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Black Futurists Speak An anthology of new black writing by the Black Futurists Arts Collective Kwan Booth Ed.

Those that bend the WORD Meet those who reflect SIGHT Over mixed mediums of SOUND (May 17-2012-The Future) Black Futurists Speak is a multimedia literary performance project produced by the Black Futurist Working Group and hosted by Omiiroo Gallery in Oakland. Curated by d scot miller with visual programming from Deadeyes, the project showcases some of the most cutting edge young wordsmiths, lyricists and storytellers working in the Bay Area combined with live painting and musical performances ranging from hip hop to free jazz. This anthology is a written account of the 1st public reading.

A Black Futurist Doctrine The Black Futurists are pan-diasporic, trans-generational, hyper-local, global, & gorilla. Tracking, exploring, sharing, & cultivating, producing influence that smells of the same funk, building maps of culture to create virtual, actual and mystical space to dial up the future . Our intent is to have fullness of voice in order to produce works that reflect a global, allocentric black experience. Our ideologies range from black nationalism to afrosurrealism to anarchist to those who are simply BLACK AS A MOTHERFUCKER!, but don't adhere to any convention. We trust that: 1.The Black Futurist create safe spaces for productive conversations & planning the future of diasporic arts, social and political expression. As artists, writers, techies, intellectuals, activists, historians and cultural polymaths, we explore collective and individual evolution. 2. To reclaim the fullness of all that we are as black people moving forward into the future, we welcome black geeks and misfits, zoo curators, activists, & trailblazers with the awareness that we need all of us, not just a small boxed-in definition of who and what is "black." 3. The Black Futurists are a forward-thinking arts think tank where artists & theorists are invited to come together to build projects. Influenced by realities of black science fiction and the science fiction of black reality, our mission is to create new, liberating mythologies. 4. We are allies with the struggles and creative resistances of all the peoples of the planet, encouraging all to present their ideas & opinions, for extending the movement, building community, & creating and promoting opportunities to present Black Futurists works and ideologies. 5. Manifesting the future by reclaiming the fullness of cultural expression by writing ourselves, defining our language & canons, & shamelessly threatening the programming that limits our ability to connect & accept ourselves. Our purpose is to create from forward black thinking.

Knot Frum Here: Interzone D. Scot Miller Terror is necessary. Isnt that a frightening thought? Terror is necessary. It is fear of invasion that builds families. The fear of malice breeds community and mutual consideration. How many times have you witnessed a bully and prescribed the remedy, That one needs to get his ass kicked? The misbegotten soul just aint scared enough to be civilized. Well, they are bullies, the ascetics, the binaries, as we call them. Them either-this-or-that-motherfuckers are our enemies and must change their ways or its the end of all of us. They refuse, and the only thing thats gonna make them change they minds is fear. They created us. We believed we had created ourselves. When we found out that we were this way because they wanted us this way, we resented it. Wouldnt you? As usual, the boat sidled up to the pier closest to the bazaar. I could hear feet slapping on the loose wooden planks as the fog lifted. The tops of the tents looked like little fez hats from the distance. BLOOD! A woman yelled. BLOOD! The waves popped against the side of my boat as I opened my satchel to put away my book. I shook it. I was out of coins and my stomach grumbled to make up for the missing sound of coins clinking together. BLOOD! BLOOD! BLOOD! The woman screeched as I stepped out of the boat and nudged it away from shore with my foot. Say Blood! Blood! I heard a high voice call. Turning, I was met with the hungry gaze of a Wild Boy. His thin face and body were covered in dirt. The only thing that looked pristine on him were his red roller-skates and silver metallic silver jock strap. BLOOD! BLOOD The woman continued to wail. Bellona chains and a leather strap with a flask of goofer dust in a vial at the end hung around his chest. Ageless, it was impossible to tell exactly whom you were talking to with them. What can I do you for? I smiled. The boy smiled back, pushed the tuft from his eyes, cast his head down, his eyes up. He rotated one skate on the stopper at the toe. A pearl of wisdom and working curse. He said. I laughed. BLOOD! BLOOD! BLOOD! Youre more interested in the curse than the pearl. He laughed then. I like pearls too. He gave me a hard look and skated off before I could ask

him what he meant. She was an older woman, small and frail, holding bags of saffron spheres amid the bustling of brown bodies. BLOOD oranges! BLOOD oranges! She screamed through the holes in her teeth. Her body, beneath a black shawl protruded in places that let me know that shed kept the extras tucked underneath. Or at least I hoped. Such was the point of sales at the bazaar of Interzone, all drama. I bought two with a verse on inner beauty and a blessing of painless death. Agents in linen suits and straw hats were filing reports at the Remingtons stationed at the window. The ceiling fans wafted the smell of cigarettes, hash, coffee and rum around the humid caf. The sun was just beginning to set and a whistling breeze wafted above the still silence. Blood! Dr. Benway called from the back, waving a raised glass of rum in my direction. I am a god of air, Frustrators, one of those tall, lean, dark-faced bedside spectres. I drag them through the window as they dream, let them look back and see their bodies lying rigid in their beds. My consort is the White Goddess, Queen of fright and lust whose embrace is death. My words are my spear. Were all Seers, not gleemen. Gleemen are entertainers. If the gleemans flattery to them radio, them television, them book, or magazine is handsome enough and his song sweetly enough attuned to their booze-sodden minds, they load the him with cash and honey cakes; if not they pelt him with beef bones. Shit, let them try to rob me of my dignity and Ill compose a satire on they ass, bring out black blotches on they faces and turn them bowels to water. Throw a madmans wisp in they face and drive them insane. Were The Exalted Doves, the most menacing band of Frustrators. Our uniform is Panther Jackets, turtlenecks and skips. Our call is a short piercing exhalation IA, and the bass response HU? I dont know how long its been since Ive been hear, this acoustic space where sound vibrates through my soul, tears at my flesh like lust. Sonic vibrations ripple through me like a freezing breeze. It hurts, but I havent been home in what feels like years, and I havent considered going back in a long time. They say you dont age hear, but I cant see how thats possible. I feel older. Sit down, my boy. The corpulent Benway motioned me to one of the wicker seats at his side. You must be boiling in that leather. Aubrey he snapped his fingers at a pale, anorexic white boy. His hipbones jutted out, cutting into his long shirt, take the young mans coat. No, Im fine. Got anything to drink around here? Well, isnt that obvious? He shook the tumbler in his bejeweled hand. You called me here, Doc, I reached for a glass. What can I do you for? I need you to go back to San Francisco.

What?!? I couldnt believe my ears. Here I was, just thinking about never going back, and he wants what? Fuck that, Doc, I said, swallowing the rum Id planned to sip in one gulp. No way Im going back. I figured youd say that, but let us not forget the little debt you and your boys have amassed over the years. The debt. Doc used to have coin and plenty of it. I wasnt around for his glory days, but when he was working for the pharmaceuticals, helping them create the anxiety drugs to calm what our antics provoked, he pulled down enough metal to loan out. The Doves owed him big. I wasnt around for the spending of the coin either, but that shit didnt matter. Id enjoyed my spoils of this war. The debt was as much mine as it was anyone elses. Fuck The Doves, Doc, I said. Im freelance like a motherfucker. No way youre gonna get me back to surface on some old loyalty bullshit. I know you dont mean that Youngblood, the fat bastard took another pull at the hookah at his side. Doc Benway was grotesque. He weighed over 400 pounds and stood well over six feet. His aphrodisiac was power and girth, and he used it very well. Better, in fact, than many of my brothers from the veldt who only used their bodies, reading eyes, and tongue. He was, in fact, seducing me with the same machinations. I was thinking about coin, power, and loyalty, just like the abandoned foundlings that served his domestic interests. What makes you think I dont? I dont owe The Doves shit. By extension, I dont owe you a goddamned thing either. Youre asking whats in it for you? He smiled. His teeth were Juicy Fruit gray laced in gold. Okay, if thats the way you want to put it, I smiled back. I knew my shit was little yellow from all the frop, but still diamond grill in the truest sense. Whats in it for me? Nothing but the kill, Youngblood, he leaned back and lit his cigar stub. I waited for the repeated line. The one that bosses say for emphasis that confirms the finality of their proclamation. The repeated line that is their truth, immutable and above debate. He arched a thin eyebrow, knowing I was waiting. Waiting for the one repeated line that once spoken, sets the adventure in motion with no further explanation, Nothing but the kill.

