Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Black God Reclaims His Throne By Wanda Sabir

On Harrison Street, a mural with Malcolm X wrapped in dragon imagery bears witness to one of many forgotten geographic legacies – Oakland’s Chinatown was once home to a thriving black community

Etched in survival spaces with prism colors, Black men hover between worlds
They sit between sky and earth signing their names with chromosome markers – XY

There is nowhere where black means safety, especially for those who have taken off from here and live in regions beyond imagination. Hidden in historic patterns fractals reveal, more stable than limbo, one such man wore his robes proudly as he sat on a shopping cart on a busy Oakland street

I wanted to ask him: What happened, but didn’t feel I had the right to request a song, ask him to tell his story—certainly not require him to self-publish.   With civility creating a thin layer between us, did I disrupt this superficial veneer with chatter? Was the space between us big enough to hold funeral rites if he disappeared into previous occupations?

I decided to not disturb the peace and remained silent as:

Ancestors walked between us while Angels flew around us sprinkling libations and anointing what was sacred. As people walked by him and then walked by us, I wondered why this elder sat naked on a shopping cart at 2 p.m. between a Good Friday and a scheduled Resurrection

Had Jesus returned?

I was stunned. I walk away and call a friend to ask what should I do, who could I call – he suggests I go to the Salvation Army store and buy the black god shoes and clothes—

Cloth for the shrine, a bowl for the altar . . . a salute to his Black wonder, I go into the store and make my purchase. It takes longer than I anticipate and I hope he hasn’t left the spot he claimed.
Perhaps this gesture will provide an opening, a way to articulate or put words to my awkwardness – a Black bewilderment which occupies my soul as I gaze at a black god without robes.

The wandering dervish has limited freedom given the descriptive prison black bodies’ represent here in a landscape of whiteness where blackness is criminalized

Why is this man naked?  Why did I see him while others walk by as if he does not exist? Has his value decreased since 1865?  Why did I have to buy clothes for him when the clothes I purchased were a gift? What is a salvation army? How does one enlist?

Later, I see another black man scurrying long as if his carriage is about to turn into a spaghetti squash, the coachmen police or prison guards, a Grimm tale, we all know—day laborers, cinder mattresses . . . levees breached . . . floating bodies

The emperor’s feet are black, his sole callous, hardened . . . yet he whispers “thank you ma’am”

He asks for nothing
Sits on his red shopping cart
Treasures hidden within
Smoking a cigar
With shaven head, this blackened Buddha or enlightened one, sits boldly in Black beingness – his is a silent, yet eloquent expressive blackness,  a black fractal billions of lightyears old; he marks a global landscape, a system of racism (or white supremacy) which wishes us gone . . . back to Africa, out of America, off the planet

Blackness is all things to all things . . . it is where life began.

Displaced in a transatlantic journey still making us sick, we pitch vomit into bags thrown overboard . . . then without thinking drink the water.

The Maafa is real, yet we are here despite the plot to discontinue our genetic line . . . if only we knew who we are, then we would be free—

Hidden from view
Boldly occupying or disrupting viewpoints which would erase him
The emperor sits naked upon a throne at Eighth and Webster Streets in Oakland’s Chinatown
Papa Legba, smokes his pipe undisturbed
Oblivious to all, who do not recognize his greatness – distracting forces disappear while his presence becomes more tangible

I hurried because I thought he would leave if I didn’t return soon. But there he was as when I left him, seated on his throne, invisible servants with plumes fanning their king—the circulating air keeping away the heat and other potential disturbances.

The creator gave Papa Legba the Ashay or life force – Esu/Legba alone awakens the potential lying dormant in all beings; therefore:

I am because he is
We are, because I am
He will, because we do


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