In Partnership with Cambridge College, 2021
BARRICADES: HOW MANY MORE?
Featured in this series of my works is the barricade that targets and blocks out defined space. The place-making use of barricades highlights the power of permission, allowance, and use of the spaces we occupy or not. An important use of barricades by municipalities, limits the permitted use by certain people in the society in areas funded by public taxes, where the municipality deems fit.
Barricades so often, keep property and people that are to be protected in a space and keep others out who might do harm. The relationship of the property owner, individual or collective to the property-less is that power dynamic. All too familiar today are the wooden horses, caution tape, metal and sometimes police bodies with shields as barricades, that mark the stories of the urban street theater of teargas filled air, protesters, police and rubber bullets. These real theater sets mark structures and humans that outline areas of protest and violence rather than protect. We witness this with the recent response in protests for the unprotected rights and lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, now Jacob Blake and too many more. The same barricades used to mark construction and building sites become iconic symbols of violence, anger, inequity and injustice. Who is barricaded in and who is barricaded out? How many more stories? How many more barricades?
BLACK BODY BARRICADES
My story begins with the Frantic Atlantic
Stolen body, body, body, body, body
Pirate Ships in the night, night, night
Tolling land and skin
Rope that wraps my neck scorches my tongue
Unravels with my words
Sharply disintegrating its grip
Huh - Can’t control
Swelling song in my soul
All the hymns that define my youth
Like ‘My Skin is Black
My arms are long . . . ‘ in Nina’s song
Jay-Z brings it forward.
Don’t approach me. I’m Angry
Unless the Cooling Waters of Babylon
Are those apologies you bathe in.
Then again who can trust that?
It is Babylon nonetheless, where.
Ships in the night
Became protest lights
Smoke, gassing my tears.
Forced me to barricade
My black body against the
Swirling blue lights, lights, lights
Mirrored in silvery mercury
Of poison asps.
What good is it?
Resist? Matter?- YEAH
Most certainly break the rules!
Profits before Humans (repeat)
As far as the Eye can see
TJ’s “Notes on the State of Virginia”*
‘Oh Say Can You See’ my knee
After all it is Babylon nonetheless.
#emphaticallystated 9/9/2020 L’Merchie Frazier
*Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson , 1785