AND BURN IT
"Dreams of a brighter tomorrow."
TEXT AND IMAGE BY
XXAVIER EDWARD CARTER
***Buy Your House and Burn It Down*** Where I know I am, Respected, Looking into the face sworn to protect me, From myself, And I didn’t know, I was in the wrong place, This time, Looking at the security. * “Officer, I am just doing my job.” * Like the students in the back of the classroom, Listening intently, Never thinking of going back, The institution walls, The mission courtyard, Keeping the doors open. * There is credit to be given, Taken, To be debt. * The earth for not falling out from under us, The bridge for not falling into the ocean, There is something foul, Coming and going, Trying to look you in the face, And you look everywhere but in my eyes, At my mouth because it is too big, Or my ears, Too small, Listening, The back of my head, Acting up, As you follow me to class, As you follow me to the bathroom, As you follow me through the lobby, Hoping a scene is called, And the story can go live, Breaking windows with bare hands, Hands like hammers, Arms extended, Hitting the nail, Drawing blood and the attention of the people on the street, Walking in the rain, Seeing, Hoods, Drawn, Strings, Wet and cold. * Under the statement everyone can recognize, Fire, Like the call of a general, Fire, Like the call of a man possessed, Fire, Like the shell game on the street, All the lights turned off, All the doors locked, All the windows closed, And the alarms silent. * We go across the country to make our way, Find the most meaningful place to change, To be, To come, To love, To live, To laugh, In the face of hatred, Cracking youths across their backs, Filling gallows, Places waiting. * Buy faith, Buy gasoline, Blind yourself. * Drink in the autonomy of freedom, Where riots have come and gone and will be placed in record, The bodies of lovers. * Blessing under the moonlight, To level the spirit running through the desert at night, Running fast. * Never missing a step, Never getting tired, Breathing hard, Going home to the world. * I was born, To be. * I could wrap this up, Save everything, Letting go is so wonderful, So blissful, Serene. * Upon the banks, Living like animals, Bellies up, Uncommon. * No law in the jungle, The land of the free, And knowing this I say, Across the country, In the White House, The first family is happily, Sharpening their knives, Ready to eat their meal, And fill their bellies, In a free country. * The market value is a ghost, Of what is printed on one side of a bill, Blank faces waiting to fill pockets, With everything they own, With everything they can, With everything we believe, With all that we can be. * We woke up on the street, Eyes read, Crying, Our mothers’ name, As the crowd, Pressed our bodies together. * Wet warmth, Cold, Sweat. * And see, The dance becomes automatic, Learned behavior, Stamp of approval. * Rockets signaling sullen victories, Somber moods depressing tongues, Moving feet, A waltz, And you are tango, Whiskey, Fire, See the rockets signaling sullen victories. * Moving feet, Pressed our bodies together, Closer to the flames, Closer to the light, The end of the tunnel. * When the cars open, And fire, The rockets, Turn off the hoses and blanket the land in fire. * Light candles, Watch our bodies pressed together, Cast shadows in the light of victory’s song. * A trigger, Warning, A promise. * We can’t stop moving, Forward, Into the light, Across the world, Walking on, Bodies pressed together, On our feet, Stepping, Out of the car, Hands waving, Smiling faces, Picket signs, The song for opening doors and glass ceilings, Dreams of a brighter tomorrow, A dance of a new horizon, We woke up on the streets, Abandoned, Walking in mass, Pressed together, Wet and warm, See the dance becomes automatic, Learned behavior, Signaling victory, And we waltz, Like a tango, On fire, Coming closer, To light, Dreams of a brighter tomorrow, By your place in history, Buy your house, And burn it down. * I asked a wise woman, Calling me, A man of the people, Nothing perfect, But a good man, Noting sacred texts, A social animal, Good at parties, And she said, I want a new nigger, One that would hold me down, When I am sick, Put the needle in my arm, Come over, And make me feel like they love me, When we walked in the street, And stop making a fool out of me, When I can’t breath, In passing. * All the strippers, Paint peeling, Thinner. * More heavy, Blow jobs, Take off work. * Won’t spend time, Posting letters for a good joke of how they were made, In love all the time, Posting letters of how they were unhappy, To all the girls, Loved before a good woman. * She said, I was looking at the camera, Like you might