“An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times. I think that is true of painters, sculptors, poets, musicians. As far as I’m concerned, it’s their choice. But I choose to reflect the times and situations in which I find myself. That to me is my…
(This essay originally appeared in “Imagining: A Gibney Journal, #5”, published by the Gibney Company Community Center on May 5, 2021.)
I got the key to the highway,
Billed out and bound to go
I’m gonna leave here running
Because walking is most too slow…”
— Sonny Terry and Brownie…
“Friends depart, and memory takes them to her caverns, pure and deep.”
— Thomas Haynes Bayly
The last time I visited my father, I said goodbye to him at the airport in the town where he lived. …
Look down, look down that lonesome road,
Before you travel on.
–That Lonesome Road, Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915–1973)
This is America.
— Childish Gambino
I suppose it was inevitable that one day it would come to this, that racism would meet itself traveling down that lonesome road.
Witnessing it has…
“Wade in the water, wade in the water, Children. God’s gonna trouble the water.” — Traditional
“My soul looks back and wonders, how I got over.” — Mahalia Jackson
Months ago, I turned on the TV and saw a white mom at a protest in Portland dragged across the pavement…
1.Several years ago, after a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, I took a walk in Central Park with a woman I’d met only a few weeks before. We were mourning a mutual friend who had recently died of alcoholism.
She and Alan had been friends since childhood; I’d only known him…
By Max S. Gordon
(This essay was originally published on September 10, 2004 as
“An Open Letter to Paul Wellstone”. It was written in response to the arrests made during the Republican National Convention in New York City)
Senator Wellstone: I will not go on about the curious timing…
Messin’ round with the best of them
Digressing with the rest of them,
He’s a stranger.
But his mama still knows his name.
“Sylvester”, Sly & The Family Stone
The day after it was announced that the president of the United States had been impeached, I awoke to an image…
This essay contains spoilers from James Baldwin’s 1962 novel, Another Country.
1. For months I’ve hesitated to write about Pete Buttigieg because I wasn’t sure how to articulate exactly what I felt. My ambivalence toward him is based on my own racial and sexual identities. I asked myself at one…
by Max S. Gordon
(The piece premiered at the First Person Plural Reading Series: What Just Happened? Writers Respond to Our American Crises — 2019 Edition, Harlem, New York, November 10, 2019.)
Before you can decide where you are going…