Patrick A. Howell is an award winning veteran of the financial services industry.
While attending the University of California at Berkeley, Patrick A. Howell co-founded Diatribe, “a people of color news collective”. He also contributed poetry to the campus’ African American Literary Journal and campus paper, the Daily Cal. Subsequently, he served as West Coast Contributing Editor to the Quarterly Black Review, interviewing literary luminaries as Ishmael Reed and Michael Datcher. Later, he co-coined the term, Global International African Arts Movement (Global I Aam) which was used prominently in keynotes at the 2014 Harlem Book Fair by it’s founder and Malaika Adero.
His blogs and essays have recently been published in MyBrowBaby, The Goodmen Project, Opportunist Magazine, Quarterly Black Book Review, XO Jane and equities.com. His short stories will appear in forthcoming issues of Foliate Oak, the Mandala Journal and Killen's Journal.
The Africans in America, They Speak English
What happens when we are no longer “here”, amongst the living? Where does our knowing, being and consciousness go? The Africans in America, the English They Speak explores these questions in a cosmic meditation, an awakened contemplation and story of beginning and coming into being. Inspire by Afro-futurism, artwork is from by Rajni Perera (http://www.rajniperera.com) and Khnemet Ankheti, an acclaimed artist and Facebook blogger, whose work originally inspired the work.
The Africans in America, Where They Speak English
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”
I keep forgetting she wrote that when I am over there - Her.
It wasn’t long after I had passed away and I was meditating upon the best way to do it the next time around. Nothing specific- just the long vacuum bowing of interstellar and solar sounds, the clanging silence of the universes in echoes, memories removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday living; at rest, finally, in the faint galactic trumpeting of creation somewhere over the horizon. My consciousness several hundred thousand years old now, around several thousand others, waiting to be born again, achieve their mission to bring us collectively closer to the light… or become the light.
So sad, amazing, funny and crazy how so many of us remember only a part of the divine mission when we are there. We grumble, “I’m dedicated to piety and humility” or “If He ever puts me in that position again, I’ll kill…” or “She has an obligation to do what it is I am asking” blah, blah, blah- but we forget the mission and the incredible power with which we are born. So much noise and confusion when the edicts are so clear but we’re all just a hot mess when we get down there, where the light and energy build into mass, into density of being where the emotions are ours to do with as we please. We develop our own agendas, our own philosophies, mostly small and fleeting. The light though, that remains permanent, rising every day to remind us of priceless gift of existing and the promises made.
I suppose we have all failed spectacularly so many times before. But each time we refined our struggle, or some element of it, remembering enlightenment and the power of spiritual purposing. We forgot each time, that our greatest grace, our singular greatest power is simply to be. That’s when it all comes back to us, when we are still and let the mission and purposing discover us. But the thing about this America is it is a radioactive microwave of unnatural chemical activity, got us all hopping and hipping without any real planting, without taking time to consider, ponder, be… still.
We forget, each time, that the greatest grace of the race, our singular greatest power is simply to be. Yes, yes, yes… that saying in the bible, the central edict of all purposing, “Be still and know I am God” or, inversely stated, “To Thyself Be True”. The beginning of all true knowledge is knowledge of self, respect for God. We forget to let our big thick pink and purple lips move exactly in sway to the dictates of our hearts unperturbed- hold no thing back. We forget to grow our large kinky hair out and let those nappy antennas, unfurl and spring coiled to receive the vitamin D transmissions from His Majesty Solar – we dampen our receptacles with contaminants and chemicals. We can’t receive the daily message, subliminal. We forget the natural - berries and fruits, vegetables and trees that are the inverse functioning of our being; that complement our meaning. We forget to love endlessly and simply, without restriction, nary fear nor complicated care. We forget time in and time out to simply enjoy the little miracle of life- we get caught up in the infinitesimal experiences of politics (made up things down there) and other social stratifications, the poverty of insecurities, trapped in little meanings, little wanderings, the conflation, exaggeration, definitions and distractions made up by little tiny beings, broken up brittle beings, with little else to do other than encircle us mind, body and soul with broken brittle shards of their so-called power. We become fragmented in our being, fragmented in our mind, fragmented in our love of one another. We forget, distracted, there are zero limitations on our abilities to affect our dreams, and carry out the missions for which we are born.