D. Scot Miller is a Bay Area writer, visual artist , teacher, curator. He sits on the board of directors of nocturnes review, and is a regular contributor to The East Bay Express, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Popmatters, and Mosaic Magazine. He is completing a book of poems, his Afro-surreal novel, Knot Frum Hear, and has recently published his old fashioned manifesto simply titled: AfroSurreal. A 3rd person addict.

For Octavia... Shawn Taylor 1. She told us that god was change/we didnt listen She told us to change god/we clung to the tethers of stagnancy Hoping against the evidence that we had a plan Or that someone had a plan for us 2. Bodies ripped and rending Colors bleeding/skin and gender become Cartography/ Divine Locus Maps and territories braided 3. Doro and Anyanwu A greater happening masked Families built with will and manipulation Power and minute control encircled 4. It is about shapes The shapes of things to come The shape of the present moment Shaping ones self/The Genesis point for Shaping God 5. Prayer is in the blood The blood is the connector Triads of histories meet Leaving only the beginning of a new line 6. The sky has no secrets Away from those we embed in it The unspoken shadow Stifles the screams of the air 7. Words have always been enough Inadequate symbols of the neverwas Meaning extracted from the loss of speech Literacy becomes a soothing currency 8. Hosting and pregnancy are the same As they both bond and nurture Mans stomach holds the future The egg keeps the present at bay 9. Time is a whip/Splaying backs open

To ensure her existence she had to save hatred History becomes myth becomes pain Pain is the clay with which to shape 10. Pain/Darkness/Hunger Tongue flits across punctures/this is a joining Pleasure compressed into the perceptually forbidden Family shares blood shares life shares each other 11. Can the difference between power and love Ever be differentiated within the chaos When the object of desire and affection Constantly wonders if they are loved or food 12. Positive obsession engenders adaptability Persistence is the ever-moment Rigidity is the enemy of future-thought Our destination has been plotted and composed 13. The shape of seeds is as important as what sprouts Godseed/Earthseed both needs fertile ground This is an uncommon transaction We are blinded by the beauty of this exchange 14. Vinyl-clad Devil Girls from Mars touched down Giving a young girl a new set of eyes to see Beyond the utilitarian nature of paper and pen Humble world-creator finds her shaping tools 15. Hammering at the edge of awareness She transitions from pen to punctuated key-bursts Worlds and their peoples asking to be born The possibility of tomorrow captured with just 26 letters 16. Time and sky are her only boundaries Both shattered with little effort or will She makes her sorcery look easy Onyx adepts plant themselves at her feet 17. Death may very well be the All Powerful Though it is underwhelming in its insidious banality Stories leaking onto crusted ice Forming constellations of ossified symbol 18. She rose from the end of things Looked out and high

She stepped over the flickering non-corpse of the unprayed to god and declared "Only the stars are holy." Octavia Estelle Butler June 22, 1947 February 24, 2006

Shawn Taylor is a student, teacher and lecturer of Interdisciplinary humanities, critical cultural studies, media, propaganda, popular culture and speculative fiction. He is also a storyteller who sometimes helps others to tell their stories. He is the author of Big Black Penis: Misadventures in Race and Masculinity, a book about A Tribe Called Quests first album for the 33 1/3 series, and the forthcoming Alphabet for New (and soon to be) Dads. He also contributes semi-regularly to the Rad Dad zine. Taylor is the writer and performer of the highly acclaimed solo-play Slower Than a Speeding Bullet which was the AOL pick of the week both weeks during its two-week run. He has directed a play (Da Cipher) for The Living Word Project, and is currently working on a stage performance that combines folk-magic and blues music, and an animation for Derrick Bells The Afrolantica Awakening.

Why I am a Black Futurist Eric K. Arnold Black Futurism. Its a concept which speaks to a cosmic mystery. The clues to its existence are scattered throughout myth, archaeological history, folklore and literature, but also through seemingly random, somewhat obscure 70s, 80s, and 90s pop culture references which, when connected, form a celestial key or DNA sequence: P-funks specially designed Afronaughts, capable of funkitizing entire galaxies ; the Jonzun Crews extraterrestrial pop-lock anthem Pak Man the original, indie label version of which subtly states black man in the chorus ; Sun Ras low-budget sci-fi, time-traveling, psychedelic opus Space is the Place; Parliaments funky hitchhikers waiting on the Mothership Connection, which could very well turn out to be Kool Keiths Pleiades pimpmobile, the Space Cadillac. The list of Black Futurist soundtrack essentials goes on and on. For starters, theres Rammellzee & K-Robs densely-packed nugget of slippery syntax, Beat Bop; Fab 5 Freddy and B-Sides equally-seminal Change the Beat; Cybotrons techno-hop blueprint, Clear; Funkadelics forward-thinking floor-filler One Nation Under a Groove; the Fearless Fours computerized vocoder-handclaps-and-808 classic F-4000; Herbie Hancocks jazz fusion meets turntablism primer, Rockit; the Ultramagnetic MCs terrific treatise in telepathic ego-tripping, Traveling at the Speed of Thought; and the entire Fela Anikulapo Kuti catalog, but especially Custom Check Point, buoyed by its swirling keyboards, from the Live in Amsterdam album. These were our ninja scrolls, our stone tablets, our Declarations of Independence. Fresh was our word, and it still is. Black Futurists are from the home planets of Andre 3000 and Deltron 3030. We are the original men who fell to earth (Sirius-ly). Our primary care physicians are the good doctors Funkenstein, Octagon, and Drewhen he was still scratching turntables and asking his nurses for 1200 ccs of Numark. I am a Black Futurist because this is the age I was born into: one where the future bends into the past, thereby creating the present. I say Black Futurist because the concept of Afro-futurism has been co-opted by non-black peoplesjust like Ethnic Studies courses at universities taught by Caucasians . Black Futurists reject the Eurocentric notion of avant-garde; wed rather say, it is what it is. We draw inspiration from a cornucopia of cultural stimuli from seemingly outside the African American canonvisual art, music, movementand become experts on everything from anime to Zen Buddhism in the process. Yet we know, at the same time, our influences are drawing inspiration from us. We are the beautiful ones who are not yet born; this is our birth cry. Black Futurists have always existed, a lineage stretching back to Imhotep the builder of Khemet, the Annunaki of Sumeria, the Nommo of Dogon belief, and Dhejuti the Atlantean. Yet my generation of Black Futurists came of age in the Golden Age of hip-hopwhich as it later turned out, was important. Hip-hops significance lies in the fact that it was and is a hybrid culture. The futurist aspect

