i had a dream
that men were judged not by the content of their character-
if they were allies-
but if they were of european descent.
and these men climbed coconut trees and jumped down head first.
and the ones who survived laid on occupied carribbean beaches to tan and fried to death.
and the ones who survived the sun dove into the atlantic to cool off
and sank like an u.s. navy airship carrier or cargo ship off the coast of haiti in 1965
creating an alternate timeline where caribbeans own the carribbean.
and the ones who didn’t sink hung themselves
with ties made in china and earned on wall street
until they came and died of asphyxiation while staring at an underage girl,
a descendent of the ethiopian lucy.
and i woke up having realized all things are possible through action.
Your Story Work-Shopped
Do not tell your story through an objective narrator
Because someone like you could never be neutral
You see there’s an ethnic arc to your narrative
An accent to your voice
And buried inside is a fear that those stretched out vowels
Will become the exotic novel of the book club
Also, there’s a strut to your character
A hyphen that compounds and divides
African. Subtraction sign. American.
Finally there’s urgency to the way you limp over plot,
Panting through plantations like Roots
You know what? Disregard all that.
Tell your story through an objective narrator. Go ahead.
Your diasporic tale might branch out how blood spreads
But no matter how much you are read and appropriated
You’ll never be neutral until bloodshed.
JP Infante: "I’m a writer and teacher in New York City. I lead writing workshops and host the Creatives at Play Book Club. I hold an MFA in fiction from the New School. I’m also a contributing editor for DominicanWriters.com.
My writing can be found in The Poetry Project, Manhattan Times, Ritmo Que Late Anthology and elsewhere. My short story "Without a Big One,” published in Kweli, won the 2019 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Award and appears in PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2019.
My creative nonfiction and poetry are forthcoming in Post Blank Magazine and The BreakBeat Poets Volume 4: LatiNEXT respectively."