Kyle Katz is entry number 34

census taker counting 3/5 of the members of this family

Kyle tries to make consensus of it all

Literati

We still have a number of stories to post in our contest, The Drinking Fountain.  I have the stories flopped in a pile on my desk, weighted down by coffee cups and beer bottles that are no respecters of literature, and leave rings. The upside is, I can safely say that almost every story has a nice ring to it! (moan).  The stories are randomly selected, nothing so civil as first-come/first served. Your submission will appear, I assure you, and I will eventually have to procure a coaster to save the veneer of my desk to prevent veneerial disease, or else launch another contest and get a new stack of entries.

Hi KYLE!  Hello from Prague…hope you and the other local literati will be on hand mid June for the Fifth Annual Writers’ and Creatives’ Reunion at the hacienda of Victor Villasenor in Oceanside.

Here is Kyle’s second entry:

  Spoken word

Let Freedom Sting.

 By Kyle Katz.

In a haze of smoke and shrapnel of chocking tear gas, cries of separation, death threats that no longer feared the light. Chaos smeared on white angry faces like rouge.  Bloodstains branching out on the street next to black tire treads screeching in escape away from the crime scene. Separate water fountains. One for colored…one for white. None for me.

Time wears itself around our waist like an apron of tradition. We see colors…not lack of color.

You rode on a bus; you had a dream, where the color of my mixed skin became a theme. Where the content of my character was something that was buried in concrete. A preamble of injustice on my headstone. May she rest in peace.

Those wanting to know whom you were …whom do you represent? And depending on where you live and what color your skin is or isn’t. It was a subtle question asked too many times to be a compliment. If only you knew I could read your face when it frowned with distaste.  How could you mix a race?

The fog slowly lifted over time… not without casualties.  The quilt of life sown together by defiance. We love who we want to love. As you feel the softness and love in my eyes. I sculpted a world with a different view.

Hazelnut brown skin, alabaster pale as white, in between honey hues of high yellow fallen over sunsets, the bluest black of natures grace, velvet chocolaty brown skin, light olive, rosy beige textures, red suntanned landscapes of indigenous tones. Shadows revealing the quiet darkness of our thoughts because we could paint a picture with depth of many colors and etchings of black and white striking the fire with truth.  But even I was afraid of the truth. I didn’t have enough color or I had too much.

If you didn’t adjust your actions accordingly, you’d be found out.

You could pay for that mistake dearly if you didn’t check the correct box.

But, still, she showed up every year.

She clicked her pen and looked at me pleasingly with her official consensus clipboard.  I flipped back my blonde frizzy cascade of curls and narrowed my green eyes. My light olive skin exposing my untanned white thighs in my summer shorts.

Are your parents here?

“No”

“How many in your household?”

“Seven.”

“What’s your race?”

I hesitated.

“Can I see the clipboard?”

She handed it to me, letting out a sigh of relief.

I marked all the of boxes and wrote. I am American, part of the Human race.

 

My birth certificate read Mother…Negro. Father…White. Stamped with an official gold seal. It was wrong. This was all wrong!

No one could seem to get it right.

But it didn’t matter.

Because I finally saw… with my own sight!

 


Before I grew the beard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 comments

  1. Avatar
    Lady Pafia Marigold says:

    Excellent poetic, lyrical prose of exotic dances, proud heritage, non-binary appearances, memorium, “May she rest in peace”, injustices towards the artificial definitions of race, exposures of parents and children, real life, mind-video moments, social woundings & of disjointed life-puzzle pieces revealed, swirl through my mind. I feel awe of now understanding what I did not know nor lived. Truly, I find this poem as a rare gift of a vulnerable, string of mixed colour lights twinkling pain, truth & courage. I am humbled with eyes of tears.

    • Avatar
      Kyle Katz says:

      Lady Pafia Marigold,
      Thank you for reading my piece. My peace. I love to have a reader step into the moments, being able to feel what I’m feeling. I’m happy to know I’ve met those objectives in your eyes.

      • Avatar
        Kyle Katz says:

        Lady Pafia Marigold,
        Thank you for reading my piece. My peace. I love to have a reader step into the moments, being able to feel what I’m feeling. I’m happy to know I’ve met those objectives in your eyes.

        • Avatar
          Lady Pafia Marigold says:

          Happy Birthday. I wish you the peace you have wished for throughout your life, hoping it is truly yours today & ever after. Blessings.

  2. Avatar
    Miryam says:

    Great piece Kyle… I am intrigued by the “spoken word” format… I have written a few pieces myself, but lack confidence I think… Are you able to record this? I would love to hear it’s cadence… Can you do a video? It’s great to see you on the site! You are a rare beauty inside and out!

    • Avatar
      Kyle Katz says:

      Miryam, I did practice this in front of a mirror. It was scary. Funny. My son asked me if he should call 911. There’s a place in La Jolla that have open mic events on Monday. I may give it a try. I really am glad you liked it. Can’t wait around for confidence…Go for it! Have fun with it. Thank you for all the good vibes.

    • Avatar
      Kyle Katz says:

      Miryam, I did practice this in front of a mirror. It was scary. Funny. My son asked me if he should call 911. There’s a place in La Jolla that have open mic events on Monday. I may give it a try. I really am glad you liked it. Can’t wait around for confidence…Go for it! Have fun with it. Thank you for all the good vibes. Thank for taking the time to read my entry.

  3. Avatar
    Sarah Crysl Akhtar says:

    “Time wears itself around our waist like an apron of tradition.”

    I thought that was a lovely line. But the rest was for me a little too much of a fever-dream that settled for a rather unsurprising conclusion. A little more discipline would have let your gifts fully flower, in my view.

    • Avatar
      Kyle Katz says:

      Thanks Sarah. Yes, you and I agree. That was a lovely line. I love your description of a “fever-dream’. Editing is never done. Sometimes the bud is tight, sometimes a bouquet. The in- between is where a good editor is gold!

  4. Avatar
    LaVon Schwartz says:

    So nice to hear your determination to be human! I love how I feel your soul cry out. Check every box!

  5. Avatar
    Laura says:

    Love this set-up at the start: “One for colored. One for white. None for me.” And this poignant line near the end sums it up: “I am American, part of the Human race.” If the politicians can expand that to Earthlings, we’re all covered!

Comments are closed.