straight outta geneva

Rite to Remain Violent

this negro dreams of the benefit of the doubt. i bet it tastes like ice cream.

a few weeks back in portland – towards the end of summer heat – i ducked into a pub.

i’d guess i had a twenty on me. far as i’m concerned, water is a human right. i’ve been

known to invoke eleanor roosevelt, debating away dehydration at a lunch counter.

i asked for a pint of ice, because i’m a prima donna. when i could breathe again,

i returned the glass and thanked the woman. she glanced nervously at the corn fed

all-american across the bar, then looked back at me, and said “don’t steal the glass“.

my standard move would be to burn this mother down. i went with ‘fuck it‘. like, i don’t

even want to be here.  i need to get my Baldwin on. James. two years ago, on greyhound,

i read an announcement from the UN. well, i mean – they don’t send me announcements.

i read an article Straight Outta Geneva.


i want to get the fuck out of here. last week the UN came back with a remix.


i’m paraphrasing – this shit hit me like a banger – United Nations, speaking my language.

hit a n**** wit a birthright. Who Wanna Be A.A. Millionaire. 100 acres & Eeyore. this

s*** has me depressed, dog. i barely give a f*** if i get shot half the time. supposedly,

this is the Obsessive element of Pure OCD. fixating on negative outcomes. that all sounds

part & parcel of hereditary depression; but it’s arguably more tactful to call out Diasporic

PTSD.  either way, i want to move to Amsterdam. so here’s my theory – holla if ya hear me

– i require refugee status. but i would settle for a mandatory minimum income. days ago,

i read about the Rauschenberg Foundation. an artist grant for one hundred thousand dollars

over two years, dedicated to dismantling mass incarceration. my friend, who’s probably

exhausted from lending me cash, suggested i submit a proposal. there’s got to be somebody

better suited. unless y’all want to rebuild Garvey’s Ark. i went to an open mic wednesday at

the Revolution Cafe, in the lower bottoms of west oakland. i used to chill there all time (after

the bedbugs, before the robbery). my shit’s been falling apart for a while.

the Revolution got sold and re-envisioned – by New Panthers, recalling Oakland’s militant

legacy. their open mic, dimly lit and smoke filled, was everything you could ask of a venue,

excepting an audience and six feet of mic cable. before we got to the list, somebody threw

on instrumentals and called down the soul. it’s been a while since i felt like an emcee.

i never got to flaunt my niggas in paris. touring with a crew gets expensive as fuck – plus

equipment costs. that’s half the reason i’m pretending stand up comedy is a career. littering

breadcrumbs across the superhighway, calling out from obscurity. when you cross a bridge,

do you ever hear the call to jump? i can’t stop diagnosing myself – sex addiction, autism, ADD.

Depression. germophobia. Pure O. washing my hands until they bleed.

i need anxiety medication. or a living wage. i want a ticket to geneva. when i moved to

portland, i told myself i wouldn’t leave until i’d burned every bridge. my family is obtuse

as fuck. or does every wedding become a grudge match? i’ve learned to leave a room like

punctuation; the last time i got dumped, i wound up on a bus. these lower bottom cafe

revolutionaries told me we have an obligation to stay and fight. they recited their platform,

with out space for interruption – it kind of felt like i was in a cult. but, every time i find

my way down to a rally, all anyone can talk about is the protest next week. my liberation

peers out from shadows like the viet cong. i joke about wanting to kick off the race wars,

only because it’s so clear they’re raging on. i’m hearing frantic, whispered conversations;

searching for chris dorner – listing off murdered witnesses, recounting our laments for

the dead. i’m thinking suicide by cop could be an option. wondering who left that pillow

on Scalia’s face. with Republicans predicting armageddon and Palahniuk rebooting project

mayhem – i’m bumping Bone N Biggie, “let’s ride, let’s ride, let’s ride, let’s ride – get high”.

~baraka noel

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By baraka noel

"barakanoel is an emcee"