Shannon Gibney lives in Minneapolis. A 2005 Bush Artist Fellow, she served as managing editor at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, the state's oldest Black newspaper, from 2002-2005. Gibney's articles have appeared in a number of publications, including City Pages, The Minneapolis Observer, Black Enterprise Magazine, and the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. Her poetry has appeared in Wicked Alice and the Bellingham Review, and you can find her nonfiction in Essence Magazine. Gibney was awarded the 2002 Hurston/Wright Award in fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in Brilliant Corners and is forthcoming in Outsiders Within (South End Press, 2006). She is a 2002 graduate of Indiana University's MFA program in fiction and also holds an MA in 20th Century African American literature from the same institution. Currently, Gibney is at work on her novel Hank Aaron's Daughter. Catch her monthly on mnartists.org curating Thinking Souls.
There was nothing to be done about it. The world had already ended three times before, so why put all the work into ending it again? We had already made our investments, overfunded Social Security two times the last fiscal year. The thing was, no one knew how to talk to those people. They were sick, they were tired, they were stunk, they were stuck. We tried to let them walk in the snowbanks themselves, but they always ended up tracking the snow into our houses. Structural adjustment had not taken well in Guatemala or Bolivia, for that matter. But at least they rebuilt Lake St. And at least.
There it was, done again for nothing. The shackles of the ships that pitched them over into the sea, and then below, on top of each other. Now they are trying to buy homes on Lake Harriet but where is the start-up capital buried? No one can find it; there were never any cotton fields here. But she looks at me so uncharitably at the gym. What I wouldn't give for biceps like that. You can take Spanish and German and even Hmong now, but where can you learn what the street kids speak? The bling-bling and the blackface magic. And the wheel of the rim sometimes get stuck in my throat when they whiz by in their suped-up cars at the Amoco. Today, JP Morgan donates $5 million to three Historically Black Colleges in Louisiana...all for capital. CAPITOL. capital, cargo. What tomorrow - the seas open wide and cough up the dead?
Nothing done again. I don't know if it was the Hutus or the Tutsis or King Tut. But you can't wear that thing around your head in South Minneapolis without expecting a comment or two from the natives. Somalia. Deserts broken with bones, the Red Cross volunteers said that they had to get them out of there. With almost imperial noses, their men walk the library stacks, looking to learn how to live here. The men came with machetes in the night, the old woman told me at the bus stop. And they killed whatever moved in our village. Our high school hallways cluttered with Tommy Hilfiger and FUBU. But you can't always tell that they're Black. It is the fifth prayer of the day that always startles me.
© 2007 Shannon Gibney