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Look at the photo above.

I remember staring at the photo for moments on end.

Then it hit me.

Funny enough what hit me was a lyric from a Joe Budden song.

I can’t remember the exact song title, but the lyric is…“Why fit in when you’re a stand out?”

It fits the photo perfectly, no?

The photo was taken on the morning of December 7th, 2014 in the small rural city titled Miyakonojo, Miyazaki. I haven’t exactly done any research, nor do I have any confirmation, but I think it’s safe to assume that there wasn’t exactly a bunch of 6’2 black guys running around this Japanese city with just over 160,000 people.

I stayed with a family that lives on a Cow Farm…Yes Cows…(ウしののうじょう)

The particulars of how this came to be will be written in separate journal entries and I reckon I will share them…eventually.

But for now this entry primarily focuses on the photo itself.

Please glance at it again…Do it, I’m not that ugly!

It’s interesting when you return home after a trip, no? Memories of adventure fade and fold into apparitions of the past to the point we question        whether they occurred at all. A return to familiar surroundings, that were not so recognizable when landing, also marks the return of that fervid emotion to once again fit in to our habitat. A quick glance over our shoulder; we see the gates steadily closing, the ascending fences as we think to ourselves “This will not be the last time, I will leave once again”. Return to the cyclone of regularity, routine and regiment. Transforming our apprehension, the beautiful withers and peels as perceptions distort. The eternal struggle, evading the mundane takes a toll. Stay woke…

How can anyone explain what is going on, in the photo? What possible explanation explains the photo entirely? Does that explanation make sense?

The photo could easily be a candidate for the “one of these things don’t belong” game. It is clear that I don’t belong, racially speaking that is. Calling me a sore thumb wouldn’t be enough to describe the awkwardness of my presence in the photo.

But it is cool, no? To be, or rather to exist where you shouldn’t. When I say “shouldn’t”, I refer to the normative social boundaries of our lives. They are spheres, bubbles, and we inhabit them, and it is safe.

Escaping the realm of North America and with it the entirety of endless race debates, protests and censuring of any and every single demographic living in the vicinity, I found a piece of peace for my conscious to feast. For the first time in 365 days (my first trip abroad), I could hear my thoughts, my own thoughts not CNN’s, my family’s, friends’, classmates’, co-workers’ or idiot strangers’ in the elevator discussing the Eric Garner case with politically correct etiquette, which for the record, is like eating chicken wings with a knife and fork. You will get to some of the meat and keep yourself clean, but to ensure all the meat is devoured you need to get your hands and mouth dirty.

Nevertheless out of range of these echoes I finally only…Heard

ME.

Outside the fences we roam free from insecurities and fears, and with each triumph gather a grain of confidence. Pile enough dust and it will turn into a mountain and we have patience to learn, listen and when required indulge.

Billie Holiday serenades me on gliding trains traversing across pastoral countrysides to uncharted territory, both geographical and spiritual.

Look at the photo once more, go on I will wait…

Notice my hands and mouth are dirty, I am beautiful, no?

  • Gardener (Poem is currently Untitled)
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