be looking back one day and flinched, Fell to pieces, And you picked up the phone after 5 years, To say, I hope you’re doing well but why didn’t you remember, That, Before we met, Always saying what was on your mind, All the time spent in proverbial traffic, Written down. * Redacted. * Bitter pills and head trauma, Good karma and bad kisses, Well wishes, Like another love song, In modern times, She says we are past that, And now I need someone new to hold me down, Fuck me, To sleep inside tinted windows, Under the stars, In a van, Because Miss America was built on moving. * Product not people. * And when I am in the valley low, Who will lick me, Like my asshole depended on it. * “And you laugh.” * Thinking it is funny, That someone could love me like that. * Thinking it is funny, That when I carried that baseball bat I was at peace. * Not a criminal. * When the lines were drawn I was meditating, Just as much as you were looking to have a good time. * Like a passive piece of resistance, you can hold in your hand, Just the perfect drug for another man. * And on the fourth day, We woke up in the streets, Saying today’s going to be the day, The list is much shorter now, Less options and more chances, Taking notes, Reading the magazines in the waiting room, Looking for a new word to pin the tail to, Words that cracked the pavement and gave ritual to falling flags, Spelling errors, The sweet things, Like you never met me outside of a text book. * The sweet spot, Instituted programs for us to get to know one another, Learned our history, And this is the culmination of a year’s work, A month’s notice, A short trip around the sun, Saving grace for another day. * At least it is warm inside of these walls. * A better view of the inside of a box. * A better look at what it is like, Knowing our role in all of this plan. * A suite over the river, When our voice is gone, From screaming, To whisper, To the shuffle of papers, And the cracking of bones, Breaking of will, Under concrete, Where the rose grows in all those poems, Where will is poured so thick you would think it was the earth, Where stories drown under the will, And if a rose grows it is plucked or stepped on, What do you decide? * After seven days of not speaking to one another, Does it shake off like a bad dream, After eight weeks of not talking, After nine years, Do eyes go blind? Do eyes go grey? Do eyes fade like a ghost forgotten? Not wanting freedom after will succeeded, After strength subsided, And the light returned, After eyes grew comfortable in this struggle, When the blood rose the last time and escaped, Through my eyes, Through my ears, Through my nose, Mouthing sweet things, Hush sounds, It’s going to be alright, Here, For you. * No teeth to brush, No hair to comb, No face to wash, Mirrors to shine the fading. * What is outside the box, Reflected words written in the dead tongue, This is more prayer a that when I am gone, You may come to see yourself more, And laugh that I was a part of you instead of scream, Or cry into your hands. * That the sensation of dying is a process like all other things, Another patch, Atoms disperse like the waves of a hologram, Sand in your glass, Mud in your shoes. * Sinking whole through the ages, Lump sum, In the pine, Tarred, Mind the earth changing color, The windows of our soul, The small boats drifting on the water, The hungry bellies over steam vents, Wailing winds, I am gone, And unkind, They were stronger than me, We are strong as them, I am gone, And we are here, Rerouted dreams to a box, Mirrored halls, Shine fading, Under world’s pressure, Escape, Abandon, I am gone, Wanting, Choked, Or chained together, Broken, Walking on water, Or flying like an eagle, Just to turn back, Make it past, Or suggest, That through the glass, We believe again that in the mirror there is something precious, That shows us the world as only it can be, Like the fires we use to consume our bodies, Like all that is broken, After the flood, The stillness, And the roots uplifted from the mud, In another place, The trees of a swamp, Not content, To breath, The stillness, Fruiting, Too soon be burned alive, In the mirror, Reflecting what is outside the box, No face to wash, No hair to comb, No teeth to brush. * The voicing of emotion, I tell you, Most of your opponents, Faces will fade, In memories’ time, You will fade too, Forgetting, The things that hold, Cut, Cooking doesn’t taste the same, Sugar in the medicine, Blood in the ointment, Spoon, Feeding a narrative like you are leverage, Who can say you were friends once, Gone crazy and now you don’t talk, At all costs, This world is better, No siren but death calling, Whistling, Calling, Cat, Calling, The