Empty Houses

I imagine it always begins like this, with the houses in your neighborhood growing emptier, quieter.

No rhyme or pattern save the domino effect of inept leadership married to an imploding economy.

Global capitalism trending towards massive disruption.

As always with the poorest, those already without homes, having to make space for the newly unHomed. The first signs of disruption rend reality.

All the joys of unknowing wiped away in live wire fashion.

Food lines stretch blocks, but the stock market is holding steady, the lifeline of america is steady, pulsating with the blood of covid victims and oil futures.

A volley of fools wish to salvage the economy; look to the echelons, the celebrities, sowing their oats in patterned tweets and social cred.

If you look further you see their various fandoms all at once gushing disappointment, standing firm like that money belongs to them too.

__________________________________My love of film no longer allows me to separate the white dominated art-form from global racial capitalism. All my faves ain’t shit either.

I inherited a love of film from my Pops, a figure who once dominated my psyche. I could never measure up. Until I realized that I didn’t have to.

Different trajectories, and futures await he and I.

He used movies to escape the horrors of Jim Crow, the passive violence that came with growing up around white people.

Someone asked me recently, how could I have spent so many years knowing *pick your fave conspiracy theory* and can still be involved in activism?

I told them that I decided to stop hiding from monsters I couldn’t see, and started fighting the ones in front of me.

Movies help me spot the monsters in a way that I can understand.

I’m also hood as fuck, like Pops, and it’s through this cynical lens I’ve been able to make sense of the trajectory I’m on.

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We walk past these spaces, unlived in while somewhere, someone will wake shivering, covered in morning dew.

No reason to my morning wandering, I surveille, work out various paranoia scenarios, eyeballing the changes.

Like this town I’ve called home for 8 years, parts of me are becoming empty. Same shit that drove me away from my hometown.

That listless need for change. Although now I’m filling these spaces. I’m filling these spaces with…time?

Time can be a commodity In war, if you can effectively wear down the opposition. Disruption, again comes into position, on several levels. Changes.

The disruption is a reaction to the emptiness flooding these spaces where people once thrived.

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My hometown was also empty for decades. The ghosts wore themselves thin against spindly cacti and red clay.
The drugs filled the holes left behind by the oil industry.

The drugs bought us candy coated whips, and a little more time.

Then alotta time. For some, several times over. Disrupted. Never even given a chance to flourish like the spindly cacti, or the great horned toad.

Obama reopened the spigot so that people and oil flooded the basin with more cars, more coke. Everyone eats, no one complains.

Prosperity is love.

We’ve gathered up the bounty from our garden, prepared a feast.

Except those standing in the food line as fall temperatures remind us all, of spaces where bodies once kept warm.

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We walk past these quiet houses, dodging broken chairs, thinking about the righteous chaos wrought by the fed up and fucked over.

Gathered together, loving each other, sharing bread that we made in our own ovens, lyrics we wrote with the promise of forever in each note.

We have toiled, planting gardens, making masks, reaching for the beyond we know is our right.

We walk together down combative avenues where the rich aim automatic rifles like hungry cannibals.

Burning cop cars, buildings, there is no greater synchronized event than a people no longer afraid of their government.

We crash the gates as a wave, singing, painted a riot of colors, bloody, tired.

We dance in gutted precincts, in streets awash with sacrament and mourning, tired and bloody.

Knowing that if we dance fast enough, chant loud enough, the pain we’ve introduced to the machine will cause a disruption….

Empty houses can also paint a picture of positive promise. Change will be what is.

In Remembrance of the Man That (nick)named Me

I dreamt of my grandfather, momma’s dad, last week. First time I thought about that man in decades.

Lately, I’ve been checking my reflection for any resemblance to the short, thin, deep brown man I knew of as Will.

Sometimes I’d see him while out in the Flats with the homies when I was older. He’d be sipping a cold beer, dark shades on, himself a shadow in a white button up, jacket and slacks.

At once ephemeral and set in stone. Sometimes he would remember me clear as day, and would ask after my father.

Sometimes I was one of those no good ass crack dealers that was destroying the neighborhood.I wish I would have spent more time getting to know him.

He wasn’t a mainstay in our lives. I went years without seeing him when I was a child. Then he’d show up at the house for dinner, and my mother would be so happy to have him around.

Me and Esther are super tight. We don’t talk everyday and we don’t always agree but I stan for my momma. She has allowed me to be open and is open to reciprocation.Over the years I’ve pressed about family history. Since my emergence delirium incident I’ve wanted to know more about our family relationship with racial trauma.

When I talked about my dream, Momma said, “He was who started calling you Pistol Pete, back when you was itty bitty.”

I asked her about the place where we used to visit him. This is where most of my memories of Will were formed.

“Naw baby that was a mental institution. Ever since Daddy got back from the war, see they called it shell shock back then….”

I remember at that time us going to a small octagon shaped, beige brown one-story building in Colorado City, Tx.(9 years later I’ll return and serve time at the John Wallace Unit in that same town)White interior.

We went and picked him up, my mother and I, drove out to the lake. I don’t remember much besides fried catfish, seasoned fries, the smell of the water.

Momma had also bought soda for me, water and a six pack of Miller Lite.

He laughed loud and often. Momma was really happy on those days.

Momma confessed that Will had spent most of her childhood in and out of mental institutions before and after returning from combat.

