Kuumba (Creativity):  To do always as much as we can in the way we can, in order to keep our community more beneficial than we inherited it.


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Literary Excerpts

Black Man In Europe - The Novel

Please enjoy these excerpts from some of my novels and poetry collections.     Check back often for new additions!  To purchase a copy of any of my books, please click here to be taken to our sister site, SajeTanira Publishing.

From Black Man In Europe...

England:  Bill Sikes


     Charcoal was the sky, something out of Poe. The floodgates of heaven beat the earth like a Senegalese his djimbé. El Nino annoyed a paradisiacal Bay Area community with an unrelenting monsoon tantrum, forcing its residents to contend with yet another historic ten months of floods, mudslides, and property damage. I could care less about the weather. I saw the rain as a blessing. No more water gauging or draughts.  Mother earth was cleansing herself from unwanted toxins, and my water bills decreased, finally.

     I was more focused on my European hiatus, and what unspoken sentiments were brewing inside Yani, considering the Atlantic would separate us for three months or more.   I was not committed to writing letters, and emails and post-cards were logically easier, less strenuous forms of communication. I felt selfish, but I had to be selfless in order to grow as a person. I needed to expand my vision beyond the borders of the US.  The texture of overseas travel would cement my dreamy thoughts into reality, and would complement the history of Europe I had acquired through studying and teaching. Maps, literature, and constructed classroom discussions were painted stories on the canvas of human geography. I had to live and taste the authenticity of primary and secondary sources exposed to me through a kaleidoscope of history texts, travel guides, documentaries, movies, and family stories. I wanted my own stories, and my senses craved a visceral appetite of the unknown.  My caged spirit would be liberated.

     Graduate school had semi-officially ended three weeks prior, and I was urgent  about distancing myself from the disillusioning politics of the Ethnic Studies Department at San Francisco State University , and the veracity of a worldview steeped in others’ inter-generational unresolved conflicts. I felt bombarded with a trifecta of academic, social, and work-related cultural conditioning. I needed another perspective, a global baptizing; and not another undigested lecture from the world of academia, cultural elites, nationalists, pro-people of color suggesting who I was or was supposed to be; when the truth was, many people of color didn’t gel until a common cause brought them together. SF State was ethnic disillusion and bewilderment masked by hidden agendas.

     This prompted a pre-planned sabbatical from my teaching post at Luxor Academy, an African-centered school nestled in the heart of Oakland’s Mosswood Park. Its epicenter, a luminous emerald-colored Victorian house crossroading the heart of activity on West Mac Arthur and Webster Street, diagonally adjacent to Ever Green Baptist Church, and just right to Kaiser’s Pediatric building. Mosswood was a staple for Oakland’s finest, where crack heads and drug busts overshadowed the positive collective of Luxor’s school children lined up for martial arts instructions in the park. Students who ran cross-country with Brother Murray, the gym teacher, had to run at a certain time in the mornings with open awareness of the perils lurking around them.  Drug peddling was pervasive, and students often made notice of the hand-to-hand dope transaction. My environment awareness served as both asset and liability in ways unfathomable. It forged a jaded sensory of consciousness helping me to detect and negotiate with fortitude any lurking nuances inside and outside the community classroom.  I needed a vacation.

     I was a few days away from globetrotting across the Atlantic. Still, my mind wandered back to the softness of Yani’s voice, to the sweetness of her perfume, and the benevolence of balance in her spirit. Her clemency adorned me and I lingered in thought, divinity must smell like this. She caressed my insecurities with encouraging possibilities of a future unknown. She was my rational mind, and often guided me through many hardball, life-changing decisions. Parts of me knew this separation situation would be different, and not easy to assimilate.  We spent five whole days together, the most time in a single stretch we’d shared since the beginning of our relationship. Those five days were so intense, I considered not leaving, but I knew it was a ploy by her to make me reconsider my actions. We talked too much about my leaving for England.  Most of our relating was around me not asking her to accompany me.  Yani’s calm energy was peculiar, and a blowout was inevitable, I just didn’t know when to expected the expected. I was finally a few hours away from going to SFO and leaving for London.

     The night before, we loved like a chapter in our universe was ending. We shadowed each other with insistent embraces. We held on for life support, but the raft could not stay afloat too long.

     Affixed to the ceiling, our eyes wandered back and forth queuing in on the unspoken, and the unspoken presumed more threatening, more intense. I blew whispers of emotions into the air, and sighed billowing silently, affirming my love for her; she gestured the same. I turned over from the edge of my queen-sized futon, facing inward, cautiously reaching out to her, piercing her soul’s eyes, blinding her with avoidance by subtly staring at Bob Marley’s poster looming slightly above her head.

