Sunday At Java Monkey
When he can get there, PG goes to an open mike poetry reading. The hosting facility is a coffee house, Java Monkey, in downtown Dickhater. The crowd is a mix of black and white.
Recently, America had a bad week. Two black men were shot dead by police. Five Dallas police were killed by a sniper. PG knew there would be a lot of black emotion at Java Monkey. What should he do?
The best thing for a white man to do was to be there, and listen. PG brought a smutty poem, sixtynine more words, to read. The rest of the time, he was quiet, and let other people speak.
One of the other white men felt the same way. He opened his poem by saying that it was not his struggle, and it was not appropriate for him to speak. (Those were not the exact words.) PG spoke to him at intermission. He said to think about this… what if you were a black person, coming to read on a night with much black pain. You looked in the audience, and there were no white people to listen?
The evening rolled along, ending just before the eleven pm deadline. PG stayed to the end. One person asked, why are white pointed hats ok, and black hoodies are not? White pointed hats are the punchline of jokes, and snarky comments. They are almost universally scorned.
Two weeks earlier, a young lady was talking about her natural hair. There was a comment about how *white* hands like to touch this hair. After this comment was made, a loud round of applause, and laughter, rose from the room. PG was puzzled, and just a wee bit hurt. He has never had the slightest desire to touch black lady hair.
So the evening went. The names of Timothy Hill and Gerard Foster were not spoken. They were two men shot to death, in DeKalb county, during the previous week. One was in an apartment complex, walking distance from Java Monkey.
Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. Here is a poem about that evening at Java Monkey.