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AFRONAUTS, a short film by Francis Bodomo

(via nakedwithpumpson)

PBS DOC: independent lens - brothers hypnotic / the principle of simplicity

(Source: youtube.com)


Rammellzee & K-Rob - Beat Bop - 1983 -

Produced by Jean Michel Basquiat

dope inspiration. afrofuturism in its finest hour.


Hartford, Illinois - a poem by Steve Davenport

In the one tattooed on my right forearm, your father’s
father, my father, born 1930, rides a blue ox
and picks his teeth with railroad ties. On the back

of my neck, I wear the union brand: leather boot,
a fist, and a company truck tipped over and burning
like a chip on my father’s father’s right shoulder. On

my left arm, over that same shoulder, his shoulder,
some men knocking a shack together and signs
to tell their story. It’s 1933. They’re talking union

on the tracks this side of the International Shoe
Tannery property line. Your father’s father,
my father, worked as a Shell Oil pipefitter

a mile east, other side of the Tannery, before retiring,
1982, a Shell company man in Louisiana. On strike
in 1962 he took me, your father, born 1954, to a union

shack at midnight. We slept outside in the back
of our station wagon. Today the Tannery’s a vacant
Shell property, and Hartford’s burning on my skin

like the ground under 507 N. Olive, my birth home,
Hartford dirt soaked with decades of product
piped from White Star, Sinclair, Standard, Roxana,

Shell, Clark, Premcor, carried over and piped under
the tracks laid by the Big-4 and the CP&StL,
to the canal, the barges, and the confluence,

Mississippi and Missouri, that attracted Lewis
and Clark in December 1803. Here, it’s May 1998,
my father’s still alive, and he’s inking a final

two-frame tattoo on my chest. In it, first frame,
my father’s father’s telling his friend Tennessee,
journeyman boxer turned union buster, to take

his boys and leave, that if he, Tennessee, takes
one more step, puts boot to the next tie, he,
my father’s father, will kill him with his hands

right there. In the second frame, Tennessee’s
telling that story to my father, who’s telling
his kid brother, born 1946, who’s telling me

so I’ll tell you. Like movie dialogue. Tennessee
didn’t want to die that day. It’s what I have
to work with, to explain my skin to you. We’re

all there, 1933, on the Tannery tracks talking
union. Our arms are like hams, our waists
thirty inches, and we can stop a man

with our eyes. There’s a Hartford tattoo
on my father’s belly, deep in the skin. It’s 1973.
The scene’s a sidewalk, northeast corner Delmar

and Elm. The Tomlovic son’s washing the family
crime, our crime, blood and brains of a shotgun
murder-suicide off the walls of his family’s store,

the first store built in Hartford, incorporated
in 1920. My father grew up on Elm, just over
the tracks. The Tannery was built in 1916.

My father was a union man, Plumbers &
Pipefitters Local 553, Wood River, and then
he wasn’t. I used to work at Peavey Flour Mill,

later talked Marxism at a private college,
hung IWW posters on my office walls.
My father’s father died when my father

was eleven. My father never got the tattoo
he wanted, the one in which his favorite cousin
did not kill his wife and then himself. My father

could not stop family history. Next year he
will die unexpectedly. Hartford burns on my
skin, inks these tattoos I give you, my daughter.


- Hartford, Illinois by Steve Davenport (source)


UGK/One Day (Endonesia Version)

the boy who cried wolof

mama, when did we stop talking

slave’s talk? i ask, separating the welch’s

jelly from where it touches the scrambled 

eggs on my breakfast plate… 

mama has always been

a human-mason-jar type of woman, 

a walking database with knowledge of

the universe stashed within her hips…

her mouth, at first stiff, surrenders and

the hinges break / her jaw drops and

for the first time in my life mama’s mouth

issues no sound; bumblebees in the form

of spittle dance out and sting me in my eye,

but mama’s fingertips licked have always

been a salve until now.

mama, you know… like when’d we stop

saying likes and whens and i’s is… you

know, mama… like slaves. when did our

mouths invert and stop reinventing unenglished

words? mama… mama… wasn’t everybody’s

mama a slave-type-mammy-mama when

you was small? mama, wasn’t your mama

a mammy? didnt she too talk ‘that talk’?

and right on cue, from the kitchen tv, Bugs

Bunny in blackface jumps up offering 

clarity, his feet slurring the celluloid earth,

his bottom lip drawn into distention like

the exclamation point of mod type font 

extending off the screen, poking me in 

the eye. i point, “exhibit A”… see, mama!

mama’s gums expand, becoming

floatation devices for choked up phrases,

hard felt sentences full of hurt languages

and lost experiences… i feel the residual

ache in her retinas scanning the lump mass

of my being for an opening… her words are

red and blue and unrepeatable; her 

colorful etymology slathers itself across

my toast.