On one of my stays, I remember once watching, hypnotized, this gorgeous mother feeding her perfect baby- the brown baby’s head was affixed to the mother’s bosom (it was Her without my even knowing- without Her announcement - She’s so funny like that) like a koala bear, suckling from the areola, like a blowfish, with pleasure and for nourishment, all at once. The act looked beautiful if you are not some sort of pervert which most of us were by that time, involved in all of the sordid broken doings they got us doing down there, so –called marketing for purposes of re-purposing natural energies and organic passions. But the mother woman who saw me ogling hypnotized said in a very human manner, “Take a picture darling, it’ll last longer and you can share it with your friends and tell them the story of how a woman, with two perfectly brown supple breasts and perky nipples, said to you: I don’t understanding the debate over breast feeding in public? You’re baby is hungry, you feed him! Hotep! It’s function over form. The porn is in your mind- sex and human being commoditized”, she shrugged proudly, innocently and with knowing all at once. So, I asked her if I could take a shot with my smart phone and she smiled mischievously, she shrugged the same shrug and said, “Sure! Why not? Lips and below so I have plausible deniability. I want to see every shot you take.” She posed herself, arched her back, pouted, looked directly into the lens, furrowed her brows, slowed her movements down, smiled closed mouthed, smiled gentle with lips revealing a perfect set of teeth and tickled the little one under his chin so he would also, even in the dreams he was having about other things on the other side of reality. And I posted to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with a caption of what she had said to me. All of the women who are my online friends liked and hearted ad nausea. Like! Smiley Face. Heart. Like, like, like!!! Then I began to feel guilty for what I had done to my brethren, my man kind – a regular Judah Iscariot. But, and I didn’t say this, sperm burrowing into the egg is borrowing from a creation event too. It’s like a star show orbiting a planet, creating – imploding, exploding, manifesting- fascinating. The power of the universe is within us all – we .
And that’s when I had my Ah-Ha! Epiphany, my moment of clarity for everything I had taken for granted the last time, I was at the greatest show in the universe on the planet earth… the live animation sequence that is our existence for which we chose just showing, wondering, wandering and forgetting faster than remembering and experiencing over and over and over again with differing emotional resonance… and sometimes remembering too much altogether, refusing to accept the truth about the 7 billion humans walking the earth austere in clothing, acting ordinary – how irresponsible, how silly of our race of beings to become so small. Where did we get this direction? Infection of our minds? If our God is a mighty God and we are made in God’s image, then mustn’t we be mighty too? Human but mighty too? When did we become so afraid of our power and start living the straight jacket casket lives demanded by the politics of the little small ones? 7 billion walking strong on the planet in the light of day, pretending night time never happened – pretending creation is just fucking.
We never, our black bodies formed by the nebulas, walk down the beaming bright corroders of yellow light with green, red and blue windows into the other galaxies, completely owning the glory and endless freedom that can come with functioning form in this reality. Well, some of us do, that’s for sure, a few, a handful of us who have decided ‘Ima’ be who I be!’ But we never as a group of spiritual beings take that walkway completely willingly from nothingness into cosmic being- we allow the illusion to persist that we are just simply “people”.
We might humbly- or in some schemes rail against the authority of the small ones and come into a certain reason. We might study the Torah, the King James Bible and the Holy Koran to fathom unearthly mysteries- but we don’t dare examine the physical evidence that is the cosmos to understand we are galactic cosmic beings marshalling existence. Spirituality is the existence of our heavenly beings which directs our being on the planet. ‘Yes’ and infinite possibilities surrounding us on all parameters, geometric configurations of hallways with oblong, circular shapings.
