The Jesus Tranquilizers: A Poetry Prescription

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Now Honky wasn't braggin', but his bags were baggin', and Once again, he was feeling' pretty cool,. I love this poem. It reminds me of a guy I knew in Bayonne. Tony, used to say all kinds of wise stuff like; "what goes around comes around, be careful what you wish for you just might get it and never, say never. He was 20 years old. So this poem has sentimental value to me.

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Drugs keep you back when you're young your productive years. If they don't hook you for life or kill you. Drug Education should start to be taught in grammar school. In the 1st, 2nd grades. Even on the most basic level , ie don't smoke cigarettes , don't drink alcohol, never take medicine unless a parent or doctor gives it to you, like that. Increasing info with age. Until young people grow up knowing that drugs, alcohol, tobacco, etc. Reverse the drug propaganda. Replace it with the truth and facts about drugs, alcohol and about violence too.

I was 17 in nineteen sixty-seven.


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I know drugs and alcohol! I had numerous, near-death episodes with drugs and alcohol when I was a teenager and in my early twenties. Been there, decided to straighten out because I didn't want to die. The nation's leading organization promoting drug policies that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. Drug-Free World. A bill that gives people immunity from arrest if they call to report an overdose, even if they also had used drugs at the time. CeaseFire; The Campaign To Stop The Shooting, uses a public health model to stop shootings and killings, with a combination of Science and Street Outreach to track where violence is heating up and then cool the situation down.

In , a total of 38, fatal drug overdoses nationwide. It's mostly a little cocaine so it tastes like it and a lot more pharmaceutical type amphetamine or even meth amphetamine.

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FYI , Even real cocaine from the coca plant is distilled in kerosene. I wouldn't put that into my body! Pharmaceutical amphetamine and the chemical formula of nearly all pharmaceutical pain killers, tranquilizers, etc, contain many toxic ingredients. Two examples are: C9H13N hydrochloride. A type of Sulfur. In inorganic chemistry, a sulfate is a salt of sulfuric acid. These salts and acids not only help to preserve the drugs they also help the user's body to eliminate the drug.

Over time; if the user doesn't overdose, these salts and acids destroy the body. Even patients who have to take them for pain, etc, hate them. I know. I got hurt in Torn rotators cuff, neck and back injuries. The doctors tried every pain med there is. I had severe reactions to them all. My skin turned bright red and burned, my hair fell out. True story. And Never Drink Alcohol when taking acetaminophen or prescription drugs containing it.

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It can burn your liver up, the first time. Some of the ingredients used to make street meth All those little home, laboratories. They, will physically age your body thirty years beyond your chronological age! And it doesn't take long for this damage to occur. Often, the heroin is fake too. A small amount of the drug mixed with anything else the dealer has. Whatever the dealer wants to put in it, crushed up narcotic or non narcotic pain meds, tranquilizers, any kind of powder works, etc.

I went out once in the eighties with some people who were into this junk heroin. It was definitely synthetic. So like every product; nowadays, it can only have gotten worse.

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A nationwide system of electronic medical records. Although pharmaceutical drugs may have a place in medicine, ie pain, etc. They're basically just some harsh synthetically created chemical compounds. The dr's warn to use only as prescribed and often they also have severe side effects. Never shoot pills! That can kill you instantly , one time!

Never mix them with other drugs like heroin.

Again one time, that's the end! Pills kill fast and they can make a person crazy too. I went to College with many of these Volunteers. Love Ya, Miss you all. Burning tobacco generates a smoke that is a toxic cocktail of chemicals that affect not only the smoker, but others as well.

If people knew what was in cigarettes, they would never smoke. Acetone : irritant: can cause kidney and liver damage. Dumas reappropriate[s] the cultural and self-referential power of language. Various oral conventions of the black community provide the basis of [his] linguistic reappropriation, and serve as implicit strategies for signifying the spiritual and human realities that were denied the race through the false images shaped by Western hegemonically privileged discourse. The significance of this effort to affirm the moral and political status of the black person via a constitution of his "linguistic territoriality" is suggested through the formulations offered by the sociologist Tamotsu Shibutani, who informs us that "meanings are learned or clarified through symbolic communication," a situation that signifies an essential relation between the individual and "the symbolic environment of the group.

