Daily Archives: March 6, 2003

The Harlem Renaissance

You could hear it through the night at Minton’s,
winding around some old tune of the man’s,
pushing the envelope, sound just hinting
at more changes than the ear could stand,

biting back at the harsh words and small talk
about equality. The cool was birthed
by black coffee, while its parents walked
the streets seeking a rhythm, now unearthed

and tracing its roots to the motherland.
Emancipation was not just a word
for politicians and the poor Negro,

true liberation was there at hand,
bopping those few notes between Satch and Bird,
making it real by saying it was so.

06 MAR 2003

for LJ user gurdonark

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The Lambda Acceleration of the Universe

You may think it a bit of lunacy,
but great minds spend a lot of time talking
of single theories, some conspiracy
that runs the universe. Some, like Hawking

claim it’s a beneficent force, with plans
like Cambridge, to only improve the world;
others propose a much more sober stance:
like seeking behind pi the oyster’s pearl.

Sometimes it seems, though, like dear old Isaac
we’re only waiting for the obvious.
Sounds like just luck, that hard apple falling –

while of our velocity we can track
just speed; the direction is devious
and fights being named a divine calling.

06 MAR 2003

for LJ user nix_7c0

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Thinking about the Sixties

Just sitting here listening to Richie Havens and the song that got Lou Gossett Jr. out of a run-down single room apartment (he wrote Handsome Johnny) …

I understand that Mother Culture is whispering constantly in our ears that the day before yesterday is old news, that nothing good was discovered or done before the glorious today that is our modern world. And I understand that free love has a price that most are not willing to pay. And I understand, like in the Sufi teaching story, that this culture is like a new water supply that makes you forget, and only those who have hoarded the old water remember the way it was before – and to avoid alienation and aloneness, they too start drinking of the new water, and thereby lose the past as well …

But I don’t understand why, if there were so many who had such great realizations, why they didn’t actually form a new society. Why they (when they “grew up”) bought into this one, thinking that a program against stupidity would take the place of a culture wherein stupidity is not encouraged. Where have all the flowers gone? Were they only annuals?

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So for forty days and nights sacrifice,
you get a taste of dying to the flesh:
a process wherein you learn the great price
of your worldly pleasures, and thus refresh

your tired soul through purging and denial,
by setting aside one foolish notion
and grasping at another; a trial
of faith, making of it great commotion,

saying, “look at me, I’m so penitent.”
The universe never fills the left hand
without emptying the right. No big deal,

OK? Remember that your life is spent
with a mouth full of much obliged and
a hand full of gimme – and “no” for real.

06 MAR 2003

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