“The artistic sensitivity of the people will rise to create what they need out of the bare bones of the facts of the truth; otherwise art would not be necessary. We cannot yet live with the truths or the facts: it is what we do with them that determines what we are as a people.”
To whom it may concern:
This series of… I hesitate to call them “poems,” since they are more raw than that word might suggest—more visceral in a way that could, and perhaps should, disturb more than edify, as some still expect “poetry” to do—
I will call them what the author does: “meditations.”
These meditations were submitted to Metapsychosis by NGINYU NGUMBA (Siben Gerard), with the following note:
It was Nathaniel Hawthorne who jotted down in the wish-list of his notebooks: “To write a dream, which shall resemble the real course of a dream, with all its inconsistency, its eccentricities and aimlessness—with nevertheless a leading idea running through the whole. Up to this old age of the world, no such thing has ever been written.”
In a follow-up email, Siben elaborated:
I wrote the meditations with the intention of translating the trauma of slavery to the page, and it did came out like an eco-graphic card; with no straight lines; no reservations.
The images made evident by my words can, and would never, attain the slave’s concrete experience.
I believe your readers would connect with the world behind the words—and I’ll humbly propose that you publish just the first chapter on your site, then we can take it from there, based on the grounds of the replies we’ll get.
As an editor, I have hesitated to publish these pieces, not because of their graphic content, which is common to literature dealing with American slavery, but because the collective work of facing historical trauma remains so polarizing and fraught.
Moreover, these meditations, coming as a “dream,” actually from outside contemporary African-American experience (Siben was born and lives in Cameroon) might not do justice to concrete transformations in reality, which some Americans might rather focus on building upon.
Nonetheless, out of respect for the raw artistry evident in these verses, and to honor the author’s wishes, and for other reasons yet to become apparent, we are publishing “Gospel 1” (of 6) of these Meditations, and will post the remaining ones based on reader response.
Marco V Morelli
Co-Editor and Publisher, Metapsychosis