So, the next time that so-called gatekeeper summons me from the line of our ancestors in celestial rest and orchestral composure (I now know She is the one, the other part of me, unknown), I’m going to remember all of this – this is my plan anyhow- and I’m not going to act surprised but I’m not going to be book fooled twice either by this disguise- all humble, ‘washing feet’ so to speak- I don’t dare speak imprudently but my master, Spirit Being of the Cosmos, She will know when she sees my eyes that I know. And when she sings, revealing herself, with the celestial voices of choirs, ‘What will you be this time around son? How do you want to play it?’ I’ll say it loud, sing it proud – for the whole universe, galaxy after galaxy to hear my proclamation, “Magnificent Sister Elegant - African! I am African! And when she directs me with her inner energies at the continent like she’s going to send my memories and equip them with endless curiosity and passions and gifts and talents- I’ll point with my power to the Americas and I’ll say- there again, please. ‘As one of the the Africans in America where they speak English forgetting.'
I See Now- Acryl-Gouache and Gelpens on Cotton Rag Paperby Rajni Perera http://www.rajniperera.com/
And when she stops her flow, looking at me woke, I will clarify ‘Make my mind remember, quickly, the English we spoke but also, please, let my spirit fashion the Adinkra, Amharic and tribal rhythms of Djembe that contained within its syllables, soft and hard beats, the ancient knowledge of our kingdoms. I need that analogue as context before I get to the Americas. I need the rhythms of the ancient powers to fashion power and implement.”
“Well, look at you – be you then!” She’ll say to me then, “So, War then?” And I’ll say “No, no, no more! No more so called Civil Wars, Civil Rights. Silver, no. Gold, done. No more battling with others, battling within, battling ourselves. No! We are the gold – marriage of sun power with the material, melanin is the gold converter for our black bodies. Our paths are only silver, gold and if need really be, copper.” I’ll say – Total Teamwork, Reverence, Respect, Excellency, Intergalactic Integrity, Loving Leadership. We stand, we breath, we seek to enforce the Peace walking this plane of reality and my voice will suddenly be that voice of a million more – energies, heavenly beings, million consciousness collapsing into my own.
WAR2, mixed media on Mylar, 2014. From the Series Afrika Galaktika by Rajni Perera
So it will be as I realize I am passing through that rich ebony keeper to be born again on the highest level. Yes, I’ll respect my mother and father, our ancient agreement, give honor to my ancestors, call out the many names of my Supreme Benevolent Creator of this here realm – the place of knowing, being and accepting without knowing – I’ll speak it with unmistakable love and clarity and maintain the semblance of my might and innocence- not be godlike but to serve god. I’ll ask for those distinct African facial features of broad nose, large brown eyes that not only see but truly discern, ears that not only hear but truly listen, hands that not only feel but mold and manifest, a mind that tabulates, calculates but has the ongoing communications, the open reception to mystery, the marvelous mayhem that is our universe organizing and reorganizing, with our heavens and is responsive to supreme intelligence. I’ll be obedient, reverent this time.
And so my voice will suddenly be that voice of a million more – energies, heavenly beings, a million consciousnesses collapsing into my single being. I’ll be a receptacle. I’ll be a servant. I will not be afraid to love with abandon, with openness. Intelligence. So, I will realized I am passing though that rich ebony keeper to be born again on the highest level grounds of the dream- the dream come alive. The time of men will cease within the period of a thousand years and the time of the Supremes, magical beings, conscientious and intergalactically aware will be once more just as when we walked the continent as bare foot Majestics in one great spirit.