comes from the willingness to embrace technology, in particular electronic drums and computer rhythms, and in the forward-thinking mentality, reflected in the innovative, sometimes abstract or metaphysical, lyrical patterns which marked late 80s-early 90s rap in particular. Hip-hops universal truth lies in the fact it carries the weight of the past into the future. It encompasses untold generations of cultural development both in Africa and throughout the African Diaspora sometimes subtly, yet always present. Once we posit the notion of instantaneous interstellar motion at will -- as Rakim says, lets travel at magnificent speeds around the universe it is but a short step from the Atun, the Khemetic glyph for sun ray, to the Main Source album title, Breaking Atoms. And yet, to take that step transverses untold eons, miles, generations, and heartbeats, measured over space and time. Transposed against a nitty gritty, urban backdrop -- an inner-city incubator -- hip-hop introduced the practice of cultural sampling, a modified form of ancestor worship whereby still-living predecessors were celebrated BEFORE they jumped inside the boat of Ra for that last hoo-ride in the sky, ya dig? As further evidence that the word was indeed living, hip-hop even refined the practice of selfsampling, of projecting future ancestry into the present tense. Once again, Rakim provides a lyrical example: Lets quote / a rhyme from the record I wrote / (follow the leader) yeah, dope. What we wanted the future to look like back in the days then was in many ways better than the actual future we got when the 21st century finally arrived. Back then, a JC Penney ski jacket with zip-off sleeves and symmetrical V patterns, paired with a mock neck, pro-Keds, and a Kangol tilted precisely at a 33-degree angle, suggested a postmodern, forward-thinking stylistic aesthetic which matched perfectly with first-generation digital samplers. It could have easily sufficed as leisure wear on the Starship Enterprise, yet instead it became a b-boy classic, now ironically considered retro. In the 70s and 80s, we didnt use the word electro to describe the genre of music we liked. We could just say, we like that Beat songs with overly-prominent drums. We didnt have to differentiate between rap, techno, or new wave a point Bambaataa emphasized on Planet Rock, yet another Black Futurist anthem rooted in cosmology. If it had electronic drums and you could boogaloo to it, it was golden. Thats why Kraftwerks Numbers gets included in the Black Futurist time capsule, as does Thomas Dolbys She Blinded Me with Science. Though both were ostensibly Eurocentric takes on techno-pop, both songs nevertheless hark to the unmistakable hallowed ground of Black Futurist origin: Khemet. Mathematics, without which there would literally be no numbers, gestate in Khemet prior to the Greeks claiming ownership of geometry and astronomy. So does the very concept of science, i.e. the interrelationship of everything in the universe with everything else. And yet, it was perhaps an unintended consequence of the Egyptian Lover, who made the song Egypt Egypt simply to be a dancefloor anthem allowing him to get his freak on, that he ended up reawakening an ancient truth in the minds of the blunted b-boy faithful. Despite masking it in chauvinistic sexual innuendo, cheesy synth lines and electronic drums, that truth remains

evident: Egypt is the place to be! In Khemetic thought, there is no difference between science and religion. Also, no singular notion of god or supremacy of any one particular god. The Khemetic peoples didnt even use the word god; their most equivalent term, neter, roughly translates as divine blessing. The derivative of neter is neteru, or divine being. The importance of speech as an aspect of creation, and therefore of the oral tradition as a facet of history, is suggested by the Khemetic phrase Metu Neter, which means divine word, also known as the (eternally) living word which also happens to parallel the West African concept Nommo, a reference to the first living being, folklorically of extraterrestrial origin, which means to make one drink as well as magic power of the word. Word up. Literally. Instead of an omnipotent supreme deity whose rule encompasses all existence, the Khemetic peoples had a more logical explanation: there is a cosmological understanding which connects all living things, not just on Earth, but throughout the entire universe. To them, the act of creation was sacred, and worthy of ritualized celebration. The Khemetic belief was that creation was and is an act which continues to reverberate throughout all life forms. Khepera, the neteru associated with creation, was a verb, but also a noun, and sometimes an adjective. Linguistically, Western thought has no equivalency for these concepts, which has always made exact translation difficult. And yet, somehow, the hip-hop generation got the memo, received the message, deciphered the code, and created a cultural practice out of everything around it. As Khepera manifests, funky fresh. In many ways, the Khemetic peoples were the original Black Futurists. They believed in a cosmic, rather than a purely terrestrial, existence. Their concept of time was similarly openended, as evidenced by the hieroglyph Shen -- which has been translated as both eternity and a period of 10,000 years. It also means protection. 10,000 years. For real? Who can think that far ahead? Obviously, the Khemetic people could. Imagining extraterrestrial interaction and origin wasnt beyond them the boat of RA, after all, traveled through both inner and outer space daily. Moreover, theres evidence that Khemetic cosmology wasnt just myth and folklore: for whatever reason, the Pyramids of Giza are attuned to a different solar system than Earths. Thats deeper than an ocean, deeper than the notion that the earth was flat when it was round. Black Futurism begins with Khemet. But it doesnt stop there. Just as the act of creation reverberates throughout everything which has come into being, Khemetic thought resonates through the ideological beliefs and ritualized practices of every culture which has existed since then. This might help to explain why Newclus ship on the Jam on Revenge album bears physical resemblance to the depiction of RAs ark in the Papyrus of Ani. It also explains why the notion of breakdancing outside Earths atmosphere, not to mention interstellar call-and-response, wasnt beyond the imagination of the Jonzun Crew on the electro-hop classic Space is the Place. Another early Jonzun Crew song, Space Cowboy, could be referring to P-Funks Afro-naughts,

Sumerian Annunaki, Dogon Nommo, Khemetic Neteru, or Sunny, Sun Ras character in Space is the Place. Black Futurism postulates not a supreme God, but a supreme universeor as Coltrane expressed it, a love supreme. It is a legacy, a birthright, a harmonic convergence. A spirituality which doesnt define itself through rigid and unwavering liturgy or static reality. Instead it utilizes a free-flowing fluidity which embraces all the cultural touchstones of the Diaspora and upholds the creative principle of the cosmos for all eternity. Its manifestations are sublime and eternal. For instance, who did Pele play for, when he played in New York? The Cosmos. Exactly.

Eric K. Arnold has been writing about urban music culture since the mid-1990s, when he was the Managing Editor of now-defunct 4080 Magazine. Since then, hes been a columnist for such publications as The Source, XXL, Murder Dog,, and the East Bay Express; his work has also appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Vibe, Wax Poetics, SF Weekly, XLR8R, the Village Voice and Jamrock, as well as the academic anthologies Total Chaos and The Vinyl Aint Final. Eric began his journalistic career while DJing on college radio station KZSC, and remembers well the early days of hip-hop radio, before consolidation, and commercialization set in. He currently lives in Oakland, California.

THE FOLLOWING IS A TRUE STORY (excerpt from the film, A Little Bit Colored. A Little Bit White. ) Shy Pacheco Hamilton My name is Les Franklyn. You dont know my middle name. My name is Leslie Sylvester Franklin. They call me Syl in Colo Spgs where I grew up and they call me Les in IBM where I worked and they call me Frank in the military where I helped protect the country. I was born in Colo Springs, as an infant, my mother and father took me to Los Angeles, and I stayed there until I was almost 8 then came back to Colo Spgs. My mother was in the entertainment business and so because she was a singer and traveling, she sent me back to live with my grandmother and my aunt. So I did that from the time I was 8. And my mother came back and joined us when I was probably 12, 13 or so, a few years later. And then she started working with my aunt her in her uh, club, a bar, she was a day manager. I was the janitor. I started playing hockey when I was 7. And got into skating and loved it but in those days you could play all sports and I tried to play most of them. Hockey was my favorite but I was best at football. I probably wouldve been equally as good at hockey if i'd had the opportunity to skate as much as the opportunity playing football. I played baseball and basketball and I did well in all of them. I enjoyed them. I was a good hitter in baseball. I wanted to be Jackie Robinson. And so I played second base and I ended up playing a lot of different positions. But football I was a in terms of recognition, as a high school student, I was an all state, state in football, all city all conference in football. I didnt get the same kind of accolades in the other sports. But I was in Ebony Magazine, and Jet magazine playing hockey. I have 2 stepsisters but they are like my sisters and weve been together for a long time since they were 13 and 14 and I was 15 and so now at some 52 years later weve been brothers and sisters longer than we havent been brothers and sisters. You know? Longer than a lot of people who are natural brothers and sisters. I was a young man and I was rooming with a guy, his name was Forest Anderson and when he was married and when I was in college in Greeley, then he got divorced and I went to the service and was out and was working for IBM at the time and also selling Hamilton mutual funds, and after he got divorced he was looking for a place to stay and I was in a 2 bedroom duplex up on Pontiac here in Denver and so he needed a place, he came to me so I let him the place so his girlfriend was best friends with the lady I married, he never married his girlfriend but I married her friend. And thats how that happened. We were married probably 12 years and we were divorced when Jamon was 12 and Shaka was 6 and I raised them from that point on. When we divorced, Shaka didnt never handle it well. But I never really knew. Jamon was older and he had friends who were in the same situation and he handled it by I thought better than Shaka, Shaka was devastated. Shaka felt like he was being given away by his mother. That she didnt really care and I think that had an affect on him. Deep. He had a lot of anger. He didnt realize that he was breaking a lot of things in the house. And uhh, as a baby as a child, but I think

