BLACK COCTEAU

Friday, November 18, 2016


TEMPTATION
Sex/Paranoia/Death

Kofi Fosu Forson

In the Christian prayer “Our Father” we say “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The common understanding of how we engage in a co-existence with others should be a reminder of how we are not alone in this world, physically, as a calling to will and want, symptomatically, within the human cult of karma, trance and love/hate.

We exist on differing plains but once exacted we realize there are ties that bind us, from generations, race, gender, societal circumstances as socio-politics, international politics, social media, gossip, suicide, crime, death.

The air we breathe is made of visions, dreams, nightmares we tap into just by existing and being alive. These are the harrowing realities we come to terms with in the inner world meeting the outer world.

Metaphysically we revolve around the topics of love and fear. The very thing we admire we shun. This is the idea behind what is new and foreign, we fear.

Given the politics of love a woman when attracted to a man she can’t pin down or figure out, she runs away. Within the body-sizing in the streets a person is quick to hate and explore anger towards someone he immediately respects or innately is in disagreement based on judging of, inability to perceive. All of this stems from the order of instinct, perception and reaction.

Along the ever-winding streets where most of these games are played out, the notion of “snuffing” somebody out is a suggestion from the animal kingdom whereby one is quick to react and pounces on another they deem weak.

Unlike the animal kingdom humans are able to make peace, forgive and turn away from. It’s a universal understanding that love wins out and how we are able to placate one’s emotions by imbibing the notion of human love.

One would be forced to think “It’s a dog eat dog world”. We as a modern society judge others more than we show love. Especially among men and with women as well there is a constant need for self-pacification. Either that or there’s thirst and need to satisfy the ego, build a crust of libido and need and want to be thug.

In that very same Christian prayer there’s talk of “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil”. What we are taught is that we are all made divisible by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. That one great test and its result certifies the fall of mankind.

The act of temptation plays on the original idea of instinct and the need to have by all means, to bring about a sense of personal gain and satisfaction. It is more or less greed and lust.

Areas where our greatest temptation draws to a close are situations where money and sex is involved.

The thief robs and the slut fornicates.

Overwhelmingly temptation plays on our fears as well. Suicide and death stem from paranoia. To be pulled into the notion of the world is closing in and one can’t breathe and is suffocating, fear would cause a person to want to kill themselves. That is the one most egregious example, being tempted into ending one’s life.

Elements of hypersensitivity and hyper-vigilance revolve around the artist mind and inconclusively serves as the one constant as far as how and where inspiration is brought about, relevant to gaining power from weakness, courage from vulnerability.

Due to the hyper-relevance of sensitivity outside the means of making art, the artist living in an urban setting draws from the power play in the streets. Navigating the streets at a time in his or her history the artist reforms from much damage having seen and witnessed a lot.

This is relevant to the topic of temptation, sex, paranoia and death.

Conclusively, the artist in his or her existence is an amalgamation of psycho-sexuality, the erogenous zone, fear meeting paranoia. Temptation in this respect is a scenario where the person bases what is happening in the moment to memory.

Our mental database is an entity which excites and causes a reaction in the moment. All that we are we have been and will continue to be. How we manage growth and maturity determines our ability to manage ready-made plans which protect us because of our alertness, wit and legerdemain.

Monday, November 14, 2016


HYPER-EROTICIZING of Flesh/ The PROGRAMMABLE Self

The reforming pervert is a live wire, blind folded with a gun.

Much like an inmate from an institution he wants so much not to resort to old habits. But in desperation he is constantly tempted.

During the early 80’s of New York’s Public Access television, adult programming were broadcasted after-hours. These shows featured orgies, strip shows, vignettes from porn films, and a magazine show with interview segments of adult film stars, previews of adult films and a pseudo pornographer who walked the streets with camera and sweet-talked and seduced women into exposing themselves and off and on engaged in sexual activity.

These were what became of internet porn, post artist and muse relationships whereby the art muse became sex muse. Fetishism and design porn of the 90’s quickly elevated into websites which promoted videos posted by the general public of sexual conquests. The pervert was given political freedom with publishing of adult magazines like Playboy.

