In Tribute to Charles Deslonde, Leader of the Slave Rebellion of 1811

The Second Crucifixion (In Tribute to Charles Deslonde)

I saw a head on a hilltop and it was mine. I shrank from it in terror at first, but then I looked at it more closely. For in that severed head, was my own disemboweled spirit, my broken body, my troubled mind. It was like a recreation of the painful, fatal sacrifice of my Lord for me. And just as I could not turn my back on Calvary, but had to linger, so too I had to go to this little place in Orleans and hang out with this head on a hilltop. I then sought to understand my initial terror and I realized it was because the head was mine, it was because it looked like me like Trayvon, like Amadou, like Oscar like Rodney like Martin like Malcolm, and yet it was just one human head on a hilltop. With each grain of understanding I drew closer. Finally, I claimed the head as did my ancestors the butchered head of Ausar and I affixed it to my belt, that I would NEVER FORGET it nor battle without knowledge of it, nor neglect to avenge it. And so I ride, a new horseman of the Eurocentric apocalypse that is the life of my people in the modern age and I am searching for but 12 pieces. I want severed hands, broken hips, a body ridded with bullets, for my collection and I will array them on my table and pray words of peace and resurrection over them, then will those dry bones start to jiggle a little bit. Lo, though the earth will shake as it did on that third hour of the third day so long ago, I will not myself be shaken. For the bones will get up and they will grow sinew and substance and blood and fluid will begin to flow. Ashes become bones. Bones become body. Body reunites with head. And then shall I open the mouth and the breath of life will come, not just to a person but to a people. So go ahead agents of Satan, cut me to pieces, leave my head upon a hilltop, but know that there will be, as there always have been, conscious children of the OTHER true Master in due time and right season, sent by the ancestors, to gather up our bones and to breathe life into them again. You buried a head and pieces of a body, but fool you were, you did not know you COULD not bury a spirit. Today Charles Deslonde, the one you made a severed head on a hilltop speaks and he speaks through me. His head is mine, his hands are mine, his hips broken are mine, he walks and he talks and what should trouble you most is that each of us is an ancestor arisen and armed with a long memory and a cognitive and conceptual blade. Now you know why I carry one. Sleep light. Sleep tight. Many a headless horseman and woman rides tonight. They are coming for your heads and the heads of your children, that they be severed from evil and corruption and be resurrected and made whole like Charles.

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