it devastated him. Shaka never ever wanted me to meet or marry anyone else, he wanted me to remarry his mom and he said as much when he was younger and then when he got to be a teenager, kind of went away but he had meetings and conversations with his mother I never knew about. And ummm, I have a French neighbor, Percy Duvet who took him to see his mom. He would ask her to take him over to his mothers house and I think that because we had a volatile divorce, you know, uhh, I think that not a really good relationship. He felt like he had to sneak to see his mom. He didnt. I never, would hold him back, never, ever do that but I think he felt that he didnt want to hurt me by telling me he wanted to see his mom. And he was very protective of me. You know? Shaka, I mean he loved sports, he loved football and I think he wanted to take it all the way. He loved to give bear hugs, just a nice sweet kid, umm, to himself more than he needed to be. We were buddies, we hung out every Friday, I never went out or hung out without Shaka. I didnt leave him at home. Other than to go to work. But when the weekends came, it was he and I. it was he and I and his brother, before that. If you dated me when I was single, you dated me and Shaka. And Jamon and thats the way I always kept it. It was that way from Day 1 with anyone that I ever met. And uhh, Shaka liked, we would play in the pool together, he was a teddybear and I think that really worked against him because uhh, he had such a soft heart. He wasnt hard enough, tough enough. To give you a good example about him, he could bake a cake from scratch. And he used to babysit for a little girl, a little Shy girl down the street. I was a work a holic. And I was in organizations and all that stuff I did for corporate America I worked 18 hours a day and fortunately I had an aunt who lived here so there was an adult always in the house, always she was here 24/7 and yeah, I worked a lot, I was on a lot of boards so I went to a lot of meetings and if I had to do it over again I wouldnt be on any boards, Id spend more time with him and I wouldnt work the hours that I worked. But I was trying to do while I was young enough and had the energy and I'm thinking that that the creature comforts would help and I could provide things to them and college education which I did for his brother you know theres no govt loans for Jamon. I took him to school that day. I remember standing up in the bathroom, he was quiet and umm he was real slow. I was like come on Shaka were gonna be late. Cuz I had to go to work and I was taking Maryanne to work and he uhh, he knew then what he was going to do and I could see him looking at me in the mirror. Hes looking at me real long and hard and I wish I could go back and say, Shaka, lets just hang out today. Im not gonna go to work. But he didnt give me any indication any indication other than he was real quiet and uhhh I took him to school and he walked into the side door, the lower door at TJ uhh from the parking lot and not the front door but the kinda the back door the north door and he was walking with his head down and he was dejected and thats when I shouldve, right then, right there I knew something was wrong but I didnt know what was wrong and then when I came home, I found him in his bedroom with a bullet hole in his head. He wasnt dead, he was dying, he was brain dead. Uhh so thats what I remember and I remember uhhh looking at him thinking he fell and hurt himself. and then seeing the pistol

between his legs. And he had neatly hung his jacket up on the back of the chair in his room and ummm, I called 911. I screamed to Maryanne she was calling on one line and I was calling on the other line. And we were both calling and when they got here I remember the police I never touched him, ever. I remember the police saying uhhh I heard him say its a 25 year old man and I said he's not 25 hes 16. The cop just looked at me. And he's looking at me suspiciously I know. But ummm then I called a friend and the ambulance just took him, I knew he was gone because they ambulance took him slow they didnt rush. But he died later that night at the hospital and I called his mother and everybody came and somebody called the governor because I was working for him at the time and he came cuz Shaka worked for him up there part time. My friend who is slow as dirt, you know, uhhh, he just came slow and took me slow and I remember going to the hospital and there were 2 police officers from I dont know what district but they werent Denver police officers I remember grabbing this one and hugged him and I was crying. I knew I think I went into the room once, his mother was in there by him. I stayed in the hallway and I was a wreck. Something in my psyche told me somethings going to happen to Jamon, but it was Shaka. And its weird because from the day Jamon was born, I knew he was gonna die. And I always was on edge about him. Uhh and then when it happened to Shaka, it blew me away. I told Shaka and Jamon that anytime there was anything they wanted me to do they came first but they were such good kids that they just didnt do that. They never said dad I really want you to go here. Well you know well Im the guy who saved my vacation. And I always used it to go to school Im the one who sat in the school even when I was married. Uhh my wife didnt go to his classes and sit in the classes and talk about stuff I did it. You know I was the domesticated one. I enjoyed what I did with those guys, I enjoyed being around them. Um but there were things that bothered Shaka that I didnt handle well. And if I had to do it again there are things I would do differently. And so fortunately I try to tell others, dont make the same mistakes that I did. I'm angry with Jamon, I'm not angry with Shaka. I'm angry with Jamon because Jamon KNEW the pain that he would cause. But he got so caught up into his drugs, that he started blaming me. In fact he told me he said it's your fault that Shaka is dead. I never said a word. i just looked at him like that and broke my heart for him to say that but now that I know what he was into I know it was the drugs that were having him talk like that. It was cocaine. But I dont feel the same about one situation had to do with the other I mean was I hurt by it yeah I stayed in my room for 2 years, I never went out. My wife used to bring me food i'd sit on the floor like she was feeding a dog. I never talked to my sister I didnt talk to anyone. I wouldnt answer the phone I wouldnt talk on the phone. His death broke his brothers heart because his brother, they were like. They were buddies and Shaka was like his little pet, had always been like that that was his baby and uhh, Jamon just couldnt handle it and he got into drugs and that wiped him out. But, I dont know what I can say about Skaka other than that we were always together. We went and hung out went to restaurants together and and because we went so many places together and

then when I would go to these places it was like dj vu and it would trigger uhh memories which you fight in your mind you try to forget things and you never do. I mean I dont even try anymore. I sleep very little, I ummm I think of him. I have him on the headboard of my bed. And his brother. And I look at him like I remember these times. I remember how he used to do his finger like that even when he was 16...always do that. There's little things that I remember about him. I would come in the house and he would have the whole football team TJs team would be in the house here eating stuff and in the pool playing and they wouldnt even see me. Id come in and theyd be having a good time. So I didnt disturb it. I would kind of ease out of the house and then they never hurt anything they never tore up anything and they never took anything, but food and I had it there for them. I used to buy cases of stuff. After Shaka, people kept calling me and calling me. They just kept calling. And uhh one day my sister rang the doorbell and I normally would never answer but this time I did and for whatever reason I got up and I looked and it was her and I went down and opened the door and we stood at the door crying and hugging and after that It kinda shocked me out of it. She thought Maryanne was keeping me away from her and everybody and Maryanne was always upset because people were starting to feel bad about her. And she told me you gotta talk to someone. Youve got to. they think im not letting you talk. That its me. And I said oh well, I felt bad for her. Jamon entered college at the age of 17. He was probably 21 with only 3 classes to go, 22 when Shaka died. It took him from 22 to 32, 10 years to finish those 3 classes. And he failed 6 math classes on the campus of Auraria and finally we went down to the college we drove down to make arrangements and meeting with professors to get him to take the 2 different classes that he needed to take to finish. And he was able to do that and he asked me if I'd help him and I did but even there he was already doing whatever he was doing because while we were there I let him take the car. It was a rental car and the next thing I know it's stolen. And I had a pair of ice skates in the back of it and I was like how do you get a car stolen, how does that happen? And I know he sold the car for drugs. I'm sure thats what he did. We came back and I had a Chevy Suburban and that car was stolen about 4 times. And I kept asking him, how does a car get stolen, how does that happen? And either hes so wiped out that hes just leaving it out there letting guys take it and then I think he was kinda dreaming. He went to school with Bill Cosbys son, Ennis Cosby and the car was found on the side on the highway with the door open and just like Ennis, like a copycat thing, so Jamon did some silly things. Uhh unfortunately as soon as Jamon got his degree he took his life. We came back from holiday. We spent 3 weeks in Europe and when we got home Marianne said there's somebody in the car. I didnt even look. I already knew. I just went on upstairs and called 911. He was nave. He was a follower. Shaka was a leader. Jamon followed other people and got into stuff and people had him get into things that Shaka I know never wouldve done and I certainly never did. And I dont know there are things I suspect that have gone on and happened because there are people that I know loved Jamon he was a really good person. And I think that the girl

