My Reaction to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “My President Was Black” In January/February 2017 Issue Of The Atlantic


Ta-Nehisi Coates does an outstanding job here as a post-Black Nationalist foil to President Obama, explaining the latter’s lifelong attempt to become Captain America.  He really does a good job undressing the first Black President as a Black man who, because he grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia and completely loved and trusted his white family, he had the attitude/worldview that allowed White America to, in turn, completely trust him with the keys. (Coates correctly points out that Obama was in younger days an activist, not a protester; that says a lot when you think about it.) In many ways, I think that this is Coates’ breakthrough article, because now he can stop being an embedded journalist to Black Star Power. So enough of this I’m-trying-to-figure-all-this-stuff-out-without-offending-you-good-white-intellectuals role he has played to his loving white audience. Clearly, he has enough power, savings and fame by now. 🙂 Under President Trump’s naked, White Nationalist oppression, I hope Coates, a very talented writer who has played the game well, will now directly say what he really feels about white Americans, and White America, to a white readership who, interestingly enough, now trusts him enough that they will be ready to hear him. (I hope the lesson that will not be learned from all this is that white trust is essential for Black success and power, but that ship has probably already sale-d.) Coates will hopefully now tell truths undiluted by “dreams” (his or anyone else’s), or “Dreamers,” his annoyingly euphemistic name for whites in “Between The World and Me,” his award-winning update of James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time.”  Well, that next time came about three weeks ago. It’s woke-ness for everybody. Time to share the pain. Time to stop dancing what my friend, the writer Ericka Blount Danois, calls “the soft shoe.” Or, as Baldwin himself says in “Blues For Mr. Charlie,” his play inspired by the lynching of Emmett Till:

Richard: You still determined to break your neck.

Juanita: Well, it’s a neck-breaking time. I wouldn’t like to appear to be above the battle.


An Attempted Deadline Poem About The Democratic National Convention: “Love’s Booty Call (a.k.a. Crazy In Love)”


Love, American Style / Truuer than the red, white and bluuueee!
It’s the song from an old TV show
Back when Hill was shifting from Goldwater Girl
To ambitious law student seeking writ, not revolution

Last night, she moved into the place
Banishing the ’08 failed entitlement
Taking a village, indeed!
Barack, Michelle, some pork-chop preachers
(the latter Deese Negroes Cooning)
Black People To The Rescue!
Too bad Santa and Superman didn’t show
Wanted to hear their testimonials about puppies, truth and justice
If balloons, CVs, Alicia Keys and Katy Perry produced trust, Hill has won
But I would count the change she makes
before walking out the store

Hill and Kaine were proud of how
white-bred boring they are
And how they are, like, real grownups
(“A man you can bait with a Tweet is not a man you can trust with nuclear weapons”)
But we can trust you to bomb from above
Because that’s what America has become
Available in Marvin and Tammi flavors
As Blacks dance with Joe Biden down the “Soul Train” line
Arguing over who gets to play Crockett and who’s stuck with Tubbs


Hill: “America is great because America is good”
Yeah, there it is, white supremacy slipped in with the beer
But why were so many Black people cheering?
Did they know that while they were integrating
The Sister Prosecutor of the cops who killed Freddie Gray
Threw up her hands because of a rigged system?
Or did their inclusion into the Party turn their cheers to Nyquil?

Wow, even Trayvon’s and the other moms are riding the donkey
Black folks have had their turn at the Prez bat
And now want their old, good jobs back
Leaving the Party with the Black cat far behind in history
As caution or model

Blacks love Dems, treasure their booty call status
Knowing the platform is a fake prenup
But showing it off
Like a gold-plated engagement ring

Not like those crazy Bernie people
Dumb to democracy
Not accepting just half of freedom
Cheering and booing at will
Trying to not choke at the Clinton’s historic s/triangulation
SmallPOX News (*cough* devils *cough*)
Produced their Hill Hate Card in an interesting way:
Spent a lot of airtime on the Burned Out
Before they split the scene
(With their YUGE, inflatable doobie!)
Searching for an abstract freedom
That freezes imperialism

News Flash: The RNC will never nominate
Kermit The Frog or the ghost of Fred Rogers
Maybe that thrown-away vote
Will one day hit the right person between the eyes

Makes me want to
Cross at the Green not in-between
This fall
Or just mark “X”


The conflict is clear
Amiri Baraka, critiquing Jesse’s ’88 DNC’s crossover joint, said it best:
“Both the slave and the slavemaster can’t be right”
But this is what Obama has wrought
Confusion disguised as progress
The Obamas are the fulfillment of so many dreams
I just don’t know whose

