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  • Rae Allen

The PdS Black Voices Series Presents: RAE ALLEN

brooklyn on my mind

brooklyn on my mind. migrations give home meaning, feeling. a tethering, sing-song of what is lost. when i am gone. brooklyn, now my home and she stay on my mind.

my daddy’s daddy’s daddy was a sharecropper. soon as he was grown enough at 16 my granddaddy hopped a train to get the hell out of the hell of a place—that so called shared land. found a wife and made a life for himself deeper in texas, dixieland. my folks cashing in on promises, the providence of the so called movements of civil rights: a new confidence didn’t want to live in no black neighborhood. in a new wild west of the sprawling suburban, sub-urban land stood the only house on the corner of longshadow lane. 436 casting longshadows of my youth that remain; as shit aint quite add up just right in that place. a black girl ought to know better her place, know better her dis-placement when the girl up the street ask if her skin taste like chocolate. i couldn’t of been more than 6 at my first encounter of the white psychosis[1]. mesquite always in the back of my mind.

but home ain’t what it used to be. ain’t what it was two years before, won’t ever be the same no more, and that’s fine. a black girl ought to know better her place, know better her dis-placement. at a white school, with a white coach and a white trainer and a white doctor who say that the surgery wont be that invasive so that i can continue to play on a losing team, in a losing season: 21st century plantation seasoning. i used to hum slave songs on the way to the stadium, where we would run and run and run. my white coach had her ways, like a re-run of high school hoop days. she say we can’t wear no durags, no scarfs while we run and run and run while it rains. she say this team ain’t no gang. closet dyke coach ought to know her place. i aint been back since my degree been done, tho columbia wont leave my mind.

i shutter at the utter terror my mama must have known, when her uncle got him a new wife and told her she had to leave his home. “go on,” i doubt he looked her in her eye, “take that there trunk, and follow you the line dotting west on interstate 10, if you find yoself tired sit on that trunk, catch yo’ wind—then get going again.” sweet pumela, 17 then—11 years without her mother, going into her final high school semester, sequestering secrets, shames, sin. her voyage on my mind. that firebrand wombman, where my world begin.

i run and run and run so far from her, away from her only wanting to know the heat of the sun for myself. only thinking of my health. we cashed in much of our precious time together fighting—each other. for our lives. a black girl ought to know her place. a black wombman know better.

my voyage stay on my mind. i’ve traveled through time, time and again.

i single, handedly strive to over compensate for the conditioning of the southern american negro as i stride through the apocalypse, the final hours of my first black neighborhood.

and when i’m away i miss the gaze of my brothers and sisters finding my eyes. brothers be talking crazy a lot of the time, but i find that the simple gesture, the tithing of gifting them a smile remains. it’s a current of a wave in the now. that brother ain’t been smiled at in a while and i can go on my way. as i am far and away, brooklyn stay on my mind.

there is no way to convey the sweet taste of that savings cup, when the gaze finds my eye. for much of the time i have wandered here, i’ve been blind. in these inevitable last days, moments, hours of my first black neighborhood, vapid ghost walking hipster humans who know not the meaning of what they beings be doing in between the redlines marked for black beauties, they be looking—averting my eyes.

i feel the bloodshed of my long bloodline, every time i rise and thus cannot understand the distance they surmise and ask that we forgive them for the hundreds of generations that live in the births, the hundreds of incarnations on this earth: all of these of this so called new world.

ironclad sankofas protecting brownstone windows and doors remind me to return. to the ancient, the original. a time—a way—before this world they call new. ask me to re-member the goldest and darkest hues. my people innovated the blues off of the strength of the encounter with the melanin-less few. white folks ought to know better they place, the diss placement of the space they taking up. endeavor to give a fuck. it stay on my mind.

[1] i no whit bigger had no need to wonder or wander over to ask her if she taste of vanilla.

Rae Leone Allen is a poet, scholar and filmmaker from Mesquite, TX. Allen holds a M.A. in Urban Studies from Fordham University, her interest reside in reveling the black experience in the current white supremacist and patriarchal status quo. She is a writer, producer and actress on the forthcoming web series, 195 Lewis. Her work will be featured in No, Dear Magazine’s Issue 17: DOCUMENT. She lives in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn and likes for people to know that she used to shoot the shit out of the 3-ball at Mizzou

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