Turned Away at the Gates

Who is afraid of the man in the black suit?
He comes in many forms
Cold steel pressed against the head
Deep and sharp to the heart
An acidic taste with a twist of lime
Who is afraid of the man in the black suit
I am not afraid of the man in the black suit
He hides from me like a shy girl
Like love he cowers in the shadows
Just like a pray, he never answers
Deceitful like a testimony
Walks as white light on a Sunday afternoon
Who is afraid of the man in the black suit
Not me
The man in the black suit is afraid of me
He slams his iron gate in my face
He says I was too eager to meet him
So he leaves me here to suffer

Pics with verse Storyteller

Black and White Artwork by Bonnie Moore Delong

Black and White Artwork by Bokkie Moore Delong

Sometimes I see the world in black and white,
Black tree branches reaches up to the white heavens
Perfect harmony of contrasts
A lesson to us humans
A flavor of perception
Light to see to see our world
Darkness to protect us from ourselves
It is just as soothing to walk into the light
As it is to walk into the dark
It is salvation from ignorance

Parts Dirty Immigrant Storyteller

He is Not A Beast He Just Black From I am a Dirty Immigrant

I ran into what some people may call racism but I chose to call it stupidity. One day while I was working, a team lead came in to the toy store on his day off. I walked out of the storeroom just as he and his nephew came to the door. I stopped and smiled. The kid, who was about eleven years old, hid behind his uncle. I did not think much of it because sometimes kids are afraid of me. Hell, I was a giant beanpole who spoke with a strange accent. He stood there for a few minutes, his uncle trying to cajole him to talk to me, but the kid cowered behind him. His uncle became irritated and shouted at the kid, demanding that he stop being stupid. His face was red with embarrassment; his brown freckles looking like they would ooze blood. He shouted to the kid that I was not an animal, just black. Up until that point, I did not think that the kid would be afraid of me because I was black. I could not decide if I should be offended or just brush the comment off. The uncle insisted that the kid introduce himself and slowly the kid began talking – not to me, but to some invisible being behind me.

Suddenly, the uncle asked me to watch the kid and walked into the storeroom. I looked at the little fella; he was looking at me as if I was the boogieman about to drag him into a dark hole. I bent over, smiling, and I could tell he was apprehensive. For some reason, an evil idea popped into my head. So, using my natural instinct to bridge the racial gap between this kid and me, I leaned forward, smiling, showing off my perfect white teeth. He smiled back nervously. After a second, I began snarling like a rabid dog. The kid’s face turned blood red. Then he screamed and ran away like the kid in the first “Home Alone” movie. Now that may not have been the most intelligent thing to do, but what the hell, at the time I thought it was funny as shit.

Parts Dirty Immigrant Storyteller

No one I know says “A Mon”

Another thing I realized is that rednecks love to talk like brothers. I don’t know if they were mocking, or just thought they were being cool. To tell you the truth, there is nothing more comical than a back-hills redneck trying to sound like Snoop Dawg. I was working in the storeroom at the toy store minding my own business. One of my duties was helping customers load up their big-ticket items. This gentleman wearing blue overalls came in and smiled at me. He had that look of, I want to be your buddy, you cool black man.  He hesitated for a second, then leaned into to me and said, “Wass up dog?” 

I did not respond so he looked at me with that do-you-think-you-are-better-than-me look.  Truth is, I barely heard what he had said. My attention was focused on a line of snuff hanging out the corner of his mouth. When he spoke, small drops of brown of spit landed on the counter. I almost threw up because with every word he spoke, he sprayed brown shit on me. At the same time, one of the other workers asked me a question. As soon as I responded, the redneck’s eyes lit up and he said, “A Mon”.

Now nothing irritates me more than when someone tries to imitate my accent, especially since they used the Hollywood version of the way us Islanders speak. I could not be angry with him because he had this stupid smile on his face. He was truly proud of himself for trying to make a stranger feel at home. Thank you, “In Living Color”.  You have made it possible for every Tom, Dick and Barney Fife to practice their Caribbean accent. Now this may seem trivial to you, but remember, people, a lot of what you read or see on television about Caribbean people is highly exaggerated. We don’t run around barefoot hungry and angry. We are not simple people who don’t understand the world. Believe me, some of us have had experiences that would make your hair stand up on your head.


POEMS Storyteller

Conflicts End (!983)

Shower me with delightful drops of uncertainty

Make my heart race with the anticipation of nothingness

No feeling, no questioning, guide me to that dull peace

Make me tingle with emotionless excitement

My heart beating its thumping so faint a doctor could not find it

Now I am there, lying on a black rain cloud

Riding on a shooting star whose light went out millions of years ago.

Looking down on an earth without its blue glow

Daydreaming about sunshine, bright colours and cotton candy

I must wake up, but I can’t, it’s too peaceful here

Too comforting to my soul

Parts Dirty Immigrant Storyteller

You are not Black From I am a Dirty Immigrant

I can’t talk about Lexington without mentioning some of the culture-shocking encounters. Between you and me Hillbillies are naturally funny. This one incident stuck with me. It was the first time I had to reassure anyone of my “blackness”. I was working at a toy store when this blue haired white woman dressed like a dame in her lacy white blouse and dark blue skirt walked past me. She went to the aisle with dolls and surveyed the shelves, then looked round. I saw in her face that she was hesitant to ask me any questions, but had no choice. I was the only worker on the floor at the time. She wanted a doll but all we had was the black ones. The shear look of dismay in her eyes was hysterical. I thought here is an opportunity to have some real fun. I was mean like that. I asked her if I could help her in any way. I was sweet like brown sugar with a big smile on my face. Hell I had to show them tropical teeth.