‘Madame Mouselle’ I’ll create music and sing in sheer delight, passion, and mayhem- I’ll employ the wind, lightening and rain percussion of feet on those dusty grounds of red clay dirt… I’ll woo her with my rhythm and sunshine song, just as David and Solomon before. Yes, I’ll let the music pour from my electric soul into her eternal cathedral, the glorious space I need to be inspired, to be more and we will become one experience once more- one finding, singular celebration, knowing. She’ll know then that the only power we need to accomplish our mission is that of remembering, knowing and loving. Hoping, Believing. So, she might ask, “You want to know everything this time around- hey baby?
I’ll humbly beseech, “Yes. Absolutely, we need to remember who we are Supreme Beauty.” And because our souls are merged, she too will also remember the many times I was lost or scared and my brother was standing there and couldn’t even reach his hand out to me – he just couldn’t remember – that we were fashioned from one holy soul body spiritually, a spirit black with light, shadows, epiphanies, mystery, arcane knowings and unending melodies. He was caught up in the politics of a man made moment. He was man when he should have been part and parcel, component of the collective of God. And sister, will be her king’s empress.
No more- no more not remembering I’ll finally plead- though with elegance and dignity she’ll realize through her, manifesting, dancing, gyrating, creating – loving gently but coarsely sometimes, offsetting many moods and polarities with my own. Perhaps, she’ll scream the siren scream realizing that all the veils are falling and the masks are cracking. We will be exposed once to one another without pretention. “When you speak to me”,
Spy- Acryl-Gouache and Gelpens on Cotton Rag Paper
by Rajni Perera http://www.rajniperera.com/
I’ll intimate in a sacred tone, one that gives birth to meaning, double entendre and radical resolute beginnings, speaking quietly and lyrically in a singing voice, with a steady rhythm, “Take your mask off and when you lie to me, do it authentically. And when you love me, do it remembering I am you and you are me- that I am your king and you are my majesty.” The illusions of time, dissension, polarities, failure… all of the so called negative realities we create without intention, just by letting go of our divine purposes… all of them done. Finito- bang! Until we climax in momentary ascension into real collective being, separate no more. Nothingness, bliss. Am. The Great I Am. The rivers will stop cascading, and even our blood will come to a standstill, hearts looking to hibernate within one another. Perhaps, she’ll hug me warm, tenderly, pull me close to her bosom and let me weep without worry, without shame – my tears soaking her bosom- She will not be the same. She will kiss my face. She will ask me how She needs to change?
She will whisper, ‘I love you’. And because she says this to me, I’ll remind her- WE are the creators my divine love, God and creatures, the dream and reality, blessed and damned, authority and controlled, everything and no thing – we are in this together and I will never leave your being, we cannot exist without one another. We’ll be entwined then, within our one bosom, lips locked and our lions kissing wet, the stardust and inter planetary collisions of creations within our minds, a union of epiphanies and visions, of empires, spiraling freeways to galaxies; within our hearts and spirits, blood pumping, remembering, transmitting from the heavens and eternities. She’ll listen to my voice dripping hypnotic with clarity and certainty, and realize therein the million voices, the cosmos and intentions, firm. We’ll create a better tomorrow today. We’ll fall asleep peacefully manifesting.
And the next morning, I’ll be off again, to be born again once more within our creation, to begin myself again as one amongst billions, experiencing human, but this time remembering, not forgetting where I came from, the act of creating myself will be one of pure intention. It will be me practicing and perfecting love with the two beings whom I select as my parents , all of the ancestors who came before me and their wild sacrifices rooted in the reality and fact of the Divine dreams; the Supremes and Majestic Majesties harvesting daily, annually and by the millennium as miracle as they stand outside themselves and their man made societies, so that we all feel the abundance of blessings; so that we remember that we all came from nothing into everything and we will be a family, a tribe so close knit in proximity so as to make the atoms on a molecule blush. No more cluster, no random off-beat circus rants and raves, silly irrationalities. We. Will. Be. Melody.
Of course my heart will seek her, my queen, but if I cannot find the beauty who gives birth to me, the one who gives rise to all of my fantasies and let’s me dream endlessly and is so tender with me, perhaps I’ll give those energies to a daughter who will know she commands her Daddy?
