Sixth Séance [Circle Songs]

I speak in tongues. My pantomime speaks volumes. I dance with the many dimensions of meaning. With or without words, I’m a poet. I sing circle songs to the horizons offered by my birthday this month, which puts me two steps from 7.0 on the Richter Scale.

Cultivating all 5 senses, finding joy in the swirl of being myself, I’ve become a medium for my own Sixth Séance, quietly attuned, slipping beyond, sensing visitations, inhaling light, seeing with my eyes closed, a sightless bird feeling my sacred place in the pandemonium …..

I “shake within the very depth of my most interesting being,” to quote Larry Neal’s poem, Malcolm X—An Autobiography.

“… He plays so beautiful don’t you agree…”And here I’m dreaming that Philip Bailey is praising my solo instead of the sensual wailing by saxophonist Don Myrick on the song Reasons, captured by EWF’s Gratitude recording.

For my 68th, I want yall to clap your hands this evening, sing out for love, and sing a message, sing a message, sing a message to whoever needs you to be their fragrance, medicine, balm, or lifeline into fully realized substantiation!

Continental Shelf

Ring Shout on a continental shelf
timing of a geyser or amniotic sac
submerged stomp over the edge

here we go again
channeling panic at a runaway government
into thunder push up mountains
vexation transform individualism into a coalition’s
predilection to get down on the upthrust
knee-deep in subduction between executive order & constitution
tectonics in our testimony against annihilation
discussed with indifference of a knock-knock joke
air bubbles like underwater flares

who’s there?
we submit to earth’s governance of our Turns
but heirs to legacy of unbound memory
we deep weeping & honor bound to channel panic
into drum major’s flamboyant echolocation

read the popping bubbles of our insistence
sing echoes of our inspiration
hold hands with your ancestors
survive on their water-logged go head on
bet with evolution  

here we go again
reforming the circle of shoulders on shaky ground
stomp & reverse a whirlpool high enough
to saturate beams from Star Wars
consecration unleashed from the sky
contemplation underwater
we wake in sacrifices of emissaries carry ID at gunpoint
reshaping contour of our own historical wish
names bursting mouths
ricochet branding hips
consensus unlocking jaws  

Ring Shout on continental shelf
timing of geyser or amniotic sac
risking quick step on H 2 O

who’s there?
who’s there?

BONUS EXCERPT from my book, Black Man of Happiness: In Pursuit of My ‘Unalienable Right,’ WINNER, 2015 AMERICAN BOOK AWARD: “…. All I’m asking is this: what is a happy Black man? All I’m getting is this: Raised eyebrows that sneer, Huh!? Heads shaken in doubt & resignation. As if it’s easier to look up and see Jesus hop-skotching barefoot down Pennsylvania Avenue than to ID a happy brother. I don’t mean happy-go-lucky, either. Clicking heels. Grinning. Eyes wide. Joking. Sacrificing like a slave. I don’t mean an update on minstrel do dah day. I mean happy. In stride. Flowing. Connected to an epic reason for living as unique as fingerprints, yet repping an inner fortitude and Fandango that catalyzes other folks, even when we’re facing and negotiating drama. Living. Laughing. Crying. Angry. Melancholy. Silly. Serious. Getting it done. Wrong decisions. Human. Whole enough to be grateful for breath, even when our mierda hits the fan, bank account’s running on fumes, no lover’s in the mix, and we need yoga classes to stretch what little income’s trickling through the pipeline. Resting, and relying, like elder Albert Murray says, on “that dynamic equilibrium, which is always precarious, but which makes for what we call happiness,” that unscripted sense of grace, which keeps us balanced on the tightrope, when we’re tempted to unhinge from accountability and plunge into depression, or get stuck on rage and indiscriminate anger, or brood until folks can smell it from our pores! Or is that Johnnie Walker Red, or weed, Camels, or prescription drugs? .…”

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