that he was with led him down a bad path and I think she had him do things and get into stuff that he shouldnt have and I think theyre friends out there that loved Jamon cuz I saw grown men come in here crying. And I believe that probably some of them killed his girlfriend. Cuz not long after that the girl he was living with, was found on the railroad tracks in west Denver and theyve never caught whoever killed her and she was a beautiful girl. But she was unrecognizable and she had been beaten to death beyond recognition and thats a lot of anger, if you do that. And in my heart I believe there was someone that knew Jamon. No I do not feel the same. And there will not be a Jamons Place. Illl never have a Jamons place I dont want to do anything to encourage people to think that you can just take your life and someone's going to create a monument on your behalf. I'm not going to do that. Shaka was a baby. I dont care if he was 16 he was still a baby. He was my baby. He was a mature baby though in terms of how he was dealing with a lot of stuff I didnt know he was dealing with. But no I dont feel the same. I love him as my son but you can see in this room the difference just from this and that, its not the same. And I took way more pictures of Jamon then I did of Shaka. But the difference is right there. All those hours I mean you give up something to be successful and to have things and I found that. Stuff and things really dont mean anything to children they want their parents they need their parents. I loved my boys. My boys were everything I ever wanted. You know. They were the last of the Franklins. I knew there were no other children named Franklins that were ..uhh, my dad was a Franklin so there's no other Franklins on my dads side. And I wanted boys and I wanted a girl but I wanted both boys. Those boys were like a dream to me. And so everything I did, even in this house, if you go through this house, there's a black couch upstairs has a twin downstairs thats red. Theres a white set of furniture in one room and theres a black set of furniture over here and theyre identical. And that was the day when me & Maryanne would move out into a smaller condo and theyd have their place and if they decide to sell this, they were set up. They were set up to go and move and do whatever they want or stay here and have their own apt theyre own comparable type of stuff. I did this. I bought tvs that were twins. I did a lot of stuff like that. In the beginning. You know Im trying to plan for them when I wouldn't be around and uhh, I always thought and the irony of a lot of this is so I always thought that. There was nothing that those boys couldnt have been able to overcome. If they had engaged me and gotten involved and we had discussions maybe sought the help that they needed to have outside of me and uhh, I just think Shaka had, Shaka felt like no one loved him. No one cared. I know he felt that way. I think he felt that he was the stepchild in the family. He wasnt but he didnt know that because he never talked, he was too nice to say dad why dont you do this for me. Why dont you buy me this. He never asked me to buy him anything, never. Ever. And its wrong. Its not normal for a kid to not to ever ask you to buy anything for them. And I did. I remember one Xmas out there, buying $3000 or $4000 worth of stuff and it was toys and clothing and it was stuff everywhere and they tore those boxes open went on about what they were doing and I never did that again because I felt like theyre spoiled and it doesnt mean anything to them.

I dont know how a father can love his kids anymore than I did. I mean, I loved those boys. Id stand in the middle of the floor with the two of them and we had our arms around each other and Id say we have to stick together, we have to stick together. And they swore they would. Both of them lied to me.

Shy Pacheco Hamilton was born an Afro-Latin@ in the United States, raised by crypto {hidden} Spanish Jews, Louisiana Creoles and descendants of runaway slaves. As an AfroSurrealist artist, Shy rides her multiple streams of consciousness with a dirty martini in one hand, and a bowl of gumbo in the other. Current practices include glitching historical images, taking photos, making films and writing. Her work is about the here and now and she is frequently in conversation at her altar with the Goddess. She recently completed a full length experimental documentary about suicide in Black youth entitled, A Little Bit Colored. A Little Bit White . Shy holds an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently a doctoral student of Womens Spirituality. She still lights candles on Fridays like her abuelita taught her and for the record, Shy is not shy.

Black Opts-Body.Mind.History. Kwan Booth 2015 had been a lie. As the auras around everything slowly faded back to their solid shapes, Travell slumped, shoulders drawn down and back into the seat. He stretched as his body and mind reconnected, flexing and feeling the pin prink tingles in his fingers from extended non use. He blinked. Three quick shutters and the world was back in focus. The skin under his eyes was wet. DeepTech diving always caused slight disorientation. The body needing a few seconds to readjust to being controlled by a higher intelligence even as the mind shifted nimbly from manipulating flesh to surfing fields of free data. Free Data. The term seemed such bullshit after what he'd just seen. After what he'd felt. Even without the body sensations-lost whenever one went DT-the information burned into his brain was enough for him to physically ache all over. Hours ago he'd been a simple VG, a relatively well known video griot mixing holotracks at art shows and spinning simple digitals for business conferences. He'd been content in his dull euphoria and regular paychecks. Privileged but not especially well informed. But now he had problems. Now he knew things. This new information flashed through his head: images of the disappeared and dead, data files highlighting huge sums of untaxed Nuevos, never broadcast black opps footage and the unedited truths behind the histories he'd been misrepresenting for years. He blinked again and stared out the window into the green and gold farmyards of West Oakland. The Port's heavy machinery whined in the distance, as the amber sun burned silhouettes of massive cranes into his brain for the thousandth time. Hovers and skytrains moved midway between sky and pavement. The air around everything was still and heavy. Deep breaths. Get it under control. 'The fuck are my cigarettes? Walking up behind him, Casa trailed her fingers across Travell's neck and down to his chest, tracing through the pools of sweat as she massaged his shoulders then further down. Travell trembled. The skin on both her hands felt identical despite the very different anatomies underneath. As she moved closer and her right hand wrapped around him, he noticed it's mechanical fluidity and winced at the advanced technological perfections. Travell's mind raced with the new truths of what those advances were designed to hide. How... the questions were too big, too many, and he wished he hadn't asked even before the word slipped his lips. He wished he could just unsee the last 5 hours. That is a very long conversation. Casa's voice was a warm balm around him. We'll have time for that later. She knew what he was feeling-the same shame, shock and fear they all did the 1st time they saw

The Under. The feeling of disbelief and betrayal once they knew truth. Her hand traced the moisture beneath his eyes and massaged it back into his dark skin. She was close now, holding him so tightly that their chests swelled and fell with the same rhythm-four lungs, one breath. Her breasts warm and full against his neck as her arms fell across his chest and pulled him farther in. Their long shadow crept across the floor towards the door, reaching higher as the sun kissed the horizon. All those people. It just doesn't make sense. 2015 had been a lie. The protests and mass actions designed to free the world had only tightened the grip of a few. They'd been tricked. There had been no real revolution. His parents, friends, idols-people he'd read about and heard vague stories from and looked up to over the years. They were all wrong. And the ones that weren't wrong were all dead. Travell shifted and stood. Turning slowly to look down into Casa's eyes-brown pools of thought and circuitry. He'd always figured most body modifications were just hipster fashionslopprosthetic limbs and system upgrades driven by the whims of the latest infoads. Now he wondered what else he'd been missing. Casa looked up. She'd come to him after a show weeks ago and they'd been together ever since. She was a few years older, her skin a shade of shadow with a grace that hinted at her knowing more about life than Travell had ever considered imagining. He'd thought then that she made an odd groupie. He knew now that their meeting was anything but accidental. Why did you come to me? me this? Travell couldn't turn his mind off but also didn't want answers to the questions he kept asking. He didn't want to think about the things he now knew. She returned his glare. I thought it was time you saw the truth behind all that glamourslop you spin on screen every night. Besides she smiled, I thought you were cute. Casa lifted up on her toes as her lips quickly closed the 6 inches between them. Her tongue traced his bottom lip before Travell welcomed her open lips to his, her warm breath to his mouth as they moved closer together. After a minute, his head dipped lower. Travell nibbled her nipples, teeth lightly biting the sensitive skin, as his mouth closed over her flesh. Casa's moans rolled out into the evening, catching onto the light breeze and dancing out the open window towards the sunset. Her arms went round his neck, draping casually at first until his urgency made her tighten her grip, right hand mechanically grabbing his shoulder blade matching, then surpassing his strength as they went further. Travell groaned from the pressure. His mind was on automatic, all systems shifting to neutral as he sped away from the images of the last 5 hours. Casa's back arched, pushing more of her stiff

