1.1.12

How Could You Forget Your Ghosts?

Ghosts are memories from our past- collective and personal- that manifest when we forget them and the lessons they gave us.

Don’t tell me ghosts don’t exist- I’ve lived with ghosts for twenty-five years, and so have you, even if you refuse to admit they’re there.

They know you.

They fed you, they clothed you; they nurtured you in your lowest of moments and dragged you from Icarian heights of glory breaking your wings before they could melt and bring you soaring back to the ground like the Rock of the Kabbah.

They fed you tapas of delights from gardens of Jinnah and cursed you with tongues from Hell.  For all of your life they’ve followed you, reminding you, and yet you still claim they’re not there?

Where I come from we bury our dead above water- which means we bury our dead above ground-burning them to ashes in their tombs just to make sure that with the first heavy rain we don’t find them back at our door.

Where I come from we live this close to death; we live this close to the ghosts of every sinful mockery of liberty our ancestors perpetrated. The Myrtles Plantation is just an hour away; one of the most painful reminders of the Evil of that place is that it resides by a town with the Natives’ name. And every corner of New Orleans groans with ghosts of the slave trade. Tour guides make profitable livings on the pain of the City by showing off old French Quarter mansions where slaveowners performed human experiments of such unbelievable cruelty even the racist police were forced to arrest them (but only for a little bit) and psychotic murderers resided scott-free until the moment they happened to kill a white man or woman (but most just stuck to the minorities which in this City are such a majority the true minority didn’t mind their decrease).

Don’t tell me ghosts don’t exist- have you ever walked in a City such as this? Have you ever felt the pain and the stink and the years in these streets, reaching up through stone and shattered cement to palpably grab at your feet and force you to stay-

Sit down.

Listen a while,

And watch.

The ghosts move about with the rest of us, and constantly reach out to touch us to make sure we never forget the past.

So how did you forget them?

Don’t tell me zombies aren’t real.

I’ve lived this close to them; I’ve even met a few. I’ve shaken their hands and looked in-to their deathly eyes.

You’re going to say you’ve never met someone who walked, talked, spoke, and acted alive but when you look inside it’s plain to see they ain't there?

Where I come from zombies are a part of life- in fact, it is this life that makes them that. Not a Voodoo priestess summoning Papa Legba with an albino python sedately coiled about her neck watching for the moment of death- but the drain of living from check to check, the drain of living when you have nothing left, the pull of the Black Hole reality that makes up debt and life in a society where it costs too much just to survive, where you’re segregated first by your looks, and then by your goods, and then by your way of life.

Where I come from we know Saint Michael the Archaengel is really Papa Legba, and Our Lady of Mercy Obatala; we understand without knowing how the significance of the Face of Death on All Hallows Eve and again the following All Saints' Day. We pour out our liqour for lost soldiers and loa and light cedar incense and leave out sugar just to keep them away.

Where I come from we know what snakes are for and what pictures of the saints keep hidden. Voodoo and Hoodoo were the slave woman’s Genesis- her escape from patriarchy and liberation from white colonialism. The Marie Laveauxs of their day and age used their white female counterparts’ pettiness and wealth to increase their power and increase their station- always remaining Black, but with sly Understanding and Knowledge reversing their roles so instead they were the Masters; and their curses live on to this day in the dead weight of Louisiana’s masses.

Don’t tell me zombies don’t exist- I’ve seen them preen and prance down there on Miami Beach. I’ve passed them by avoiding their glance up in Oakland and San Francisco; I hitched a ride with one up in San Mateo and skirted the Evil Eye of several down in New Orleans and South Central. They’re everywhere you can find a warm body wrapping up the cold inside to keep the scent of Death that might scare off their next prey from coming through.

I know zombies are real-

and they’re waiting for you.