This would have been during the hey days of Jim Crow. I think of the difficulties I’ve faced now in trying to get therapy, the alienation I feel at having to talk about a racially motivated crime to a white person.

How even black people fail to see how that harrowing that time was, forever forging my relationship with dying.

Despite being part of a community with myriad intersections, I still feel so alone. I have thought lately of voluntarily checking myself in somewhere, but also, the thought of again giving up my autonomy to a healthcare system that was designed to kill me…..

Back then he’d likely had been diagnosed as schizophrenic, and subjected to rigorous and often fatal treatment.

Between 1934-64, thousands of black bodies were taken, experimented upon, dosed and killed in an effort to further expand America’s scientific fetish.

All under the guise of treating mental disorders.

I had so many questions but I didn’t want to impose upon my mother’s grief.

I suppose though, it was inevitable that mental illness had a long history within my family. There’s something pulling me towards wanting to know more about what he experienced while in combat. How he handled the horror of segregation, white police and fighting a war for a country that didn’t love him back.

Added to this, various stories I’ve heard over the years about other family members who attempted to, or successfully took their own lives.

So many questions. Most prevelant, the one I shouldn’t think about- if I’m also headed in that same direction as far as my mental health.When I said this out loud, Esther immediately fell into praying it away, rebuking this supposed demon,drive it away with the Lord’s love.

Truth is whether my mother wants to accept it or not is that I am having hallucinations, I’m dealing with deep, dark lows and manic explosions if not suppressed with drugs. Dissociation.

After having spent years developing a bond with her that allowed for us to have heavy conversations, I could tell that she didn’t wanna go further.

I didn’t press. I know that her’s was painful childhood. After having lost a son, two nieces this year, the last thing momma needed was me obsessing over generational trauma.

After the call I felt that heavy weight in my stomach. That signal indicating a flood of intrusive thought. I took my meds, slept almost 12 hours.

Untitled Rambles of a Broke Radical

Morning walks bring me so much clarity.

Myself, the puppy happily snuffling and rooting in dewey grass. Blades of sunlight cutting into my skin. Music drowning out the wayward intrusive thoughts.

I’ll often make my way to the square, sit near a very small plaque dedicated to the three black men lynched there. Searching for a way to channel fire into words.

How do you scale down almost 400 days of continuous uprising in Chile, and not have discourse about its indigenous roots?

I cannot point out the displacement of Africans throughout the continent without pointing the pen at neo-globalism, multi-national sponsored war, destabilization by proxy.

One cannot discuse displaced persons in Greece without talking about the modern trade in enslaved African bodies.

A tree falls in Brooklyn, a cop gets a vacation. A socialist president gets deposed, an emerald scion corners the market in lithium.

The Minneapolis Uprising, and subsequent pockets of counterinsurgency that organically bloomed, is the result of centuries of rebellion against these systems and institutions upholding an outdated global imperialist patriarchy.

Burning down police stations and child prisons symbolize the juggernaut that is the collective will of the masses. The people went toe to toe with global capitalism. The lights went out in the fucking White House.

The police response has always been the same, because the government, the very nature of an american republic, hinges on the financial subjegation of the white worker, and the commodification of non white bodies.

Interconnected as we are, through social media, we are no longer poised on the brink. We’ve been free falling towards an uncertain future.

Our advantage against all out destruction, we can see beyond our own borders, despite walls and propaganda, find kinship in our Black, Indigenous, oppressed, trans, disabled, marginalized genders all across the globe.

The prospect of further impoverishment  adds weight, alongside a collapsing economy and ecological devastation.

In the midst of all this, we’re supposed to figure out how to adapt and thrive within a system that has failed us time and again. I believe we can do it.

I believe, from the root, we are in the process of supplanting the order, our disruption adding to the inevitable crumbling of democracy.

Here in the U.S., the political elite is in league with moderate liberals and centrists that steer certain organizations.

They move in place, berating the people for expressing their rage while praising the prevailing cooler heads that want an amicable reformation.

Performative social justice has become a business inhabited by nice white intellectuals and non white academic elites and celebrities.

Anything to do with a semblance of ‘normalcy’, at this point, is a death sentence.

Truth is, the words seem to just spin through the hallways of my mind, beating against the walls, causing fires…..

This is the age of micro-wars (Armenia and Azerbaijan), neo-colonial espionage (the Port of Lebanon bombing), corporations traversing borders at will, upending economies and social order.

It makes no sense to build walls when those materials can be used to make houses, facilities and supplies to empower the people.

The mobilization happening within my online ecospheres gives me so much joy. So much encouragement.

Creating community as the world reshapes its contours to usher in space for us to blossom. Rebuilding in the afterlife.

We are everything our ancestors hoped for and more.

We’re the reason why no weapons formed against us shall prosper. We gon’ lean and smash our way to a better world. A world not ruled by binary, patriarchal individualism.

A world where we can look our children in the eye and be proud of what we offer as an inheritance.

I am the foolish dreamer. Despite the map of scars on my face, the pain in my heart. I know, deep down that I belong no where and all at once. I am scattered, held in place by the heat of rebellion, in service to my loved ones and chosen family.

Wading in the Waters of Slave Narration, Blade Runner 2049 (A Broke Radical Review)

“Every civilization is built off the backs of a disposable workforce. We lost our stomach for slaves, unless engineered.”

