Tuesday, May 31, 2022

The Stereotype

You know too the stereotype about black men,
   that we care too deeply
Unlike the rest of the world,
  all those shifty flaneurs living carefree

The black man's burden
  is of a lifetime duty of care and responsibility
The lack of physicality is appalling
  which, I daresay, is why we hide our bodies

What a life, always the first pick
  for the keynote at the philosophy colloquium
And hopelessly out of our league
  in athletic sports except in technical events, say equestrian

Always to be found, long past the midnight hour,
  in the lab at the science center
And hard at work in the afternoon,
  when most others are taking their siesta

Can't get them to crack a smile,
  so humorless, always so serious
Two left feet on the dance floor,
  no rhythm to speak of, can't carry a chorus

Unlike those undisciplined others
  who are so quick to lose their temper
Equanimity in repose is the natural mode of the African,
  the cerebral thinker

Forever with masks of civility, a confession of faith
A model minority dedicated to inspiring higher forms of debate

A change in perspective,
  badged with the confident sovereign's regard for tradition
Elevating the discourse,
  our contribution to humanity's curriculum is conversation


You know too the stereotype about black men,
  that we write long poems
One stanza is never enough,
  effusive outpourings are the order of the day

This afternoon, The Wife ran up the stairs away from me shouting
"Don't give me another poem to read". The prospect is of marital counseling

While my poet friends have always casually stressed
  its pickup potential and aphrodisiac powers
They never mentioned
  that poetry has been cited as grounds for divorce in New York courts

I'm genuinely curious what the tipping point was
  that forced her drastic measures
I'd like to think it was the quantity,
  rather than the quality of my poetic gestures

Did she see me approach with a sheet of paper?
  Was that the tip off?
Perhaps I should instead be declaiming
  my fragments of lyric verse

I too have watched Love Jones
  and realize that the spoken word cats
Get a lot of love and action.
   I've got to change up my game quick fast

Was it the accumulation of metaphor
  that broke the camel's back?
Or the searching scrutiny every encounter is now provoking?
  Imagine that

Quoth Chateaubriand,
  poets are like birds, the least thing makes them sing
Witness this poetic impulse
  now causing marital discord and misgiving

Needless to say, the warning shot was fired,
  I'm going to have to stay in my lane
I'll have to make do with you, Dear Reader,
  if only for the sake of my children


You know too the stereotype about black men,
  that we have large vocabularies
And frequent affairs of the heart,
  owing to a frisson de folksonomie

Liminal undertakings,
  we pursue the psychogeography of far regions of the mind
Forever mindful that some only fancy
  the hyperlinked territory we outline

The hatchet job tag gets a lot of mileage,
   that and the proverbial zingers
Fallen angels abound, those rogues,
  the strange bedfellows and the grifters

Aficionado of shell games,
  I'll concede an obsession with gremlins and parasites
These last may get plaudits, but take heed of their insatiable appetites

The human factors, the economics of whimsy,
   and the laws of grief
It's all about manufactured serendipity
  and finding comfort suites

Where comprehension is poor, turn to glue layer people,
   their networks and infrastructure
We seek to capture social interplay through observation,
   the changing perceptions of culture

If there are dark matters,
  there is the determination to bear witness
Biting satire as a weapon
  when confronting the heart of darkness

The necessity of permanent outrage informs the exiled soul's identity
An immigrant's stance contra dislocation and this fraught modernity

The joy of small things is a mainstay
   as is compulsive storytelling
Humour is everywhere in communities
   and ultimately social living

Of late, public health has been a focus
  what with this covidious pandemic
Needless to say, the specter of the superspreader looms,
  observers are worried

The one important contribution that the African can make to the world is to keep reminding everyone that it is out of sympathy and the love for one another that we can build eventually what is valuable and peaceful.

- Kofi Abrefa Busia, The Prospects For Democracy In Africa

aburi mask

Stereotype, a playlist

A soundtrack for this note. Looks aren't everything. (spotify version) ...

Timing is everything
Observers are worried

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Writing log. Concept: April 1, 2006; April 26, 2021

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