September 30, 1993

8:25 p.m. Wednesday

dearest M.—

… it was a special day. i had gone to the library on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn where i often went durin the week to study. it wasn’t far from our apartment. on this particular day back on 29 January 1974, the whole day seemed strange. i discovered this book by John H. Williams, The King God Didn’t Save. it was on the assassination of Dr. King. in it Williams described how when the bullet hit Dr. King it tore into his chin and goin down penetratin into his chest and explodin. it was as if i could actually see the bullet as it travelled down inside of his body as i read. when i left the library at about 3:30 P.M. or so the sun was bright, so bright with its accompanyin sharp dark shadows. the brightness was almost blindin to my eyes. people of the street who i didn’t even know were speakin to me as i made my way to the apartment.

when i reached the apartment there were two guys there with B. one i knew from my days in D.C. with the organization. the other guy i would later learn was merely some cat he’d met on the street and got the guy to take him to my apartment. the guy i knew from D.C. was rollin up reefer on the livin room floor. the other cat cut out as soon as i got there. i took ah joint and got high myse’f. the guy from D.C., Marlowe, asked me to go back to his hotel with him where he was stayin off 42nd Street. he told me that he didn’t know his way back to the hotel. it was his first time to n.y. city. i just wanted to go to the dojo and workout. but i left with him anyhow. ‘gainst my own better judgment.

as he and i walked up Sterling Place toward Utica Avenue , there was this lil boy i used to always play with each day, sittin in the middle of the sidewalk. he looked at me so strange. he stared at me. his eyes were big, full, and focused, as tho he was seein ah ghost or somethin. his stare made me feel strange, uncomfortable … scared. he knew me, but he looked at me as tho i was ah total stranger to him. as i got close to him i stepped over his body, touchin his head with my hand as i passed. he continued to look up into my eyes without sayin ah word. i smiled ah weak smile at him. i wanted to stop right there and run. just run. run back to the apartment out of fear. somethin was wrong. i had kissed B. at the door, tellin her that i would return in ah lil while.

i haven’t been back since that day, Marguerite.

i went to his hotel with the bro from the street and he took out ah hit of mescaline (acid). i was already high from the reefer earlier at my apartment. now after droppin the mescaline i began trippin. i lost faith in Man that nite. he & i boarded the subway together headin uptown to Harlem to see another brother who was also in D.C. with us. this guy abandoned me on the train – i was trippin. i woke up some time much later, somewhere in the Bronx.

by the time i hit 149th Street & 3rd Avenue, where the shootout took place in the subway, i had stopped trippin, i was just tryin to git back home to Brooklyn. i just wanted to git back to my bed and sleep. i had carfare & ah train token when i approached the subway turnstile. i also noticed the transit cop on the platform with his back to me talkin to someone. i walked thru the turnstile without payin. i heard this loud, seemin’ly death defying screech from my back: “He didn’t pay his fare!” the transit cop turned around as i was passin thru the turnstile. i was thru. but i left the damn thang cocked in ah way that chu could see that it was still in the open position. i rushed off to the edge of the platform, waitin for the come down.

the black woman in the token booth told the high sheriff that i had beaten the fare. after ah few disagreements between us as to the status of my bein there on the platform – the transit cop attacked me on the head with his night stick. he is “white.” i am Black. it is approximately 2:30 a.m. on 30 January 1974. i was knocked unconscious. i only came to after repeated blows to the head from his nightstick & billy club (… leather strap with the metal at the end).

i took one of his guns and shot at him, hittin him in the legs, as he ran away. i couldn’t really see him b’cause of the amount of my own blood in my eyes. he hid behind ah solar can on the platform and fired two shots at me from his second handgun he carried in ah leg holster. i fell on the platform, blood shootin outta my skull. i came to with two cops kickin on my body to see if i was alive or dead. there was ah small grayish-red mound of blood, the shape of an anthill, on the platform in front of my eyes as i lay there contemplatin the rest of my life. actually i was thankin that it was my brain i saw before my eyes and i thought about how i wanted to die.

the two cops picked, jerked me up and as they were takin me out towards the steps, we were met with about eight other “new york finest” runnin down the steps to git me. i was thrown into ah corner of the station and they, all ten of them, tried to stomp my brains out. i fought them lyin on my back, lahk Bruce Lee, to ah stand still. i landed on my back with handcuffs on and i was kickin at them so fast and strong that they couldn’t git close enuf to me to hurt me. i was lyin there lookin at my feet moving and they jumpin back and tryin to git near me … it was lahk it was all happenin in ah dream. “take me to fuckin jail!” i said to them. they stopped. grabbed hold of me and drug me up the steps. when we got to the top, my head emergin from the subway, i saw all of these bright headlights to the po-lice cars.

i thought to myse’f: who are they after? my feet hit the last step from the top. and the rest, as they say, Marguerite, is history …

Go back to Freedom, Deferred.

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