“oh,” i say… knowing i should feel ashamed.

she says that i sound just like her daddy…

what? mama, that aint making no kinda sense.

i get gold stars in my english class… and my 

friend Ricky says you sound like the white

woman who calls sometimes before she cuts 

off our lights. mama, you know me and you

we be sounding soooo good… i don’t get it.

mama, how did you learn to talk so good,

weren’t you born in grandmama’s backyard?

what’s a drawl, mama, what’s ebonics, what’s

a funkadelic, why is old english art and the old

black mouth a relic, why do white boys ‘scribe’

and black boys ‘scribble’ and ‘scrawl’, why must

the tongue trawl the ass of Zeus to be 

a connotative classic finding commercial 

success / why are my words just like the rest

unless awards are involved? are we not involved, 

mama? mama, didnt we too evolve? we sent 

men to the moon… why can’t we solve society? 

why is it up to McDonalds to teach us all this 

stuff about slaves and blackness? mama, 

are we kin to coons? mama what’s a coon?

if the tv is plugged into a socket then by 

definition isn’t it meant to electrocute our culture?

Elmer Fudd leans in, “i’ll field this one.

you see, any marketing major will tell you

that extreme exaggeration is the

cornerstone for systemic collusions. our nation

runs on the redundancy of ruses… otherwise,

we’d all just be confused, holding hands and

making love. we all must abide by the signals

and the signs. it’s either duck season or wabbits.”

mama’s hands caress my face then holds 

if firm / squirm prevention. there’s a loose thread

at the inseam of my forehead, she pulls and 

i think i am supposed to unravel. spiritually

i become unspooled. 

the Mrs. Butterworth bottle waddles over and

asks me if i know the difference between

a hajib and a doo-rag; i dont.

Mrs. Butterworth bottle whispers, “black

genesis begins in the eyes and ears.” says

she will show me how our culture began

in true cubism and not in caricature,

“existentialism begins in the tongue”

Elmer again interjects, “if i may,

it’s just the way we manipulate 

perception; a tool that allows

diversifications to the levels of 

pleasantry and dehumanized

appeal… the standardized

applications for social standing,

acceptance, aesthetics, etc…. “

Fudd pokes his rifle into a dark hole

in one dimension; pulled out 

the barrel is tied into a ribbon / Bugs

puckers up and plants him one

dead in the kisser. and right on cue,

as stereotypes are often made to do,

a corpulently drawn pig stutters

the final farewell. a curtain draws,

an aperture collapses… two hands

in white gloves jut out catching the 

television’s frame - the whole cartooned

cast in bootblack masks mumbling,

muttering… lips distended… “mmmmm

mmmmmMMa—- •••” mama

has pulled the plug. “not ‘coon’ but cocoon.”

she wraps me in her arms until we both 

are enshrined in silk. it is dark… there is 

no light and there is no Mrs. Buttersworth. 

we lay there lingering in the absence of 

manmade lights… mama says, “it will get 

bright soon and soon you will see. it may not 

at first be the place you want… but one day

it will. we should’ve done this ages ago. but

here, the language will not anguish you.”

—— upfromsumdirt 2014

"Inspiration is not the exclusive privilege of poets or artists generally. There is, has been, and will always be a certain group of people whom inspiration visits. It’s made up of all those who’ve consciously chosen their calling and do their job with love and imagination. It may include doctors, teachers, gardeners — and I could list a hundred more professions … A swarm of new questions emerges from every problem they solve. Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from a continuous “I don’t know."


Wislawa Szymborska

from her lecture upon winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 1996

(via dglsplsblg)

(Source: sojo.net, via dglsplsblg)