Hill’s great advantage?
That maddening Trumpet wailing on the other side
Archie Bunker sitting on a pile of cash
Dialing the Russians on his iPhone
America Ferrera had it right: “He’s making America hate again”
The DNC’s mentally colonized will be put to good use just this one time
To judge this unpopularity contest
Just leave Steve Harvey home this time

Daddy-O, aping Reagan
Applied select crayon to Norman Rockwell
Weaving the strands of American struggle
In ways that would make Howie Zinn’s ghost weep
(MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow: Dems convention had “eaten the Republican Party whole”)
But a clear thought did emerge:
This is, Daddy-O explained, a “fundamental choice of who we are as a people”
(As usual, he meant American, not Black)

So the POTUS-to-POTUS pass has been made
And Black people were included in every respect and aspect
Which makes empire acceptable
Because when Black people love
It’s for real

Boomerang-ing while chomping Peanuts
Hmm: Lucy never gets Schroeder, Sally never nabs Linus,
Charlie Brown ducks the Little Red-Haired Girl
And Linus never catches up with Miss Othmar
Snoopy, wearing Panther shades, is the only one who’s free
He kicks on the door to demand his reparations
And after getting what he wants
Leaves the gang to their dysfunction

I hope Blacks ultimately remember
That unrequited love is freer than a dollar-store midnight raid
‘Cause it’s just pain smoothed over by denial
A love hostage with an unpaid ransom
It’s a perversion of Carter G.
Going in the FRONT door
But only to babysit, and to be thanked
With only $10 and a kiss on the forehead.

An Attempted, Deadline Poem About the 2016 Republican National Convention: “Charles In Charge?”


No Bushes to block my Tee Vee, but you know what’s worse?
Charles in Charge [Scott Baio, formerly Chachi ] is speaking to the RNC—or is it the AARP?–in Cleveland
Bad 80s sitcom, speech to match
An Iowa Congressman brags about white, Christian Western Civ
While Redneck Nation is crawling on all floors, yelling “Lock her up!”

Charles in Charge is the week’s theme
The first Trump-Pence logo had it right
It’s gonna happen to the whole nation, without Vaseline
(Here comes the Trump air-kiss!)
“We Like Mike” is an echo to Tee Vee dinners
And black-and-white lynching

Trump: “I will be your champion. I am your voice.”
Nothing new in Rotary Club bonding
He’s just Old School-direct about it
Like his “Law and Order” hero Nixon
Passing out white lightsabers
Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate
Hugging my Yoda doll real tight, because in real trouble, the world is

Ted Cruz, with his 20/20 AD vision
Gives Trump the finger
Enjoys the Doctor Doom act
Accepts the Bronx Cheer
Anger about the family dis holds the iron mask in check

(And lookit Gingrich! Pulling out the Pooper Scooper!
He should turn it toward his nose)

And since when could white people be denied the right to vote?
The RNC floor was the most-pissed whites I’d seen since OJ
Meanwhile, black folks clean the convention
Practicing for the Subway Series election

White world unity left with the Colorado delegation
And America is thinking about putting Charles in Charge?
Pass me a nose-ring and a sign


Malcolm’s sad-versus-mad is blowingblack
So American now, we’ve left Fanon’s ideas to the disturbed
Trained by the Eagle to see too well

No hope from the White Mouse
Done with Daddy O’s equivocating
Shaking in front of the police instead of shaking the police
Time is running out for somebody
to smack the black BACK ON HIM
And you telling me that all I have to look forward to
Is another four to eight of stay-the-course, just okay?

Half a cent from Black Power
And America may want Charles in Charge?
Where’s my Cornel West scarf and dictionary??
He says “The country is having a nervous breakdown”
Maybe Jack, the old-school movie Joker, is right–
This town [U.S.A.] needs an enema


I’m looking to the New York Skyline
for the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man
That heralds the end-days
And the beginning of the Duck Dynasty

Back in Cleveland, the NASCAR dads and scratch-off moms
Are acting out the Alamo in front of my eyes
There’s a brief power outage
And Capt. America is in the corner, cowering behind his shield
Even smallPOX News (*cough* demons *cough*) is imploding
Roger Ailes—who pimped anchors into Rockettes—grabs his trenchcoat

New Jersey Gov. Krispie Creame
The Soprano Made Good
Ate up well his Tee Vee primetime
“Guilty or Not Guilty”—like a gameshow host
(Has Trump pushed him into Stockholm Syndrome?)
While back home, his aides cross a bridge to beg forgiveness in front of a judge and jury
And Assata sticks out her tongue from Cuba

Meanwhile, Mrs. Trump bites off of Michelle
While explaining her rags-to-Prada story
Blurred lines, indeed!
Her accent was too Thicke

Freddie Gray still can’t get justice after four cop trials
and America is risking having Charles in Charge?
I’ll binge on KC Undercover instead.