blackmail press 21
crossed cultures - special issue

Dreams coming in a crowded night
giving birth
voices waking in fear
sometimes it is alright
not wanting to have been
funeral homes having open days
as if death can be made safe
no references

Dreams coming in a crowded night
giving birth
blood is everywhere
the american general says
do not keep the young soldiers
in the desert too long
they will begin to question the act of killing
two wrongs
having unsafe fucking
bush an illegitimate whore of group sex
fathered by
the u.s. supreme court
is in so much danger
from blood suckers

Dreams coming in a crowded night
giving birth
sometimes we want to live
in a space of not knowing
lightdarknessis about you
ask the dream who brought it
the answer says
it is never just from there
to here
there are too many gods
and shadows of humankind
for holy water
to be dipped from one well
go on
with what follows
after the womb

Dreams coming in a crowded night
giving birth
all in one season
so much disappears
in the dust of childhood footprints
it was a night of wakeful sleep
something calling out
for remembrance
in Sudan
a grandmother names her grandchild
at 14
she is taken by the rebels
at 16
she escapes
at 16
she has killed
at 16
she doesn’t fear death
at 16
she doesn’t feel
at 16
her womb is dead
where have all the children gone
they have been eaten
by madmen preaching freedom
drinking their milk

Dreams coming in a crowded night
giving birth
the midwife calling your name
who will name
what this child does tomorrow
the witch-doctor says
life is at the mercy of events
women don’t uncross their legs with care
men don’t know the difference
things burn in the mind
time flows
into the next moment
with no regard for the last
are not here
for that long
a grave without footprints around it is a lonely
life casts a spell

Dreams coming in a crowded night
giving birth
to your yesterdays
these are not strangers
sleeping in your mind
they have been fathered
where they lie

Dreams coming in a crowded night


My father to be sits in the cold living room, in the dark.

My mother to be lies awake in the dark cold bedroom,
waiting for him.  She knows why he is sitting in the dark;
she knows what will happen when he comes into the
bedroom and what words she will have to say to him.
Like her mother and her mother's mother, they have
always known what words to say in times like this.
She knows, as her mother and her mother knew, that
those words they passed down to each other to give their
men in times like this are but lies.  Lies to keep that
morsel of life in their men from total death – just
another day, a minute.  So she lies, as her mother and
her mother did.

My father to be sits in the living room and that morsel of
life cries out:  I am, I am, I AM A MAN –
He thinks about his father, his hand strikes out in the
darkness, trying to destroy what he has become.  I am a
man, I am a man, I am not like you, I am a man.  I will
not let the white man make of me what he made of you.
I don't fear the white man like you did, I don't fear him,
I fear you, because you made me fear him.

My father to be strikes out in the darkness at himself.

My mother to be hears the door open, he's standing near
the bed, the covers are slowly being pulled from over her
body.  She feels his hands, she reaches for his body, there
is a moment of pain as a part of him pushes its way into
her body.  She holds on as he tries to go deeper than
there is to go – to escape.  It is time to say the words,
yes, God, it is time to say the words her mother and
her mother said in times like this.  The words must be
said, the words must be said now!  Yes, the lie, speak
the lie now, woman.  Speak.  Speak.  Speak.
"Things will be better tomorrow."

The seeds of my father to be and the seeds of his
father and his father rush toward the eggs of my
mother to be.  The seeds move toward the eggs fast,
faster, with all the bitterness, fear/hate, shame,
madness, sorrow, humiliation, the decay of the soul –
that morsel of life that wants to grow and live.
The seeds are coming to make me, to make me.
They have left the body of my father to be, they are
coming to make me.  To make me in the image of my
father.  Moving fast, faster in the body of my mother
to be.  The seeds are coming, coming, coming,
crying out:  I am, I am, I am....

A woman cries out
As the child she is giving birth to
Tears its head from between the darkness
Of her legs

The cries of the woman soften
As the child pulls itself deeper into life

The line is cut –
The beginning of the end
Is over

It is a man-child
The word is spoken
After the blood is washed away
Now he must walk into life
The afterbirth has given up
All claim on him
Walking, walking, walking


a black woman
in LA
driving a shuttle bus
connecting airline to airline
a baby on the long seat
across from her
all wrapped up
a boy
the baby’s brother
about six
next to the baby
a girl next to him
his sister
about four
they looking straight ahead
at nothing
they go
around the world for eight hours

Featured Artist Fiona Holding
L. E. Scott is an African American jazz poet and world traveller.  His work has been published in most of New Zealand's literary magazines, as well as magazines such as Essence, The Black Scholar, Obsidian and Chelsea.  Scott has also had a number of collections published, the latest of which is Speaking in Tongues, published by HeadworX (Wellington) in 2007.