At once it was okay for him to lust after nude photographs of centerfolds. The idea of prisoners pasting images of naked girls on cell walls became a revered activity for the pervert to write in with sex stories, buy with regularity these adult magazines which featured interviews with celebrities to give a sense of importance. A reformed pervert in history was also celebrated artist.

Fetishism took on prospects of high art expressed by photographers like Man Ray, Helmut Newton and later Richard Kern. Man Ray gave off a sense of stylized imagery and often surreal portrayal of nude women. His art went beyond suggestion of perversion as he was indeed an amazing photographer more than just someone whose art gave way to titillation.

That was more expressed in Helmut Newton’s photography. He pushed the edge of sexuality by politicizing issues of class, power and hedonism. There was always a sense of empowerment and wealth in his photographs.

Richard Kern on the other-hand promoted the barely legal, hot-shot pics of young women, seemingly old enough to pose naked but impressionably young. Although these images come from sex and smut, they are undeniably works of art, as Richard Kern manages a rawness of an expressionist painter and conscience of someone drawn to the chronicling of young sexuality much like Larry Clark.

Sexuality and surrealism have always been concurrent as seen in paintings by Dali and films by Bunuel. Visual text as well as the literary text pertaining to surrealism inspires a highly conscious and stimulated state, perhaps brought about by use of drugs, mania or enlightenment.

The yuppie movement of the 80’s brought about a conditioned state of stupor and sexuality as witnessed in coming of age movies like Fast Times at Ridgemont High but also the early into mid 90’s produced adult Hollywood films including Basic Instinct, featuring the crossing and uncrossing of Sharon Stone’s legs to reveal pubis.

9 and a ½ Weeks and Wild Orchid heightened the sex appeal of actor Mickey Rourke.

The shock of sexuality in modern Hollywood films has a long history, Midnight Cowboy, Carnal Knowledge, Body Double, Crimes of the Heart.

As often as most men enrich their sexual conscience by looking at sexualized images and watching adult films, the pervert is ruined by such activity and it is more or not less an accentuating of his neurosis. Internet porn within a span of years quickly became the go-to-fix of most sexual deviants.

Hyper-eroticizing of the flesh is attentiveness given to the human body. Importance of the erogenous zone is central as to how the human body emits light, transformation and conscientiousness.

In its detail hyper-eroticism manages an arousal based on care given to the body, physical stature, emotiveness and sensitivity, sense of arousal, intellectual stimulation, priority expressed in the interpretation of art, perception and instinct plus the will with which we react and respond.

The sexual organs are important to the supposition of eroticism, the phallus, vaginal and anal cavity. Copulation as a suggestive act is not of concern. Understandably two bodies merging in the sex act is the total determination of a heightened erotic state, the individual in his or her abstinence can and does incite a means of self-arousal.

Masturbatory activity need not be definitive of the hyper-eroticized self. Sexual prompts can be remedied with actualizing of sexual tension by creating works of art. Knowingly, the sexualized state is an innate drive in the human person. Fornicating is an act of instinct more than conscience, but in order not to criminalize the act one is led to prioritize the behavior with which we communicate, show of respect, concern and honor for humanity.

Making art as inspired by a sexual drive is the cult status of the reforming pervert. To art (verbalizing of the word art) is a prompt much like the insertion of the erect penis into the moist vagina. Rather it is determined by the artist in his isolation.

How then does the perverted artist come to terms with his perversion?

He either suffers from the predicament of Marquis de Sade or triumphs over such ridicule by becoming film director like Woody Allen. Pornographers are those who are obsessed and possessed. Respected filmmakers can and often use sexuality and indeed pornography as art to articulate an overwhelming platform.

Quentin Tarantino is one filmmaker who uses violence as pornographic prompt.

With the aforementioned de Sade, literature is important in creating feelings of a hyper-eroticized self. Perhaps the eroticism of Anais Nin contributes to this. Somehow intellectualism and sexuality, at least the sexual appeal driven from reading intellectual literature has been relevant over the years in books by Simone de Beauvoir, Roland Barthes and Jean Baudrillard.

