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Crying is Passion

Crying is

passion

for life

Feeling is through tears

not skin

Feel the pain

the joy

the loss

the happiness

within

Crying is not a sin

Embrace yours

your feelings

just cause

you want to

just cause

you can

let yourself

go

feel free

grieve

remember

explore from the inside

out

don’t forget to shout

go all out

crying

is

passion

for

life

Iron Butterfly

Ironically

eloquence

comes in

your final

hours, days, months, years

of desperation

after you’ve already asked politely

then questioned confusedly

erupted in anger

fallen silent

and erupted again

began to hate everyone

for a day

and everything

for an hour

lies seemed like the

only flowers that bloomed

after meaningfully meaningless discussions

which you wonder

really existed

in your mind

is where it all began

you went left

instead of right

you forgot you had to fight

things seemed easy for a while

you lingered too long on a smile

and now

ironically eloquence

comes in

your flickering final

glimpses of sanity

you know you’re not going to win

unless

you fly

Resistance-in-love

images

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m here

doesn’t mean

be mean

don’t say what you mean

lean into your dislike

of my fight

let me know what’s wrong

what’s right

I’m here

doesn’t mean

don’t say

how you feel

forget to be real

imagine you’re in a soap opera

fantasy

you’ve seen on TV

you forgot you were free

you have choice

your voice

is a spiritual instrument

that provides nourishment

or disease

I’m here

doesn’t mean

look down on me

tell me my lipstick is missing

when I never bought it

or bought into it

I feel fine

sometimes I drink wine

sometimes I hang with this

or that one

I’m not ashamed to have fun

tell me my clothes are not right

tell me my shoes are too bright

when you put up a fight

that’s how I know I’m alright

Negroland

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Margo Jefferson’s world is a world of pictures, sounds, and smells. So, I don’t get a true sense of what actually happened in her life. Her memoir often reads as several essays instead of chapters, many of which you cannot tell where her voice is. Many plays, books, movies, and major works of art are shared which allows her to reflect herself in them. She is not able to do it on her own. And, I find it puzzling that neither her father’s nor her own childhood pictures match their skin colors as adults.

She speaks of hair perms, hair dying, and skin bleaching, but does not tell us if she has used any of those things. There are only clues. Hard to tell, but her Negroland, past and present, is a place where no Negroes are actually allowed unless they embrace Eurocentric values. These values are shown in good and bad ways while truly curly hair (referred to as nappy/kinky), wide noses, full lips, large backsides, and all ways of being Black, down to ways of laughing, etc. are only referred to in a negative light. Jefferson does not seem to be trying to fix anything and present the right values or embrace Blackness. Jefferson wrote this book to exonerate herself.

This book is the beginning of some kind of recovery from all she experiences growing up. You get glimpses of her childhood, glimpses of herself as an older adult, and all that lie in between is referred to very quickly as suicidal. Her tangents leave me without a story I can easily share although I now have plenty of references to other books and poems she so often quotes to reflect her mental state. I can see a soul there, but it’s hiding behind so many images that she was pretty much forced to use in order to define herself growing up.

She says she at times (or maybe all the time, this is unclear) has problems having “plural relations” with all Negroes—an ‘us’ or a ‘we’—I think because she must believe in the stereotypes and thinks she and her upbringing is a rarity. She seems to be saying that few Blacks in America, let alone any cultures from any African countries, could possibly have the great characteristics she touts, which are mostly aligned, in this book, to White people as a whole. Black people as a whole? Hmmm, she’s clearly not so fond of that. There are just way too many voices coming from Jefferson in this book and by the end I really have no idea which one she wants to be hers. She is conflicted. The description of her family is given only here and there, in contradictory pictures, in a few moments of dialogue, and in the last 20 pages of her book. I enjoyed some parts, but as a whole, realize that she was very afraid to write this book.

I’m Starting to Feel

I’m feeling like a writer
I’m feeling disappointment
delays
and still
it’s all making sense
like why would this be easy
like every time I hear no
maybe it’s really because I said no
to something or someone else
something I could have done more
could have done better
like every time I hear no
it becomes
a part of my reason
I’m starting to feel like a writer
like it sucks to have to
explain 300 pages to someone who won’t
care until I make them care in 30 seconds
or less
or until the lights go out
or on
just read it
I’m thinking
like why do I have to stop
and explain to you
that
you need this
it’s obvious
to me
and for as long as you hesitate
is as long as you can fool yourself
that you know what you don’t know
that things are not presented to you
for a reason
every time
you procrastinate
obstinate
you could be involved
assuming that my words
have something
you might need
now or later
I’m starting to feel like a writer
because you don’t think I am
and this suffering
is actually a comfort
because it reminds me
that my desires are real
and I need to pursue them
to exist
that my passions
are actually
me