NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 16.2: Fall 2016 - Page 60

II .
I will always remember Mom knocking on our adjacent bedroom wall at dawn . Time to get up . Put the kettle on the stove fire . Make tea for her . Get ready for school . There were hundreds of books in our house . No fancy furniture . We were taught on a dollied kitchen table to read , write — tell time at that same kitchen table , where we were reminded we had to be ten-times better than white folks . We watched “ Like It Is ” every Sunday . Heard Mom say , “ White folks are the scourge of the earth ,” while the old black folks talked about the blue-black dead , who drank so much white vomit they peed to survive . We saw unclaimed alabaster-mulatto children hidden in outhouses swarming with greasy flies and fat maggots . Heard words spilling from black men in top hats carrying canes , old black folks remembering black walls full of names before photographs of Jesus , JFK , and King hung on their kitchen walls .
I never had a room of my own but slept , hung out in my brother ’ s room in the attic , where I read part of a letter by a black man born during the boom years of the Jeffersonian Middle Passage : I saw horses born free before black folk . I saw white men dressed in white suits waltzing with Negro heads on broom handles wearing cripple-a-Negro shoes .
These days people are stranded in the middle of history , where their babies cry into the abyss of what is . The Cultural Apparatus will not save them , though parasites talk about the redistribution of wealth . Do they know how hard it is to borrow five dollars from a member of your family ?
Realtors renamed MLK Drive Outer Domus Aurea , summarized the people in notebooks . The people conspired to speak for themselves ,
refused to be models for monographs . And for this contempt ’ s death hands painted them , their images onto dilapidated walls caked with drying blood .