needle in your neck, Blood money, Medicine to make you forget, Leverage, Something on you like a mandate, Who, Do, You believe, The self you are told to be or the thing you are, Or is it the wind in your hair, On your skin, On your knees, Bending into position, Wishing that this is forever, And you will not fade, But go silently in those few seconds between the blinking lights of a cop car. * Change over, Board the boat and ask the driver where you are going, As this is time for a memory, Looking overboard, In the night where no stars, Light the sky on fire, Go quietly, As this is a whisper like lightning, Far in the distance, Showing her eyes, On. * Days of fire, Burning across the country, Crows. * Foul, Conservative, Hustle. * Rain, Coast, In sight of land. * In America, Home, Undone, Becoming, Undone, Matches in pants pocket, Striking, Short fuse. * Running in the streets, Hurt, Razed earth. * Staring out the windows, Wind does the thing that wings were built for, Like the light and darkness of passing. * Vessels for the spirit to breath. * In every sense, Breath, Expanding, And there is not enough of me, So this time is spent, Holding onto you, As my chest collapses, Rises, And falls again. * Trying to catch the breath, Running, Desire and struggle, Doubled over, Desire struggle, Building strength in loss, Again, Rise, And fall. * Let this be the wind, Steam, Or vision. * Value the water as pressure, Precious, Drops. * You can cry and smile, Laugh and rage into here, And after, Like a wave, Like a goodbye, Ripples, The same as breaking glass. * Rise, And fall, The light and darkness, In this box. * Let the mystery come to rest, And open, The breadth expanding, Free, And after me come better things, Yet unknown, Unimagined, And unseen, Outside of dreams, Where reality is confluence, All roads leading, All faces aiding, Weather, Crumble, Mumbled voices, Know the world and know freedom, Know the fire and know love, Know that this might is the rain that brings flowers, This fire is the strength that binds. * Flickering light, Fires in the mirror, A mirror that cannot be broken, Fragmented reflection, Dialect of force, Tongues and forks, Picking up the pieces and arranging them into a face, Into a figure, The sum of all things, Value, Able, Bodies like water in the winter thaw, Liquidating assets, The past getting swept away in appearances like all beautiful things, Like all heavy objects, Evoking, Weight, The force immovable, Objects flow, Burning, Spear, Head. * The mirror cannot be broken, Showing naked, Aim, You see fires in the mirror, Bow, Like a prayer, Chant, Rhythm. * A, Beating, Heart of glass, Fires burning, Season love. * Pouring water over the bodies, Mirror, Where sleep is down river, Marching into the night, Reflected fire, Where sleep is death. * All days, Fragmented, You see, Know, Monsters, Empires’ ghost, The spear, Burning, A cross, As water for the fire, You see, No monsters, Empire’s ghosts, The spear, Burning bright in a field on fire, Looking at you, Dead, Asleep, Dreaming, Like a prayer, The mirror cannot be broken. * Flickering light, Blinded vision, Heart, Beating drums. * Take this hammer, Naked, Aim, The force immovable, Burning, The weight of heavy things, Like all things beautiful, Getting swept away, Past, The sum of all things, Liquidating assets, Past, Getting swept away. * Buy your house, Fill it, As your voice fades, Diverging waves, Breaking, The sound. * Buy your house, Fill it, As your voice fades, Diverging waves, Burn it to the ground, In the dark you stumble, Stares, At night, Longing, Your voice fades, Day, As night, Your voice fades, Your words break, Your steps, Falling, Stares. * The smell of trash burning, Watch, Ticking, Clock, Falling, Stares. * The face, As night turns to day, Waking up on the street, Your step, Falling, Gasoline, Lead, Water, Pipes, Cracking, The marble, Rolling, Coast. * Eyes see fire, Distant, Planes, Floating, Worlds, Day, As night, Tears, Flesh. * Buy your house, Fill it, As your voice fades, Diverging, Waves, Coast, Eyes see fire, Closer, Mattress, Burning, Body, Consumed, As night, Fades away. * And day breaks on ash, Fields, Hollow places, Inside, Your house, Burning, Dreams to dust, In your mouth, Skin boiling, Body consumed, In brilliant light. * As day breaks, Bones crumbling, In the morning, When eyes, Wake up, And look into the mirror, Eyes can see a clearer vision, Crossing, Your grass, Your lawn, Your dawn, Skies, Monochrome, And your eyes, See, A clearer vision, The day, You buy your house, And burn it down, And you stumble, Alive, Into the streets, Your voice screaming, Dreams, Distant, Coming to light your new home. ***