i swam in the atlantic as deep as i could go…………my father wanted to know why………but as usual i had no answers for any of it……..is it too strange to search for things not there………..what he would call wasting my time………i referred to as revelation……. i have no time……so i swam…..as deep as i could go………..and the deeper i would go i swear the warmer i would get……….water doesn’t lend well to preserving active archives………but the peculiar nature of the crime acts in funny ways………my father and i…….our existence is because it happened (t)here……..and i swam………deeper and deeper……….darker and darker………..and i swear it became warmer……….in search of everything………in waters that held nothing…………is it too strange……or just as peculiar as the crime……perhaps that is my father’s reasoning………yet i swam…….and i swear i got warmer………wrapped in familiar mystery…………the water made sense……….deep……dark………..blues and greens that held chains……….and rocks tied to ropes……..tied to bodies……….were tied to dying histories……..ruptures…….and i swam….. not to mend something……..what connections could be made in watered and unmarked graves……..i swear i was getting warmer……..the only danger was in revelation………which is where the freedom……. was……or re/imagined to be……….the swimming……..deeper and darker……i swam in the atlantic as deep as i could go………my father would want to know why……but as usual i had no answers for any of it………
Saying I was part of coup is fun but in actuality we ran unopposed. That small fact seemed to remain unspoken when the criticisms flew in. The narrative woven was that we had overtaken the BSU and crowded out good sensibilities. I like to think we had taken over and crowded out liberal sensibilities, but I’ll keep that on the back burner for now.
Election night was hilarious. I stood before the crowd in an oversized green military pea coat, a shirt that read, “NEGROES WITH GUNS” complete with a picture of Robert F. Williams training a Black woman in the uses of a handgun, and for some odd reason I chose to wear my sunglasses (it was well past sunset and we were in indoors).There I was, no proper speech prepared but as confident as Fred Hampton ripping into the nonsensical nature of the Weather Underground. Not that I was as eloquent, but there I stood. I can’t recall what I said, I’m sure it was something about ‘bringing the community together’ and as sure as I am queer, I’m sure giant hand gestures were involved.
Little questions came my way when I ended my speech. Perhaps I was clear enough, or perhaps the “community” just didn’t care—knowing full well I was running unopposed and the only way I could lose was for not one person to vote for me; but everyone knew, including me, I had at least three votes: queer Arielle, queer Charlie, and queer Danielle.
My reputation for Black activism was only surpassed by reputation for drinking and partying. I made no apologies for it then and I make none now. However, I must admit I was caught off guard by one question, and perhaps I brought this on myself wearing sunglasses at night indoors. A student asked, “Are you drunk right now?” I paused, looked at her, scanned the room, and then returned my gaze to her, “What’s your definition of drunk?” I replied. The room erupted into laughter, and I was elected with more than three votes.
…………………………since leaving the university i’ve learned every gay black boy with a pen in his hand aspires to baldwin…………………. this gay black boy wanted balagoon…………………… and chicago winds will blow hats off my head that make me feel like hughes……………..
Never trust a pretty Black boy with a gorgeous smile. This holds especially true in situations of Black radical politics, or good ol’ politikin’ in the matters of ego and charisma. There was a time when I was a quiet little gay Black boy on campus, not known in what was deemed the “Black community” and termed a “random Black” by those who made it their mission in university life of fostering a welcoming environment for Black students against the white world of our college campus. Oh the irony. You see, us “conscious” Black folk have a habit of deciding who be “conscious” Black folk, and who just ain’t; kind of the way police barricades foster the spaces of protest; our own demarcations tend to dictate the terms of“community.” And there I was, a political science & art history student sitting in the back of a few Black studies classes as a way to rest comfortable in the fact: even though I wasn’t at the BSU meetings—deemed a random Black—I was still down for the cause. Or perhaps it was a feeble attempt to make up for all the drugs, constitutional law, and interracial sex getting me through the first two years of undergrad. Perhaps Black studies was an opportunity to “get conscious” and suck some “conscious” Black dick—who doesn’t want that? And here I return to the first sentence of this post, never trust a pretty Black boy with a gorgeous smile.
Once upon a time there were four Black queers: one lesbian, two gays, and a bi girl, or Arielle, Charlie, Danielle and y’all know me: negrosunshine.For those of you that know me better by my government name, yes, I’m him too, which makes this a damn true story. Names and time have been changed out of respect (perhaps this is the only place I can control that, in my art).For reasons too complicated and lengthy to hash out here in this post, we’ll just sum up: we bonded together and formed a friendship that was based on shared politics (which is perhaps the best type of relationship). We were outspoken and known as radical Black students (again for reasons too complicated to hash out in this one post). And we were viewed as against the Black Student Union, think Black Liberation Army breaking away from the Black Panthers, and yes, that is probably an overly romantic way to think of it, but no fucks are given, this is my blog!
But then there was Charlie, the pretty Black boy with the gorgeous smile, who decided it would be “revolutionary” for us to stage a coup and take over the Black Student Union. This plan was thought up over crepes; no matter how radical I think I am I can’t deny my bourgeois qualities.[Revisionist narrative: we were reading Wilderson at the time and drinking cups of coffee while waxing poetically about the Black ontology] Anywho, we were eating our crepes and he kept pestering us, and he was talkin quite nice I must admit (though if this whole activist confessional thing is to work, I should probably also admit my judgment was most likely crowded by that pretty smile, pretty face, and aforementioned desire to know conscious black dick). Charlie challenged us: were we going to sit on the side and complain about how reformist and boring the BSU is, sharpen our critiques while staying out of the thick of it? And I fell for this shit too! Despite the fact just weeks before we all were arrested for staging a sit-in at the Chancellor’s office to “discuss” issues that face “students of color.” An event that could use a different post of its own, but just know it put us at odds with Black student leaders on campus because we un/justifiably did not include the BSU in our plans. Plus the fact, Arielle was the only “official” BSU member and the way the media operates, one Black student does something, the Black Student Union has done something; needless to say it created tension on the platform of who can speak “for” Black students.
It was close to midnight and my crepes were getting cold. Charlie was working his magic, or at least it was voodoo to me, perhaps Arielle and Danielle were legitimately convinced. But by the end of it all, we all agreed: we would run for BSU office! And a week later, a shady deal with the current BSU secretary to make us all “official” members, election time was upon us. And we won.
i think the biggest lesson ive taken away since being here in chicago is learning to keep my mouth closed (most of the time). whereas a year ago i found most pleasure in engaging folks in political conversations and rhetorically antagonizing people in effort of exposing certain thought processes, or perhaps sometimes challenging common epistemologies— i now find myself cataloguing and archiving mundane experiences. maybe i’m testing the functionality that is a daily grind of an anti-black capital gear i’ve called my study over the past (at least) three years. perhaps i’m just washing out on the shores of common sense, a student on a “break,” an activist without a circle, a lazy artist.