Tuesday, April 05, 2011

we real cool...

We Real Cool


We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

Gwendolyn Brooks

I've been reading the above book by bell hooks. Her writing is not always easy to follow, I think because she is constructing an argument, and  a very urgent, present, "now" argument, though her topic in the broadest sense is an age-old and timeless one: man's inhumanity to woman, and the bigotries and hatreds (racism, homophobia) that are the spawn of that fundamentally unbalanced, dissonant relationship.

The title of her book is taken from the poem (top) by Gwendolyn Brooks, with the familiar colloquialism contains a darker meaning of course, that when we are all dead, "we real cool." The chapter in which she dissects, with telling ennui, the hip hop culture which is presented as some sort of victory for black culture in general, is very good.