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Sure there is the white sand and the threat of falling coconuts. There are even pillow-shaped clouds and enough Germans and Cubans speaking their languages to their children to feel as if the United States is some distant place. But when the Southernmost point in the continental United States is within walking distance, and Hemingway’s Shangri-La is two doors down, then the mind churns over the Stars and Bars a little bit. In America, in American cities, and even on Key West, there is a black ghetto, hopeless and photogenic, bopping along to its own rhythm like the temperate waters that lap against the sand. In one day it is possible to see flickering waters and the dark streets of this country’s sub-conscious mind.


    A few weeks before I began law school, i went to key west with my sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and my parents.

    i was kind of at the height of my time in radical politics, and while skating around the island, i stumbled upon the black ghetto. it made so much sense. a black ghetto amongst throngs of tourists who just think that anything goes…that people don’t really live there. not only do people actually live there, but they don’t live too well.

© 2006 – 2024 Raafi Rivero.