Coffee Rhetoric: These and Those

July 13, 2009

These and Those

In the midst of job hunting, relaxing, and re-focusing, I've been trying to engage in activities that keep me, well, engaged. Free Jazz in Bushnell Park on Monday evenings, The Cipher themed night at local micro-lounge Cloud 9, catching up on reading and activities of the like. Being productive allows no room for sulking or having a pity party about my sudden turn of events. Besides, my spirits are still high and that's not the type of party I relish attending. Socializing allows me to be around people of my ilk... creative and relevant types. More importantly it offers a chance for some networking! The Cipher inspired me to dust off and revisit unfinished projects, to READ again. To FEEL again. Being a working stiff, sometimes I lose sight of my creative core. Granted, being a working stiff is vital to my livelihood, but next time around I won't let it encompass me to a point where I don't write... where I'm too tired to write, to get inspired. To seek opportunities outside my job, in hopes of parlaying my craft into something exciting and lucrative.
Additionally, I finally got my hands on a copy of Sapphire's "Push." Very difficult novel to swallow about the effects of poverty, physical/verbal/emotional and sexual abuse, and illiteracy. By far, this has got to be one of the most gripping passages I've ever read in a contemporary piece of fiction written in the character's (16 year old mother to be Precious Jones) voice (upon going to register for an alternative learning, pre-GED program):
... There has always been something wrong wif the tesses. The tesses paint a picture of me wif no brain. The tesses paint a picture of me an' my muver- my whole family, we more than dumb, we invisible. One time I seen us on TV. It was a show of spooky shit, an' castles, you know shit be all haunted. And the peoples, well some of them was peoples and some of them was vampire peoples. But the real peoples did not know it till it was party time. You know crackers eating roast turkey an' champagne and shit. So it's five of 'em sitting on the couch; and one of 'em git up and take a picture. Got it? When picture develop (it's instamatic) only one person on the couch. The other peoples did not exist. They vampires. They eats, drinks, wear clothes, talks, fucks, and stuff but when you git right down to it they don't exist.
I big, I talk, I eats, I cooks, I laugh, watch TV, do what my muver say. But I can see when the picture come back I don't exist. Don't nobody want me. Don't nobody need me. I know who I am. I know who they say I am- vampire sucking the system's blood. Ugly black grease to be wipe away, punish, kilt, changed, finded a job for.
I wanna say I am somebody. I wanna say it on subway, TV, movie, LOUD. I see pink faces in suits look over top of my head. I watch myself disappear in their eyes, their tesses. I talk loud but still don't exist.
That passage rocked me. I had to re-read it several times, especially that last bit. Not since Toni Morrison's Sula and Saul Williams's prose in She, has a book made me swallow hard.
Anyway, the beat continues and this one-woman band plays on. Without a doubt, I'm sure I'll have my moments, but I'll continue to shadowbox with the force.