Photo: Tabias Olajuaown, By Billy Malloy
Moonlight was not on my radar, at first, but perhaps this is what happens when moon’s approach each other. Perhaps they are blinded to the presence of another orbital being. Perhaps the siting is so queer, so rare, that it seems mundane; a simple reflection of oneself in the circular nature of life. I had heard the title, perhaps seen the preview, but it was of no matter to me, to see myself running in circle again.
Chiron was his name. Something strange and queer on black lips, like flower petals that shine dark in the light. The name was uncommon, if not by sound alone but by spelling. This was purposeful. His mother clearly had something different, something queer, on her mind pushing through somewhere between her son’s bloody emergence and the nine months she covered him in flesh and self for protection, for maturity, for the moment he was born and named. My mother did the same. Tabias–no “o” or Toby shit–, Olajuawon (that famous Nigerian, balling brother, she didn’t watch basketball but it sounded good), Wilson (the name of the men her mother married because father’s don’t stick around here too long, he too was gone before I could remember him). I too, was a love child, first of my name, with little love spared or recalled–or wasted–from birth to adulthood.
Tabias: The goodness of God
Olajuawon: Wealth and honor are God’s gifts.
Wilson: Son of some slave ownin’ wypipo
Crack does that. Not only does it devour the cardiovascular system, it breaks the roots of Sequoia and blue-black tulips alike, despite their success in emerging from concrete. Too often, we celebrate the emergence without thinking through the breaking. To emerge from concrete presupposes a collision, a violent collision. Tender stems run raw against grating rock for the chance to move from the thick of earth, from the gait of darkness to the warmth of life, for the chance to get beyond the birthing portal of survival and into the practice of living. Too often, we do not consider what is lost to the concrete. What energy spent? What creative power emitted? What raw-rubbed branding, or tattoo, drawn onto flesh for forever times? What fears of darkness, blackness, memory are made (il)logical? How much of us is left in the rock; how much of the rock is left in us? Where do we begin to live and die, to forget and remember? To bleed, heal and/or cauterize? Perhaps, maybe, we are like spectacular comets and asteroids falling (shooting?) from one realm to another and in our wake–in the magic of our contact–is fire, destruction and birth. What parts of us, then, become extinct? Which parts of us, or the worlds we (re)create and/or enter, are completely new entities, unperverted by the blood and fire stained gaits?
Not all who move beyond the cracked or broken barriers to living are gifted with restoration, many are simply given tombstones…or re-buried by them. Many are eulogized during their first bloom; black babies having death spoken over them as they frolic through concrete prisons known as projects
of eugenics and demolition. The eulogies are not death seances but instead a reserved foreboding of what happens when a child is fed death to survive–“she fast, just like her momma and know where that car is headed” or “a hard head makes a soft ass and a prison sentence”–because to give a child life is cruel, it is tantamount to placing a poor man in a luxury suite, lying about the rent, the redlining and hiding the eviction notices. One could, of course, destroy the whole damn project. Smash it to bits, but even then, we’d need the blood-stained rubble to build some sort of life, in a place where we own no land, where even our Ancestors are strangers. Of course, much of the rubble will be stained with the blood of those who were only seen in the light of the moon, lest they killed in the sticky perversion of those who rule the day.
As we bask in the Moonlight of cinematic and black-hot love, how are we called to dance under the moons and suns that preside over the rhythmic midwifing of so much Black death? What are we to do with souls bruised by concrete? How do we archive the trauma of our survival/arrival? What lies in the wake and, can we do more, than simply lie, in the wake? Perhaps, the tongue was never made to articulate such violence? How do we love each other in the daily re-sightings of emergence and trauma, of love and rage, of promise and absconsion?