Monday, June 21, 2004

c u next week.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Weapons of Mass InFUNKtion!
Weapons of Mass InFUNKtion!!
Weapons of Mass InFUNKtion!!!
Be there...

Friday, June 11th
The Wright Bros. Band
West 3rd & McDougal (take A,B,C,D,E,F to West 4th)
Doors @ 8:30pm
Vocals: Richard & Abena
Keys: Dan
Guitar: Anthony
Bass: Brian
and on Drums, the one and only: Rob Wright.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

1. (You can tell, schools almost out, cuz I been postin' like a flagpole...more and more time on my hands)

2. Rich, congrats muchacho, you ROCK. The koans were my favorite. boomBOOM!

3. I am reading "God's Trombones" by James Weldon Johnson.

There are some poetic voices that seem so entrenched in their time... that it's easy to get critical if one is not careful.
His voice is one of them. Read out of context, he might be misconstrued as a list of unflattering criticisms from poets, from corny to Uncle Tommish.
I have to undo all my modern buttons and lay naked before this work.
There is something of his poetry that speaks to me.
My wrestling from my instinct: Yes, I get mad when I feel like he doesn't use the word "black" right. You know what I mean? Like he should have been more consious and responsible with that word and not made it evil and dark and all the things that white society allows it to be.

But who's world of word is that?
How can I complain about things Johnson should have realized according to my current understanding of things that have evolved since his life on earth and things that never existed in mine?

He and I are crossing bridges through his work. This I love.
and I love that he called it God's Trombones:
There are seven sermons that he transcribes, which apparently were common to preaching circuits and heard throughout America's network of black preachers. Like the Negro slave songs, there were many versions of the same message, but melody, intention, inuendo, and cadence were a reflection of sentiments felt throughout respective communities. Today's favorite line:

(from "Listen Lord, a Prayer")

"Pin his ear to the wisdom post,
And make his words sledge hammers of truth-
beating on the iron heart of sin."

Now I hadn't even READ that joint when I wrote Blacksmith Orchestra. Word!

It's late again.
The ghosts are asleep, so I better hit the sack before they wake up.


Tonight, there are ghosts. These are their conversations.

-I am looking for the part of my sadness that is connected to real things.
-I cannot replace my sadness with you. Your intentions, at best…unreliable.
-I love the dark cloudy night and that special brand of peach- colored streetlight. Now there are two of me and I can share loss and imagined loss.
-Recommendation for acute sadness: Non-stop Stevie Wonder all day, so help me God, all day long.
-If condition becomes chronic, cancel all appointments, politely ask roommates for two hours uninterrupted, turn off all lights, listen to Radiohead’s Kid A in darkness. Twice.
-Remember these wise words: Be gentle with yourself
-If going over the Brooklyn Bridge on the Subway ever stops being beautiful, I need to leave New York City.
-I am looking for the art of my sadness that is connected to real things.
-Imagined things have a mystic quality. Tonight they are a tonic. I’m not sure whether they are the dote, or the antidote.
-Somehow, the three decisions I made that upset me are the only ones I can think about. I must have made a few decent ones, but they're harder to conjure.
-Note to self: Be gentle with yourself
-This hard, hard series of days tells me I am on the other side of a door. Set the table, love. I’m coming home.
-There is nothing like spending all emotion, checking the emotional account balance, finding the emotional tax return has been deposited, and spending it on prayer.

Tonight there are ghosts. They may or may not go to sleep when I do.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Hey Rich, Sestina This! (Rog had a point about the ice cream, so now it's vanilla)

Noche Sola

Loneliness is a tremble between heartbeat and hollow mouth,
an ache and smell my lips have gotten used to.
I’ve decided that getting lost in the West Village will spend the night:
We never came to this part of the city, I have no ghosts or enemies here,
except my mouth, that hears a voice like yours and fills up with water
in defiance, while my desert skin begs for rivers.

Your room, only mattress and guitars, my skin streamed with rivers.
Everywhere you touched flooded and rushed toward the banks of my mouth,
we filled the empty walls with screams and water.
Suddenly I realize I’ve been lied to.
We used to always come here:
The ghosts have tricked me into feeding them from my hurt tonight.

Now, it is me against the night.
The orchestra of taxis, sadness, clicking lights, and night hollers does not quiet my rivers,
they are an audience that refuses to hear
anything but memory flood of you in my mouth.
Even if you are in a crowded mattress leaning in to
crouch against another woman’s thigh, I know you hear my water.

This is the truth: I am separated from rhythm, earth, and you like bottled water.
I am ashamed of what I have brought into this night,
For in the days when Noah built sanctuary plank after plank, I too
would have been swept to clear skin by the rivers
shouting from stricken mouth:
It is unfair. I am the only one of my kind here!