Niander Wallace

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One of the ways the original settlers worked to solidify the enslavement of stolen African bodies, was by attempting to build a science around reproduction.

The psychological terror, dietary restrictions and grueling hours in itself was enough to deplete the plantation labor force.

Rebellion and the subsequent purges meant high production values replaced by having to reinvest in new bodies, conditioning….

With effective breeding they could control a lineage of workers who would add to productivity, so as to ensure their dynasties ad infinitum.

Building a world so reliant on labor meant ensuring the boundless accessibility to an underclass to do the actual work.

Advancements in technology tout an end goal of moving beyond human, and yet many scientific leaps are made with the express purpose of extending, as opposed to extinguishing human and (non)human life.

I make this distinction because in reimagining a future where humanity and machine coexist means recreating the very class hierarchy that allows power to be held by a few.

I am not of the belief that white supremacy hinges on the physical eradication of non white bodies.

Rather, in order for whiteness to remain the default definition of personhood, antiblackness has to be as malleable as the accelerationist model it fuels.

[Disparaging remark scrawled on K’s door]

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Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner film lends credence to the peril of living while non white in a world fueled by the settler economy.

It’s mentioned that the Blackout had erased most records, debt, allowing many replicants to escape from the fury of their plantation owners.

Being white they are able to effectively hide amongst their white human counterparts.

Meanwhile, humanity is force fed garish holographic delights, processed food from vending machines and replicant sex workers in legal brothels.

This underclass still thrives, having adopted a market economy based on trade, street vendor savvy and a collective will to outlast the gods that left them behind.

People also no longer have to deal with the psychological strain of determining whether their quarry is replicant or human.

Humanity is instead left to collect the flotsam of a world wrought by climate change, war and economic ruin.

Making due on an earth pillaged by the mega rich, who have taken their imperialist desires to the stars.

Still policed by archaic laws and totalitarianism.

It also stands to reason that the nuclear fallout and climatic changes have forever altered the way most carbon based life was able to reproduce.

The titans of industry had to find a way to re-insert human labor into the economy.

Most animal life in this iteration is synthetic and given more redeemable value, as rarity, than replicants.

The replicant is completely stripped of any semblance of humanity parceled out post Civil War and reconstituted via the Civil Rights Act.

Steeped in a different type of social death. Created for pleasure, terraforming newly colonized worlds or military service.

Giving the replicant a white face hints at the possibility of humanity within these synthetic beings.

As many a black scholar has pointed out, white supremacy thrives on the fugitive status of a people completely cut off from their legacy.

This includes having one reduced to visible identifiers, stripped of autonomy, explained away by philosophy as a negative force to be tamed.

Antiblackness takes root within the mechanics, the very lifeblood of what it means to be a progressive economic and social system within the greater neo-global hierarchy.

When stories of enslaved black bodies get told, Hollywood is fishing for white sympathy with an express interest in profit. The body is a prop.

Phillip K. Dick’s future, like most of our favorite sci fi titans, had no real investment in inclusivity, or faces that didn’t match their own.

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K: “I’ve never retired something that was born before.”

Madam: “What’s the difference?”

K: “To be born is to have a soul I guess.”

Madam: “Are you telling me no?”

K: “I wasn’t aware that was an option madam.

Madam: “Attaboy. Hey, you’ve been getting along fine without one.”

K: “What’s that madam?”

Madam: “A soul.”

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K is a replicant hunter-killer, a newer model with a longer life span, advanced memory implants.

Greater cognitive skills than the older Nexus models built by the Tyrell Corporation. He’s the perfect slave catcher.

His human masters have given him enough freedom that he has even cultivated a simple home life with a holographic girlfriend.

K is tasked with hunting down the origin of an ossuary found beneath a dead tree.

The bones of a long dead replicant reveal a truth that died with Tyrell. A prize that will allow the Wallace Corporation to colonize even more planets.

For Niander Wallace, reverse engineering Tyrell’s science, he could shift his focus from creating a new line of replicants to solidifying his God status among humans.

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During this investigation K begins to lose his conditioning in typical everyman fashion, failing his baseline tests and eventually going rogue.

The promise of participating in a miracle pressing the replicant to cosign to mayhem.

Be counted as more than machine. Atonement and citizenship.

The replicant, as Other, seeking validation within a system built on his back.

These Outsiders gathering in darkness whispering of rebellions. K wants to thrive within the system, not overthrow it.

Seeking validation amongst his people is an illogical choice. The other choice only leads to a glorious death.

This is the origin story of our time spent as wanderers in the hollow.

Ours has been a fight to reclaim our spiritual, mental health, reproductive and the most basic of human rights.

The upheavals, rebuilding, putting in a consistent bid to live. Puzzle piecing the flotsam of our existence, so thorough was the thunderstorm of enslavement.

Despite reports to the contrary, the fugitive will always have a place here.

Be it the vanguard or the back room, we’re forever tied to the machinations of the European ethno-state. It is only just that we persevere long enough to watch it fall into dust.

I have experienced racism across its many manifestations.

I’m most intimate with the violence that systemic racism promotes.

Police brutality, vigilante law, neo Nazis, being institutionalized. Most recently, bias in healthcare.

I’m seeing the world devolve into factions and some of these factions are attempting to salvage democracy. Or at least find a less volatile way to change things.

I don’t see any long term solutions where violence will be unavoidable. Right now the police and federal agents have already declared war against anyone who is opposed to going back to normal.

