NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 16.2: Fall 2016 - Page 61

IV .
I left Outer Domus Aurea for a day to hear the clickety-clack of Central Park horses walking in the middle of traffic down Fifth Avenue . Saw their watery eyes , faces elongated like mine . Heard hooves , two metered footsteps from the heel-toe syncopation of my slue feet marching . Saw a skinny man dressed like Methuselah scream : Where are their bones ? Where are their charred burial remains ? Where are their ritualistic artifacts ?
People stared . A woman pitches a quarter to him . I heard Lee Morgan ’ s “ You Go To My Head ” waft from a car radio . A crowd argued about Billie Holiday , the songs she sang in the middle of the night , until her hair sweated out . Heard people talking and laughing about the banisters they slid down in tenement hallways , believing mercy was at the other end , but all there was was a knife in the heart , where Jamaica Kincaid ’ s “ the black room of the world ” sold for optimism ’ s price .
V .
Then I went away and when I returned I saw Jehovah Witnesses handing out end of the world pamphlets , while their children died before their fingernails harden in the womb . Micayah was sent home from school again for reciting strange passages : They came , these men , and corralled us like pigs . I listened as the ship swayed on black mirrored waves . Why didn ’ t the griots warn us ? If our fingers slide across the drums would they hear us now ? Mimicking sounds of hidden African rituals that went Dah da dah da … Dah da dah da … Dah da dah da . I knew those sounds . They knew those sounds . Forced on the Atlantic Ocean that fed us , lines and numbers in an accountant ’ s ledger , we looked for one another on highways , backwater trenches . What about our fathers and mothers across the ocean ’ s gait ? Did they look for us ? Are they still looking for us ?