The self as programmable is a time when through a trance or meditation the body can sense and emit mental images and captions, these are non-representational and are not part of the prompt to make art. Instead they encourage stimulation and hot excitement from the body as machine.

Friday, November 11, 2016


Masculinity and the Black Artist/ Self-Empowerment

Thought is given to history of our black selves as slaves. Predominantly our manifest has either come from colonization, imperialism and freedom from slavery.

Much of my conscience is fixated on my country of birth, migration from the very place to New York, how I have evolved and the great attempt to uphold success based on what I presume to be magic, determining of what is good and or bad – that assumption derived from Biblical history, the born again scenario and the ability to promote a livable reality given stress and hilarity of modern day living.

Understanding of who and what is black can and must be brought to the hardened reality of how we evolved from slavery, colonizing of African countries, gaining independence and what circumstances people from these countries enabled a livable reality, those who migrated in terms of family and or education and employment.

Circumstances would prove the mindset of the African American over time, Emancipation Proclamation, Jim Crowe, Civil Rights Movement influence on popular culture, from rock and roll to Blaxploitation to Hip Hop, and understanding of white supremacy as order of the day, differentiates from the idea of independence and nationalism of an African person.

Quite early on in my stay in New York as a newly placed citizen of New York, I saw clearly how African Americans felt a resistance. Perhaps it was because I was embraced by the many whites who gravitated towards me. I think of it now and I react to it as a form of “fetishism” – what the Euro-American sees in the actress Lupita Nyong’o and have imagined of African musicians like FELA and Manu Dibango.

This resistance was a cause for fight, body sizing which led to calling of names and mimicking. I never attempted to unite in that solidarity of a life as an African American. I upheld my difference as someone who came from another country and in essence had a history separate from the African American living in America.

Although I had a rude awakening living with a host of addicts, criminal and diseased types. Circumstance of an experience with being situated in community housing.

A small suggestion as faking a British accent when cornered by an African American student as a boy speaks volumes to me now because it was an affront, a challenging of my identity and I knew it then as I know now, “I am African”, most importantly I am Ghanaian.

The spirited African man much like the African American came into his own as a boy working out situations with other boys whether through sports, coming of age scenarios as turf wars, girls, machismo and sexuality.

For me it was time spent with my classmates at Ghana’s Royal Preparatory sketching and making drawings of athletes playing football (soccer) and equestrians riding horses, kidding amongst ourselves talking about girls, signs of puberty, talking about and exposing of our male musculature.

Overall schooling was prioritized. Otherwise the role of being a boy was gradual maturity and responsibility, chores, errands, church, discovery of sex, role of father and mother, brother to brother(s), immediate and extended family.

Culturally there was a lot to work with in managing a life at that age. An African American boy in today’s America will be hemmed in.

Growing up in New York in the 80’s there were organizations as Fresh Air Fund and Children’s Aid society which gave care to the well-being of children growing up in underprivileged neighborhoods. (The idea of arranging for trips into the country or days out at Amusement parks was very common.)

Black masculinity must therefore be looked upon based on place of origin, upbringing and uniqueness of coming to terms with identity and place in society.

What is celebrated now among young black men and is evident in the older black male is the supposition of who is thug or “savage” and who has credibility as an O.G. or gangsta.

Evolution of the black male in history is central to this. It can then be impressed upon as how we as a black culture do enough to pull each other down. To draw a line between who is tough and who is not falls back on what separated slaves as men, those who played up to expectations of their master and others who fought and revolted, suggestion of a “house nigger” and “field nigger”.

Understandably in the modern sense most black men world-wide know of the importance of Hip Hop and how overall many black men lay claim to this time in history as the beginning of the modernizing of the black male – how he learned and earned reputation from gang and drug culture, experience with violence, his cult of existence whether as drug dealer or rapper, lady’s man and his knowledge of street culture.

I explain role of the black man and female to a certain point as thug, pimp and intellect.

Thug in the black male governs how he deals with other blacks in the streets, a form of defense and entitlement. Pimp brings about the impression of him as lover and how he uses the female to gain an advantage. Intellect is how he engages in “black speak” or dialogues about black politics.

