‘‘I’mintheZone’’:
BillT.Jones,TupacShakur,and
the(Queer)ArtofDeath
How many brothers fell victim to the streets?
Rest in peace young niggas, there’s a heaven for a ‘‘G.’’
Be a lie if I told you that I never thought of death.
My niggas, we the last ones left.
—Tupac Shakur, ‘‘Life Goes On,’’ All Eyez on Me
I will never grow old. My hands will never be discolored with the
spots of age. I will never have varicose veins. My balls will never be-
come pendulous, hanging down as old men’s balls do. My penis will
never be shriveled. My legs will never be spindly. My belly, never big
and heavy. My shoulders never stooped, rounded, like my mother’s
shoulders are. I will never need a son to massage my arms, as my fa-
ther did . . . I am not protected, remember? Old is for people who are
protected. The unprotected have to die young.
—Bill T. Jones, Last Night on Earth
i see you blackboy bent toward destruction watching for death with
tight eyes—Sonya Sanchez
TheQuickandtheDead
In Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, the primary definition of
the word body is ‘‘corpse.’’ The secondary definition is ‘‘person.’’ The
implication is startling: as the body marks space equally in death and
in life it becomes the bridge between the way others see us (science/
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