Now, I am hearing the nervous chatter, the jungle jangling of silver utensils against a tray. I sense the onset of time. I feel the anxious energy, the love energy, the union of a man and a woman who have come together to create me with gentle love and clear purposing, the intention of becoming one, mirroring my activities on the other side of the galaxies. I feel the know everything precision of a doctor who knows nothing as he prepares an arcane ritual for my arrival. So, now is the awakening – it’s time to walk down that corridor of light being and become physical. Of manifesting where the lights beam bright yellow, bursting red and blue, hypnotic green- I’ll travel the pathways of abundant consciousness to the one divined for me – the one I have selected where the black bodies of our Supreme Beings have laid waiting in imagination, out of necessity, from nothing to everything, accessorizing with various assortment of memory, history, tribal identity, talent.
No, I guess- no more need to remember, I’ll agree with my loving beauty. We simply are. The melanin, a marker. We now are. When the high pitched ping that is the means by which my singular consciousness travels to a new being, a fresh beginning and that pitch becomes the scream of elation, terror, pleasure and pain, the sacred vows never uttered of fidelity, responsibility and legacy. I’ll recognized the sound of my scream, I’ll know this time though.
The birth of myself as a new baby will be accompanied by nebula within the dark bowels of mystery shifting. A galactic being towering and She, the gatekeeper, my other, my one true keeper, my coupling, with camouflage, my being with her divine immaculate darkness. The ebony mahogany onyx being will cover my rising until we are ready for the showing on this side of reality in the society of men. We will cover modern history with our cosmic acrobatics, and far too cool dispositions.
And my spiritual presence will grow as large as a cosmic eternity replete with mono syllabic words, double entendre, meaning gifted within ordinary happenings, doubling as metaphors anchored by unfathomable beginnings , new realities. Listen, know – no more doubting, let go. We are cosmic. Black man and black woman. No ending. None. What do I mean by that? I am talking about what we do in our spirituality coupled with our reality, the conjoining. Two sets of heights and lows, melodies and rhythms for a singular Divinity- the us that we be. Patience, providence, passion, participation - that’s what I mean. So, I mean my spiritual towering, the ordinary being coupled with our galactic ambitions, materialized. But first I must born myself- we must be born- unto parents who have mirrored and born me on the other side of reality. I must awaken, humbly, an infant knowing, a little black baby boy with eyes all too knowing. Oh! Our little black baby boys and girls. This is the soul of the world, the seeds of continuous tomorrows seeped in knowing, mystery, unveilings and impossibilities manifesting.
The birth of me as me- Nabulus as human being, spiritual projection materializing on the other side, the blue and green planet with all of the human happenings, the drop of drama in a galaxy of density. We are the imaginings living. Hydrogen, helium, stardust, the matter of our intentions- never settle for half measures. Remember King General So called Marcus Garvey syllabus on our ceilings, our heavens: “God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and eternity our measurement. “ Bliss. Endless possibilities manifesting.
The Rememory of Her as the magnificent queen Toni Morrison, spelling it out so lyrically, “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives. Recall Her as Queen Madame Moselle Maya Angelous and those wise chanted illuminations, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” Yes, yes, limitations implemented with the intention of controlling for the purposes of making so much smaller than we all are, trapping us within the dream.
Here are some more truths before I am done with birthing – we downgraded into humble babies from universal expressions of majesty and galaxies. Humans... we struggle in this lifetime as warriors, those of us who don’t take the bait and rise, we become the kings we all are. But before we were born, we were gods. Now- we are awaken. So, having trouble stomaching that 2016 is 1968? No more beginnings, only endings this time around. rLOVEuon until it’s done.
And those are my last words – a spirit waiting to be born into a little brown baby… eyes wide open... just waiting…waiting.
Artwork by Rajni Perera
Artwork by Khnemet Ankheti