By normal I mean the continued mismanagement and corruption that has plagued the marginalized, queer, trans, impoverished, disabled, neuro-diverse non white persons.

By extension, the larger dismissal once maintained by american society is just as harmful. It’s alluring, comfortable to not want to see that white society is built around a racist structure.

The government has made it abundantly clear that they’re not interested in but the most rudimentary changes. Just so we can all STFU and go back to work.

Time and again those small changes do nothing to detract harm from being inflicted on black people.

And society as a whole, because once the police promise to reform, the pressure is eased, and the country goes back to business.

But our grievance is multilayered, centuries old and resilient. We know on our spirit that police are not the ultimate problem.

The systems that allow antiblackness to rage unchecked, is where the problem lies.

The mishandling of American life during this pandemic exposed the inadequacy of a constitution written explicitly to protect white men.

Disruption, fighting for autonomy, standard universal rights, culture, is causing the system to crumble.

Yes, violence is inevitable.

The police all across the country have shown you who their enemy is. It’s not the Boogaloo or Proud boys. It’s not anti maskers with assault rifles raging about the capitol lawn.

And when it pops off, all that firepower will be aimed in the same direction.

At us.

I’m not here saying go start some shit. But be ready when the shit pop off.

Bushwhacking the Magical Negro in The Expanse

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In contemporary storytelling the magical negro, through benevolence and wisdom, bestows life lessons upon a white protagonist who is facing ostracization by society.

As opposed to healing their own generational pain, the black character labors to make the white person a better servant of humanity as dictated by their privilege.

Hollywood has bored us into cinematic submission with films such as Driving Miss Daisy, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Corina, Corina.

The ‘magic’ accumulated by the black character is a systemic drive within white centered storytelling to fixate on the tempered, even handed, socially acceptable black person.

Broken and redeemed by trauma. Often victims of violence, economic despair, slavery.

Despite having no social power within a Eurocentric framework, they’ve learned to transcend the boundaries placed on racial categorization.

Science fiction written by white creators has historically been used to symbolically kill the magical negro.

The only redemption arc these characters are granted comes from immense sacrifice and loyalty. Often for causes shaped by alien politics, war and money.

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In The Expanse, one of my all-time favorite shows, killing the magical negro is expressed through every main black character’s story arc.

Naomi Nagata is a Belter, raised in the outer system amidst political turmoil and poverty as a result of Earth and Mar’s continued stranglehold on the galactic economy.

As a young adult she joins the OPA, a quasi-revolutionary movement in the outer planets that provided a potential space for community and healing.

At best the OPA is a cobbled together mix of eco-fascist and centrist.Even painted as they are, freedom fighters, they have spilled just as much blood as Earth and Mars.
They’re scrabbling for a home in common settler fascist fashion.

Naomi’s engineering skills are used to commit a mass murder that haunts her throughout the show.

Even worse, in order to escape a life she didn’t want, Naomi left behind a son, who has been bred to lead by the only true believer of the OPA cause.These violations of her autonomy are romanticized, with even an unspoken queerplatonic relationship with another marginalized character.

Even after becoming a hero by helping expose the proto-molecule conspiracy she eventually loses her chosen family, having no choice but to start helping the OPA again.

Fred Johnson, the “Butcher of Anderson Station” took up with the OPA after leaving Earth and it’s imperialist policies behind.He used his influence to become ops chief on Tycho station, employing thousands of Belters and OPA members.

Through guile and diplomacy he strives to create a better life for the Belters suffering under water and air mismanagement, corporate greed and dangerous working conditions.

As the story unfolds Fred is used by OPA leader Anderson Dawes to obtain dangerous knowledge about a proto-molocule, and has to sacrifice everything he has worked for as an ultimate show of loyalty to a revolution that wasn’t his.

So he is made to sacrifice his autonomy by two different political factions that are facsimiles on opposite ends of the settler colonial spectrum.

Gunnery Sgt. Bobby Draper is a true nationalist raised to believe that war will be the only action to give Martians true sovereignty.

After her platoon is killed by an almost unstoppable soldier, she uncovers a vast conspiracy involving corporate bio-weapons, government factions and powerful families.Her refusal to lie earns Bobbie the label of traitor.

Eventually she returns to Mars, but her loyalty to the republic has been clouded. Bobbie falls into the opposite spectrum of resistance to rule, joining a Martian criminal organization ran by a jaded cop.

If we’re to mirror the modern political model, both sides seek to further denigrate blackness through insults, miseducation and shaming.

While telling us that it’s in our best interest. Too many black people can see the game is rigged. Reticent to throw weight behind imperialism, oligarchy or fascism.

Like politics, science fiction is a medium through which white society can demonize blackness.

Then claim to be diverse enough that to call the medium racist is considered a weak argument.

Similarly, in modern politics the virulent response to black people’s disappointment in white moderates, centrists and the far right is that we don’t have a cohesive grasp of what freedom means.

We will ‘vote against our own self interest’ as it were, because of some innate need to be lead.This especially from people who claim to be revolutionary anarchists and socialists.

Social death unseats what the humanities label, a perfect balance of what it is that gives one agency in a world shaped by Eurocentric value.

Earth is a Buffet for Shape Shifting Aliens

I think the most chilling statement I ever heard came from a middle aged white woman.

She said, “Some people don’t deserve to make it through the apocalypse.”

