Somatic (De)zombification Ceremony for the “Real Nigga” w/ Resulting Poem
For William Wells Brown, Tisa Bryant, Glenda Carpio, Charles Chesnutt, Douglas Kearney, Richard Pryor, Ishmael Reed, Kara Walker, and Bert Williams
First. In a widely dark room, make the floor a circle of lit candles. Take a mirror big enough to fit a whole body and place it in the middle with you within. Leave enough space for movement. On repeat, play track 8, “Can I Live” from Jay Z’s Reasonable Doubt album.
Second. Find 6 stereotypical tokens of blackness for the body. An article for each: head, neck, wrists, ankles/feet (For mine’s I chose a 59Fifty banged to the back, a Jesus piece, a Pelle Pelle with a fur collar, a faux platinum watch with the bracelet, and a pair of Timbs). Now accompany the tokens with 2 intoxicants—one to drink, one to inhale (For mine’s I chose a 40 oz of Cobra and a swisher of loud).
Third. In the middle of the circle, stand full bodied. Take whatever you have to sip on and pour some for the fallen. Next, take it to the head. Next, fire up. Next, fill your mouth with the names of niggas you know. Finally, in the mirror, practice your affectations for:
holla’n at yo’ slime/homie/patna/dunny/dude up the block ( say it from tha heart): “AYEEEE!!!!! WHAT’S GOOD MY NIGGA?!?!?”
mimicking a gun-bust as you tell the story of the last nigga(s) you clapped
(say it witcha’ chest): “DOO-DOOT-DOOT-DOOT!!!….DOO-DOOT- DOOT!!!!”
the song on the radio: “Said dat I’ma ride fo’ my muthafuckin’ nigga / Most likely
I’ma die wit my finga on the trigga / I been grindin’ outside awl day wit my niggas /
and I ain’t goin’ in ‘less I’m wit my niggas/ my nigga / my nigga” (Say 3x’s)
the police: Mouth, fixed to say “Maaann, I ain’t even do shit!” Hands, wherever the
hell they tell you to put ‘em. Make ass and balls part and lift ready.
a conflict: Arms, not up like praise is what you do, but out here like “
a surprise: “Maaann, swear fo’ Gawd!!..??”
Fourth. Leave. Stunt. Flex. Parkin’ lot pimp. Ride down. Ride out. Take note of how others interpret your actions and speech. Stop. Now. Write a poem that will keep you out the grave.
Originally published in Muzzle Magazine
See all the pieces from 29 Days of Beautiful here.