NYU Black Renaissance Noire Fall 2013 - Page 68

By DOUGHTRY LONG Ghana ’67 In the Vortex I bit the apple but I didn’t inhale didn’t drink the cool aide but said the prayer I told but didn’t tell didn’t take the red pill didn’t take the blue one mercy at the gate of latitudes and vectors how many prayers in a grain of sand how many slave ships in a sunset Accra, and Black Star Square the tomb of DuBois, and I told you so Nkrumah had fled to Guinea cancer nagging at his blood. Stokley, articulating Kwame Toure Barack Obama was six years old. President Mandela was still in prison King’s death, a year away, Malcolm already gone wasted on the Audubon dance floor Baldwin in the silence at the center of darkness. Ali and Frazier had not yet fought Assassinations and universes wobbling in orbit this was the beginning of where I would never return from. You too angry, so hurt, so this, you that, history, mystery, so fire, so god young man. A one eyed guard dog at the airport gate aims his rifle at my head and shoves me into real time. This is not the game I played as a child if upcountry, I am Hausa from Nigeria and a slaughtered casualty of war. In the village I explain my tribe and the slave trade they weep and offer shelter where is your mother, your father are there other black people in America tell them to come here and bring their sorrow ancestors in lockstep stomp the bugaloo. 66 I blend in with the night sky, become water kinte cloth and palm butter taste blood on cassava, blood on rice remain silent like troubled mountains. Live long enough and witness your own rebirth even flaws diamond in compassionate light and time, like the cola nut is bitter sweet. BRN-FALL-2013.indb 66 9/13/13 12:48 AM