     She returned the favor; a tear trickled from her left eye. I welled inside, but for reasons, unannounced. I felt loss and relief streamed through my veins.  Emotional whirlwinds of doubt, amends, and fear megalithed my chest, like Stonehenge, a weight I was not too inclined to bare.

     In her bosom, I lay, warm and nurtured as a child, yet insecure in my inability to communicate my boyish emotional hang-ups. She filled my ear with spiritual salve, soothing as a mother’s love.  Yani was natural at doing intangible things to nurture my being.  “You are my African king, and kings and queens complement each other,” she’d whisper. Sheltered from inclemency, I daydreamed about the day I would finally arrive in Europe. Now, hours away, I pondered. I will embark upon a journey. In another time, in another place, Yani was listening intently. She reacted with her hands, rolled her eyes, stroking my hair, massaging, and imprinting her insecurities.

     “Why do you talk of Europe, so much? And what is your fascination and desire to explore this European lifestyle? Why not Africa or the Caribbean? Those are places worth investigating. That’s where your people come from. You should connect with them. That’s who you are!”  The mood’s temperature in the room thickened like LA smog. Her voice crescendoed, moving in-and-out of octaves, as her mannerisms became more hypersensitive, questioning my dream. Yani’s eyes interlocked mine, calmly anxious, searching a magical cord to strum, hoping to render a change of heart. The verge of precipice summoned Sybil’s mind. Enraged tastefully, she dissected me verbally like a quadratic equation.

Copyright © 2008, 2010 Nathan Jones

Black Man In Europe - The Novel


From Black Man In Europe...

The Mediterranean:  In Too Deep


Before she could respond, I—somewhat out of kilter—grabbed her hands, and pulled her to my chest.  We kissed a millennium. We locked into each other like radar, as I nestled my hand in the small of her back.  I thought she would recoil, but she remained. 

 Cease the moment, man. Surrender those inhibitions.

Amidst a tumult of strange bodies, I pursued my lips to hers. Eyes seared a hole through both of us. Shock washed their faces. With our lips still interlocked, Tia suspired like she had not been kissed since Romper Room.

“Tia, where are you?  Are you here with me?”

“Yes!  I’m here . . . I’m . . . here, Anthony.  Where are you?”

“Fifty sheets to the wind, but surreal!  I’m a bit light-headed, but not from the Bailey’s,” I laughed.

“So what now?”

“You tell me. I am open like the Mediterranean Sea.”

“I want to go skinny-dipping,” she uttered, nervously.

“You want to do what?”

“Yes! Let’s go; it’ll be fun. We can invite the gang!”

“You’re joking, right? Skinning-dipping. You want to frolic around in an abyss of uncertainty.  It’s darker than a night of ravens out there.”

“Anthony, I’m feeling adventurous.  I need to cool off.  Besides, you’re the one always talking about taking the ride.”

“True. But I can barely walk with an indecisive equilibrium. I might drown from the thought of being in the water. Have you lost your mind?”

“Just trust me. I found my mind when we kissed. Besides, we can all go together.  Everything will be fine.  I promise.”

She promised. Like I am supposed be ok in the buff with strangers. This was against my wildest judgment.

This was a wondrous dilemma, a proposition spicier than Jamaican Jerk chicken. Her timing was unparallel to any other night.  My dungeons shook. What would Jesus do?

Jesus would walk on water.

Tia’s idea was stupendous—how many times in life can one tread water in the Mediterranean with a beautiful woman?  

At the same time, what Black man in his right mind would take his ass out into unfamiliar waters, where who-knows-what type of shit might be lurking? Jaws and his cousins could be awaiting their last supper. And suffice, we might.  My mind orbited like a meteorite passing the space shuttle. Every reserve I could think of clouded my thoughts.

To be butt ass-naked in a foreign water and taking a chance was too far a stretch for my prodigal son’s imagination. But Tia was my salvation.  Her energy soothed my resistance.

Tia would be bliss standing there in all her splendor. 

The thought of it had me open like a passage to India.  Sex!  The Mediterranean! Stars! A bright Grecian moon, unfiltered. This would be historic surrealism, oral history the books could not document.                      

But still, I couldn’t fathom being in the sea at night, with the coterie and lurking organism lying in wait.  The mere notion curdled my stomach. It would be pitch-black, and none of us would see a damn thing.  I glanced at Tia and Janine.  I considered my options. Opportunities like these are far and few.

Tia attired a peculiar expression.  I interpreted it as having something to do with her apparition of a man back in Toronto.  She’d mentioned him, occasionally. We enjoyed each other’s company, and the more moments shared, she referenced him. I guess this was her way of coping with any resemblance of guilt.  Dialogue was better than a stiff drink of Bacardi.  Ironically, he was from Greece—Patras, I believe. To think Tia was vying for my attention was more peculiar. A part of me hardened inside because I never pictured myself as someone’s holiday best kept secret. I never indulged the ideal of being Greece’s Dexter Saint Jock.  But the toxicity of multiple tropical elixirs, bitches brews, and bizarre atmospheres induced my libido.