nipple into his mouth. Her right hand still on his shoulder, her left went to the back of his head and pressed harder as he bit harder, screaming yes into the quickening darkness. Holding her closer Travell stood, lifting her small frame as he went. Casa's legs wrapped round his back above his ass as he walked them both to the bunk near the entrance. As they fumbled onto the mattress, a tangle of limbs and lust, Travell felt the heated rush as the Juice released itself into his bloodstream. He paused, shifted slightly and touched the soft spot behind his left ear, stopping the flow of chemicals from their enhancing mission. After what he'd just seen, he had no desire to experience more transhuman technology any time soon. He wanted this to be pure, human fucking. Boiling with heat and without care or concern for the outside world or it's systems or technologies or the life altering information he'd had dumped on him just minutes before. Casa knew the best medicine for his ache-for the next few hours at least. Her hands found the front slit of his pants and he jumped, back curving like a cat's before sinking down, feeling himself grow harder in her hot hands. She bit into his neck and stroked him roughly the way he needed her to. His head dropped to her dark shoulder as his body filled with tensions of a much more welcome flavor. They ground together on the wide bed, the slickness from their skin liquefying each movement. There was some tenderness to this dance, but more urgency. The need to grab onto something solid before a tsunami washed over them both. Pushing himself up onto his arms, Travell raised Casa's left leg and looked deeper into her eyes, staring deeper as he pushed inside, through and deeper into her wetness. They rumbled together and shook and loved as the oblivious evening outside turned to darkness. Travell lay his head on her hot stomach, the sweat between them still serious and warm. Casa's fingers traced his face along the jawbone and ear as his arms settled into their home around her waist. The questions were coming back and as much as he didn't want to know, he knew he had to: how she knew, how they kept it secret, what it meant, what had to be done next. But at least the asking could wait until the morning. And-by necessity-in the coming years this would be something Travell became intimately aware of: there was always the future to deal with.

Kwan Booth is an award winning digital media writer and strategist focusing on the intersection of communications, community, art and technology. He is the cofounder of and House of Local consulting. He is the creator of Say Im Different: The Black Other Project and Sit Next to a Black Person Month and has creative writing published in Beyond the Frontier: African American Poets for the 21st Century, the Journal for Pan African Studies, and CHORUS, the upcoming anthology edited by Saul Williams to be published by Simon and Schuster. Kwan has developed media projects for organizations including the Knight Digital Media Center, the Online News Association, Netsquared, The National Conference on Media Reform, Public Radio International, Not For Tourists Guidebooks, and the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy.

Chocolate Butterfly Kaye Kadesh Helpless mind in reach of joy Fear not and what can be was already yours An adoration for wisdom Achievement Go forward pushing Pulling And reaching Faith in ones self Inspiration Saying what can be, will be Not what isn't, but what already exist As the world stops spinning, you never stop dreaming Constantly molding and holding that portrait Drift away into reality Steady Keep steady Obstacles are simply stepping stones Run, skip, fly away and flourish...

Kaye Kadesh Bay Area based, Caribbean American, mixed media artist, activist and peace keeper. In love with jewelry making, poetry, and painting. She found her calling in art at a young age and has made a promise to herself and community to NEVER stop creating. Kadesh also works within the Oakland area mentoring young African American girls as well as distributing clothing to families in need in the Bay Area and in areas of Africa.

Oyala's Era (Excerpt) R. Malcolm Wright Oyala felt shaken, altered. She walked up the subway steps, slowly emerging back into the maze of slate, steel and asphalt that she knew as the land of the living. It was now dark and foggy, and people were home eating dinner. She walked a couple of steps, stopped and leaned against a wall, and slowly slid down to the floor. With trembling hands, she felt her temples and traced her fingers along the deep snake-shaped scars that ran down each side. They felt like they had already healed, already been there for weeks instead of minutes. What was really going on? What was happening? Sisters of the Leopard Clan? Cerubis? Some great task involving blood? And was that really Grandpa? It was all too bewildering, too much to hold. She sat there holding her knees up to her chest, wanting to just disappear. Tears started to roll down her cheeks, some finding the scars and running along them like guiding serpentine river beds. They did not sting. She buried her head in her arms and sobbed. At that moment, she heard her Grandpa say "Buck up Oyala, you got a situation on your hands." She whipped her head up looking for him, but instead a large, disheveled man with matted, dirty blond hair. "Hey sweetie, what's wrong? You lost? Lemme help you get home." He reeked of alcohol, old sweat and other unpleasant elements. Oyala unsteadily got to her feet, wiping away tears, saying, "That's okay sir, everything is okay, I'll just be on my way." "Which way you going? I'll walk with you." "Really sir, I would prefer to" The man lashed out and grabbed her arm, surprisingly fast for how inebriated he seemed, Oyala let out a startled gasp. "Its gonna be all right, I know a shortcut, just come this way, no fuss, everything will be just fine, I promise." He started to pull Oyala towards a dead-end alley while looking around furtively. When Oyala started to wrench away, the man forcefully twisted her arm in a way that made pain explode, white-hot in her shoulder. "I said, just come this way, and make no fuss." Her assailant hissed through gritted teeth and spittle. "And if you make a sound I'll rip your arms right out of your sockets, you hear me?" Bent over facing the ground, her face grimaced into a noiseless shriek, Oyala felt the searing pain in her shoulder grow and engulf her body in flames as the man dragged her into the alley. It was unbearable. And then The red burning coals in her shoulder turned into the bluest arctic ice.

unseen rivers cascading off of glaciers crashed onto Oyala sending frosted needles into every cell to blossom into valleyside harvests of snowflake crystals. Oyala shivered deeply as a rushing cold that splashed through her whole body transfixed her. And as quickly as it came, the river of subzero frost melted into a cooling. A cooling like a sundappled brook trickling through familiar woods. A calming. Oyala felt the ease and calm return to her, and felt the man's grip slowly loosen with her increasing sense of ease. There was a moment, where Oyala lifted her eyes to meet the man's. He seemed bewildered, far away, and mournful. She saw his pain, his suffering. And she saw a flicker of recognition in his eyes, a recognition of her humanity, a recognition that it wasn't Oyala who had hurt him so long ago. And there was something else, a clarity: a visceral knowing that they were playing out ancient roles of drunken power and resistance. They stared at each other for what could have been moments or minutes, as Oyala slowly started to stand upright again. But then he shook his head, as if awakening, discombobulated, from a slumber, and slowly started to tighten his grip again. fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffftttttKCTHUDD Both of them were startled by an arrow that buried itself in a window sill above their heads. They both turned towards the alley entrance to see two ominous cloaked and hooded figures, silhouetted in the streetlight and fog. One was holding a bow, and one was holding a very cruel looking sword of some kind, with various angles, hooks and curves. They stood there silently, cloaks fluttering slightly in the wind. The man loosened the torque on Oyala's shoulder, but kept his grip. "Can I help you, I am just here talking to my, umm niece, and she was just" fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffftttttKCTHUDD Another arrow thudded into the window sill, though barely a flicker of movement was perceptible from either of the figures. One figure seemed to just be slowly lowering their bow, though Oyala could not recall seeing the archer raise the bow in the first place. The man froze. Then he moved very fast- and in one movement and a click, he quickly slid an open switchblade under Oyala's throat. "I don't know who the hell you guys are, but you ain't police. So just get the hell outta here, or she gets it!" spat the man. The cloaked figures split out of sight and out of the alley, one going to the left, one to the right.