While true on the surface, the context which mothered the statement was based on the belief that the government is going to eventually declare martial law and open wide the internment camps.

In other words, when it’s her turn. Because to pretend that it’s not already happening, show’s a serious level of cognitive dissonance.

It’s difficult to get away from. I say this as a person who researched global conspiracy theories in some weird ass segue from Rastafarianism to kitchen table Vodun.

Atlanta, Georgia in the early 2000’s thrummed with a certain anticipation, as though the land was a powder keg. The subculture was alive with knowledge and spiritual growth.

Learning to capitalize on the culture became an art form. I was wide open to learning more about this society that so wanted to kill me. Me and my circle spent thousands on books and DVD’s crammed with well thought out diatribes against big government, media, the church and military.

We studied together, went to invite only meetings where for $40 a head you could listen to forlorn voice overs while being assaulted with images of extreme poverty and politicians grinning evilly.

They used terms like all of us, introduced me to the Boule, Skull and Bones, child sacrifice by the rich, flouride in drinking water. We were intrigued, terrified and wanting to know how to put a stop to this madness.

There’s this assumption that preparedness will gain one continued freedom from government tyranny.

Buy guns, have a bug out bag. Have a place to lay low when shit hits the fan. We’ve all seen the extremes people have gone to via Doomsday Preppers and various YouTube channels thrown up by survivalists. You can learn how to turn urine into drinkable water while those less aware become nuclear fallout zombies and cannibals.

While at this moment the presidential powers act gives a sitting president the option to create a citizen based police force.

So that ‘all of us’ rhetoric falls apart pretty quick. Given the option to fall in line or suffer many will choose that safety. And already have. GCT’s call this percentage of the population ‘sheeple’.

Sheeple get caught up in distractions, watch the mainstream news, celebrate typical privilege and are unaware or choose to ignore the larger machinations behind all the war and strife plaguing the world.

I think it was a David Icke video, where he spent 45 minutes going on about this grand global conspiracy orchastrated by shapeshifting aliens. That ‘they’ are losing their ability to shape-shift and that when they finally revert to their galactic lizard form they’ll start rounding up citizens… for food and labor. Those that resist or are considered a financial burden will be killed outright.

Armed with this knowledge his ultimate message was, “Let your love light shine or something something, same frequency.

Do nothing. Don’t tell anyone.

Accept that sacrifices will be made. So it’s okay to save yourself, your family.

Apparently we’re moving into a new age of enlightenment and that our collective love will defeat the…

What?

What I began to see was an us versus them mentality. Many of the more popular voices of global conspiracy would often say, you can’t convince or even talk to most people about this. They won’t listen.

In their eyes anyone who didn’t believe as fervently as they fell within the sheeple category.

There’s another percentage of the population that is just as aware. We’ve watched the machine and even built it’s parts. It’s eaten our families, stolen land, scorched the earth for economic gain, killed indiscriminately.

One can’t lose an innocence one was never granted in the first place. Most of us are non white, queer, trans, neuro-diverse, mentally ill and disabled. You can find us everywhere but typically in ghettos, shantytowns and favelas.

We’ve watched generations disappear into the prison system or grave through war in all it’s iterations.

We’re denied access, not only by the rich, but those who benefit from abelism.

Just as the privileged look down from their towers, you perch on the balustrades picking at the crumbs, hoarding them in your storm proof bunkers.

We’re being eaten right now.

We understand that the desolation you’re preparing for is your first true apocalypse experience.

We’ve been surviving in the aftermath of slavery, colonialism, racism, abelism and religious persecution. Gentrification, environmental terrorism, income inequality. Our apocalypse has come and gone.

Ignoring the plight of the poor allows these GCT’s to continue being shortsighted, racist, abelist and queerantagonistic. Wasting time with emotional equity, inclusion, the guarantee of universal human rights is also a deterrent to this fact:

Earth is a buffet for shape shifting aliens.

That woman’s statement is right in alignment with the apathy expressed by many right leaning individuals who are using the second amendment and free speech to press a more Eurocentric standpoint when discussing the end times.

They’re looking to create a white Utopia from the ashes. Free from any of the antagonistic anomolies that have caused the decline of America. Who needs equality among the races when one race can rise from the ashes?

That in mind, of course the elderly, disabled and mentally ill should be left behind. It’s perfectly reasonable to accept that unknowing will weed the weak from the strong.

So that leaves us, those who will inevitably be left behind, the choice to adapt or die. We can dig it.

All I know is how to survive. Been prepping my entire life. I’m not the only one. And I’m thankful for the journey that has led me to here.

We’re plentiful and built to last.Whether we express our anger through non-violent civil disobedience or burning it all down.

For all the blood split you can’t knock how effective true revolutionary uprisings can be. The destabilization of entire regions is proof positive that the people are not sleeping. Chile is on fire, Paris is on fire, Iraq, Sudan, Bolivia, America, on fire.

Shutting it down will get way more results than running away.

Where there’s hopelessness, there’s room to resist.

Accessibility in an Accelerated Economy

In capitalism, financial growth takes precedence over sustainability and accessibility.

Kum and Go’s store on Kearney and Glenstone is a perfect example of this trend.

As we further into an accelerated growth model the investment moves away from being motivated by moral responsibility to your customer and community.

Instead, expansion, and a drive towards wealth push us to move faster, do more for less with limited time and resources.