Dumas, whose work is, as Redmond points out an "attempt to salve and balm 'the Jesus disease' and other New World maladies" introduction Knees n. It is in such a context that the imaginative work of Brathwaite and Dumas, challenging social and aesthetic principles that limit possibilities of black expression and self-definition, constitutes a liberating ideal. This challenge is exemplified by Dumas in "Saba: Shadow and Act," voicing an urgent desire to invert self-alienating values and symbols. This revolutionary ideal is assessed by Baraka as the artist's attempt to build "institutions social, political, creative, religious, historical, economic, ethos-expressing institutions in which our best minds can research for and reconstruct our black nation" "The Works" This creative use of cultural phenomena as literary schemata for a program of spiritual and ideological purposes invests in specific African traditions, informing which, as Ray observes, was a fundamental reliance upon particular rituals for the "recreation of the group's solidarity" and for the reforging of "the corporate life.

As he goes on to explain, "In times of colonial oppression and rapid social change, ritual symbols have also served to create and reinforce new religious and political movements" This tradition, carried over into the New World, and best exemplified by the Haitian and Jamaican use of voodoo as strategies for liberation from the oppression of slavery, is here revived through the aesthetic imagination.

Engaged too with such radical awakening, Dumas, who is largely influenced by DuBois's notion of black "double-consciousness," underscores Afro-Americans' alienation, according to the fourfold character of their political, economic, personal and cultural dissatisfaction and insists, as a corrective to this plight, upon commensurate revolutionary action. Responding, in "The Zebra Goes Where the Sidewalk Ends," to what William Wells Brown refers as America's "piebald policy" , Dumas underlines the "socialized ambivalence" of black Americans, faced with segregationist practices that seek to degrade them and deny their rights of citizenship and opportunity even as the nation touts its democratically enshrined ideals: its egalitarian dream and its principles of liberty, its constitutionalized duty to dedicate itself to universal inalienable human rights, justice and liberty.

Chains of light race over my stricken city. Here Dumas juxtaposes the "dazzling opportunities" of the white world against the alienated and deprived situation of "outcast" Afro-Americans. Accentuating the trauma of black experience in America that DuBois represents as a mode of sociopsychological disorientation, Dumas selects parody, in his poem, as a means for highlighting and transforming the several levels of injustice within his world, The symbol "light," an icon of Christian salvation and democratic freedom in America, is inverted; through an echo of the "battle royal" drama in Invisible Man, it is spoken of as an imprisoning "chain" demarcating the boundaries the harnessing "shadows" that separate blacks from the "dazzling" arena of opportunity.

The black and white racial tensions in the American world constitute, for Dumas, an unacceptable social order which he further explores in the connected narrative sequence of "Ark," "The White Horse," and Wandering in the Wilderness. In order to carve a meaningful place for blacks in the present order, to conceive of possibilities of justice, equality and freedom the liberating ideals echoed in "The Marchers" , the black racial memory must be recovered. This act offers a grounding for dismantling the falsities upon which the present set of relations is built and for renegotiating the conditions of social interaction.

The "cup" is also symbolically associated with Christ's sacrifice: "O my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but thou wilt" Matthew The image of the "widow" in Dumas's poem is an inversion of Isaiah's own of the fulfilled bride Isaiah , a correlative for liberation as a state of consummation.

The reversal suggests the poet's impatience; the black community continues to drink from the blood filled "red" cup of trembling. Dumas associates the uprooted blacks with "wounded" Israel, "outcasts," in "captive exile," where they are "oppressed.

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Through the constant identifying of their own suffering with that of the Israelites, who too were oppressed in a land of exile, black Americans, as Bell states, found "religious explanation for their rejection by and isolation from white America. As Bell adds, blacks encouraged a belief "that, like the Jews, they too were a chosen people whom God would, in his own time deliver from oppression and exploitation" The consequent mandate that Hughes had prescribed for the black artist, to express his "racial individuality, his heritage of rhythm and warmth, and his incongruous humor that so often, as in the blues becomes ironic laughter mixed with tears" is taken up by Dumas, who, through a symbiosis of literary and Afro-American musical art forms of expression, subscribes to this, essentially, Afrocentric aesthetic principle.

Dumas, accepting an ideology of liberation, an aim to redefine an alienated conception of self, approaches this responsibility as a creative commitment to black folk traditions. This implicit movement of cultural resistance is outlined in Redmond's metaphorical flourish: "Dumas spun his many fibered predicament.

Aesthetically, "double vision" becomes for Dumas a mode of sublimating irony, and psychically it constitutes a medium for spiritual transcendence of the contradictions of black life. The scope of this "vision" encompasses the blues mood through which the community transforms an unjust economic order in "Employment Blues" and "Out of Work Blues," for example as well as the poet's own metamorphosing consciousness in "A Coat of Many Fibers. It is the spiritual and creative response to life coveted by Dumas that had earlier claimed the attention of Eliot, for whom, also, spiritual exhaustion was an effect of the demythicized character of the modern Western world.

