“Leave”

In the days after I was brutalised by my father in 2011 I felt like the life had been beaten out of me. I had lost my home. I had lost my family. I had lost all my possessions, and I was possessed by perhaps the most prolific pain a son could possibly feel after being persecuted by his papa. I wrote this in those days, and I put it away alongside my self-belief, which became so intensely ravaged over the next four years that I am really quite fortunate to still be here.

“Leave” is a missive to a missing man. He may never read it. He may never know it. But it is written. In the blood we share. In the blood he shed.

Shalom Papa. Shalom

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Shirley Manson and The Master’s House.

Article-8695445-ShirleyMansonSomewhere between Hypocrisy and Privilege Shirley Manson decides to pop her head up out of the corner of international obscurity, and draft an “open” letter with a closed mind.

A letter that justifies the very actions it seeks to condemn.

This is an attempt at publicity not unlike Sinead O Connor’s attempt to (s)mother Miley Cyrus in the later part of 2013. If it were not so, why not send this “message” covertly, because this is not a private “message”, this is a public attack. A very public ad hominem attack to be precise.

From what I have seen, Kanye West used his platform to attack a system that religiously rewards the dominant culture while constantly undermining the efforts of minority artists. You may not agree with his method. You may think it disrespectful. But his argument is sound, and he did not stoop to throwing around labels like “twat” – as Shirley Manson did – to make his point.

It must be very disconcerting for the dominant culture to constantly watch this black male (in)subordinate attempting to dismantle the Master’s House from within. So disconcerting in fact that every time he gives an opinion, he is accused of ranting, and pathologized, to reproduce and reinforce the metanarrative that ties black masculinity to hegemonic violence, anti-intellectualism, and mental illness.

Aside from this, while Beyoncé may not need Kanye to fight on her account, I am certain Beck does not need Shirley Manson to fight on his account either.

So why do it?

Where does the real suspicion lie?

When these artists only defend one another because of their shared whiteness, and completely ignore the sea of injustices many “black” artists are systematically submerged in, and have been submerged in ever since music became one of the many pillars of popular culture.

Where was Shirley’s “open letter” when Macklemore won several Grammy’s in the face of Kendrick Lamar’s resounding superiority in 2014, and where was Shirley’s “open letter” for the obliteration of India.Arie’s efforts in 2002!

And that is where Shirley faltered, by reducing a structural issue to an individual one, by attacking Kanye West, instead of attacking a system that upholds the heteronormative ideal of whiteness; that rewards whites who misappropriate black culture, and condemns that culture in blacks; that punishes “black” artists because they are not “white” enough to sell records, and that assaults Kanye’s conduct instead of addressing his case.

This is not about Kanye, it just so happens he is the only one brave enough or stupid enough to speak out on behalf of “the race” in the impulsive, and unrehearsed way that he does. Everyone else is probably afraid of being pathologized, called mad, and kicked out of the Master’s House, and placed back on the proverbial plantation where the spectre of poverty lingers like a brutal reminder of the oppression they thought they had escaped when the door was opened to let them in that house in the first instance.

So why attack Kanye West? Because when you are standing in the white light of your own privilege, it is very easy to pick out the “black” spot, and do everything in your “power” to erase it, and keep the Master’s House pure, clean, untroubled … and pearly white.

Attack everything or say nothing.

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The High.

I knew that the only way for me to begin to  recover myself was for me to admit that I was hurt. When I admitted that to myself, naïvely, I thought that was all I had to do to begin to heal, but that’s when the meltdown began.  The part of me I lost (my voice),  can be found right here in this creation – ‘The High’. A loaded title for a loaded time of my overloaded life.

Be encouraged. Be still.

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“I Can’t Breathe”

Life is an eleven-lined death poem

Entitled “I Can’t Breathe”

That ends in an unlawful death.

Lived in a systemic chokehold

That squeezes as hard as it so pleases

Until there is nothing but the body of a breathless black man left.

It is black fathers, black sons, black brothers, black lungs.

It is the white cop reaching out

With a sorry in the same hand on the same arm

That took from six children and one wife,

One eleven-lined life.

Eric-Garner-being-choked

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Homemade Lemonade.

