When You Have The Pessimistic Blues


By Hailey Broughton-Jones

Image: “Riffs on Real Time (1 of 10),” by Leslie Hewitt, 2006–2009. 


What is the aspiration of progress?

Humanization as defined by the white man?

By his system, by his rules?

What is the end game?

Play the complacent fool?

Bury your intelligence in the soot of his degradation, in pursuit of survival

What is survival? A commodity that can live to the next day to be purchased?

A commodity that can be blessed


As is in first, middle, and last name

to remind you that you are somehow


being in their mouth but not at their table

Making it to the next day to stand on a Brooklyn slave bloc waiting, waiting, waiting

For the wave of a white hand from a white Cadillac

Waiting, waiting, waiting- no demanding

To buy his hamburger, to put money in his pocket

Having ones humanity be defined in white text on white paper-

to the point where one has to have the right light to see it right

Can someone tell me what progress is?- What is the end game?

Black agency doesn’t appear to be in his vocabulary

A black man

in a white shirt

sitting in the white house

But who owns the big house?

Who built those shiny marble steps?

Who cooked those meals to feed American’s insatiable appetite



Civil Rights decelerations reverberate off the walls

Up held by the hands of enslaved labor

So there was no clapping

Progress insomuch as it doesn’t place white supremacy on life support

No we wouldn’t want that

No we wouldn’t want that

No we wouldn’t want that



That would be too fast

Too much

In too little time

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