October 26, 2004

Salted Tears Indeed If you’re

Salted Tears Indeed

If you’re anything like us, dear reader, you can’t get enough of Afrocentric poetry. Almost nothing soothes our collective soul like the delightful cadences of couplets devoted to harping on the horrid sins of whitey. Disarming alliteration, charming assonance, and violent screeds—what could prove more enlivening?

Afrocentric poetry is the realm in which the lyricism of the lower-case e.e. cummings meets the deranged lunacy of the lower-case bell hooks.

Naturally, then, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” were delighted to happen upon a “website” entitled “Voices! The Intercultural Poetry E-Journal.”

To be honest, at first we were a bit hesitant about “Voices”; we had been burned by many an “intercultural poetry e-journal” in the past. Yet, when we stumbled upon poems with such illustrious titles as “De-Mockery of Democracy” and “I Have an Artificial Eye,” we knew we had found a locus classicus of fine multicultural poetry. After all, how can poems titled “Identity—Identi-me” and “I, A Frog” be trite? We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” couldn’t think of any reason. And believe us, we tried.

Yet we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” quickly fastened on our favorite verse from the poetasters who contributed to “Voices”: A clever Afrocentric ditty composed by the humorously named Harry Hyman.

Mr. Hyman’s composition—magnum opus, really—entitled “Thru Salted Tears,” is a poetic tour de force. If by “poetic tour de force” you mean “a clunky piece of pseudo-empowerment penned by a tin-eared dolt.”

Its first verse reads as follows:

Thru Salted Tears
by Harry Hyman

I was King, she was Queen in the land of Pearls
Science, Art and Reason were gifts we gave the world
Over 10,000 years, we ruled with tolerance
While the rest of the world was bathed in ignorance

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” hate to cast aspersions, but we doubt the degree to which “the rest of the world was bathed in ignorance” whilst Mr. Hyman and his Queen offered the world science, art, reason, and tolerance.

But let us try to get this straight: Mr. Hyman and his African Queen preach tolerance—to the ignorant, artless malcontents who live elsewhere on the globe. How come this doesn’t strike us as a particularly “tolerant” way of putting these matters?

Mr. Hyman’s verse continues:

One day, over the horizon, the Ocean Devils came
And our world and our lives would forever lose their Fame
Lies and deceit they used without care
And their weapon of submission was one called Fear

Now, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” aren’t professional poetry critics. Still, we have the sneaking suspicion that Mr. Hyman is discussing the horrors of slavery. We entirely agree that slavery—wherever it was or is practiced—is morally abominable. In fact, we don’t want to come across as a passel of “Ocean Devils,” but we feel it is so morally abominable that composing hackneyed poetry that recalls it strikes us as slightly sordid.

We hate to quibble with Mr. Hyman’s poetry further, but we think the “weapon of submission” employed by the “Ocean Devils” was Gunpowder, not Fear.

Another verse of Mr. Hyman’s poem reads:

No longer are they Christian
They’ve forgotten friend and brother
Now, Gold is God and rules the day
That enslaves one man to another

Hold up a second, Mr. Hyman! Are you—beacon of tolerance and reason that you are—asserting that only Christians involved themselves in the slave trade? If so, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” must confess we find you “bathed in ignorance.”

What about the Egyptians enslaving the Jews? Didn’t that occur under non-Christian auspices?

Perhaps, dear reader, Mr. Hyman is taking what we might call poetic license. Sure, his view of slavery—and of Africa, and of history, and of science, and of reason, and of art—is distorted. But it’s all for the joys of verse. If so, may we humbly suggest that Mr. Hyman drop all his pseudo-historical pretenses and simply let ‘er rip?

Why, even we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” think that we could compose some historically dubious Afrocentric poetry that would really get the blood burning.

For instance, the Official Afrocentric Poetry Department of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” is content to present:

Kill That Whitey Bastard
by the Official Afrocentric Poetry Department of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”

Whilst we, the proud, kind, and tolerant People of the Sun,
Took in the light of enlightenment,
Those evil Ice People oppressors
Were busy trying to ruin the world.

Especially the Jews.

Somehow, these Pale Devils
Purloined our gifts of reason, civility, science, and art,
Transferring these gifts into evil.

Although, to be frank, we’re not quite sure how they did that.
We mean, if reason, civility, science, and art
Were formerly such gifts to the world,
How did they become such horrors?

Ah, never mind. We hate Whitey.

Man, if that doesn’t get us a sinecure at some collegiate creative writing program, we don’t know what will.

Posted at October 26, 2004 12:01 AM | TrackBack