The Chicken Bag


The Chicken Bag

For the past 3 ½ months my commute encompasses frequent trips to my mother’s home in Maryland.  It’s better for her to be near me while she recovers from illness, so, I’ve become very familiar with the I-95 corridor.  However, the one spot that causes me anguish is when I hit Rising Sun.  On the east side of the highway there is a cherry-picker whose basket extends high above the tree line, and, fluttering off its basket is a confederate flag.  It’s there all the time, at least, I think it’s there all the time; it’s certainly there whenever I drive past, so, I assume it’s there 24/7 as a reminder that I am still below the Mason-Dixon demarcation and there is no place for me, even when traveling up and down the highway, the presence of a threat’s always there; there’s just no place, no safe place in which I can travel, because, at any moment terror happens.  I always make extra sure the car can make the trip, fearing breaking down on the highway as I seen quite a few, but in particular, I always make sure I can make the trip during daytime.   That flag stands as a reminder that, somehow, I am an obstruction to some American utopian greatness, that utopia, minus the understanding that if it could ever be achieved, was attainable  because of the sacrifices of Black, brown, red and yellow peoples across time. That flag always returns me to my childhood where when in preparation for roadtrips my mother or grandmother or some other matriarch would prepare food, usually fried chicken.  I am not good at frying chicken, yet, these women fried as easily as boiling water.  I grew to hate that greasy grocery bag, its contents of coagulated drumsticks, breasts, but, never enough thighs.  It never resembled anything near  the color-saturated TV commercials that advertised the fast food road stops we would drive by.  Those commercials always portrayed folks eating opulent hamburgers and golden fries.  Of course, those folks were white and those places didn’t serve me, or, of the one or two that did, we always had to be on the lookout for some fool that took offense to our wanting a roadside hamburger or even to use a public bathroom, hence, the chicken bag.
I’m anxious when I’m wearing the noose, my paranoia is heightened.  When walking I check the city blocks ahead of me, while, being hyper aware of my surroundings; I feel exposed, but also imposing.  Most just ignore me, which is fine by me, but, when they don’t, the approach, so far, has been cordial and curious, but, I know there will be one, there’s always one, or three that will challenge what I’m doing, not really considering the irony of their actions.  That flag says I have no place, no future.  And I have to admit, I’m scared.  But then I think about Tess Asplund (
In perhaps the whitest of countries—Sweden—Tess, stands with fist raised in the center of the street where an approaching march of some 300 neo-nazis are parading so that they have to go around her.  It takes guts and courage to stand against racism, genocide and oppression. It takes will to make a place that defies the forces that work 24/7 to not let me have that place and the absence of it has been an agenda for centuries. I wonder if she’s scared.  She’s my hero.

my day at the norman lewis exhibition

It’s been some time since I’ve posted anything due to mother taken ill and my sister and I taking care of her.  In fact for the past two and a half months taking care of her has been my total focus.  So, it’s a sign of her improvement that I am able to post this video.  The Norman Lewis exhibition, which I visited moments before my mother was stricken, was the last good time I can remember.  This video is my accomplishment and a milestone; I overcame emotional trauma, overwhelming sadness, my own health issues, and just desperately clinging to my mom in order to get this done.  Art truly is a mighty force and I present this with a profound sense of relief.


I was waiting for friends when I heard the news. The Mizzou football team’s boycott and Jonathan Butler hunger strike, among several public and private actions, has resulted in the resignation of Tim Wolfe. When I hear about the political and social justice actions of young people I feel optimistic about 2016. It’s hard to believe that Sanders or Clinton won’t be in the White House in 2017, despite the media’s fetishizing Trump and the other loonies in the Republican Party. I have to believe that this country is continues to move forward, dragged into the future, but moving forward nevertheless. It’s with this thought in mind that I encountered two city workers while waiting for friends. The action of resistance is universal—thanks! Obama—and we aint taking the okeydoke anymore; not that we ever did, which brings to mind the following quote:

We are not wrong in what we are doing. If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong. If we are wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong. If we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong. If we are wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a utopian dreamer that never came down to earth. And we are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.
–Martin Luther King, Jr., 5th December 1955—

An Earful of the Elders

I went to the polls today. Got there around 12:30 and despite the density of my neighborhood I was #70! But I did my duty and got my sticker, however, I didn’t go unnoticed as I got an earful of the elders who were administering the polls. There were three women who confronted me, two of whom were very upset at my accoutrement but cooled out in once they heard my reasoning. Words were minimal but anguish is great. Although I am becoming more comfortable wearing the noose the agony I hear around me is almost unbearable.

A Slight Denial

selected washroom portrait

A friend asked me who is this piece for, who’s my audience? And just what is my objective? Fair questions. To the first and second question my experiences, and, I presume it’s the same experiences for others, are when a racial slight occurs, it’s such a jolt that I quickly deny it. I think this denial is endemic. However, just because I dismiss it doesn’t mean I forget.   I just add it to an already unfathomably long and immense list; it’s as long as I can remember, but, to be sure, it’s even longer. Of course there are far greater, more direct, and, incredibly aggressive confrontations I’ve experienced but it’s the slight ones that gnaw at me, and they are most brutal because they happen most often, however, my experience is not to devalue the horrors the arrests, shootings and murders that have been chronicled over the past few years. But, what I’ve observed is that when a slight does happen, and it happens often, I ask myself if it actually does happen. I am so good at denial that afterwards, and this afterwards can be as short as a millisecond apart, I wonder if it’s happened at all. I do this each and every time, like, reality stops, when in fact, this is the reality. So, to respond to the final question, my audience is everyone who sees me. I want n00se to give clarity and shape to remembering.