to hell in a handbasket

What does success look like as we flail towards hell in a handbasket? I interpret that phrase to mean a lack of accountability, a lull into complacency, passivity – a space between being trapped and self-imposed constraints. In looking up the phrase a painting from 1515 is referenced, “Hieronymous Bosch painting “The Haywain” (c. 1515) (in the Prado,…

perhaps the only story I need to tell

He gets back in the silver sedan, carrying away my whole sense of self. I think about going home, and instead have another beer at the cafe before closing time. I turn to go home, stop at the bodega for another beer, and walk past my house to sit by the river. I am still…

Allies – what it might mean to be PRO-BLACK instead of anti-racist

Unlearning internal and external systems of white supremacy is a complicated and painstaking process. I propose that being pro-Black is shortcut through the maze of the construction of race, the history of rape and murder, the policy and legal systematic attempt to destroy Black people and the resulting fabrication of whiteness. A shortcut may not…

letter of recommendation to officially leave my professional role

Dear School community, I am writing to recommend Amélie Baker for a longer extension of her time as a writer. Amélie found great fulfillment as a teacher in BPS for ten years. During her time she taught a range of courses, some more successfully than others. She foresees a return to the classroom in the…

if Icarus never flew

Icarus failed because he took his trusty wings too close to the sun. He died in a triumphant rebuke of what he had been taught. He crashed back down to earth so that we could all be reminded that no matter our own wants or skills, the sun will always burn too hot. But what…

universe, I get it, message received loud and clear

I don’t always discuss the specifics of my life, but these are too good not to share. If you have been reading as of late, you know that I am taking a year away from being a classroom teacher to focus on my writing. It is also time for me to reflect on my career…

from the desk of Marlon James

The author posted this note on FaceBook and it instantaneously illuminated for me a sensation I hadn’t been able to completely define. Marlon James Yesterday at 7:50pm · So I’m on a panel last night and somebody asks, how does one write when overcome with emotion, mostly grief I’m assuming. How does one get words…

contained

In the 80s, and perhaps for decades before, pantyhose were sold at the local Woolsworth packed in a plastic egg. Just like those brightly colored plastic easter eggs that parents buy and fill with candy because actual dyed hard-boiled eggs that have been sitting in the yard for a few hours are gross to eat….

legitimize my ass

Raise the youth to never believe in dictated declarations of legitimacy. No dress code, no code of conduct, implicit nor explicit politeness are needed when a person is anchored in a deep sense of empathy and truth.

for non-Black folks

A powerful new call for the empowerment and respect of Black people has been issued. It has transcended grassroots activism, permeated discussion of culture and power, made demands on those in political positions, and inspired a creative response from artists. For non-Black folks it can feel alienating, aggressive, “disrespectful”, divisive… But I have never understood…