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WHAT IS STEAMFUNK?

Steamfunk is defined as a philosophy or style of writing and visual aesthetic that combines the African and / or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and / or  steampunk fiction and cosplay.

Steampunk has the power to rip open the 19th Century’s belly and examine its clockwork guts – and to rearrange those guts in new ways – but most Steampunk authors – and indeed most Steampunks – choose to avoid the issues of racism, sexism, classism, colonialism and imperialism.

Steamfunk authors – thankfully – choose to address these very same issues, for we know that to avoid them – especially since there is such a wealth of Steampunk tales to be told from a Black perspective – is to perpetuate the Big Steampunk Lie.

Yes…lie; a lie by omission; also known as the ‘suppression of evidence’.

This type of lie is more subtle. It has the advantage that you can’t get caught in a lie, because everything that you say is true. You just fail to mention all of those bothersome little facts that do not support your point of view. Should someone point out one of those annoying – and unmentioned – facts, you can feign innocent ignorance, or claim that the fact is really just an unimportant, trivial detail, not worth mentioning.

Thus the Victorian Era / Wild West are represented in most Steampunk as merely an age of exploration and invention. A renaissance, if you will. A very interesting – and deceptive – way of describing an era in which the “explorers” who at best unintentionally – and at worst, and far more often, very intentionally – brought with them the forces of colonialism and imperialism throughout the world.

The “Wild West” of North America systematically robbed the indigenous people of their lands and murdered them wholesale while also oppressing and vilifying Asians. In the South and East of North America, people of African descent suffered horrors under the yoke of chattel slavery and things did not get much better after the Civil War. To romanticize such an era; to paint such a dystopian reality as a rose-colored (well, various shades of brown in Steampunk) utopia is the ‘Big Steampunk Lie’ of which I speak.

Now, I am not saying all Steampunk stories should be dark and foreboding. However, we should tackle issues of race, sex and class in our stories to some degree. So many incredible and thought-provoking stories are waiting to be told…if we care to tell them.

Written by Balogun

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Baba_Balogun

Website: https://chroniclesofharriet.com

ADRIAN CALLOO BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS – STRANGER THINGS: DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN BY ADAM CHRISTOPHER

CONDITION OF MY HEART – EXTRACTED FROM NIGHT FLUTES: A BOOK OF POETRY

Thought that was really you; prowling the alley like a panther, walking your façade.

I get so high I can even see the aliens in the trees.

They are watching me.

These are your lies, you left them here.

Your show was alluring, posh & demure.

A mamba snake I follow to the shores of midnight.

The witching hour draws near.

3am.

A shadow falls on my body shaped like the soul of an old tree, dripping like black wax on sun burnt grass.

I thought it was you & then realized it was the condition of my heart

 

Copyright © 2019 by Adrian Calloo
All rights reserved.

 


 

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PINK AND BLACK ROSES -EXTRACTED FROM NIGHT FLUTES꞉ A BOOK OF POETRY

Pink and Black Roses

 

Take 1

Sent at the end of June,

flowers nourished in ice water.

Sent in haste, delivered by strangers.

Should have walked the miles to feel the thorns in my feet but the discomfort of heartbreak is hard to replicate.

So, I send you pink and black roses, nourished on fire water.

Pretending I still know you, when all I know is a ghost.

 

Take 2

I sent you a remnant of my heart,

the voice of night imprisoned in a petal,

from tear to earth, born as a rosebud.

What kind of light appeases the radiant bride?

Reminding me of lost summers; where lovers never kissed

& windows stay closed.

The groom covering his trail of lies with artificial flowers; manufactured elegance, taut & ridiculously pretty, a token of fraudulent love.

Do you know who sent you the real roses that watch you sleep?

Breathing life into your heart, reminding you that you’re alive unlike the plastic ones that stink of rubber and strawberries.

 

Take 3

Imprisoned in its vase, is a rose still a rose when it dies?

Or is there just an unused vase; waiting to be filled?

When starved of light, does a rose contemplate death?

I wonder, does it wish to be free, out in the evening breeze?

What should I call this skeleton of beauty?

Its grace transformed to blackened confetti; my shredded hope.

If I were to retrieve my unwanted gift,

on this suffering night, in my hands, it would crumble.

I would destroy it, like you said I would.

Better to let it just turn to nothing in its decorated prison.

I do think of it often; its familiar ending is the hook in my heart

 

Copyright © 2019 by Adrian Calloo
All rights reserved.

 

Purchase ‘Night Flutes: A Book of Poetry’  

 

HOW WRITING POETRY HELPED ME TO CONFRONT MY DEPRESSION

Depression is a strange beast, isn’t it?

It sneaks up on you disguised as melancholy and mild stress and before you know it, you’re struggling to get out of bed in the morning.

I never planned to tie my poetry collection to mental illness. Many of the poems were written at stages in my life when I was feeling on top of the world but many were also created when I was in a dark place.

The poems in Night Flutes were written over a course of roughly 7 years.
A poem titled ‘There Is No Other Drug‘ reminds me of the illusion I built up around getting high as if it was some sort of internal utopia of which I should be proud.

Potential Holes‘ reminds me of the feelings I felt reflecting on the murder of a school friend.
The thing about depression – for me – is that I didn’t realise I was depressed until I began gathering poems to include in the poetry collection book.

I thought I was just temporarily sad. I was burying my depression under a mountain of drugs and casual relationships.

As I sat down at the computer and began to read my own poetry, it felt like I was reading someone else’s work.
Who was this person writing about addictions, unbridled lust and loneliness; was it me?

It was at that point that I decided to examine my mental health.

I began to eat better, I started to work out in the gym, I changed my 9-5 job, began meditating and continued to write poetry.

When I returned to gather more poetry for my collection, I observed that the poems were now of a spiritual nature. I saw a person that was still trying to find themselves but was noticeably stronger and more focused.

Initially, I was going to create two books out of the collection. One for the dark poetry and another for the more enlightening poems but I eventually decided to put them in the same book.
As I read through ‘Night Flutes‘ today, I can see my own transformation from a person who was ignorant of my own mental well-being to someone who was completely aware of the need for self-care.

I haven’t written any poetry for a while now, as I have been working on my debut novel  ‘A Monster in Harlem’ but when I do return to poetry, I hope that it will reveal a more strong and contented being.

Purchase ‘Night Flutes’ today by clicking the Amazon link below – 

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