The Esteemed Dr. Nathan Hare
Every Wednesday, 6-7:30PM, 133 Golden Gate
Marvin X and the Last Poets
at Recovery Theatre, Friday, July 4, 8PM
Black Reconstruction Week Two
By Marvin X
I got into San Francisco around five PM, an hour before the group session and 45 minutes before I was to pick up Dr. Hare. I was hungry, so I thought about that Tenderloin Arab chicken that tastes so good nigguhs swear the Arabs put dope in it to make you keep coming back.
So I went to the funky liquor store and got some chicken wings, even though I know I should not be eating funky chicken if I want to live, so I must be suicidal, since I'm overweight and refuse to exercise. Anyway, if I can't save myself, maybe I can save somebody else.
As I was getting out of my car I saw this little white woman coming up the street and recognized her. She was Mona. I knew her from my dope fiend days in the Tenderloin, San Francisco's multiracial ghetto, next to downtown, a block from the Cable Car line. I knew Mona's husband, now deceased from crack. He was called Red and he reminded me of Malcolm X, Red was just shorter, but he could pass for Malcolm. Mona had sent Red home to Mississippi to recover but when his retroactive disability check came, she sent for him and he returned to San Francisco to immediately kill himself on crack.
Before he went to Mississippi, their child had picked up some crack crumbs off the floor and went into seizure. He was taken to the hospital and after cocaine was found in his system, the child protective services took the child. The sad thing about Mona is that she wasn't a crack addict but the codependent. I could see that time and the pain of life has almost destroyed her, so I begged her to come to the group meeting. Years ago, she surprised me when she showed up at a performance of my play ONE DAY IN THE LIFE. She came all the way to East Oakland and Frisco people don't come to Oakland--it's too far, being only ten minutes away.
Mona pointed out her stepson down the block standing with some crack heads. I remembered the boy when he was about seven, now he was 21. I asked her how he was doing, she shook her head. So I walked down to greet him. He said he remembered me when I used to sell incense near the Cable Car but that I had gained quite a few pounds since then. He said he was a poet--all hip hop youth are poets, if you didn't know, so I invited him to the Last Poets concert at my Recovery Theatre, July 4. He said he'd try to make it. Now he looked like a white boy with blue eyes, but he was a soul brother--one drop of black blood makes him that, right?I went inside the liquor store to get my chicken wings and walked to my car, standing eating on the street like the common dope fiend I used to be. A negro walked up to me and began telling me his life story, as if I knew him for a thousand years. He said his wife had his two cars because he didn't want to get anymore speeding tickets. He said he would help me pass out flyers about the Last Poets but he won't promise to come because he didn't want to be a hypocrite. When I asked him to come to the group meeting, he said no because he had crack in his pocket and again, didn't want to be a hypocrite.
I threw my chickenbones to the pigeons and proceeded up the block pass Glide Church, heading to Dr. Hare's office. At Ellis and Jones, I saw a Muslim dope fiend, put the car in reverse and called him over. First thing he said was he needed five dollars. I told him to get his motherfucking ass in the car and come with me. He repeated his dying need for five dollars. I told him to shut the fuck up and get in.
He submitted, wanting to know where we were going. I told him I was taking him to a meeting, but first I had to pick up Dr. Hare. I could tell he wanted to jump out the car to continue his mission for his five dollar bump of crack. We picked up Dr. Hare and proceeded to Recovery Theatre.
Dr. Hare told us the story of how he discovered black studies when he was five. The teachers put him in a room full of black children's literature and he read everything in the room. We got to the theatre and went inside. The Muslim dope fiend continued begging me for five dollars and I told him to take his ass back inside and sit next to Dr. Hare, which he did and finally calmed down and stayed for the entire meeting, telling the group it was the best thing that ever happened to him in a long time.