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Improvisation

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Listening to a great Jazz improvisation has the remarkable ability to renew itself with every listen that follows.

Even with a recording there is the awareness that what you are listening to is something that was created in the moment. On the spot this animal springs forward, or slides out with grace and measured ease.

A union of talent and necessity, with knowledge as its soul, its consciousness. The idea that rings through a great Jazz improvisation is the marriage and divorce of knowledge. It’s using what you know to create something you’ve never heard before.

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The Middle

The deeper you dig into the earth, the farther you go back in time. The older things are
farther under, and buried below memory. Stretching back thousands of years. We judge our
past by what we dig up. Quite fascinating when one notes that the very word ‘human’ is
related to the Latin verb which means ‘bury’. A people who dig in the earth to make a new
home for a lost member of the tribe. A fallen warrior. A mother.

Likewise, as we extend our gaze beyond our moon and the planets in our solar system, past
the Milky Way itself, we see our past again- in the cosmic sense. It shows us as apart of
a grand story. And the deeper we look into space, the farther we look back through time.
We see the way the universe and it’s galaxies used to look. Light from distant stars
taking ages to reach our world.

Here we find ourselves in the middle of this division between the heavens and the earth.
Some say we come from the earth, from dust. Do they know what that really means, or do
they just say that because so many go into it in the end? Deducing birth from death. We’re
made up of the same stuff as the earth, but of the stars as well.  We are ever in the
middle. Prisoners of the present moment.

[Die]urnal

And the memory calls back. You saying-

“If I come in while you’re sleeping, don’t get up on my account.”

But it was inevitable. You are so like the sun,

And I, a mere man, diurnal to the last.

 

Dying to earn.

 

So I rise up when your face sets it’s light on my side of the globe.

And I will only rest once it’s gone.

All through the week, the light you give me- I work it away,

Only enjoying it at weeks end,

When you come and quicken me,

And once again my week begins,

And I work until I’m weak again.

 

You see, work is an art, and mine imitates death,

Because life does.

So many little deaths,

Trying to get it right with nightly practice.

My own was wordless and without motion,

Under a warmth of blankets pressed down like hair,

The layers echo patterns outward from my body,

Tartan, Paisley, Kente, and a patchwork that tells the story I’m to dream that night.

They cover my head,

So I close my eyes.

In that moment I know nothing but the darkness,

And it is peace.

They were a mass, milling about on a marked, plotted field of green.
This mass, black, surrounded by fashioned stones- some polished- large enough to take notice of,
They are still no Stonehenge.

But we fool ourselves into believing the lie of our immortality.

The black mass, a Black mass,
Celebrating a Black life.
All this black on Black, for a life that was Black,
And there’s nothing wrong with that.

It was a full life, colorful-
But mostly Black. It wasn’t choice.
It was circumstance.

Movements through that life,
So tied to a color,
Possibilities for that life,
Limited by an ‘other’.

That life made a mark,
So they do, in the green.
And like those before, they choose stone for this commemoration.

They say ‘This will last,”
While I think ‘Maybe longer than you.’
I’ve seen stones crushed to powder.
What does that do for a legacy?

To build a rock on death.
To mark that instead of life.
I don’t want to see her gravestone.
I want to see the birth stone.

And I want it to be…
Black.

Note from me: I often find myself thinking about the disparate views on what it means to be Black. Not in an introspective way. I’m almost positive it has no meaning, not in any inherent sense. It only means something once someone like myself interacts with another person. Reactions will differ infinitely given an infinite amount of subjective experiences. It’s something I’d like to term ‘Black Relativity.’ I propose that ‘Blackness’ only has meaning relative to the degree of reaction from the individual(s) with whom a Black person is interacting.
If I don’t respond in a way that renders what someone’s sense of ‘Blackness’ is as null, then I’ve had to either confirm or deny that sense. That is to say, ‘Blackness’ needs a *viewer, someone who- cued by a person’s complexion- is ready to make judgments ranging from an abstract idea like What it means to be inside black/brown skin to a specific idea like What her/his favorite music genre is. If we must interact for that sense to have worth, then when we are not interacting that sense is rendered null. Brings a new meaning the Black Death, doesn’t it?

I have done what I am born to do;

Love and be loved.

I sent it out.

I got it back.

I sang a song of Power,

And its melody was Energy.

I turned my thoughts to joy and goodness,

And my thoughts turned my life around.