Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 297

Hi.

Coffee: Americano, Caribou Coffee; smooth like two oysters rubbed together right out of the river, the way you knock the dirt off, and how the sand is mostly gone but some still gets to you; reliable, and good enough

This is the longest I’ve gone in two years without posting a daily Coffee Log, On Friday I was busy studying for my upcoming investment exams, and when I left the office I drove straight to Atlanta. Over the weekend, I was letting myself have the joy of participating in my life instead of taking a few steps back to look at it. Yesterday was more driving, and a bit of thought about MLK.

I remember we used to celebrate MLK day back in grade school. It was an excuse for semi-black songs sung in music class, the kind that have the culture toned down and not too much rhetoric of emancipation – Respect, or Lean On Me. There was a dream but we dozed through it, especially our teacher. And all us little white boys and girls felt equal in every way.

M watched ‘13TH‘ on Netflix yesterday while I was driving and told me about it, how a clause in the 13th Amendment about freedom’s contingence on criminal status had been manipulated after Jim Crow for the imprisonment of African Americans and the profit of everybody else. She told me how they showed Emmet Till two times on the show. Earlier, on Friday, when I first got to her apartment, she’d been reading this book about James Baldwin and they showed Till in there, too. So it was a weekend bookended by tragedies neither she nor I have to suffer directly, filled through the middle with our joy, a kind of American Oreo how you’ve got the black on the the margins, and this overstuffed privilege in the middle. At least we try to think about it, I guess, and let our hearts be haunted a little, but that doesn’t make it any clearer what to do.

I want to think of my joys as attainable and my sufferings as undeserved, but so much of my joy is bought on the backs of a wicked oppression, one that has its roots in my family tree. It keeps growing now matter how I’d like to trim it. Every year, it bears more fruit, so that the bitterness and hunger is belonged to me, an awful harvest, and one that, despite my clear-eyes and longing conscience, I continue to reap and continue to sew.

Currently Reading: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

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Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Article 1, 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution

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