Rémy Ngamije: The Sage Of The Six Nigga Paths (or, The Life And Times Of the Five Os)

Chris Steele-Perkins, a black township near Windhoek, Namibia, 1984. Source: magnumphotos.com

Niggathrond And The Path Of Youth And Foolishness

When we were younger there was nothing else for niggas in this Wild Wild Worst town to do but fight. Me, Rinzlo, Cicero, Lindo, and Franco―the Five Os. We were from the same side of town:  torn Millé and Hi-Tech sneakers unworthy of hot-stepping in, out-of-fashion t-shirts from the Pep store with girl-pulling gravity set to zero, and not even a coin between us to spend at the video game arcade. We’d pool our poverty at the mall on weekends waiting for rich kids from Olympia and Ludwigsdorf to give us shifty looks so we could corner them in the parking lot and pound on them.

Anything could set us off.

Some Jordan-wearing dude looking at our cheap kicks funny? Fight.

Rinzlo’s younger brother getting bullied? Fight.

Some random-ass nigga coughing into the west wind while we were coming up from the east?

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Julian Gallo: Animals

USA. New York City, NY. 2015. Bronx Zoo.

Christopher Anderson, Bronx Zoo, 2015. Source: magnumphotos.com

“Come this way, Luca,” Carlo says, reaching out for the boy’s hand.

“But I’m not finished looking.”

“Okay. Take your time.”

Carlo eyes one of the boys in the group next to them. There’s one in every crowd, always one other kid that somewhere in the deep recesses of his not yet developed frontal lobe who felt so inadequate that he must find fault in another. This is the kid who will one day start bullying others, the one who will become a complete douche bag by the time he reaches middle school. Okay, so Luca is a little off but that’s no reason to stare, no reason to snicker behind your hand and elbow the kid next to you to get him on your side. Because that’s the way it’s going to work in the future: so inept are you to think for yourself, even at this young age, that you will need to gather an army around you to, in essence, do your fighting for you. Leader of the Pack. The Alpha Male. Perhaps, but clearly a zeta brain in development.

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Joe Linker: Waiting for Marjane

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I was roaming around Eastside industrial with my notebook, waiting for Lily to get off work, when a sudden squall forced me into a crowded, steamy coffee joint. And who should be sitting at the window drawing in her notebook but my old friend Daisy.

We had been part-timers teaching at the now defunct Failing school and played on the co-ed slow-pitch softball team. Part-time meant we taught summer terms, too, while the full-timers went on vacation. But that was fine because she was an artist and I was a poet. After a few years the scene went to seed and we drifted off and found real jobs.

I got a coffee and sat down with Daisy. She had a book by the Iranian writer Marjane Satrapi (who now lives in Paris). “It’s a comic book,” I said, picking it up and thumbing through it. “Sort of,” Daisy said, smiling.

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