Oyala's spirit began to fall, but then almost immediately something intuitively told her that she hadn't been abandoned. It was as if the cooling itself had a soothing voice, barely a whisper. The man was breathing hard, the alcohol and fetid breath creating a noxious cloud. He dashed Oyala behind him, towards the dead end wall, which Oyala hit hard. Stunned, Oyala put one knee down to the ground, leaning against the wall. She scrutinised the man with a glare, and really wanted to curse at him, kick him, something. She was also aware that as she hit the wall, the impact rekindled small flashes of the strange coolness and assurance that she felt before. The man was busy shaking his knife out towards the foggy night. "I know you are out there, and I am warning you, if you come through here, I am gonna cut her, I am gonna cut you, I am gonna-" A resounding roar echoed through the alley, and an instant after a fire escape creaked, a huge beast jumped on the man from above, knocking him to the ground, and the knife went spiraling into the darkness. Oyala beheld the sight of a full grown and growling leopard, with its front paws resting on the man's chest, and its teeth bared inches from his face. From the shadows emerged one of the cloaked figures; it was the one with the sickle shaped, hooked sword. The figure sheathed the weapon, and walked past the scene on the floor and went over to Oyala, who couldn't help but shrink back a bit. The cloaked figure lowered the hood to reveal the face of a beautiful and strong willed looking woman with striking African features. The womans eyes were so deep brown they were black, as was her smooth dark skin. Her high and full cheeks were pedestals for vigilant and wise eyes. She also had facial scars- some similar to Oyala's! The woman held Oyala's shoulders and looked her in the eyes, which was immediately comforting, and familiar in some way. The woman looked Oyala up and down, searching for clues of injury. "Are you hurt?" she said in a thick accent. "No." said Oyala. The woman nodded in approval, turned around and said something that sounded like moddu pweh naahja and other mumbled words to the leopard. The leopard backed off of the man, and allowed him to get up. The shivering wreck of a man got up, and half stumbled out the alley in shock. The leopard walked slowly after the man, as sort of an escort, and an added inspiration for the man to leave. The man broke into a run, and the leopard followed, disappearing into the alley shadows. "The mouse who taunts the cat had better be near a hole." Said the woman, turning back towards Oyala with a barely perceptible smile. Oyala was still half kneeling on the floor, so the woman also half-knelt in front of her so that they were eye level.

"My name is Naki. My sister Naja should be back very shortly." She paused and cocked her head. "In fact, here she comes." The second woman strode forward, her black cloak ruffling in the night air. She too walked up to Oyala, half-knelt, and then pulled back her hood. The women were mirror images of each other, identical twins, facial markings and all. "Naja at your service. It is an honor to finally meet you Oyala." They smiled at Oyala ever so slightly in a synchronized manner. Oyala's head started spinning again with all the new information. They know my name? Leopard? The man? As if reading her thoughts, Naja pulled back her cloak, briefly revealing a lining of leopard skin, and a belt carrying all manner of tools and accoutrements, some pouches, small wooden objects and metallic glints winked for a moment. She produced a goatskin flask. "Here, drink this. It is just water. We are here to ensure your safe passage. You have been through a lot." Naja extended the flask, and their eyes met, and Oyala felt the same sense of comfort and familiarity that she had with Naki. Oyala took the flask and drank the cool and tasty water. It was as if the flask were connected to a pristine and playful mountain river. She found herself gulping it down, and she felt refreshed and lucid almost immediately. But she still had many questions, and the events of the past hour or so still weighed heavily on her. She remembered Grandpa with mixed and complex feelings. She had heard his voice clearly, right? Oyala gave back the flask, and studied the beautiful twin faces, the scars, and their deep and wise eyes. "You are the Sisters Of The Leopard Clan." They nodded in unison. Oyala looked around, then back at the Sisters. "Where did that leopard go? Where did it come from?" They smiled their wan smile again. "The leopard is never far from us." Said Naki. Naja nodded in agreement. "But come, we have set up camp away from all of the cameras. And we have work to do. Let us use the foggy night to get to our destination." Said Naja, standing. Naki stood too. Naja extended her hand to Oyala. Oyala took it, and allowed herself to be pulled up to her feet. She remembered what Grandpa had said, that it wasn't safe to go home, and that he was being taken care of by other relatives.

Oyala walked with the Sisters towards Central Park, slowly disappearing into the fog and city night.

R. Malcolm Wright is a 1st generation Jamaican born in New York City who loves living in OAKLAND. He wears many hats, including DJ, community organizer, visual artist, writer, and co-producer of the future soul/dub collective ,Transdub Massiv which featured Meshell Ndegeocello on the basslines during their European tours, as well fresh and edgey Jamaican artists. As a dj he has been musically transporting crowds with his intuitive, driving, soulful and eclectic style for over 25 years. He can be heard 1st & 3rd Mondays at Disco Volante alongside Oakland's finest underground artists painting live (Soul Selector), and every last Thursday at Jupiter in Berkeley. As a writer, he has been writing a feminist/womanist, afrofuturist novel for some years now, and will read a passage from it for the public for the first time at Black Futurists Speak. When he gets around to blogging, some of his anti-patrirachal musing can be found at Onward to the afrofuture...

Sons of the Circle (Excerpt) Malcolm Shabazz Hoover The tv was on. Rarely did he stop to watch the box, mostly it was there to for background noise, cartoons and the occasional video games, but the news was on and it looked like they were somewhere in Africa. This was the rare broadcast where they were not talking about War or famine, poverty or some kid wasnt onscreen with flies in his mouth. The newsman, Black, an American Black woman, had been dispatched to cover this... ......what we now know Bob, is that this Temple Complex has never been seen before, it was buried beneath these sands for we suspect millenia. Dr. Zawi Hawass, the worlds leading Egyptologist is now assembling a multinational team to enter the complex, the first time in probably over one thousand years.... Behind her he could see a massive door. This was not a Pharoahs tomb or a Temple. There were no Gods posted outside the doors. The symbols were Kemetic, not Egyptian.....this was something theyd never seen and the newscaster didnt know what the fuck she was talking about. He hadnt even wanted to go to college, his only ambition was to continue to test his skills inn ring, to fight and to be of service. But the other thing that he had a talent and love for was language. He could speak 7 languages well, and read a few more. College had been a place for him to learn what he could not in his dojo, offered him another place to excel that didnt involve getting knocked upside the head. He was good at two things, fighting and communicating and when one didnt work the other did. Almost as easily as he became a leader in the martial arts world, he became a leader in what was known as the sacred languages tongues that had only been open to a few people, mostly priests and sacred servants. This Temple that was not a temple was covered with symbols that he had only seen in scans of sacred books, available only to real linguistic eggheads. He had to get there. Had to. Something in him had just woken up and when they opened that door, he was going to be there.

Malcolm Shabazz Hoover is a Bay Area Native circa 1970. Raised between Philadelphia and The Bay, He started writing poetry, fiction and video games at the age of 12. He is the father to an 18 year old son, Aaron and a 7 year old daughter Laila. A former writer for the now defunct but seminal 4080 Hip Hop magazine, he blogs and rages against the machine at and is now working on a book of fiction and poetry 144 as well as a graphic adventure novel Sons of the Circle.

Even if i dreamed a dream Davu Flint Even if i dreamed a dream shadowed by circumstance, Or lived a year of baptismal fire In lonely Madagascars of the mind Or allowed myself to be led down shadowed whirlwind paths of circumstance If my new poems were only blues poems or simply me and you poems and if only u and i recited them to each other hourly then honestly Ours would only be a million miles away From Miles Ahead If i could truly love life while living life Love it until love and being were One being Walk barefoot across the sun Seeing my future son and daughter With hammer and chisel Etching my likeness in holy marble I would still miles away Being merely a million miles away From Miles Ahead If i could see the seer Or hear the tide divide Or worlds would whirl outside I'd hide When sound and sense resound The Sound will sound for miles

From murals to music, from poetry slams to theatre, from beats to rhymes, emcee and producer Davu Flint is a multi-genre creative artist constantly searching for new ways of expression. The San Francisco (by way of Pittsburgh) resident keeps the beats and rhymes sharp, as he effortlessly waxes poetically about the everymans struggle. As a performer Davu has shared stages with Camp Lo, Psalm One, KRS One, Sekou Sundiata, Ursula Rucker, Grillade, Saul Williams, Coultrain, Wes Felton, and The Adrian Younge Black Dynamite Sound Orchestra. His original jazzy/smooth-rambling flow is bolstered by grown folk lyrics and beautiful, spacey west-coast boom bap. Currently performing around the Bay Area with his live ensemble. Bottom Hammer, as well as studying acting at The American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, Davu Flint is truly a one a kind artist that is not to be missed!

