From the execution chamber to the streets of Ferguson, Mo., our country is wholly invested in violence against Black Americans that carries no consequence for the perpetrators. And that police brutality says nothing of the state brutality against Black Americans that manifest in the racist prison system, predatory lending, de facto segregation through economic structures and gentrification, and a whole host of other aggressions. And that’s one reason why White Americans, by and large, think it’s okay to shoot tear gas at Black citizens. Because we’ve been indoctrinated to see violence against Black people as justice, as keeping the peace, and as restraint of police who are just trying do their jobs. We can’t see past the mirage of white supremacy.
What is happening to me happens to all fruits that grow ripe.
It is the honey in my veins that makes my blood thicker, and my soul quieter.
Bourgeois individualism implies the dreary, ludicrous repetition of individuals who are curiously similar in their way of being themselves and of keeping themselves to themselves, in their speech, their gestures, their everyday habits (meal times, rest times, entertainments, fashions, ideas, expressions)
History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do. It could scarcely be otherwise, since it is to history that we owe our frames of reference, our identities, and our aspirations. And it is with great pain and terror that one begins to realize this. In great pain and terror one begins to assess the history which has placed one where one is, and formed one’s point of view. In great pain and terror because, thereafter, one enters into battle with that historical creation, Oneself, and attempts to re-create oneself according to a principle more humane and more liberating: one begins the attempt to achieve a level of personal maturity and freedom which robs history of its tyrannical power, and also changes history.
"The white police officer fears me in the same way that the shovel fears the snake."
Once, I watched my uncle kill a snake in his front yard with the sharp end of a shovel. He had it pinned to the ground with something heavy and had called me over to witness the scene. The snake was not poisonous, nor was it fully grown, but it had bitten Thunder (one of my Uncle’s big twin Rottweilers) on the nose and beyond that it had, of course, been a snake. Those were its charges: biting a curious dog on the nose when it had sniffed too close, and actively being a snake.
I watched the snake writhing under the heavy object, his smooth body wiggling and stretching, coiling and recoiling, relentlessly trying to get away. If we had freed it, it would have slithered into the woods, terrified, rather than try to attack us, but my uncle raised the shovel by the wooden handle, and I looked away. Even after the guillotine had been dropped, both parts continued to squirm away from my uncle and his shovel, and also away from one another.
“That’s what you do when a snake’s in your yard.” My uncle, brandishing his shovel with its blood stains, just a few dark dabs at the tip, the rest, pooling slowly between the divorced head of the snake and the body. “You cut off its head, and leave it so that the others will see, and then they know not to come back.”
Now that I think of it, the scene of that memory, my uncle and his dogs, the shovel and the snake, I think that the snakes must know, now, not to come back there, not for food, not for shelter, not for anything. They might even know not to bite the dog’s noses, but they do not know how not to be snakes.
I put my heart and soul into my work, and I have lost my mind in the process.
Telling black people not to be enraged when their children are ruthlessly murdered, is violence.
It is time to abandon the world of the civilized and its light… Secretly or not, it is time to become completely different, or to cease being.
Perhaps sex isn’t of the body at all. Perhaps it is a function of language.
All too violently my heart still flows toward you — my heart, upon which my summer burns, short, hot, melancholy, overblissful; how my summer heart craves your coolness.