All these impressions are played out in prison culture where many black men find it all too familiar in how they manage a life in the modern day whether they have done time in jail and have come back into normal living with struggle to find balance.

Black masculinity can therefore be understood as an acceptance of black circumstance, poverty, crime, addiction, disease and manifest from each and every one – how is it evaluated in every black man. (What does he do to encourage growth and maturity?)

Problem then becomes the built in fa├žade to put up a fight. In my day it was carrying a knife and now it is a gun. It is however evident when a person grows up in absolute stress and constant threat he finds it manageable to have a weapon for protection.

Somehow it is not in the use of the weapon but the idea of having one which gives personal authority. Otherwise the criminal or drug dealer has the weapon in accentuating his power and will to carry out a crime.

Black masculinity is a form of judgment in how the black male expresses his cult of toughness, whether as athlete, thug or lover. These ideas are given a redirect in the streets.

Who and what the black artist is and how he has operated on the grounds of masculinity falls back on the life of Jean-Michel Basquiat. He is outrightly a hero because he grew up at the time of the Hip Hop movement of the 80’s. As graffiti artist he was on the cusp of street culture and yet engaged the fine and erudite behavior of the Euro-American male.

Commercially he is the one known black artist in modern history who every fan of modern art refers to as black artist not having knowledge of the wealth of black artists who have played roles in art history. In this the social media and internet age more people are at an advantage to learn about art, certainly how black artists manage the experience of being artists.

The black artist of my generation having grown up in middle class families, seen the popularity of Hip Hop merge with commercialism, drug and crime culture, the A.I.D.S. scare, has always understood in order to “make it”, one had to prop themselves up within the known existence of other artists, meaning white artists.

With graffiti and hip hop there were street battles, tagging of names, break dancing. That was the form of defense in asserting your credibility and reputation. As artists who studied art in schools and as a part of education we were inundated with talk of art history as a Europeanized experience, certainly the artists we discussed came from a European upbringing.

As a form of detail, models we drew from and painted were often white art models. Our classmates were white and certainly at most openings, parties or events we were often the only black people present.

This wears on the conscience. The great manifest from the whitening of one’s conscience is personal, different from the reality of battling another graffiti or Hip Hop artist.

The black artist’s circumstance with respects to masculinity is determined by his evolution as person. He is not ever far off from the overall perception of blackness. That is ingrained in the conscience. The fight then is how he evolves from whiteness. That supposition is however never discussed or articulated. It is credited to social experiments, some of which is placed upon the artist by himself.

In doing so the black artist is confronted with the idea of gender and identity, sexuality and racism. Societal norms have been broken and now we are confronted with what is “black on black” crime and the overall tug and pull of white supremacy.

As much as the black artist promotes culture and intelligence and however he manages knowingness and politicizing of art ideas he is always reminded of the ever balancing of white nationalism, hate and entitlement with his own diversity, blackness and origin.

The great fight becomes the manifest. As often as body sizing continues in families, society and on the streets, the black man has to realize our competition is now international.

Knowledge is still king. We have to look beyond onto the horizon and far reaching world outside to come up with solution.

A revolution begins with self-reflection. Society as a whole does not care for the individual on merit and circumstance alone. His endurance in life becomes credited when he takes a chance and develops skills and tools for survival.

Forward into the future, semiotics and use of language in this our modern technology, politics, society and governmental structure, the black person has to manage a defense for white terrorism and that can be won only with self-will, education and counterbalancing of thug with intellect.

