& she smiled

he wd either mumble curses bout crazy bitches

or sit dumbfounded

while she repeated

                  ‘i cdnt possibly wake up/ with

                   a strange man in my bed/ why

                   dont you go home’

she cda been slapped upside the head

or verbally challenged

but she never waz

& the ones who fell prey to the

dazzle of hips painted with

orange blossoms & magnolia scented wrists

had wanted no more

than to lay between her sparklin thighs

& had planned on leavin before dawn

& she had been so divine

devastatingly bizarre the way

her mouth fit round

& now she stood a

reglar colored girl

fulla the same malice

livid indifference as a sistah

worn from supportin a wd be hornplayer

or waitin by the window

                              & they knew

                              & left in a hurry

she wd gather her tinsel &

jewels from the tub

& laugh gayly or vengeful

she stored her silk roses by her bed

& when she finished writin

the account of her exploit in a diary

embroidered with lilies & moonstones

she placed the rose behind her ear

& cried herself to sleep.

Continue reading on

the times

it is hard to remain human on a day when birds perch weeping in the trees and the squirrel eyes do not look away but the dog ones do in pity. another child has killed a child and i catch myself relieved that they are white and i might understand except that i am tired of understanding. if this alphabet could speak its own tongue it would be all symbol surely; the cat would hunch across the long table and that would mean time is catching up, and the spindle fish would run to ground and that would mean the end is coming and the grains of dust would gather themselves along the streets and spell out: these  too  are  your  children     this  too  is  your  child

"oh antic God"

oh antic God return to me my mother in her thirties    leaned across the front porch    the huge pillow of her breasts    pressing against the rail summoning me in for bed.

I am almost the dead woman’s age times two.

I can barely recall her song the scent of her hands though her wild hair scratches my dreams    at night.   return to me, oh Lord of then    and now, my mother’s calling, her young voice humming my name.

from Proportion Surviving

When my faith returned all my lovers were gone. That morning I woke to the two hundred and thirty-second day of the crisis; I was beneath my bed. It was the sixth day that I had awakened beneath my bed. I was lonely, but I was also sure. Life without juice had taken on the name and shape of my weakest character, who—when we passed on the street—did not know me. I knew it was me by the way my head felt: people find themselves in an idea and feel so specified by the idea that they are compelled to show it. Today all my ideas are liquid. That day of my faith, friends thinking I was sick came by to see me. It would be the last day I spent alone; I was happy, but still would not drink. The juice on my mind was no longer juice. There was an absence there, but one so constant it became familiar. I did not want to drink it.


entry #13 from glossary of selected terms found in the lost blues

every day i mark wake up from my to-do-list. cuz. within the black cosmological nihilist tradition. i know. waking up in this world. be miracle. achievement. not given. nor birthright. birthright be death. flesh|born(e) rotting. & now you understand. why mother darlene & deacon curlie stomp their feet. & twirl. let the choir|sing ‘going up yonder’

(In) The Age of Audacity

We are all dying for something. in. or outside of. or beyond. Collapse imminent & laborious. topple topple. fuck this & let it burn. there was a time i believed i could afford to be kind with Torn Muscled Tongue. every Gesture i searched for: Temporal Babble. i hate being told my Age is the Reason everything sounds like White Noise & Convenient Lies. how to Get On, or how to Get By, or how to Sleep at Night? i ask too often, but never to Anyone who can answer me. i don’t want a Solution i want People to know Everything hurts, but i make it look so alluring. Vanity isn’t suppose to be a Vice. how many ways can i tell on myself? if Everyone else can be so bold why the fuck not Me? ain’t i a Relevant Octave? this is Audacity. for Me a Confession of how all of this converges. my Waking Breaking-folded out & up into this Nation. pretend every White Theatric in which i have played is now my Role to usurp. make it my own. revisit with new Life. i refuse to comment on Anything that can’t kill me today. i choose to comment on the Ruptures that vibrate beside me. i wish i believed in Freedom as much as i believe in Speech. i wish there was Freedom in a Present Politic. awaiting the Guillotine-Shoe to drop i want to know something about writing My Own History if i could tell it you would only know i tried to be. there is not an Age we can be born in & not be Somebody-else’s Dream, Another’s Nightmare. Both Sides is a Battlefield. i lose myself at the Frontline. tag me in the Worthy Aftermath. Soldiers™ of Disenfranchised File & Rank. who can even be out here? dying so ready? the real Tragedies of War exist in the Mouths swallowing the Bombs as beautiful. here i would jest about the things i have swallowed to remind You Humor is the only way You can seem to listen. unless its my Dying. the Audacity of a Memoir a Pre-Emptive Biopic of just how impossible all this actually was. i can’t comment on the Death anymore. Sisters & Xisters. & Brothers, & Siblings & we all carry Bombs in our Throats. Cherry & Toxic & Bubble, clock the Pop. Everybody wanna talk like Us but y’all making Mumble of the Whole Charade & dare to charge Me for it.

from Spill

let the bathtub overflow with hot water and quilt pieces. let the grit of everyday settle to sandbar. let the soap get lost in love letters. soak out their lying blue blood. let the salt of the tears she was saving and the sweat she used up scour her skin like the tough love of black teachers. let porcelain become slate against her back.

she doesn’t care.

let it seep into her hair with the whispered blood of moontime. let her hold her breath for now, submerge for evidence, eureka. let her sink into the sum of wet mosaic over brown. immersed in the material of what? what now?2






2 immersed in the material “A Hateful Passion, a Lost Love,” 100.