American reminders: a poem

Four centuries of American reminders
On my skin

Elders bare stripe welts

Welts
My inheritance from the gone
Juxtapose
On my back

The pistol is there
Still

We’re still
On the block
Nude

This poem was inspired by the movie Asientos directed by Francois Woukoache. I watched it and felt moved to write and wrote two poems. American reminders was the first. Asientos is a powerful film about slavery’s past. Memory and representation are key themes.

In a sit-down interview with Olivier Barlet Woukoache said about making the film, “it struck me that the cinema was the perfect means of addressing the question, as we have no images of it! There are only a few drawings, wh

ich were often done for propaganda purposes. Nothing on the African side. Accounts are extremely rare. Images are the obligatory path into the subject.”

A poster for a slave auction in the British At...

Image via Wikipedia

“The wave of filmmakers in the Eighties tried to change the image of Africa without asking the question at what time the image they rejected emerged. It was at the time of the slave trade, when the Black man was defined by the Other as an object. The film Asientos is based on this postulate. The desire was to express something different, which had no connection with what I had already seen, particularly in African film. People had to feel that this film was necessary both in terms of subject and form, otherwise it would have been pointless.”

I saw Asientos at a film festival in Ann Arbor. It’s one of those hard to get your hands on movies that isn’t on DVD yet like Looking For Langston directed by Issac Julien. I can’t wait to see that movie.

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2 Comments

Filed under poetry

2 responses to “American reminders: a poem

  1. Alexis du Bois

    Fascinating.

    • Victor Yates, writer

      thank you so much. i’m working on releasing a chap book with this piece in it. have a great day….

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