Jay-Z sounds like he's underwater. And the showerhoses tilt shut and the bathroom door opens to reveal - well, what I thought was a sealing wound thankfully turned out to be headphone covers and my brother's obscured big toe. Trembling.
He walks as if he was the rapper himself - chest hunched, back lurching forward like that of a street cat who doesn't know he's made it. Shaky feet, wet hair, darkened eyes that hadn't been shut for days.
''For my father was black, and beautiful, and beautiful, therefore, black. There was a blackness to him that was beautiful. A blackness entirely clear and his own.'' -James Baldwin, Notes on a Native Son (paraphrased).
His legs if you roll up the pajama bottoms are filled with quilt patched mosquito bites and blacks and blues. Self-inflicted. Eyebag patches punched back into his face resurfacing in the hidden contours of his thigh. Trembling. Allow me to reintroduce myself. Trembling.
He is and he isn't. No native son of ours black but yellow covered, yellow but eyes tinged with red, and awash in shadows black and blue - he is beautiful - puffy eyed, brickfaced boombox carrying screamer of profanity and tongue tied silence all and still - he is black, and he is beautiful.
An underwater mixtape taking shape to be a broken record anthem.