When this loneliness tremble tongue rattles, what do angels hear?
The sound of butterflies drowning in water?
Does one angel see me and cry “She needs mouth to mouth!
Somebody rescue her from desert wandernight!”
So my angel screams and sorrow comes down rivers.
I come down rivers too.

I count my hearts, call them one and two,
take stock of what else is left here:
my lips, five guitar strings, deleted messages, the taste of rivers,
The West Village walks behind me, footsteps drenched in water.
10th Street a crossword puzzle: She an I. He, a U. They fill the night.
I stand at a white truck, and instead of vanilla I say your mouth.

Vanilla and rivers. This is a taste I could get used to.
I could open the gate of my mouth to anyone lonely here,
Exchange my milk and water for a hollow night.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

We have discovered
yet another location
bearing Weapons of Mass InFUNKtion!!!

FRIDAY, JUNE 11TH @ 8:30
McDougal Street at W. 3rd (near W. 4th street A,C,D trains)

Come & Feel Good.

Links back soon,
as soon as I can figure out how to do it in the new template.
I need to take a class in this stuff.

Yesterday was pure hilarium. Got invited to perform in the boys vs. girls slam at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. My first time reading there. Nice. Ray, thanks for the blessing. Went well, got down with some really fierce females, Celena, Nikki, Ana. The crowd was electric. I really love that space. Got to thank Rich, he called me and got me in touch with Karen, so this whole thing came together. I'm excited about Nationals. We've got rehearsal on Sunday. There are a lot of nice ideas on the table.

Rich and I had an interesting conversation yesterday post the Nuyo. I walked away with this: I cannot allow my expectations for other people to replace my inner work of understanding my self worth. Still, this year's resolution: to coax the inner child that's been hiding out in the basement of my heart to come out and play. Regularly. But you can lure a kid to come hang out with you if you've got lots of candy or, they can fall in love with you and want you to come over all the time and ask about you when you're gone and light up at the sight or sound of you. I want the latter. Are you following this? Let me work it out and get back to it, later.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Cafe 5C Open mic (5th Street & Avenue C)
$3 7-9pm
Acoustic Only (voice/instruments)
Hosted by Robert Kane
Come on By...

The tribute to Audre was a pleasure and a success. It was an honor to share the space with such talented artists and such an attentive audience. There were many faces I wish could have been there. The talkbacks afterward were also personally informative. I uncovered so much about my experience of Audre as a poet. First of all, her voice is so much larger than I ever had imagined. I have recordings of her reading, and so I envisioned that her voice was that big. But it's that same phenomena, when you hear a song by the original artist and you love and appreciate it, and then you hear it by someone else and you appreciate it more because you realize that it plunges deeper into humanity when it is shared in this way. You realize that the message is big enough to also encompass a whole 'nother person's voice and experience. That's what I realized about Audre's voice. I had a sense of what she meant in "Coal", but seeing it embodied in Tai Freedom Ford let me understand why so many of us have found our voices in the poetry of Audre Lorde. When Cheryl reads "For Each of Us," I imagine Audre telling me herself, and through Cheryl, I see so clearly how it applies to me. I remember how I heard Audre's voice and now Cheryl's harmony brings it full blacksmith orchestra, to coin a phrase. The Bible does the same thing for me. I don't just hear the voice of the God of the Hebrews, or the voice of Jesus or John the Revelator, I hear the orchestra, myself included. In what feels like an autumn in my spiritual walk, it sounds like a cacophony of voices and mixed messages; it is difficult sometimes to hear and recognize the melody. It's like being at a club between rooms and hearing beats mix, thrash, bond, cancel each other out, syncopate, pulse and unpulse, and I am trying to decide where I'm going to dance (might I add, who I'm going to dance with). But I remember the original melody that made me fall in love with the music. The Psalms. My first real experience with poetry and with the Bible. I think I may reread the book of Psalms this summer. It helped me fight through a lot of fear and bitterness in 2002, and later became the vision which became the show I directed, The Roar of Waterfalls. It is going to take a lot of humility to approach them. The heart of the message gets so easily cloaked in the weight that some of these words have been given and the weight that has been taken away from so many other words. I want to let these words unveil themselves, stare at me naked, and then I will see what is left. Here. One of my favorite lines:
"Satisfy us in the morning
with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy
and be glad all our days."
Psalm 90:14

Here's to Audre
& Cheryl &Tai & Christalyn & Roger & Ron & Telly
& love.


Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Take the work of Audre Lorde from the Page to the Stage...

Roger Bonair-Agard
Cheryl Boyce-Taylor
Ronald K. Brown
T'ai Freedom Ford
Abena Koomson
Christalyn Wright

Lorde's work is stunning, heartbreaking, passionate,
searing, soul searching, vibrant, erotic, blunt...

June 2nd. & 3rd.
7:00 PM
Admission is $15, which includes an opening night wine and cheese reception

Long Island University
Triangle Theater
Flatbush & DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
take the B,Q,N, R to DeKalb Ave., LIU is on the corner across from the subway station