When black people are with each other we sometimes fear ourselves whisper over our shoulders about unmentionable acts & sometimes we fight & lie. these are something’s we sometimes do.
& when alone I sometimes walk from wall to wall fighting visions of white men fighting me & black men fighting white men & fighting me & I lose my self between walls & ricocheting shots & can’t say for certain who I have killed or been killed by.
It is the fear of winter passing & summer coming to my door saying hit it a.b., you’re in it too.
& the white army moves like thieves in the night mass producing beautiful black copies & then stealing them away while my frequent death watches me from orangeburg on cronkite & I’m oiling my gun & cooking my food & saying “when the time comes” to myself, over & over, hopefully.
But I remember driving from Atlanta to the city with stone & Featherstone & cleve & on the way feather talked about ambushing a pair of Klansmen & cleve told how they hunted chaney’s body in the white night of the haunted house in the Mississippi swamp while a runaway survivor from orangeburg slep between wars on the back seat.
Times like this are time when black people are with each other & the strength flows back & forth between us like borrowed breath…
Reprinted by permission of A. B. Spellman.