I awake to the shimmering rays of moonlight, dancing across black liquid, rippling from river bank to river bank. My body face down. My feet and hands, spread eagle, an arm’s length from the river’s edge. Damn, I am exhausted. I am telling you this time traveling shit is for the birds. My body feels like it has been zapped by a thousand volts of electricity, just weak and limp. But I got to get it together ’cause this is about to get a little serious.
I hear echoes of the future past in my mind, ” Ain’t no reason to be crying over split milk.” “Do u have any idea of what your ancestors had to endure? ” These are just a couple of sayings I heard while dancing in the shadows,in households, of the Black American millennium.
From the muddy river’s edge, I push up with my hands and sit back, gather my wits. I lean back with my legs crossed.
Looking across the river, I ask myself, “Is this line in the sand the guarantor of freedom?” I squint my eyes and see a darkened landscape, vast and endless, illuminated by a full moon. The woods appear to be full of Goliaths, rooted deeply into the Terra of Mother Earth, soaring thirty and forty, some fifty feet high into indigo night sky. But their not moving? They are so still. At attention. Like the Terra Cotta Army of China’s First Emperor Qin Shi Huang back the third century BC.
The heads of these giants disappear into the sky’s blue blackness as a billion incandescent stars above seem to complete their coronation.
My shoes? What in the world happened to my shoes? Bare feet? In the middle of no where? Imperial Sugar Co? Why do I have Imperial Sugar Co stamped in faded ink across my torso?
Any motion I make feels like sandpaper on my flesh. The ropes are nearly cutting off the circulation in my arms. I untie the ropes, tied tightly through the burlap, across my arms. Ah, now that feels much much better. I was starting to feel a little claustrophobic. You know some folks say Black people tend to be more claustrophobic then others? They say it is because our cellular memory pulsates with the spiritual angst of our ancestors trials and tribulations before, during and after the Middle Passage. The way they were separated from family, from male and female and cram packed into sweltering stone dungeons on coastal lands or islands a boat’s row away from the Gold Coast. Crammed like the 405 freeway at 5:01 pm. Those alabaster bastards made Black people physically become the definition of their greed and vileness. The experience of our ancestors boils in our blood streams in the year 2020. Often times I wonder, was allowing us to ONLY read the Bible a calculated stratagem?
From the Door of No Return, we departed. Usually in the heat of the night, so to disorient the enslaved. 100’s of virgins, packed into excessively fowl smelling and sweltering rooms. No toilet. No water. No food. No feminine supplemental. Nothing. Oh expect frankincense and lime juice. Even their freedom snatched by greed.
Let’s not talk about the Middle Passage! Even when former president, George W. Bush, declared it the “Greatest migration” while touring Goree island on the yacht of then president bluhbluh in the summer of 2003. What a farce, acknowledged the Middle Passage was one of the greatest crimes in history, making it the greatest theft of humanity the world has ever seen! I could go..Actually, I should go on and on, on the crime against humanity because the pages of tomorrow’s American history books are extremely thin considering all the goings on which occurred! Yet in this moment, time is of the essence.
I hear the ribbits of frogs, the chirps of male crickets courting their soon to be new lovers, a variety of bird songs, the hisses, hoots and screeches of owls and the voices of other nocturnal creatures, jibber jabbering, some talking what seems in unison, sounding like one continuous buzzing sound to a pulsating rhythm, not unlike the power plants next to the childhood playgrounds and the back yards of those children whose minds and thoughts I have entertained in the sandboxes of their imaginations, back in the future. The river acoustics of fluidity blend harmoniously with the continuous buzzing, brings a sense of calmness to my being.
As I continue to look into the darkness, tracers of fly flies streak past my head and zoom betwixt the Goliaths and fade away beyond encroaching faint glows of many speckles further beyond the giants. I wonder, “Is there a storm out there, soon to invade this calm?” The flickering dancing flames and the malevolent sounds of barking hounds in the longinquity may just be the affirmations I dread to see and hear.
North. north north. Where is way is north? I look to the heavens, as I rise barefooted in cold damp mossy mud. Follow the Drinking gourd. I look back across the river, the illumination is faintly growing brighter and barks louder. I turn and face the exact opposite. Even if that’s not North my choices of escape are not. Ah there it is!
If it wasn’t for the moonlight and stars, my escape route would have been pitch black. By the moon and the stars I can make out some of the topography.There are smaller trees, no more biblical giants of my imagination and a lot more low land hugging bushes, thickets and shrubbery. If these thickets are of thorns and thistles, my bare feet and hands shall soon endure pain.
I bolt with the grace of a gazelle over sticks and stones,slashing through tall grass and brush with my bare hands. Like a dull machetes, The pain is so intense my mind blocks it complete out. Chop chop, ouch! After seconds which seem like hours, I see a small clearing and hear the sound of the river. Goodness gracious. The river I left behind has dog eared left and is in my sight!
As the barks of beasts grow louder, so does the voices of those in hot pursuit.