Hence, the black postmodernist thug…

Saturday, June 04, 2016


Carter and Maria in the Desert

My heart is a broken flower. Fuck me. Don't do that. Do it this way
That is how The West was won. Hollywood cowboys cutting into film
In screening rooms they cuss, cut create what we know as blue noir
Belle Fleur was her nom du plume. She envisioned The Golden Age
L'Age d'or, Bunuel hysteria. Suicidal chefs making chocolate roux
She had a room with a view overlooking an archway within a garden
Where she snail-tapped her way thinking male gender emasculation
Mundo civilizado. Long drives along lonely Los Angeles highways
In bloom, face like lilac, she listens to Cage the Elephant remixes
What is this the press to play gee whiz affectations of entitlement?
Must clouds creep so low - not while in our bathing suits we vent
Cram disposable logic inside hot breezy quips that qualify as gizz
Jazz. Thelonious Monk's Epistrophy. We zoom in and out of scenes
Roles heartthrobs play man-sizing. Their star-lit lovers fib and faint
Young Warren Beatty would do it differently. So would Paul Newman
Perhaps the wife beater exposing his American flesh. Jack Lalanne
No, a young Paul Newman wouldn't walk the floor porno pathetic
He'd play her down like a boss man with a bow and an upright bass
Watch him grip the fold of hair, tilt her head back lightly, breathe on
With these words he'd say to her commands from a Southern beau
Looking at a Ruscha painting and knowing where you came from
This is Hollywood. North by Northwest. Mann's Chinese Theatre
We fight among the cinematographers, grapple with our posture

Friday, May 20, 2016


Maelstrom

Bluest eye. Comment c'est. Pence to plus. I am a Muybridge
Human heck silhouette figure sprinting from white euphoria
In the arms of Bangladeshi woman I recall Marjorie Christie
How else do Black Europeans dissimulate their whiteness?
I murder roses place them ceremoniously over Brian's grave
Jonestown Massacre. Blood red lips murmuring "Rosebud"
Bonanza. Caribbean cowboys incognito emulate Roy Rogers
Becoming Buscemi. There were once Rastafarian cavalcades.
We now worship Wiz Khalifa. Long live King Jeru the Damaja!
Aburi Hills, the night sky as Nina Simone glamorizing meth
Music is a whore named Telula! She reads aloud The Bell Jar
How the girls at Cal Arts cut into their skin the word "Awula"
Ghanaian wunderkinds paint themselves dressed as Napoleon
Lady Days at Bellevue Psyche with smells like cooked snails
Mad men impersonate Emperor Selassies and Indira Gandhis
In this world a black goth girl is considered bipolar case number
Give me your industrial disease! Trade you for my hypothesis!
Where the punks on dope smash guitars I inherit my ubiquity

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Of a Lesbian Body in an Episcopalian Church

of stone. that bronzed element yet lily at heart fluttering. as if his feathers were of rooster at fight. king no less mirroring me, a pugilist shambling. poet collecting words like geese possessing the sky. he opens dictionary page words starting with letter "d" fixates on the word "diphthong". an example of which "oi". (oy) is it a punk as pig or does the word "pig" make you think of pig Latin?

prospectus erectus "rospectuspay erectusway". opening paragraph Nabakov's Loilta. have you ever undressed a word to find its cult or key? have you ever heard of Throbbing Gristle? there's a great noise coming from the interim. I read Portnoy's Complaint as an alternative to shafting.

bestowed upon me is the question of thus - am I an incorrigible thing? perceived as jaundice, nearly putting in verse dialogue for our conquest. much of what is said is unretractable. I am of this. it is my sermonology. you speak words hot in happenstance. we are not lovers. in this I possess you. taste of Camembert on the tongue.

your phraseology, unnurtured, carries with it murmuring of a submissive interlocutor. in this our wrong-doing the reflective "I" purports a feminist stance. is it the "she" I sense in the ever-governing me? what I usurped from her spirit, her lesbian body as she stood before me, an Episcopalian in the church of God questioning my chi.

Thursday, May 12, 2016


Death of Black Pageantry/Neo-Politicizing of Blackness

Kofi Fosu Forson

F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tales of the Jazz Age wouldn't suggest the flamboyance of Duke Ellington, genius master compositions of Dizzy Gillespie, genuineness and human accordance of Louis Armstrong or the elegant beauty and well-founded blues in the voices of jazz singers such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn among many others.

There is the supposition of jazz as black musicians entertaining a white jet set, much of what became of black culture as a means of hilarity and enjoyment for white commercialism. That black people found relief in self-expression, it became the undoing of what was the black element in the cultivating of popular culture as was the decimation of blacks and the roles they played in science, politics and art.

What is black pageantry?