I saw the stressful look on her face disappear when she realized I had an accent. Confidence seeped into her expression as she asked me if we had any of the white dolls, but it took her a couple of seconds before she stuttered the word white. After I told her that all we had was the black ones, she turned to walk away, but stopped. She looked at me and told me that I was not one of them. I looked at her, her blue eyes a little red with age and asked who was the “them” she was talking about. She looked perplexed at my question, then leaned into me, her eyes tilted upwards. She told me in a strange whisper that I was not black. I looked around. Was there some ethnicity god around? Did she think he would smite her down if he heard? I told her I was not from The City of Golden Streets, but as god is my witness I was black. She looked flabbergasted for a second as if surprised that I would admit to being black; she insisted that I was not black, but foreign. I asked her what she thought being black meant? She did not answer so I proceeded to explain to her by using a Peter Tosh song lyric: “No matter where you come from as long as you are black, you are African.” She looked at me, puzzled. I mean, what was I thinking? This poor lady did not have any clue who Peter Tosh was.

I could tell by the look on her face that I succeeded in totally confusing her. She was quiet for a second and then insisted again that I was not black. I was at my wits end. The perplexed look on her face only helped with my growing impatience. I looked around the store and decided to illustrate my blackness emphatically by using the only thing that most white people here seemed to believe about black men. I reached down and started unzipping my pants. Hell, if she did not want to listen to reasoning, I was going to show her. She turned around and ran for the door, her face red as a beet, her little legs churning like a propeller. I was surprised she did not report me to the bosses, or worse, call the cops. Can you imagine the headlines: “Former Basketball Player At Christian College Arrested For Attempted Indecent Exposure”?  

POEMS Storyteller

Welcome to Ever After

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
this must be a laugh of wonder
because when I open my eyes I see St. Peter
He is a black man standing on a black cloud
He is smiling holding a black bible
the big black gate behind him rattling

Parts Dirty Immigrant Storyteller

Mixed Couples Make Them Sick (From the novel I am a dirty Immigrant) free use code KC63J

Something I realized about some people was that since they don’t consider me black, they will say anything in my presence. This particular scenario happened over a week’s period. I must tell you it tested my resolve. A manager and about two other female employees were sitting in the break room eating lunch. They made it a point to discuss their feelings about interracial relationships. I remember one woman who was vehement about her disgust with such relationships. I mean you should have seen the faces she made. You would have thought she was being made to eat baby poop just thinking about the idea of a black man dating a white woman. It was like not mixing the races was one of the Ten Commandments. She even almost said the word “nigger”, but caught herself when I looked over at her.

At the end of the week, I was still steaming silently. Quite frankly, I had had enough of that bloody conversation. All a brother wanted to do was eat his bloody lunch and mind his own business. The second I sat down and opened up my lunch box, there they were talking about some woman whose daughter was dating a black man. They were giving all sorts of reason why it was an abomination: God did not want it, such relationships would somehow dilute the race. Hell, they were talking as if dating a person of another race was incest. I remember thinking, “People do you realize where we are? We are in Wild and Wonderful. Don’t throw rocks if you live in a glass house.”  After about five minutes, my head felt like it was going to burst.  I blurted out, “I understand what you mean!” 

The room got real quiet; you could have heard a gnat having a conversation with God. They looked at me, puzzled. Four white women, all red faced, waited for me to explain. One woman in the middle of chewing, her cheeks puffed out at the sides, looked like she was about to slap me. I stood up slowly and looked down at them. I remember thinking, “Damn, these are some ugly people. These are not the tourists I saw on the beach back home.” I snapped back to reality when one of the women cleared her throat impatiently.

I would not want my son marrying any of you Yankee women. I see how you act when you come to the island, spreading your legs to every Dexter that smiles at you.” You should have seen the looks on their faces. The manager scoffed at me. “But you married one,” she pointed out. I looked at her as a small smile began to form on her face.

I did, but she is not racist or as ugly as you old bats or your daughters. I would never let my son marry ugly.”  She was almost purple-red with disbelief. How dare I say that their daughters were not good enough for my half-immigrant son?

Now this coming from a woman whose daughter was a lesbian. Strange enough, her daughter also hated mixed relationships. Now that is taking marrying someone like you to a whole new level. I often wondered if she would date a black woman. I mean the whole diluting-the-race-excuse thing would be null and void in her case. Her mother looked at me and shook her head. She could not respond. I guess she never expected to feel unworthy. Hey; she was the one who insisted on the separation of races. Now here she was faced with a new idea: the separation of nationality.

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I am a Dirty Immigrant

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Parts Dirty Immigrant Storyteller

Wash the Black Off

Now something that seems to rear its ugly head in dating around here is racism. I have heard some of the most asinine statements ever. I was talking to a friend of mine. She was white, of course. I was not interested in her although she was pretty. Well, who am I fooling? She was stunning. I was having a conversation with her when she stated that she would never date a black man. I asked her why. She stated that she was raised to believe that interracial dating was wrong.  I told her that was not a good enough response. Hell, she was not making any sense. She then told me that her parents would not approve of it. She further said that she would never disgrace her family by dating a black man. Now here is a woman who was married three times, each to white men. All three treated her less than human and here she was telling me that even if a black man treated her with respect, she still would not date him. One day this same woman confessed to me that she’d had an intimate relationship with a black man a couple of months earlier. She said that after she was done, she went home, ran a really hot bath and stayed in there for five hours. Just to point out, she was not from the Wild and Wonderful City. No, this was someone from the City of The Useless Nut. Whatever that brother did must have had a profound effect on her, because she seemed to get overly excited when a brother walked by. She even tried to seduce me by taking a picture of herself and showing me. She was surprised I had no reaction at all.