Gabriel Christian: Poets Corner

Welcome to MoAD Poet’s Corner, a space where our network of poets speak to their place in the African Diaspora as it exists today. The poets featured in this series are connected to MoAD through our MoAD Lit programs, which includes Poets-in-Residence, Third Thursday Open Mic, and Authors in Conversation. Here is a space where you can nourish your soul, feel inspired, and relish in the words that narrate the African Diaspora. In the words of the late, Toni Morrison at her Nobel Prize address, “We die. That may be the meaning of life.  But we do language.  That may be the measure of our lives.”

Poem:

gold mine:

gold mine:

indiscipline tells my black hand to

hoard it, cash – but my bank is ruptured like a gut, flatlined, zero interest. my black hand did it. stuck a thousand knives. black-

brown viscous color honey buzzy black hand, holds cash, still. green meets brown and makes brown; black consumes it all.

but

this hand.

.

Nah. My debt smells like a vacant bed.

Sweat that tried to launder sheets just leaves salt. My debts grease the wall.

.

& what if I could owe / own nothing?

.

my gold, child. trickle down. throw

the bar on top of history. double down. this slipshod pyramidal union. can a once commodity self-

actualize? these are the

questions for black wealth. how to enrich the rest? the universe expands. toss a coin into the fountain; it

rusts. toss it into the

abyss.

.

Nah. My debt rings my ulcers. Salt

from my back now seasons the chicken. My debts bloodies my nose.

.

or what if I could owe / own nothing?

.

credit score careens off a cliff smashes

up the front fender police ask the car manufacturer the credit union if they are okay oh but here black

boi blood mix with the

gasoline now he nightrider un/living un/dead scraping up the road asphalt under keratin nailing his

home together with

driftwood.

.

Nah. Mine debt got a short lifespan.

Call in a favor or a loan. Mine debt goes out with the compost. Aerates the soil. Irrigates the crops. Or

floods up the pavement.

Visions the duplex & pulls out the bodies from the cellar. Nah. I got a debit card.

.

but what if I could owe / own nothing.

Artist Statement:
The process of allowing an identifier like “BlaQ” to seep into my skin instigates an honest purge of commodity art from my personal mission. So where does that leave the Work? Not art for art’s sake, not in a vacuum. The work I make now is socially-engaged and instructive, but not community art nor didactic. It is gathering but not quite rally. It is open mouth but not quite song. Most importantly, it is blissfully flawful. These thresholds that blackness and queerness allow me to toe are my survival spaces, where I can hum without quite the right words, with hair mussy and a kiss-sour taste on the lip.

Biography:
Gabriel Christian is an increasingly amorphous artist bred in New York City and baking in Oakland. Their work metabolizes the vernaculars within BlaQ diaspora –– futurity, afrovivalism, faggotry ––  through body-based live performance and poetics; moreover, they feel the bio to be an unfortunate by-product of capitalistic modes like chattel slavery.

Follow Gabriel Christian on Instagram.

Categories:  MoAD Lit