Academic journal article African American Review

The Driven Who Ride Anyway

Academic journal article African American Review

The Driven Who Ride Anyway

Article excerpt

It is the endless nightmare of the mind in continuous waking with no forest of green sleep but massed rancid ragheaps, the logs written like live graffiti sprawled across mass transit seats spelling chronicles of an ending like plague-words made flesh: I smell the death in you, your brother, your sister, your lover and anyone else invaded, afflicted with humanity, our fad and empty sciences, technocracies making vidiots who pillage only more TVs (which bend their bodies under the weight of O.P.P. - "other people's property") I hear our self-righteous angst: Why should we sympathize with beggars when we who give them so much may be the victims of their crimes etc. We will believe anything to avoid faith, build ramparted museums with iron-spike grills, install laser alarms in offices to divide the City from the Street -

There is no vestal virgin with a candle, a beacon in the dusk, no recess where children are fossilized like fading photographs - the smoke that curls up over the horizon isn't your native city wasted by a new nuclear accident - the hollow heart of memory on fire in the beginning sounds all of us in its pounding wave of blood and water ushering into a canal that bears you outward into plastic hands as grave as a factory of scissors, green-gowned giants, light machines, and electric noise - snips sever the cord to the womb and the mother tongue of liquid sympathy slaps shut its soothing syncopated sleep and deliria in the blind world cries - I am the offense and the offended the crime the victim the escaped con and the convicted I am the razor wire the civic pride the building codes and the body hung across the steel in torn clothes I am the crackhead subway driver and the driven who know what's coming but ride anyway

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