• Noor E.

skinny-dippin’ in the gene pool


the streets of hell are also paved

with fear of contagion

I have been swimming

in enough barbed-wire waters to know

you’re not even safe on the beach

it’s not just your “body fluids”

it’s the grime of your skin

those dirty things you think

they are cleaning up the world again

I can see the inflammation

heartbreak & hunger scurry me down

on the road to Damascus

I want to be blinded like Saul

for the sake of vision

not just cause I can’t take it anymore

are we talking burnt out here?

burnt out is a reason for infection

I hope I get the whole disease

I am glad to be a speck / a piece of dirt

the dark side of the earth

they’re trying to clean

I want to get in their pores

want them to sweat my filth

the way a wound hurts before the dope

but then come the murderers on the road

are we talking burnt out?

they go in the camps looking for you

cause you are hiding the sores

you could be contagious

after all in the postapocalypse movies

you don’t even exist

your survival is not required

for history or hollywood

in the movie Road Warrior

everyone is antisocial on purpose

human ties are burnt out

& human intercourse is fatiguing & dangerous

gratefully no one is traumatized anymore

& unfortunately no one goes to school

in the movie Blade Runner

almost everyone lives 90 stories below

almost no one else

everyone is antisocial by accident

due to overcrowding in L.A. but no one minds

& there are still parties to go to

everyone white is “off-world” more or less

everyone 90 stories down is polymorphous colored

more or less

no one has attended school in decades

in both films everyone dresses with panache

which preserves their identities

to audiences who know

there is no grounds for indentity

postworld

personally I prefer the people in Titanic

even though they got their minds blown

when the unbelievable happened

they still believed in life

they were not burnt out

& had grounds for clinging

to lifeboats and a certain

stylish way of dressing

they could not imagine Jim Jensen

intoning without horror

that the body count goes on

that no one needs the news to know

what’s going on

Beirut is one of the low levels

Dante went on about

available in ordinary life

see the corpses if you will

believe at the risk

you may see it everywhere

every body spreads infection

unless you burn it out

eyewitness news invites you

to wait for the coverage

because Jim Jensen is there

& history is in the making or

you can come skinny-dip

in my gene pool

the massacres were arbitrary

when my people were hunted down

the deaths still go on

stretching over centuries

of shades of brown

baptist, moslem,

mothers, children, fathers

burnt out of homes but living

I am not that desperate

to be numb & dumb

I’m walking 90 stories down

I know I survive

in some wretched moments

of what men do

but I am not that desperate

I don’t give a shit if this is history

in the making

it should stop

I am still alive

I am still happy to be the dirt

that can’t be cleaned up

scorch my earth & I will grow

from history up

under the feet of the present

burnt out is for the movies

in which we don’t exist

- Thulani Davis, from Playing the Changes, 1985.


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