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You Belong To The Night, A Love Letter To Black Folk

You Belong To The Night, A Love Letter To Black Folk

“They seemed to be staring at the dark but their eyes were watching God” – Zora Neale Hurston.


There is much in the spectrum of the unwanted. In the things we do not want to feel, see or experience. Knowing this, it is still okay to turn away from things. To breakdown. To come to the end of ourselves – and stop/fall. The darkness, though resisted, is catalysing. It is the birthplace of a different relationship to our power: fire and water, fire in water, water through fire. 

It’s an alchemical process we are learning like chemistry students. It is how we temper ourselves. To take the so-called good with the renounced bad. And maybe there is so much more bad than we would want in the mix of our lives. Much more than we would ever think to include in a hopeful collective vision for a world lived-well together. And maybe without that darkness – without the crystallising cold grip, the halt of winter – there would not be enough staying power. No base note. Nothing to bind in time and squeeze into form our ephemeral ideals. 

The darkness is where the secret sits observing all things. Unmoved. With the cool countenance of the co-writer of plot twists closely watching their realisation from within. It has chosen the unwanted, the story you now tear up over, “I never asked for any of this”; and you didn’t – and you did. And the secret likes the jigsaw of timelines unfolding as life, and you hate the experience you are having. The tension clouds and greys the sky of your mind. Your heart, Solaris, revolts at the change. The longer the discord continues the closer you walk to the abyss. Path unreconciled you fall. 

In obscurity you tuck stubbed fingers behind the HD screen of the mind and the terrifying secret witnesses you. You shut the projected life back quickly or you hold the piercing gaze. Nothing is spoken, all things are said. All things change, everything is the same. A reclamation in an abyss. An instant of recognition. A negotiation, even. Writers credit for you. Adaptations. A powerful apprehension of your right to co-production. By way of the unwanted.

Of course, the utility of the darkness is also how the white-walkers have convinced the world some of us were born to suffer in it. Have skin and bones twisted for the very purpose of it. Are reinforced like steel to carry the burden. Have such a strong connection to nature that the ordinary thing is to toss our lives over in ritualistic sacrifice like wood given to fire. And we swallowed the darkness in a miserable drowning and re-birthed ourselves in a haze of creativity. Beautiful blackened cinders, our lives flickering embers of light in a spectrum of passion the world had never seen before. And they warmed themselves in it whilst stoking the flames. 

It’s true, you belong to the night, but you were birthed in stars. And feverish in your glow they built the weight of concrete civilisations on your head so you would never see the light of the sun again. This kind of darkness is not a crucible. It is not the seat of the secret. It is annihilation in a wasteland called futility. It is not an awakening. It is a gag, a bit, a bridle.   

And you have to know the difference.

Which unwanted things expand your inner life, and what is just a noose thrown to hook and tether you as the caged source of someone else’s power? Mining your life with the tools of pain. 

by Leona Nichole Black

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