Observations of life by author and poet Charles L. Chatmon
Dedicated to Twitter users everywhere........
I have this vision Mr. Roarke from Fantasy Island will show up on someone’s computer screen saying, “Your fantasy is over, my friend’ and logs off your private CPU or laptop. I keep waiting for that moment when someone tweets it, but so far, that moment isn’t here yet.
If Y2K meant next year instead of the year 2000, trust me, users who make a name on Twitter would be shaking in their keyboards right now. It’s about the only thing that will shut down the madness of an social media service which has served all who use it since 2006. Now that we’re living in an interconnected world and social media plays a big part in that, it’s not the only part. When I was in charge of a book event, I used several online services to spread the word about the event, but it wasn’t the only way to communicate, much to my error. We live in an era where a celebrity can request followers to ask them a question and the most hilarious responses appear.
In a piece that took issue of the comments on websites by so-called anonymous folks online, much of the same argument can be made about folks who hold a Twitter account. There’s nothing we like better than taking someone down a ‘peg’ because we feel they deserve it, no matter who they are. This is turning us all into angry organic drones who type on a keyboard who would rather go after a head of state with vile than to actually communicate with that same head of state with something valuable to say. We, the observers watching all this madness when users attack celebrities, activists, etc., aren’t any better than schoolchildren running to a fight screaming ‘fight! Fight!” and posting the brutal one hundred and forty character verbiage on a feed.
Here are the ways Twitter can make you lose your mind ‘up in here, up in here”
Posting a nonsensical comment (non-stop)
Posting a racial comment (trust me, users won’t last long if they type their ignorance online and peeps know who you are)
Having ‘beefs’ with folks you want to ‘troll’ (what the kids say)
‘Capping’ on a user you followed (capping - old 1970’s term for bagging, we old folks know)
If you happen to own a Twitter account, you’ll notice there are plenty of ‘Jive Turkeys’ who have plenty of space to express what idiocy they feel the need to say. Personally, I sit back, watch and observe the madness going on.
I submit this to you, the reader: back in 1992 I bought a book entitled the Poet’s Market with the intention of sending my poetry to one of the small press magazines. I sent a bunch to the Tucumcari Literary Review. The photo you see above is a notification from the magazine’s editor that they accepted some of the poems, but not all. The ‘hope you survived the L.A. Riots’ line occurred during the time of the Unrest which I was also told, my poems arrived a day before all madness broke loose. Here is one of the poems that I may have posted on the blog before, “The Drug of Racism” which didn’t make the cut for Tucumcari. I still thank the editor for choosing what I did send to them and I will let you know these poems can be found in the Voices of South Central.
The Drug of Racism
Here in America, we have a number of addictions
throw in drugs, greed and include racism
prejudice is a drug dangerously sweeping the nation
serious as a world threat or superpower invasion.
Blacks mistrusting whites, whites mistrusting blacks
Sources of communication is what both races lack
other cultures and races tossed in the hate game
freebasing on it, burning up in flames.
History records this substance abuse
morals were tight, but codes were unloosed
armies slaughtered humans, creations of God
the dead paying a price for blood they trod.
Little children aren't affected, they're color blind
for they're pure in heart, cleansed in the mind
only when society bombards them in condition
they accept and absorb its racist traditions.
If this is America and her states are united
then why are its citizens painfully divided?
to stop racist additions, there must be a start
to ban this drug and treat many hearts.
Charles L. Chatmon
This piece was not written by yours truly, but Chandra, my lovely, talented wife. Enjoy.
Note: an old post, with a couple of changes.
"One ever feels his twoness,--an American, a Negro; two warring souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder." - "Of Our Spiritual Strivings" in W.E.B. DuBois'sThe Souls of Black Folk (1903)
I hear them quite often these days, the questions:
Are you Black or are you an American? I'd would say both but this society seems to choose the answer for me. In my close to forty years of existence, I've seen examples on the streets and in the news about what America considers those of my skin color as. I don't even have to go into historical facts to support my argument, but given the fact there is the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, a Civil Rights Act, to support my claim if I choose to, chances are these questions would be moot.
It's not enough I can choose one political party over another, the fact I can live in a higher income bracket or be a world class athlete and have the ability to move product, I'm still going to be looked at (and treated) a certain way because of the color of my flesh. I can even serve in a war overseas, but given not the same treatment as a soldier of another color would be given, unless I share the same political ideology as they and even then, that's not enough, sorry to say. Inside, each time I stare into another person's eyes even if we're friends, I can feel the difference. Our interpersonal relationship may be solid, but I wonder if they really know me? Do they wish to?
I slightly reference that question in regards to the horror of September 11, 2001 in a poem I wrote. I say that a day before I was considered Black, on that fateful day, I was considered an American. Funny how a national tragedy can bring 'us' together to help us understand we share the same humanity, but blinded by the many stereotypes and prejudices we hide mentally to reveal that fact? Five years since that day was supposed to pull us closer, we find ourselves pushing each other apart.
If you were to ask me if I'm Black or American, I would tell you I feel the duality as Mr. DuBois so eloquently stated in the quote above. Many of my kind have proven time and time again their love for the country through intellectual thought, advances in technology, and in art, yet are still thought of to be 'less than' as members of the dominant society. It is my hope as we as individuals work towards a better understanding of each other, we'll wipe away those myths held inside our psyche as easily as we wipe a tear from our eyes because let's face it, not only this duality 'make me wanna holler' as the late great Marvin Gaye once sang, but it drains the soul of the one who deals with the twoness as well as the person trying to relate to it.
Am I Black? Yes. Am I an American? Yes. It's just that you see one and fail to acknowledge the other. The answer to that riddle, is up to you.