Saturday, September 10, 2011

Stat (Gratitude Poem #25)


For Justin Smith

After Audre Lorde’s “East Berlin”

now the danger is statistical

to be black brilliant bold

bound to black brave bold

boys bending backwards brave

to be beside yourself

is a statistical danger

blood calls blatant

brash back to books

beyond brackets

beyond the secondary function

of your heartbeat

on someone else’s clock

brain the name

for black boy purgatory

blink the blessings

be the truth

where beam basquiat hemphill

wash their veins

wring their wrath

ring their hair

around your finger

waking up is a commitment ceremony

because you remember

so remember this too:

when you sit there in class

wishing you were back

in brazil

or over my house

or somewhere else

categorically more cool

remember your own meaning

significant difference

your own clamoring correlations

you are not a problem set

you are blame game tournament upset

day of reckoning longed for

freedom song refrain

in every fold of your brain

black brilliant bold

unstoppable and blue

you are a statistical danger

coming true


Dear Justin,

I am here in St. Croix on this dream trip that you helped me achieve and thinking about you. I thought I wonder where Justin is right now...and thought probably in Statistics class, damn. But then I thought about how grateful I am and how grateful all our chosen and given queer black ancestors are that you are doing the work that you are doing, getting your PhD, spreading the healing word and bringing much needed resources to the communities we love and I thought that I am really glad that you exist. And I am glad that you are in whatever meeting, class, study group, cycle of TA grading that you are in. You are an affirmation of our ancestors and our brilliant communal future at all times, in all things and in all places. You are a miracle. I am so happy to witness you.

Sometimes at school (especially prestigious predominately white institutions like where we've been educated) people seem to think that it is so unlikely that we would be there. We are some small percentage point unplanned for and exploited by the institution. And the institution shows it so many ways, from forgetting our funding to placing us in unasked for spotlights and using us as excuses not to address structural inequities and on and on right?

Well I say fuck it. They think they know, but they have no idea. You were destined to be exactly where you are doing exactly what you are doing. It is not unlikely. It is 100% on purpose on time within your plan and within the destiny of our community. I know it. All our ancestors know it. Our whole community feels it in the pulse you are affirming whether they know your name yet or not! Stat!

Love you always and grateful for you always,


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