In this regard, they relocated the store from Kearney and Delaware to a larger corner, closer to the highway. They expanded the size and inventory to cater to a more mobile clientele.

The future of retail gas in red and white.

This target audience drives, has a need for gas and cheap on the go food items. Convenience. The upshot to divesting in accessible entrances means more variety, higher prices, a controlled flow of car traffic.

The new and only entrance is wider with a clear line of vision both ways.

Imagine my surprise when I walked across the street needing change that I’d forgotten to get at Walmart.

When you cross the intersection of Glenstone and Kearney, you’re met by a hill of impeccably groomed grass.

The store sits at the top of this hill.

An able bodied person could easily walk it, begrudgingly. For me and the thousands of bus riders who rely on ramps, hand rails and gently sloping sidewalks it poses an incredible problem.

The sidewalk leads you all the way around to a walkway that crosses over to the store not far from where cars come in and out.

I call this socially acceptable access to goods and services.

The older location was likely made so accessible because it served the surrounding neighborhood, moreso than out of town travellers, truckers and heavy commuter traffic.

The old location embodied ethical accessibility to goods and services.

Along with residents was the ebb and flow of bus commuters either coming from or going to work, homeless folks transitioning with traffic and needs. They were never a nuisance, police were not a visible presence, and money was being made. The daily clientele however seemed to be black and brown working class people.

The old location was also on a major corner, highly accessible to everyone. And multiple means of access for disabled people.

The sensible solution would be to make a path up and through the hill. Accessible to disabled people coming from Walmart or up the road from the neighborhood where the people’s interest was once being served.

I gather that those who own cars can easily make the transition. Gas is the bread and butter after all. It’s also an expensive, wasteful commodity that’s deliberately hoarded for capital gain and geopolitical leverage.

I asked the young manager about future plans to build a connecting walkway up or through the hill.

He managed the old store too. And understands the need for multiple means of access to all people. Unfortunately he couldn’t honestly answer me, and I don’t hold him accountable.

I don’t know if it’s a city utilities decision, potential zone violation but the deliberate excision of an entire marginalized class is absolute in design.

The loss of such a multiply marginalized revenue stream could of course be made up with higher taxes on goods in place

I sent an email to Kum and Go corporation, and left a comment on their Facebook page.

I got a response mid December.

Expressing concern. Asking for the exact address so that my concern could be forwarded to the facilities team.

I sent the address along with a series of photos I’d taken of the store entrance, and lack of access from the sidewalk.

So the option is available, and examples of a more responsible means of access exist in many ways across the city and the world.

As of this writing I’ve not received a reply.

Honestly I didn’t expect to considering how close to the holidays it was.

However, this has weighed heavy on me and I have been debating whether to post this for weeks.

Whatever morality I’ve been blessed with won out and so here we are. I’m hoping that by addressing the issue head on ethical accessibility becomes a model this company re-adopts for that area. There’s many of us who could benefit merely knowing that the option exists.

American Horror Story: Corporate Monsters and Economic Slavery

While the world indulged its inner desire to self sooth with Halloween revelry I am living in a nightmare spawned from the belly of capitalism.

The modern depiction of fear seems centered around the malevolent ghost, the emotionless, wronged white male or teen angst.

Social horrors like racism are discussed yet white washed because the business of it demands a sacrifice.

Environmental or psychological horror is dressed up as mutated behemoths that ravage humanity and play on the fear of total infrastructure collapse. Or a repressed whole that’s given one night to live out its darkest collective mob fantasies.

My life schedule revolves around ensuring that I remain available to the cycle of economic violence we call capitalism. My fears are born of an adjacency to poverty, homelessness and failing my family.

In corporate culture the contribution to an accelerated growth model takes no consideration for individual worker needs, especially if one is multiply marginalized.

There’s a demand to continue proving your worth to society so that abelists can praise the miracle of inclusion at its minimum.

The global footprint of democracy turns a blind eye to basic human rights by clouding our vision with freedom from the peripheral.

Incentives are offered but the trade off is imbalanced when even minimum output can mean a detriment to one’s health. So in effect we are fed the lie while healthy and eager, then told that success is within reach so long as we can pull our broken bodies across the finish line.

When companies talk about expansion, colonialism comes to mind. Deals are made to invest in corrupt governments in formally colonized nations so the balance of power remains in favor of the state with the highest GNP.

Governments and corporations become wedded. The impoverished are given opportunities to pledge their fealty to an alien culture.

Upon assimilation the majority that cannot be employed within the corporate model are left to fend for themselves as the river of globalization swells with their blood and sweat.

It demands you to be on time, and that you leave your personal problems at the door.

Consider though the individual who spends more time working than reaping the so called benefits of the 40+ hours work week.

Mental illness doesn’t have an off switch. Disabilities strike outside the whims of simplicity, and pairing down decisions for the good of the company, or even one’s family unit can often mean not having an essential need met.

Of late I’ve had to choose between whether to move forward with investing in better mental or physical health. Having a car that we can’t afford or walking from work, despite the weather. I’m allowed about six of twenty four hours to solidify the bond with my partner, friends and children.

By focusing on my mental health, I can show up to work and perform at almost peak efficiency. Meanwhile my physical disability is compounded by the need to continue to show up at work. Even if it means traipsing across town on foot.

All this just to make sure my family is fed, clothed and housed.

