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Book of Unawares (inspired by Ross Gay’s “Book of Delights” & Professor Youssef)

I am unaware of your reaction to my person. These words included, there is a measure of fear spooned into my every interaction with the world around me. As if by some force unknown to my conscious mind but ever present within my senses, I’ve come to a place where the recognizable world is changed to become unrecognizable before my eyes. I see lain into the black-plastic faux-wood of my overtall desk the letter “A” slashed in white. After shifting as a wind-spun chamois does in moonlight, the new shape bears itself and I know the meaning of this letter has stayed the same: but my senses grate with confliction at this knowing. 

I may know who you are when I see you, but you know me when I’m alone. This is a fault solely of my own bearing. I am too cocky to allow myself the confidence to believe I know another. Trust me, the path of undisputed arrogance can take one far, but not farther than one can imagine to reach. Now I face the polarized consequences of my lack of self-empathy, and I am subject to the weight of this fault, like some vindictive suspension of gravity.

I lost 250k in earned scholarship money. I don’t say this as hope for pity that I’m alone in my plight, at least amongst the Cuny students who’ll primarily read this work. However, I do say this as a fury-cast mulatto who thinks too much and hasn’t yet shaken the bravado of machismo from my spine and my smile, that I did willingly and foolishly give up $252,000.00 of scholarship money awarded for my studies to become an orthopedic surgeon. 

Now my decision to broach the study of medicine in the first place could have been driven by my need to be recognized as this “mulatto-character” by my terminally aloof grandfather (or his son), known rather antiseptically to all the family as Dr. Mo Ghazi, Surgeon of Urology. I could go on declaiming the factors concerning my mother and my step-father’s love, and prove to you that the ultimate union of these two families does in fact exist; both in reality and in the hearts of all members of my new family. I could go on ignoring the existence my real father. But what if you took me at face value? 

Oh, I’m imagining your scorn, so I will go with what I think sounds best. 

I wanted to specialize in animals. I wanted to touch and heal big felines and mammals, and I wanted to study and memorize every twain branch of Life. I wanted to give thanks to the world around me in this way, and hoped to be rewarded by the reality that cradles us all with just a smidge-moment longer of lucky, thoughtless, animal bliss for my own self. I felt like that was how it worked. 

Of course that was not how things worked. My suspension of disbelief towards this world’s own issues, and the issues within myself conflued, and then it flooded to overflowing. For a while I felt like I was drowning in the arctic under the sea. Yet, it was peaceful in the way that bliss should never be and my senses clashed against it like always and I knew it was wrong but: I still hoped I didn’t suffocate before my body froze. 

Funny thing is, no accolades I gain will assuage me now. And it was never about Papa Mo, or Neema. They’re in my corner, and I theirs’. 


Beyond my fear, there is my lack of knowing (unawareness) of the next, coming flood. I know not whether the waters will be capped with ice and frozen-calm as they were, or scalding, roaring in to tear the slim-scaffolds I’ve managed to rebuild of my soul.
Maybe that is why I relate to the world in such a happy-go-lucky, do unto others as you would have done to you kinda way. Maybe Catholic school did it’s job, kinda? Is that simply Malloy and Saint-Joeseph’s? Or is this just another question I have to face alone?

Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime by Pierre-Paul Prud’Hon

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