Friday, June 24, 2005

Black Summer Nights

Late June 2005. I'm hanging out late at night - already summer dawn - next to one of the Amsterdam canals. The air is fresh and the fuckin' cold is gone. I'm watching the van Gogh lights reflected like gold on the black waters. A man - a black man with short Rastafari hair - passes by quickly, with paranoid steps, smoking heroine or cocaine like a stem engine. His hands move fast against his mouth, he ignites the lighter, burns the drugs, and the rush penetrates deep into his brain. He notices certain middle class restlessness in me as I see him passing, cruising... and he says in whispers, obviously to me, without stopping, like a lost ghost in the dark:

"Dont B 'fraid!
Yes! I'm a Black Man!
I'm happy
Have my own cash!!!"

Like poetry. As clear as a Basquiat painting. Full of anger and truth, full of structural injustice, surrounded by a paralyzing darkness, absolutely aware of how the fuckin' world works.

The moon is never high in the summer, but it's right there, always big, right on the edge of these short summer nights!

Basquiat-untitled 1982
Untitled, 1982. Jean Michel Basquiat.
Oil paintstick on paper. Collection of Leo Malca.