Brown skins could melt
Under raging suns
Filled with merciless hatred
And cyclical abuse daily,
But that would never change the structure
Of accessibility in gilded communities
Where collective sentiment
Is merely a cry for communal longing,
Forbidden and siphoned
From pale words
Tarnished in crimson and tonally perfect,
For tonal dissonance is reserved
For those that dare act beyond
Media amplified trends,
Or those who endeavor to truly rise
Beyond paltry words of encouragement,
And tokenistic mentalities covertly hidden,
Just beyond luminous screens.
‘Tonal Dissonance’ attempts to consider nuanced nouveau inequality, racial profiling and systematic exclusion of BIPOC voices in a multitude of fields, as well as within the literary realm. An emphasis on exclusionary rhetoric that labels writers who do not ‘simplify’ their work or fail to develop a sense of ‘commercialization’ beyond negative stigmas of trauma and suffering, as lacking, is highlighted by emphasis on literary rejection being driven by ‘tonally dissonant’ writers whose work fails to capture the gate-kept gaze at large. This presents a disturbing picture where neo-imperialist and controlled narratives dominate under the guise of ‘equality’ and ‘tonal dissonance’ at large. This poem was further developed through a great sense of unease that exists when numerous presses and magazines promote anti-BIPOC writing and put out singular racial, and usually all male dominated publishing lists. BIPOC individuals, and woman deserve to be heard for their ability and prowess in navigating the stern lens of repression and covert control. They are not simple tokens to be used when individuals and organizations decide they must be ‘woke’ to pander to the illusion of an equality that is sorely lacking in postmodernity. An equality I fervently yearn to see in my lifetime.
A.R.Salandy is a mixed-race poet and writer whose work tends to focus on social inequality throughout late-modern society. Anthony travels frequently and has spent most of his life in Kuwait jostling between the UK and America. Anthony's work has been published 150 times. Anthony has two published chapbooks titled 'The Great Northern Journey' 2020 (Lazy Adventurer Publishing ) and 'Vultures' 2021 (Roaring Junior Press). Twitter/Instagram: @anthony64120 https://arsalandywriter.com/ Anthony is the Co-Eic of Fahmidan Journal.
My ability to largely stay home during the pandemic has been afforded to me by class privilege. I say this with no ego or pride, though perhaps with some guilt. It is certainly as a matter of fact. I am not an essential worker. I am an arts worker. A generation ago, certainly on my maternal side in the motherland of El Salvador, my level of comfort would not have been possible. And during a disaster no less! My achievements as a woman completing not only college but grad school would've been a figment of ancestral imagination. These circumstances have driven me to make the most of my gifts of time and relative stability. No longer bouncing between museums and theaters, I have slowed my pace and mainly confined myself to my kitchen table or nooks around the apartment. While client work has occasionally pulled me out of my hutch for mural-making, my private paintings are much smaller and humbler. They embrace simplicity and my interior life.
Christine Sloan Stoddard is a writer and multidisciplinary artist, as well as the founder of Quail Bell Press & Productions, including Quail Bell Magazine.
Uncovered logs from the distant past and the future beyond.