Icarus Justified-Excerpt Ayize Jama-Everett Savac walked slowly on stage with no sounds accompanying him. All the other Shrinkers in the house, even Jaele felt pain. This was a performance Faux-pas beyond all others. The crowd was always to be stimulated. Led by instinct, Savac kneeled before the Crowd and began to perform prostrations while piping Shiite Muslim call to prayers through the right side of the building. From the left he added random readings from the Torah. From above, he cued Russian Orthodox Liturgical songs for the dead. From below he added the bass. African Talking Drums. He synchronized them all by equating them with an Indian four stringed instrument that hadnt be heard in over three hundred years. By the time Savac stood up and looked out over the crowd, he knew he had them. Can we keep this real?! he said using the sub-conscious normative voice of the crowd. Savac piped Welcome to 5 from trash 4 through his arm and head movements, reminding himself of Firels skill as he danced the sound like a snake. It was only then that he realized he had yet to cut any layer of music yet, nor had he lost any of the crowd. He decided to go with what was working beginning to see that it never had to end. Bass! How low can you go!? He shouted in the voice of an old mystic and reformatted the prayers to slowly unravel themselves in reverse while at the same time lowering their opposite ends reverb level. Using a formula for constructing a surface area of blackness using only the color red, Savac began to pace his foot movements to bring in the wailing of a mother who killed her baby in India because she didnt have enough food. While she kept the high notes, Savac gave the lower notes to a Brazilian Berimbau player who no longer had a roda of Brazilians to play for. His right hand allowed for the last of the Mississippi Bluesmen to make his way through the musical collage with an electric guitar that has yet to ever be matched. Savacs resulting body movements put him in mind of the cult of the holy Raves, and so he gave those samples to his right hand, while the dub poets of old has his left. Realizing he had yet to truly start using his own body, Savac became excited. He cross referenced his pulse with the mean average of his accelerated heartbeat to adjust amplification of last tracks of Bob Marley. He let his left eyebrow twitch indicate the beginnings of a nineteen second pan from the speakers below the dance floor to the subwoofers that cut the sampled didgeridoo highest pitches leaving only a haunting droning that stimulated deep neuropathways that had never been activated by some but was familiar to all. He limited the gate on the music by adding a reverse reverb that kicked in with every deep breath he took. Naturally that added a flange effect that shook the windows when the sampled Tibetan monks came in, but a steady early eighties Beatbox cued by hand movements not only mollified the crowd but also allowed them to feel comfortable fully jacking in to the experience. But Savac was just getting going. Acknowledging this only be a means to an end, Savac gave his breathing over to his suit after looping an old Saxophone colossus longest recorded note, and piped his breathing neuropathway into his own logic centers. For fun, he balanced a Balinese Monkey God Drum rhythm

with Navajo War Cries on his hips. From the logic enters, he displayed the entire crowds neuropathways on the screen behind him and one by one, he began to make them conform to a mean average through activation of pleasure centers. No one resisted because they felt the pull was too gratifying. Few understood the connection between these feelings of warmth, comfort, and joy, were the direct result of what they were seeing and hearing. If the crowd had known what to name the experience, it would have been religious. Not wanting to lose the Crowd but still wanting to explore more, Savac triggered Last night the DJ saved my life through the tightening of his neck muscles. As he did so, he realized that he had been shrinking for longer than he thought. Midnight was only a minute away. The termination of the Shrink would have to match the intensity of it. As he gained clarity, he realized that the crowd was stilled patched through his logic centers. Any resolution on his part would equal resolution on theirs. Quickly looping the music for three seconds, Savac turned around to face a screen of Bio-rhythms that were all dancing in harmony together like schools of fish happily sharing an ocean of music. The crowd was ecstatic. People were jacking into each other as well as him. It was an orgy of endorphins, Synthetic neurotransmitters, and music. Even the other Shrinkers were jacked in. They operated not as competitors but rather as high disciples to this new art. Why cant it be like this all the time? Savac asked himself just before jacking back into the crowd. Not coming up with an answer he turned the question to the audience in every speakable tongue on the planet. Match all Shrinkage with body movements, map for least conducive aesthetic, let shrinkage lead with gate near death only. Mark! Savacs body went the way of the spasm as all the crowds emotions, thoughts, and desires rode through him like a hard core Synth driving a Bullet train. It put him in mind of the Santeria celebrations he had seen on his Uncle Cinos desk earlier. Making the connections, he used his own voice to call down Gods he had never prayed to: Obatala, Shango, Yemnya, Oshun, Baron gede, baron samedi, Baba Nkwa, Nzame, Olofi, Ochosi, and Legba Savac read a little on Legba and found him the most appealing. The gatekeeper. The one who knew how to get anywhere. And so he looped his name until he could find the Gods praise song and connected it to his heartbeat. Now the hard part came in. Slowly, very slowly, Savac began to let the music go. As he slowed down his body movements, so to did the music stop. This created a hunger for each group of people that was responding to particular conjunction of sounds. No one became angry for frustrated, only hungry. Even the higher Sects who had previously unplugged, jacked in again to try and figure out what was going on. Savac was covered in sweat. Savac Bios front screen all access. Mark And the crowd saw Savacs internal metronomes all giving way to abyss of silence. His dancing came to an end. It could be seen clearly when the suit took over for his back by keeping Savac standing. His head stopped moving, his eyes closed no longer blinking. The rolling beats he kept going with his arms movements ended on beat. Just as finitely, Savacs internal work began to slow and stop. His tongue movements, his pulse began

to slow to a rate that the computer deemed dangerous. Luckily, Savac had turned off the warning claxon before he got on stage. He knew pushing the envelope would cause some sort of computer driven response. But that was the goal. To go beyond computers, beyond sections. The mission was to become Human. In the end there was only the heartbeat, which accompanied the Legba tribute song. The crowd wasnt sure what to do when the heartbeat ended. Savac had no bio-rhymes to speak off. He was dead. Standing, but dead. And yet somehow, the song was still going. Those who had heard the song before in their present life or before became suddenly pious and made the symbol of Legba across their chest. Everyone was shocked when Savac opened his eyes and said Happy New Year.

Ayize Jama-Everett was born in 1974 and raised in Harlem New York, Since then he has traveled extensively in Northern Africa, New Hampshire, and Northern California. He holds a Masters in Clinical psychology and a Masters in Divinity. He can be found teaching in the area of Religion and psychology at Starr King school for the ministry when hes not working as a school therapist at the College Preparatory school. When not educating, studying, or beating himself up for not writing enough, hes usually enjoying aged rums and practicing his aim. He recently released his 1st novel-The Liminal People.

several dreams ago/ maybe years dreamt ago La Bruha DESI La Prowling a thai temple for the first time in the heat. colors familiar to me are unfamiliar to me and people`s faces I`ve gotten used to are not used to. there may be blood on the floor. that be possibility. there are no subways here and cars are not close enough to harm me. the temple before me scrapes the sky failing to make a new sun. The remaining sun is relentless but I also fail. fail to complain. The entrance is wide and only people leaving cause me to almost lose balance as I descend. Descend? Descend. I`m walking down 3 or 4 steps to the center serenaded by flowers of the tropical type. the thai there are on their knees but not convulsing like in black churches. silently praying, heads down and hands slightly pointed upwards from their foreheads. I realize the ceiling is high and the wind is around me. the entrance I came through is opposite another entrance (or exit?) exactly the same. I vainly search for the real entrance and the real exit only to see that I am real wrong. The temple points in four directions (or possibly more) which makes the prayer center a center for which there is no end and no entrance and no exit as all that come are allowed to enter again and pass through as they wish. and I felt that my thoughts end is it`s beginning and it`s beginning is an ideas end. and my life of everyday is a beginning for which a previous feeling or facade embraced ends. here, a holy place for the thai was a repetitive universe repeating for me pushing my mind into a walking dream for which I would walk backwards and forwards simultaneously. and there I found the infinity I had been looking for. so now I carry infinity in my pocket within my creations as they have no limitations. neither do I. I create to be the vision I wish to dream. letting infinity hit.

La Bruha DESI La Artist/Musician/Organizer, Visualizer/Creator of Afrovisionary-a visual encyclopedia and documentation site for Black Avant Garde art, music and culture/Compiler of Afrovisionary's Mutantextures The 1st Avant Black Experimental Music Compilation/Over 6 releases to date including the 3 CD set Afrovisionary 1/Toured through America and Asia/Held gallery shows throughout Tokyo, Japan/Born Somewhere/Existing Somewhere Else... To Hell With Data Infernos-Searching for Zero/One Zen.

Photos From The Event