Ann Arbor Review


Chris Lord
Joseph McNair
Karyn M. Wolven
Geoffrey Philp
Paul B. Roth
Duane Locke
Silvia Scheibli
Shutta Crum
Felino Soriano
Steve Beaulieu
Donald Hewlett
Alan Britt
Joanie Freeman
Mervyn M. Solomon
Jerry Blanton
Marilyn Churchill
Running Cub
Mukul Dahal
Alice Paris

Helen Losse
Fred Wolven





Homer Plessy:

Man/event, centercore & connection;
Throughput for more legal white racism &
Retrograde justice

Homer Plessy:

A lens through which an entire
American past focused in an experience
Of intense & frightening awareness;

June 7, 1892:

An expectant afternoon bore witness to
A creolization of consciousness;
A syncretism of subjugate fear &
Bleak despair with defiance & rebellious resolve!

June 7, 1892:

A creole man & member, Comite des Citoyens
Stepped into the white only car of the Covington-
Bound East Louisiana Railroad train &
Took his seat.


How like spirit is freedom:

For the slave

Whose freedom lies in the latent content of
Dreams; whose reality is mind conditioned to
Reject the personal/universal innerspeak of

For the freedman

Whose freedom is like the scent of flowers;
The substance of the wind eluding his propitia-
tory grasp & the poignant verisimilitude of
Certain death.

For the oppressor

Whose freedom lies in interfering without inter-
ference; in controlling without being controlled;
In thinking, judging, believing, acting & sexing
While legally suppressing the same.


How long did Homer relish his freedom --

Before reaping the whirlwind; before the conductor
Tried to banish him to the colored car?  Before taken
Into vertiginous custody & held in an existential cell;
In a station on boulevarde Elysian Fields

How long?  Not long!

About as long as a flame survives the gale; about as
Long as a drunk honors his pledge & abstains from
Demon rum; about as fast as racist justice could
Railroad his case to the Supreme Court.

How long?  Not long?

About as long as it took the Court's 8-1 majority to
Decide; about as long as it took to hamstring amend-
ments 13 & 14; about as fast as iron-footed morning
stomps on a black man's freedom dreams.

Homer Plessy:

Man/event, centercore & connection;
throughput for present-centered black
awareness; seed of civil disobedience!


Regard the overweening pride of one
Too young, too black to rival godly deeds.
He thinks to change the world with verse & gun;
His inspiration drawn from what he reads.
St. Marx, Fanon, Guevarra and Debray,
Did put his pliant voice to ghostly use;
And spoke he from the crowd that fateful day
to fire their pent up anger like a fuse.
That human bomb exploded in his face
and passion ran amok into the street.
His idealistic vision for the race
Bedraped the manchild bleeding at his feet.
The bitter pill of hubris dearly bought
by one who wished to be what he is not.

The blues jumped up a rabbit,
                            rabbit ran a quarter mile;
                            that poor little furry bunny
                            Scared like a baby child.....
                            Taj Mahal

The blues derive from feelings--mostly fear,
Which ooze from fissures in composure's mask.
Blue concupiscence makes the muscles err;
Blue consequences take the soul to task.
The blues are found in spaces 'tween the cells;
The longing of the soul for its delight.
Blue bodyego screams as passion thrills;
Blue syntax of perception makes it right.
The blues rush in when separation leaves
A breach that only God or fear can fill--
Blue grace an unction for this soul who grieves;
Blue solace soothes and gives respite until
Boy Blue decides to live life on its terms
And trade blues for a faith true love affirms.

"God's gonna trouble the waters..."
Negro Spiritual

selfwaters roil are troubled still.  development's
disquietude a churning maelstrom--somatic process
simpleselfsense primitive percept instinctimpulse
involuntary urge/discharge wet domain of the child
god Typhon/Set sonambulent ego generalized
who fitfully dreams scourges the soul with whiplike
tail leaving nothing settled or unchanged changing
as well from lithe limbic reptilian to linguistic selfsense
beginning with a word then simple phrase a sound--
symbol connection a bridge 'twixt primary and
secondary process 'tween parataxic and syntaxic
a chorus of cultural voices teach the ego to speak
to belong with simple words & phrases to relate &
order symbols & referents speech & action subject
& object according to culturally predestined logic
& context to construct out of simple words &
phrases out of autistic & narcissistic language a
timesense a tensed & tenuous selfsense freed
from a dark myopic present.  the little eye of the Self
separates isolates looks upon mortality & is afraid.  i want
my mommy/ cries instinctively invoking the
magic of fear summoning the voices of ancestors--
no necromancy this, no fervid conjuring of the dead but
introjected injunctions prohibitions & suggestions of
flesh and blood parents whose compelling voices
feelings attitudes & thoughts join other real or imagined
personnotions in the contextcore of this young &
uncertain thoughtself--this reflexively direct or indirect
object of verb & preposition--much more now & who
now who am i...  & i that i am.

Joseph McNair, Miami



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