In "The Fire Sermon," Eliot dramatizes the reification of human life in the modern city by revealing that the sex act which should consecrate the most binding of spiritual unions cannot but express human jadedness, sterility, and the impossibility of intimate connectedness. The two automated urbanites, at the center of the poem, their souls paralysed, have become metamorphosed into mere corporeal fragments. Through this common theme of the violation of love and sexuality, both Dumas and Eliot are rejecting a sterile environment that conditions human impotence.

But what is essentially, for Eliot, a religious appeal is for Dumas, both a religious and a political issue. He is passionately lamenting the loss of human vital essence brought about by the uprooting of blacks from their creative traditions. Nikki Giovanni employs similar images of urban spiritual enervation to sound a call to American democracy for social change.

Adopting the alien culture and its foreign mode of conceptualization, as far as Dumas is concerned, intensifies black Americans' exposure to self-estrangement, a problem which Allan defines as "our vulnerability to loss of meaning, to confusion about who we are and what we should do, what our role is in society and what our society's role is in history" It is the "dissociation of sensibility" which Ngugi diagnoses as an effect of the colonized person's separation "from his natural and social environment" that Dumas conveys through the sense of a split personality, suggested via his refusal to name the two voices heard in "Echo Tree.

As this story suggests, in reorientating himself through a religious or mythological mode of perception the individual finds unity within himself and with his community. In the symbolic drama between the halves of the divided self, a voodoo conjuration is enacted as healing rite, or mode of cultural reclamation for the urbanized and spiritually atrophied "character. This is why the ceremony a voodoo "ceremony of the souls" which is associated with the Yoruba god Elegbara, and the Haitian god Legba, represented as having one foot in the past and one in the future calls up, from the past, the soul of his "cursed" companion's dead brother whose name is Leo, synonym for lion, and a correlative for Afro-Americans' African familial bonds, the grounding of their true identity.

The significance of Dumas's reference to the voodoo ceremony lies in both African and New World traditions, especially the Haitian revolution, which was initiated, as Taylor points out, by the moral force and organization produced by the loas of the religion.

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A strategy for social and political change, this mode of cultural expression, Taylor further explains, held liberating significance for slaves in the Caribbean. The slave had found that by acting out of his African-based religious world view he was able to convert his ritual acts into a force for social transformation and for restoring order and meaning to his community.


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Thus he turned his religion into a political instrument that would enable him "to survive in a situation of oppression, to resist that oppression, and, ultimately, to bring about emancipation" The shared correspondences between the messianic and political structures in the art and the folk culture are illustrative of the symbolic potential for addressing the question of liberation which the artist finds in his literary use of ethnographic structures and symbols.

The salvational principle behind Dumas's use of the religious invocation is similar to that which the cultural anthropological study of Michael Laguerre, in "The Place of Voodoo in the Social Structure of Haiti" also, describes as important to the use of voodoo as a political force. The voodoo spirits, as Laguerre states, served to create a center of unity within the oppressed community, providing strength to the group members, making them conscious of their power, and encouraging their hope even in the most difficult moments of their struggles for liberation The slaves, then, saw voodoo as a means for addressing their alienation, and for defining their "conscious place of differentiation from the world of their masters.

This "quest for relevance," for a meaningful resolution to the struggle against social and cultural domination is centrally projected, in the art of. Dumas, via a pervasive iconography of life-death images that suggest the artists' faith in human rebirth as a principle of the individual's innate creative capacity. In "Will the Circle Be Unbroken? This inherent preoccupation with the power of the creative imagination is an attempt to realize, through art, the kind of revolutionary or innovative consciousness that the writer thinks that Afro-Americans need in order to rescue themselves from their oppressed social circumstances.

Dumas is pointing here to the spiritual attainment of the race as a mode of social power, capable of staging an imaginative inversion of the status of black people, historically marginalized, exploited, and oppressed in American society. Dumas too seeks self-liberation as, fundamentally, an inner phenomenon, a defiant self-acceptance. The poet's religious preoccupation is, essentially, a response to the decay of values attached to traditional ideas and structures.

The disintegration of one's culture, the turning away from one's roots under pressure of colonial ethnocentric codes becomes, for the poet, a perversion of one's real self that now needs to be redeemed:. He finds that renewed through dimensions of African spirituality, black persons can articulate "bridges" of a new and harmonious discourse. Through such media they, like the poet, can mend "broken chords. And in a mutually recognized multicultural universe, help to cater to a human bonding across racial experiences of black and white, "ebony," and "ivory.

As Rickard argues, Joyce's investigation turns to the repositories of memory in other literary works in order to help us understand the ways in which we are constituted by traditions and unconsciously shaped by the voices and echoes of mythic paradigms. It is in this respect that.



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