The idea of being my full queer non-monogamous self is hardly an option. By the time I’ve taxed my mental faculties on the job I lack the spoons to engage in conversation or time that would help grow any other relationships.

Instead hetero-nornmativity is greenlit as the preferred method of socialization. This also means easier access to the incentives offered by the state and the job.

Instead of allowing for widespread accumulation, individuals at the top are compensated for finding ways to make their workforce more productive and less disgruntled with the class structure.

Ultimately, the choice I’m left with is that I am employed, food and basic needs are available. Any extra income is spent on making sure those basic needs are the only benefit we receive.

Putting money aside is dream for those who are denied any release from the pressure of surviving under the weight of systemic racism and abelism.

I’m largely unimpressed with any advice lent by those who have made it within the settler economy.

Any concerns they had with seeing the rest of us thrive got eighty-sixed once they touched a higher tax bracket. Because in order to maintain that height, there has to be a class system in place. The ladder is fashioned from the bones of the poor, disenfranchised Other.

I’m unafraid of spirits, vampires, babbadooks and zombies.

If I get caught slipping, I could lose my sanity, my family could lose what little stability we have, and my rage at the system could mean my death if I refuse to submit.

The scariest monsters sit at the head of the table, on a throne made of bones.

Juke Joint Baby: An Essay About Black Love and Economic Resistance

When sifting through my childhood memories, running numbers for my parents was the best time of my life.

Mind you, this was the early 80’s. In Texas the oil bust locked many people into years of economic struggle. An entire white, blue collar, middle class population was suddenly without means to make ends meet.

Not many black people worked the rigs in West Texas in those days. It was a white man’s gig and not very welcoming. Those that did were clever enough to use their money to become self sustaining, having clearly understood that they’d be first fired once the wells dried up.

Cocaine also flowed heavily between El Paso, Midland and the Metroplex (Dallas/Ft. Worth). Those same middle class folks were snorting their lives away while dining on fine steak and whiskey. Now, without the means to support their habits they moved away, hustled or drowned in self loathing. Many houses fell. Roughnecks became visible addicts.

I met quite a few as they swung through the South Side, to the Flats, my second home. Looking to score codeine, amphetamines, weed and cheap thrills.

The Flats sit right near the tracks. A collection of low roof buildings, dirt parking lots and broken streets. Several blocks of colorful juke joints, two black barbershops, a black owned pharmacy, stores and gas stations. All black, all the time.

I couldn’t wait to get home from school. I lived with my mother and siblings on the east side of town. Often a family friend would pick me up, and take me to Dorothy’s Place. My Mother would be there, having a beer with friends, talking about sports, the Stories, which were likely playing on TV, fashion and spades

For a time Pops owned a joint called the Dew Drop Inn, on the second floor of the only two story building left standing. Sometimes I’d go watch Pops gamble with friends in a smoke filled back room. Always full of questions, wanting to know how he did what he did. He’d kiss my head, stuff cash in my pocket and send me away so he could concentrate on his cards.

Mama did business wherever she sat her purse, always rocking the cleanest outfit, smoking them long ass cigarettes and sipping a drink.

I adored the attention from their friends, whom I considered to be my first real friends too. Giving me quarters for the juke box, asking me to do the latest dance. Or paying me for expressing interest in my own education.

Mama would send me to deliver scores. Maybe next door to Valentine’s barbershop, or down the block to the cab stand. Or around the corner to Price’s Bar.

I’d make the rounds, dropping off folded slips of paper and picking up folded cash. The vibe was always celebratory. The flashy cars, old heads dressed up and draped in gold. The world was always brand new to me.

There was always music, food, kind words and jivin’. I always made away from somewhere with a bag of chips and a soda, several dollars of my own.

Occasionally someone would not be able to pay me and would deliver an angry rebuke for me to pass on to my mother.

Some people didn’t think I belonged in the Flats at all, and resented a child’s presence in a grown up environment. They would refuse to do business with me.

Someone else would tell that person to stop being an ass hole, trying to threaten a kid. And so on. It was always handled. Of course had the message made it back to momma it would’ve been handled quite different.

This was a generation that wasn’t about that bullshit, as most of them survived Jim Crow, Vietnam, the Civil Rights movement. Momma packed a pistol. Pops carried also and kept a shotgun in the trunk of his car. I’m pretty sure everybody was strapped and not afraid to pop off if it got hot.

I can remember my clumsy ass stumbling into a guy I met through my Pops. Thinking I was trying to pick his pocket, he popped open a knife and sliced my palm. He was known to cut people and I should have known better.

It was of course a misunderstanding. He was a war vet still haunted by the ghosts of Vietnam and was extremely apologetic afterwards.

I knew who the shooters were, who’d done time for or was suspected of murder. None of that mattered to me. I could no more judge their journey than I could walk in their shoes. They had a right to live their own American dream.

Like with any social cluster there’s baggage, beef, resentment. Those arguments often spilled over into violence. Fights, even stabbings among peers were common.

But somehow or another it would get worked out.

Anything to keep the police out of the neighborhood.

Everyone wore their legacy or expressed it through colorful nicknames:

Back then I was known as Lil Pete, Pistol, or Petey Wheatstraw, the Devil’s Son in Law.

I had friends named Cross-eyed Eddie, Godfather, Charlie Brown, Bubba Coot, School Boy. Plus the old school assortments of Shirley Faye, Miss Dorothy, Miss Margie, Big Momma, Jewel, Popcorn, Shine.

