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BOOTless →

BOOTless →


BOOTless → is inspired by Dr. King's 1967 interview for NBC, where he mentions


"America was giving away millions of acres of land in the west and the midwest, which meant that there was a willingness to give the white peasants from Europe an economic base, and yet it refused to give its black peasants from Africa, who came here involuntarily in chains and had worked free for 244 years, any kind of economic base. And so emancipation for the Negro was really freedom to hunger. It was freedom to the winds and rains of heaven. It was freedom without food to eat or land to cultivate, and therefore it was freedom and famine at the same time. And when white Americans tell the Negro to lift himself by his own bootstraps, they don't look over the legacy of slavery and segregation. I believe we ought to do all we can and seek to lift ourselves by our own bootstraps, but it's a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps, and many Negroes by the thousands and millions have been left bootless as a result of all of these years of oppression and as a result of a society that deliberately made his color a stigma and something worthless and degrading."


BOOTless → an archaic word also meaning ineffectual, is a black poet’s psychedelic meditation on gentrification, climate change, & post-pandemic grief, pointing its arrow back at its country that has stacked colonization on genocide & monopolized colonization & genocide. The book laughs at an oppressor’s self-elected right to canonize its theft & winning rhetoric under the guise of calling it history. This book may indict Whiteness, if not English itself, as using language built on oppression (a Deleuzian desire-machine sewn together by other languages) in order to create indefinite law on stolen land with indefinite marginalization for the people on it since the US nation's legal creation. 


Via the contrapuntal(s), sonnet(s), & its own ‘elevator’ polyphonic form(s) as altar poem vessel(s): BOOTless → is offering that, despite what black & indigenous people lose everyday, the spirit is an omnitemporal language. 


The Omnitemporal is Spirit. BOOTless → attempts to hold human fracture while each poem answers the last with reckoning & rapture, from contemporary libations to allusions of the biblical prophet Habakkuk's lamentations. DePass is asking the reader how sentient a poem can be? as a sentient poem states its case for autonomy & yall begin to play with the written voice(s).


BOOTless → is this conceit of black intergenerational grief, hood ethnography, voltas (alongside other poetic tools from the sonnet to the contrapuntal), & an internalized implied nothingness thereafter because black folk can feel helpless & without language or resources in our own rapturing, reckoning, &, regardless, love. BOOTless → still attempts to answer that, given a poem can have wants (to communicate, to connect, & contextualize), how can the black body of a poem have more agency and encourage the autonomy of its reader? Down to the parenthesis around the individual letter(s) in lines of these altar poems. There’s a playful character development of the Dr. King quote, concept, poem, & ultimately this chapbook in hopes for the reader too.


BOOTless → is reckoning with this idea that at some point, for the sake of truth, curiosity, & justice, we will be reminded that not all of us are saved because there is nothing (built literally on top of  indigenous land) to save; neither white nor American Jesus will save us at all, & we may have to un-save ourselves eventually in order to survive. Bootless self-doubt could shiver down a black spine when thinking of (t)his potential black ineffectual affect & the negro will still steal back ALIVE in their own way in order to create the new forms we’ll all need to keep surviving: armorial in its new meaning.