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 the blues man / closes his eyes to sing
cotton balls and chains / bibles and juke joints
slurring the edge of english where speech collides with guinea
vocal chords plaited like / nooses knots and braided whips
rise from the throat

 

 

The Language of Saxophones: Selected Poems

By Kamau Daáood

City Lights Books (San Francisco, 2005)

 

The Language of Saxophones

By Kamau Daáood

 

prana moving through time signatures
bop blown through a wormhole
aimed at the earlobe of God
pondered DNA in saxophone solos
rising over the hills of the lips
whirling wonder
articulating the language of bruises and bliss
in urban lit fires of spirits
places and spaces of being
if you been there
you know there

matrimony of head and heart
child conceived beyond reason
entwined with the moment
revelation and swearing
staring at the core of sound
undressing

the blues man
closes his eyes to sing
cotton balls and chains
bibles and juke joints
slurring the edge of english
where speech collides with guinea
vocal chords plaited like
nooses knots and braided whips
rise from the throat
remembrance of cruel tattoos

collected oratories of solitude
sometimes the eyes become the ears
sometimes the hands sing of galaxies
pure music of sign language

a new star
born in the mouth
stinging the ears with glory
holy ghost
spun from a tongue
sweeter than the grapes
on the frontline

sacred act
to vibrate the air
and shape meaning
write on the wind
with reverence
the will of a mind
seasoned in the wanderings of silence
a language
common as the song of water

truth is
some of us live hard
understand the nuances in a moan
know when the saliva is about to boil
know when glass is about to break

understand
the thread of the wind
the treasures buried in smiles
pure laughter of rain
or how thoughts harden
into things seen and touched
to have experienced the malignance of hatred
constructed as house or world
to have been to the center of pain
and given a speech on tolerance

drape these notes
in history
save its shadows for remembrance
etched in the petals of illuminations
fragrant as a pillow of answered yearnings
no longer shackled by traditions or tribe
fearful of change or difference
free of the gangs we have joined
chanting
in the language of saxophones


*prana, the breath of life, the vital force

 

Source: Kamau Daáood. The Language of Saxophones: Selected Poems . San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2005. (pp. 1-4)

posted 24 September 2005

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Kamau Daaood

Live with The Pan Afrikan People's Arkestra /Recites his poem written for Horace Tapscott

Liberator Of The Spirit (for John Coltrane)

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Shortly after we republished The Vulture and The Nigger Factory, Gil started to tell me about The Last Holiday, an account he was writing of a multi-city tour that he ended up doing with Stevie Wonder in late 1980 and early 1981. Originally Bob Marley was meant to be playing the tour that Stevie Wonder had conceived as a way of trying to force legislation to make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. At the time, Marley was dying of cancer, so Gil was asked to do the first six dates. He ended up doing all 41. And Dr King's birthday ended up becoming a national holiday ("The Last Holiday because America can't afford to have another national holiday"), but Gil always felt that Stevie never got the recognition he deserved and that his story needed to be told. The first chapters of this book were given to me in New York when Gil was living in the Chelsea Hotel. Among the pages was a chapter called Deadline that recounts the night they played Oakland, California, 8 December; it was also the night that John Lennon was murdered.  —Jamie Byng, Guardian

/ Gil_reads_"Deadline" (audio)  / Gil Scott-Heron & His Music  Gil Scott Heron Blue Collar  Remember Gil Scott- Heron

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Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake.

She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.WashingtonPost

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Ancient African Nations

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Related files:  Dancing in a Book's Arms Zillion Tambourines  The Language of Saxophones  Los Angeles