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Monday, February 9, 2009

Chevalterre Returns to Tumblewords via Karma

Notes from the Yellow Composition Book:

Tumblewords Project - Saturday, 7 February, 2009

Presenter: Nancy Green

"African Voices"

'Wisdom is higher than a fool can reach." - Phyllis Wheatley

About Nancy: - Mexican woman of African descent -- Originally from Juarez and El Paso, later from Massecheusetts.

About Phyllis Wheatley: - born in Gambia. At age 7 became a slave. She's the first African writer. Purchased by the Boston Tea family... they taught her to read and write.

** Later, during the workshop, Nancy shares about Langston Hughes: - His father moved to Mexico city... He wrote "The Negro Speaks of Rivers"

She even mentions Ahmed Sekou Toure (Guinea, 1922-1984)

From this, two poems have been written:

"Morenitos Are the Brothers" - prose, short story. - (1999 - 2001 Memoir)
My brothers, they were
all from the Deck department
of the United States Navy ship.

With a couple of sisters too.

We became quite a diverse family
in the last two years of the last millenium.

In all shades of skin color,
we matched in uniform.
Working under one Nation.

At least three languages we shared.
And translated for one another.

Different forms of racism
we experienced in Polynesian islands.
They, the darker ones laughed
because I worried.
- Antonio Cummings explained:
"WE have to deal with it. It's okay."
-- On occasion Sean Skeritt repeated:
"Worry about yourself, shipmate."
- Our youngest friend, would distract
each one of us...
making us laugh, to have a good time.
He, Stephen Wright...
who stepped in, one September morning
As we departed a Korean port
lost his legs and fingers.
But our other hero, Mr. Johnson
- the officer in freckles
and bright red hair "pelirojo",
lost a leg too
trying to help Stephen.

Our spontaniety died, but not our love.

We connect, and talk through
Yahoo, Myspace, Facebook...
searching for one and then the next.

Still searching for Wright or Johnson...

The darker ones, as I called - referring to
half the department, were not called
anything other than "el morenito" and
their family name.

" Two Little Girls on the Schoolbus." (A 1985 memoir)
Little girl,
why do you sit alone?
In the back of the bus
with your ashy legs
blocking others from sitting.

I want to sit next to you
and be your friend.
But your vibeis unfriendly.
Why should I bother?

One day our bus is packed
and your seat is the only one
with space for me.

I ask you to move your feet
I don't want to push you.
But mostly I don't want
the dirt from your shoes
on my "pompis".

Coarse is your hair, but I like it
because we both wear braids.

You sit there,
with your cheek almost stuck to the window.
And I secretly wonder about
the scent from your skin.

We could be friends or something.
But whatever your problem is, I don't know.
Cannot understand.

I tire from it...
bringing myself to honesty
telling you,
"I don't like you."

Your reply,
"I don't like you either."

I felt content...
because you finally spoke to me.


Some things that came up in conversation:

"Sacred Snacks" (thank you Donna Snyder and Gene Keller for the jokes)

The sacred confections
of Latin-America

one made with cacao
the other with corn

they are:

And wouldn't ya know?

have chocolate as an ingredient!


Thanks Cheval for helping me express this story and thought - it came up while meeting another musician last night at the World Music Tea DANCE PARTY - put together by the DJ HYPOCRITE ORCHESTRA - It was quite magical...

As I prance
on by...
I come to ask you:
"By any chance,
do you dance?"

... He then looked me
straight in the eye,
and answered:

So I thank you (Ryan) for the dance.

-----> See you guys at Tuesday's rehearsal!

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