It can be proven in the resistance of self-denial, renouncement of bondage and slavery, the black person found a revolt in his promotion of glory made present in music (blues, gospel or rock and roll), theater and story-telling. These were times when a bond was created among those rejected, made poor or rendered as family by circumstance or genes. Whether in the form of a gathering on a field, at home or church, the black person always found reason to celebrate, reform from emotional or physical pain.

This very idea of black people rejoicing was brought about to the level of the black slave entertaining the master. In its most commercial relevance black musicians would be presented by means of professionalism, adorned in suits and gowns respectively to perform before a white audience.

That was and has always been the idea behind control and performance where a greater and more powerful white entity manages the successes of performers. The idea of black movements in music from bebop to MOTOWN has always been sold as black imports to white communities. Whereas black people valued these movements as progress of black productivity they were often prioritized given a white "newness" and manifestation.

The idea of a black family getting ready to go to church, choosing what to wear, performers deciding on tailored outfits, presenting themselves as G.Q. or cover girls has always been a part of black pageantry, the idea of presenting the self as an example of one's imagined and heightened conscience, at times hilarious, exaggerated but overall conditioned to make one take notice, admire or hold in the highest regard.

Harlem Renaissance was time when black artists reflected the talent and conscience emanating from what was "black thought." It reached a means of excellence in the works produced by fine artists, musicians, performers in theater and film. The idea of pageantry remained current in how these artists presented themselves with fashion and costuming. Overall much care was taken in the defining of one's persona as charismatic.

The 70's was a revolutionary decade having survived the explosion of rock and roll and the birth of the hippie. Black musicians gained a sense of pride with their self-ownership as expressed in the music and presentation of stage acts by performers. Parliament Funkadelic and Labelle were among those who put on legendary concerts celebrating blackness with an emphasis on sexuality and originality.

The decade fueled by the war in Vietnam, Civil Rights and blaxploitation films added a concentration on the evolution of the black performer owning up to his genius as was evident in Isaac Hayes' music, Gordon Parks' film and photography and the literary works of James Baldwin and Toni Morrison. The black performer as Hollywood star had been given merit earlier in the performances by Sidney Poitier and Diahann Carol.

The 80's became a point of awakening in the death of blacks as a result of the drug culture which gave way to violence. The idea of a community killing its own carried over through to the birth of RAP and later Gangsta Rap which commented on the activities within black neighborhoods as News Feed, current affairs and pop journalism.

Rap as a movement and concentration on black culture brought an awareness to black pageantry more than any movement in history. From its origin in neighborhoods like Bronx, New York to what it has become internationally, Rap as hip hop has increased the awareness of black marketability, wealth, fashion and influence on the youth.

Music videos first brought to the homes of those unknowing and ignorant what was happening on the streets. With the success of MTV, the selling of what was blackness became a commercial success. By now Hollywood was also taking notice. Spike Lee's films affected the American conscience. The role of the fashion designer was important in what to wear to the award shows.

Black pageantry was always an example of the collective conscience and pulse of what was black. Marketability has given way to the success of individuals who see to their own advancement. This has become the black response to what was the D.I.Y. movement better known in the black community as "Do You."

As black philosophers as Eric Dyson and Cornel West write books which further black thought and conscience, a young group of black men and women have become politically savvy in the creation of The Hands Up movement as well as Black Lives Matter.

The Neo-Politicizing of blackness has brought consideration to what is a Post Racial Society evident in President Obama's election. Circumstantially the presence of a black family in the White House alone inspires success.

Socio-political activism in music as far back as James Brown and Stevie Wonder and what became Public Enemy brought the plight of the black person to the forefront. We see it now in the death of unarmed black men.

Somehow what can be suggested as a Post Racial Society is the articulating of what is black individualism. Overall the assessing of black unemployment, crime, lack of education and housing can be transcended by what has always been the black spirit in times of struggle and turmoil.

Blackness is less a conscience as it has become a reflection on death. Celebrations like AFROPUNK or the Jazz and Heritage Festival are now accounts to the reality we as black people are still alive, that we come from the post cryptic notion of death.

Our evolution is a manifestation from death. But such is the Christian perception.

We die off our false selves.

What then is our true self?