From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

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Fiction

Blackman’s Flight in 4 Parts

Part 1.

Blackman knew lack

      Of gravity      before gravity

      had a name   

Black man flew  before he was told to

Till the ground

      Till the ground

              Till the ground

Till he forget to look at the sky

Till Blackman forget he knew how to fly

Part 2.

      Let me tell you something about the sea . . .  ahh, that one, she is lined with salt

      & everybody know Blackman used to kno how to fly before gravity had a name

      So when they got tired of Blackman’s dreams of flight, guess what they did?

      & everybody know too much salt ain’t good for flight

      Too much salt will have u stuck to the ground like soil

      See the sea lined with salt

      So guess what they did?

      & everybody knows these days the sea is sick

      & these days she throws up interrupted histories & dreams of flight

Part 3.

 

Wat no one knows is that the sea sees
Wat no one knows is that the eyes of the sea lay nxt to ha nose
Wat no one knows is that sometimes she hears
& of all of these things that were collected
I’s,
Nose,
Ears,
She could neva getta hold of a tongue
& so she cannot speak
No one knows but she sees bodysouls
No one knows but she hears bottomless wailing
No one knows but she smells spoiling flesh
They were dropped out of boats, these pieces of her
Bits & pieces of History tumbling
Down
Down
Down
Into the sea that no one knows

Part 4.

& What happens to the 1s that couldn’t fly

Force fed salt; Eyes away from the sky

Living bodies tied to the dead

The ones who refused to die

Sink

Sink

Sink

The ocean swallows Blackmen whole

Without her tongue, ohhh no, see how the sea has a taste for salt

She does not let them go

Down down down

To where they will never grow old

Some Blackmen fly,

Some never die.

Shingai Njeri Kagunda

Shingai Njeri Kagunda is an Afrofuturist freedom dreamer, Swahili sea lover, and Femme Storyteller among other things, hailing from Nairobi, Kenya. She is currently pursuing a Literary Arts MFA at Brown University. Shingai’s short story “Holding Onto Water” was longlisted for the Nommo Awards 2020 & her flash fiction “Remember Tomorrow in Seasons” was shortlisted for the Fractured Lit Prize 2020. She has been selected as a candidate for the Clarion UCSD Class of 2020/2021. #clarionghostclass. She is also the co-founder of Voodoonauts: an afrofuturist workshop for black writers.