Copyright © 2008, 2010 Nathan Jones

Black Man In Europe - Micro Volume

From Black Man In Europe...

Spain:  Beyond The Beginning



Barcelona was paradise, ancient, engulfed in gaudy, lavish decadence slow to modernize, a wasteland hungry for vibrancy but a thirty desert thriving on a reputation of yester-year.  Her sister, Paris exuded outer-worldly hedonism, satirical intellectualism, romantic zest, and a libido rivaling no other. Barcelona’s balmy weather, its overt nudity, its Venetian canal aromas, strummed homophonic chords of harmony to a convoluted regiment of organized disorder. I had forgotten all about the garbage and fish smells. Because tonight, my last night in Barcelona, life was to be lived, so David and I bar-hopped deep into crepuscular hours. Whatever Barcelona was to teach me, I was not remised to impart my undivided attention.

During my short prolonged stay, I managed to acquire a keen awareness to circumnavigate the city. The Metro was as efficient as Paris’s. The difference was, the people moved with a lazy tropical cadence, imprinting an impression of a cultural lackadaisicalness. I learned the Metro, as this was a good thing, and not something to take for granted, as the heat could cause an uncomfortable dance with the devil.

The cultural exchange bored me like a game of bridge. The closest I got to any resemblance of anything African was from the artwork hung on the walls in the Picasso Museum. Of course, I wasn’t allowed to take photos. I do recall snapping shouts of the outer-realm of its structure. The more I reflect my trips stay, I felt stoic like Albert Camus’s The Stranger. If alienation and absurdity were two-thirds of an existentialist’s equation, I was fading fast. What an ironic parody of mundane pleasure. Shopping the strip of the famed Las Ramblas was no Champs Elysees, the noticeable difference was the high-end establishments were on the gobble-stoned side streets, but the entertainment was less appealing as I watched street performers hustle a multitude of gawked eyed tourists. If there was grace that saved, then La Ribera, idling into the Gracia district, mingled me with students worldwide in Plaza del Sol, and forced innumerable hours detaching and attaching myself at Plaza de España, in an awe-struck gaze from the lights of the Magic Fountains. My contemplation of Gaudi’s masterpieces coupled a walk forcing my soles to entire the length of Diagonal, Barcelona’s main thoroughfare. But through all of this, I figured to learn almost no Spanish.

God must really be on my side.”

“Anthony, are you okay?” David asked.

 “I awake from my Bridge to Tabitha

“Yeah, I’m cool. Feeling a little blue. That’s all.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah. Let’s do this!” summoning my strength.

“So no regrets. It’s all about the ride. Take the ride!” David advised brotherly.

“I guess you’re right. The rest of Spain awaits me. Barcelona is just a piece of the pie, a snapshot among many. Bring on the drinks and the señoritas, señoras tambien!” I declared.

“Let’s hit the strip first. Then, we’ll swing by the Jamboree, and see what happens from there. I know you have to leave tomorrow, so I won’t keep you out too


“Look, D., I’m cool, really. No sleep for me tonight. I’ll sleep on the train. Besides, I get insomnia before every departure.”

We walked over to Las Ramblas to see what the strip had to offer.  Having drained two six-packs, we made a beeline to the Jamboree but found nothing to our liking. The Jamboree lucidly reminded me of a watered-down version of a San Francisco club. Its biggest attraction was that it is multi-ethnic. The biggest drawback is the music: a one-sided version of hip-hop, so-called gangster à la L. A.   Apparently, the DJ’s had never heard of the Native Tongue School.

Here, I saw an Imitation of Life, American style. Spanish kids emulated American mannerisms of cool, wearing black American hip-hop attire, fashion for the

Streets. Jet-black Senegalese and Ghanaians, dressed like Brooklynites, gesticulated as West Coast players, and holding seas of Spanish girls enthralled. I saw the culture I

had grown up in, my culture, mimicked by Spaniards and Africans, alike. Television had managed to culturally appropriate us in Western Europe. We were culture stolen, sold, bought, repackaged, reshaped, repurposed, and denied, just to be re-identified for commodity sake.  I was disgusted and intrigued.  This would become my impetus to inquire what these cultural pirates really thought. But how was I to engage people who spoke Wolef, Twi, and Spanish? I didn’t want to assume anything, because brothers from Africa could surprise you with their linguistic prowess. The poet Paradise is right, they love everything about you but you. Everybody wants the Black experience, but doesn’t want to experience being Black. That badge costs too much to bear.

Copyright © 2008, 2010 Nathan Jones