• April Lee Fields

6. Black as the Night

Updated: Jul 25


July 4th, 2020


Black as the Night



Through the thick of the afternoon smoke

I choke

The air; heavy with dark charcoal, simmering

Premature fireworks, rising

As the sun doth set

Joyfulness floats on up through the thick of our gathering

Whilst oppression sits ever so quietly

Upon the dark of our chests

Resting

Coughing

Through the smog

I hear whispers rise from the fires

Up through the chatter

“I can’t breathe”

&

“Black Lives Matter”

So, I write a letter

In my head

To my, Dear Wayward Caucasian Counterparts,

hey, even some of my friends,

It read:

Just because you once took what you thought to be yours

Just because, once upon a time, you raped our mothers and sisters, our daughters

Just because you have always been justified in all that you do

That does not make it true

And it certainly does not make

The White Man my founding father

No, my daddy was a hard man

Black as the Night

A whips and chains kind of slave

to all he ever knew

A product of his culture

Through and through

He

Is

Not

You

There are armies of brown babies

That are now fully grown

Born from the perils of our predicament

We try call this country home

Archaic traditions

We are an entire rainbow tribe of mixed-up mutts

Hell-bent of the destruction of segregation

Envisioning a world where in which

All our colors may, one day, gently touch

For, we have been birthed from the merging of cultures

Ethnicity and skins

Languages and Accents

Of mashed up worldly-whims

So, how I plead, can I ever be separate from you

And you, from me?

When you, who just like me, makes up a part of Everything

My tribe is a modern-day balancing act of light and of dark

Of dusk and of dawn

Those who have died without reason

Amongst those who are simply born

into a world of blind celebration

that our nation,

Just like the black smudge of my clothing,

So proudly adorns

Yet instead of reds, whites and blues

We dared dress ourselves

Independently from Independence

In the deepest of the hues

And we choose, instead

To adorn ourselves

In black t-shirts, black trousers, black skirts and black shoes

For unlike our clothing, some things you cannot just take off

And just like the skin that I am in

Some things will not ever wash off

This is how we each are made

In perfection and love


But because of it

We have been cast in the shadows

that we have ultimately become

And this day of independence

It only ever offered liberty and justice for some

You need not a lesson in history

To know that the White Man was certainly made free

However,

My neighbors

My brothers

And my sisters

And a half, if-not the whole of me

Were still very much enslaved

Until the emancipation of Juneteenth

So, backless black garments

Brushed quietly against black skin

Black hearts, weathered

Against a dark and segregated sin

Black sky

Black eyes

A black man, whilst laying down

Involuntarily stood tall enough

to face the repercussions of our times

Standing, for all that it is worth,

Ten falsified stories high

And when he fell… well,

We all felt that thunder echo out across the entire world


The air was thick with terror

Tonight

Fireworks populate the New Orleans evening sky

Like soft fireflies

Lighting up

The eternal mystery of the Bayou

Scattered blimps of brightness

Illuminating like a shard of truth

Against an eternal misuse of power

And only is it here, against the ebony of the night

That the light may even begin to shine

They say that black is but the absence of color

But, sitting just outside the French Quarter that fourth

I pondered over it being more like that of a mirror

In which to see a variety of color more clearly from

For without my black brothers and sisters

Of which you compare yourself to

Who would you even be?

So… my dear crème de la crème

You

Are

Welcome

For, in our differences

In our contrasting darkness’

We have given you something that is akin to self-realization

Something you did not perhaps understand

And even though you have lain with the blackest of our berries

For the sweetest of their juices

You have mostly only feared us

Enslaved and persecuted

But I continue to pray for you

Tonight

As the evening stretches on,

like a black cat at the break of dawn,

into my own personal history

The smoke and the mischief thicken

Simultaneously

We drive out to the ends of the earth

A covert hideaway in the dumps of New Orleans

And from a pale pile of rubbish

We rise on up

Consumed with an overdue sense of equality

And in our collective actions,

Ten or so bodies deep

Cast in the secrecy of shadows

Black against back

Do we compete

against the crashing of fireworks exploding

The popping of off reverie

‘Were those fireworks or were they gunshots?’

It’s all too dark to see

And in the deep of the night

I feel what it is to hold the power of another’s life

Within the brown

Of my unskilled hands

A sturdy stance

And just like you

I was blinded in my environment

Bang

Motha’

Fuckin’

Bang

We screamed out internally

Against the wale of injustice’s war cries

Against the soft sob of the fractured city

That Black Lives Matter

That my tribes lives fucking matter

And I contribute

To the chaos around me

The moon: bright and as full as the sun, seeping with stories of loss and of love

Hangs over our heads in silence

Promising never to tell

Watching our dark explorations of the dump

Paying witness to our play

Taking head of our violence

The lights spark and flash around us

As we wordlessly clamber

Towards our own sense of personal power

A white moon

watches over our every move

Contrasted against

An ebony sky

That is

Black

Black

Black

As the night


But the moon

Makes not a sound

For where would the moon be without the dark of the night?

I ask,

To cast its light upon?

What backdrop could truly hold its grandeur

true to its own reflective form?

Light and dark they go together


The moon runs not to tell the Sun of what it has seen

Blubbering of what has been done

For the night is a time of deep mystery

It is a time of stories

And a time of secrets

Of hollow heart-wrenching loss

and of tender

enraptured

love


Instead, the moon just humbly hung there

In the wild of the wonderous night

And continued to shine by the light of solidarity

So that our colors may, one day,

ever

so

gently

touch.



Written by

April Lee Fields


Media by

Elliot Twiggman

&

April Lee Fields



 

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