Pimps, con artists, dealers, thieves, killers.

They were kind, funny and generous despite hard ships. They were my family.

I remember overall felling loved. Feeling a part of something many in that town just wouldn’t understand. You didn’t have discussions about the Flats with white people. And white people, when discussing the Southside, could only tell that it was a terrible place to be.

We liked it that way. This meant little to no interactions with white folks.

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Everything was for sale

My pops sold speed. Occasionally I’d wake up to bricks of marijuana drying out in the oven.

The stack of Welch’s bottles by the fridge were not filled with grape juice but codeine.

And money. Always money. Stacks and wads. The Flats swam in it for years.

Everyone I knew was doing well because they kept the money flowing within the neighborhood. We ate our own food, provided our own entertainment, policed our own streets. We shopped at local grocery stores and butchers owned by people who in turn spent money in the hood on weekends.

It didn’t bother me that my clothes were often bought from the trunk of a car, or that local boosters would take orders from my parents for Christmas presents that were too expensive at store prices.

I always thought it ridiculous that my peers would push their parents to spend $120 on a pair of $120 shoes, when my folks got em for $30 and a handful of diet pills. Many of their parents knew what went down in the hood, but did not want their children exposed to the life. To the middle class black people I was a Flat Rat, and would likely turn into my parents at some point.

Funnily, me and most of my peers all eventually made the Flats our stomping grounds.

Those that didn’t have a side hustle worked hard around town being entrepreneurs, chefs, janitors, truck drivers, car salesman and bail bondsmen. They cultivated contacts within the judicial system, the middle and oil rich upper class and swapped information in the hood over a game of dominos.

Class issues aside, if you were black and latinx in Midland, Tx, someone you knew hung out or was strung out in the Flats.

I remember once when I was hanging out with my dad on a Saturday. He and his homies was playing cards and someone let them know that the cops were outside. They hid their money, and switched the conversation.

The police swaggered in with confidence. One asked, “What’s going on here?”

Mr. Glover leaned his lanky frame back, jheri curl just swangin’, said, ” Ain’t nothing going on in here punk! Just a bunch of mad, broke ass niggas playing cards.”

To which the cops were berated right out the door. Moments like that gave me joy, seeing cops lose their power when realizing that they couldn’t intimidate everyone.

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Crack changed everything

Every economic model goes through a transformation according to the needs of the people.

New money saturated the Flats. Businesses changed hands, legacies got passed on.

I eventually moved in with pops on the Southside. By then crack had completely changed the landscape.

Whereas once you only saw a few younger people hanging out in the Flats, dope boys now manned the block, visible, flaunting their products and bravado while dodging police patrols.

And goddamn if a younger generation of white kids felt cool enough to come around looking for the same drugs their parents preached against, or indulged in.

At his new juke I ran numbers for Pops exclusively. I also transported boot leg beer, and learned how to dodge trouble.

I’d always been around the game but I shied away from the crack trade. Most of the dealers were my friends, cousins, brothers. So of course I hung out with, defended and cared about them.

I knew they weren’t out there for kicks. Many had taken on the role of primary provider for younger siblings, disabled parents or caretakers.

Often they’d end up selling the same product that had so effectively destroyed their family in the first place.

Crack burned through lives and family worse than heroin.

The OG’s couldn’t understand the young generations fascination with fast money, having forgotten that they were the models who shaped our perception of economics.

It was their fur coats, Cadillacs and diamonds on every finger that encouraged us to dream big. It was their lessons in bravado that made us rebellious when police came around.

All the OG’s knew was that more white people meant an increased police presence. This intrusion interrupted their income. They preferred the old ways, gambling, sex work, weed and alcohol. They preferred it when white people came through, made a purchase and left.

Many of the OG’s had forgotten how, in their youth, many of the same circumstances applied. They were a thorn in the side of someone who’d lived through Reconstruction or slavery and had no patience for flamboyant youth.

Individuals who had spent their lives with little, but still prospered, raised families, earned respect.

That the legacy is perpetual not because it’s all we know as a people. It’s what we’ve been given.

Making something outta nothing is a fuckin life skill, not a failure.

Pops eventually retired from full time hustling. Exhaustion, poor health, life on parole and a changing game had broken him. Momma hustled and worked, but eventually gave up hustling as well.

I of course took to streets to earn money for our well being. The idea of a job was a last resort. That meant tying myself to an unfamiliar economic model, taxes and white folks. Being broke. Getting caught was also out of the question. Incarceration was just reformed slavery.

Nevertheless I did get caught. I spent time listening to cats from other cities, other hoods like me tell similar stories. The Flats offered me a much better education than formal schooling ever did.

I learned about the history of my people, black resilience, pain and friendship. I learned that legacies are what you make of the lessons learned. Generational trauma is real, but can also be healed. I learned how to apply my hustle to any endeavor, when to hold, fold, or risk it all.

I can’t imagine a life without having grown up black. No shade to those who didn’t live the same experience as I did. When I say this, I’m speaking about the ever changing but always relevant lessons that reinforced my desire to stay black and die black.

It wasn’t the stereotypes that the wider world associates with being black. It’s the parts of us world envies, tries to suppress or outright erase. Our natural inclination to resist, survive, thrive. By any means necessary.

And if you ain’t black you’ll never get that.