When you realise
you’ve been found out
by your shallow secrets
who sit wide-eyed
in the final hour
of a winter Sunday
waiting for you to rain
and end this cloudy spell
that has been cast
over your thinking
a darkness that has seen you
drinking white men
like homemade lemonade
that tastes sweet
but it will rot your teeth
you will run like a hot tap
who cannot tell the difference
between his tears and tapwater
you will come up
from the downstairs bathroom
that reeks of the stench of
another weekend of
(man)slaughter
after you look into the looking glass
to see the face of shame
staring back with wet eyes black
as night roads covered in rain
because they know what you know
they have always known
the thing you tried to hide
that has always shown itself
in the wideness of your lies.

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The Chap.

IMG_5581Have you ever fallen in love for a night! Met an insignificant other who does not put up a significant fight. Found love that fits like a lost glove! Love that is just enough for you to lose your powers If only for a few selfish hours. That happened to me on Wednesday. He was walking his dog and I was walking it off. No sex, just context. I laid in the arms of someone who made me forget that I had ever been troubled, let down or lost. I laid there and listened to flamenco lullabies. I laid there and listened to the love of my night cry, think and run my fingers through his wiry hair while I watched him sink into me and then as quickly as it rose, the love went down and I left his life to return to my prose. He made me no promises. He made me promise him that I would always smile, but I’ve already let him down. The loneliness is worth the bliss, if only for nights like this. (15. Nov.2013)

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Assassins & Advocates.

Photo by Alex Winn Photography | alexwinn.comWhen you find a good friend hold on to him or her. Good friends are hard to find and very easy to lose.

For the past few months I’ve found myself pretty isolated. Surrounded by nothing but space and, at various intervals, I’ve struggled to feel anything for myself other than disdain, partly because in the past three years, since I walked out of the closet so many people have used it as an excuse to walk out of my life, partly because I have got myself into some stuff it has become increasingly difficult to escape from and partly because I have made some mistakes that I have since been paying a copious price for.

I’m not innocent. I have been defensive. I have been guarded and on many occasions these things have manifested themselves with disastrous consequences but in spite of it all, I am still here.

The more things fall apart is the more things fall into place and the more I move away from those who no longer matter (or they move away from me) is the more I realize I was right to do so (and so too were they). Our alliances had become unproductive, displeasing, inefficient and unhealthy and had affected the fluidity of our friendship. Now there is only silence I can hear that still small voice telling me everything that has happened to me and everything that has happened because of me will be the makings of me. Though it is difficult to accept, I understand that I deserve more and I deserve to desire a better life for myself and I deserve to be surrounded by advocates rather than assassins.

Assassins! You know those people. The ones who listen to others but refuse to hear you out; the ones who make up their minds before asking what you were thinking or even if you were thinking; the ones who judge you when they promised they would always love you and then leave you even after insisting they would be there until the end (of your friendship, not your life). They all have one thing in common – they are people and though their greatest success in life may seem to be pointing out the failings of others, they are not wrong; they are completely within their rights to dismiss you and denounce your efforts because, in spite of the years you have accumulated, they do not owe you anything, but you owe yourself peace and it is that you should be doing everything in your unfathomable power to uphold, not people and their opinions.

The peace that surpasses all misunderstanding.

I’ve worked in the entertainment industry for two decades. When I was younger I would often make the mistake of thinking people I worked with would work with me through my dilemmas and my dramas but I was wrong and so are you if you think people are obligated to love you because they love what you do.

Then there were the family members, the people who shared blood who find it so difficult to share love.

Like I said, I am not innocent.

I have been treated exactly as I expected to be and while it burns in places, for the most part there has been nothing more liberating than being freed of people who attach themselves to you out of some distorted sense of duty rather than a desire to be there through the shit and the shame that comes in the struggle towards self-actualization.

I’m moving into a new phase of my life and as is the case with all unknown territory, it is as frightful as it is fascinating. You know that point right! Where you either proceed or perish and if you do proceed you must do so unapologetically, which means having to break bad habits and the baddest habit and the hardest one to break for so many of us is trying to please others; trying to fit great talent into small spaces; trying to follow trends rather than set them and trying to hide your light rather than letting it shine.

Now’s the time to have faith in yourself and in your ability and in the ability of your god or the universe or the love of that one good friend or that devoted family member to help push you into the purpose you went through all that pain for.

Choose life and live it, because in spite of everything you had to lose to find yourself, you still have everything to gain.

Be encouraged. I most certainly am.

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