by iampunha | 8/22/2008 08:00:00 AM
death is what awaited
him
and he knew it

but death
was preferable
to not living
only

brea
thing

for someone else's bottom line
and someone else's family

but
today
no more
for Nat Turner

177 years ago
a few hours ago
Nat Turner's soul said
"My body is bought, but my soul is no man's"
and struck out



For every slave, American or otherwise, who died captive, and for everyone who died while someone was trying to make 'em one.

For Annie Proulx, and if you don't know why, look her up now.

For Yosef 52, who unwittingly helped inspire the form of this diary.

And for my father, who has been writing like this for years.


Nat Turner read and wrote
and talked to God
just one of those things

God talked back
said, "let our people go."

gave him signs and support

and when the blue sun came
the black slaves rose up
and a week later
before morning had risen

they set out
to fight for their freedom
and fight to their deaths

two days later

55 whites dead
at the hands
not guns
of black slaves

3 artillery units
brought in against
70 slaves

with no guns
fighting for God
and their freedom
because if you're not
living
free
you're not
living
only

brea
thing



in southern virginia
after that
if you were black
you
were
fucked

"Yes, mmm, a certain number of innocent blacks shot down, but ... far less than might have been expected. Mmm? Oh, rather. Now, shall we see about tea?"

(get that book in your hands
turn to page 301
and cry)

after that
no more mr. nice white man
turning his head while black preachers talk about
pride
equality
freedom

don't they know this is the south?



Nat Turner's parents
and grandma
said he was a prophet

to white folks
he was beyond an
uppity
negro

killed white people who
didn't ever do him
no harm
(as we all look at each other to ask
'do you buy that?'
without speaking)

they caught him two months later

judge must have thought Nat had a hearing problem

nope
not a hearing problem
just a freedom problem
in that

he
wanted
it

and

hadn't
had
it

and

should
have
had
it

and then he did.

but by then
it was tooooo
late

on account of his now-dead body was getting
http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/natturner/nat.html
skinned
and

qu

ar

te

re

d

the d was his head
which they took away for "research"
(and one man tried to display recently)

guess desecration of a corpse
applies only to the living
or maybe just white people



Nat Turner talked to God
he said so

and

Who
the
FUCK
am
I
to
say
he
didn't?

WHO?



Nat Turner talked to God
so did Harriet Tubman

white folk
who used the bible to justify
every
shitty
thing
they
did

had to bury this

so Nat Turner became a rebel
an inhuman, cold-blooded killer
a bad word

certainly not a role model
like washington and jefferson
who after all
had a permission slip
so it was
diff
rent

funny what a man becomes
when he strikes out
against his oppressor
and doesn't have that permission slip



in a way
as a slave
you're dead from the time you're born
and if you try to
change
that
they hurt you to make you decide
if the pain is worth it
and if you escape
once you kill
you've burned your only bridge
so by any means necessary

i don't blame him one bit



Nat Turner talked to God
and then met him

(our president talks to god
and lies to the rest of us)



someday
my father promises me
(without saying 'promise' but meaning it all the same)
he and i
will meet Nat Turner

i'd like to meet that man

he lived
what i am only
fucking
typing



"Go Down Moses" by Paul Robeson


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