Monday, August 3, 2009

B is for Poetry at PowerGen

last week, i had the pleasure of performing a bit of s-s-s-spoken word for PowerGen's Emancipation Celebrations. it was to say the least fun. but let me break it down a bit further.

a friend of a friend who works there needed a spoken word piece done for the company's Emancipation celebrations. they didn't need/want anything too militant and obviously something without the profanity that is usually attributed to spoken word. sidebar: i don't know how it started or why it started, but apparently people [poets/spoken word artistes] think it's necessary to have 12 expletives to every one sentence. have we become so...defunct in imagination that we have to cuss way the piece or rather, cuss way the audience so as for them to feel the intensity of our words? my grandmother... was an aristocratic kind of hooligan. when she was through telling you what she thought of you, you will gladly pray for the mountains to cover you. and she never used common expletives. because language was her thing. now, my contemporaries must, MUST add 3, 4, 7 kings to the table to get one thought out. sad. end sidebar. there were three locations - Penal, Point Lisas and Port of Spain and i must say it was really, really something to see employees of all races/ethnicities sit side by side and honour the spirit of Emancipation. what's more. it was so good to see East Indian Plant Heads speak from the heart on Emancipation. sidebar: now why would i single out one ethnicity? because i am an indian. lol. and because we in Trinidad are still stupid. we ALL celebrate each other but we have allowed A FEW to tell us that Indians don't care about Africans and Africans Indians - yet douglarisation is still on the rise. i have more "indian music" than most and just listen as the "hard pong" Hilux pass you by playing the latest dancehall. nope - it's not an "African" now is it? silly nation. end sidebar. the piece i did over the three days was called "What Soul Did...". i wanted to do a piece that wasn't "surface Emancipation" now what does that mean? on the surface, Emancipation is all about freedom for slaves, but i always ask "ok, we're 'free' now what? what next? sidebar: earlier this year, the team won a Gold Award in Hamburg for an ad we did. it's a big deal. richard sent me a text message. i was ecstatic. then after two minutes or so, i was like "ok, now what? what's next?" i feel the same way about Emancipation Day. for one day/one week/one month even (Emancipation is August 1st) we tie our heads and remember this "blackness". we play Redemption Song and we dance cause we free - then what? return to killing each other or worse, live in mediocrity. slavery was an economic thing with social repercussions. emancipation was also an economic thing with social repercussions. in essence, the "whites" had to let slaves go because it simply was not being economically viable anymore. can we move on and create a future worthy of ourSELVES? end sidebar.
i wrote this piece for a few reasons.
- we all felt/feel oppressed. as one of the speakers said, "look at your paycheck... do you feel oppressed?" but the soul is what transforms the mental space from "i'm oppressed and a sad, sad victim" to "i'm in a horrible situation right now but I SEE what i could be! so help me i'm going to MAKE IT. not just make it out"
- and like i said, i wanted to do something beyond the usual shackles and chains on the black man feet approach. sidebar: black people are not cursed. but more on that in a later date. end sidebar. the result of all my nail biting-hope-this-works-God-show-me-what-to-write-in-Jesus'-Name-Amen-approaches? What Soul Did - which was well received. Thanks to Indra for the hook up and Fran├žois for the opportunity. many blessings and thanks. pictures to come later. i forgot... the theme at PowerGen was "From Oppression to Opportunity". hmmmm

What Soul Did…

Soul was never tied.
Though flesh begged to differ,
She was free, traveling on God’s energy
Making wisdom her friend
And joy…
Her life partner.

Soul was wise.
She saw the future, where flesh would be free
To dance
Like she
To a melody that she never forgot.

And so she went.
She pushed until flesh’s last breathe was spent
And then she
Fueled by a higher deity
Urged them to not give up
Cause Soul foresaw what flesh could be if…
Given the opportunity.

She knew how strong willed flesh was.
She knew that once he set his eyes
On the prize
Then a mighty warrior he would be.
Just like the ancients if…
Given the opportunity.

So she sustained them.
Soul sustained them.
That they would have a story,
So that their children would have a story to tell.
Not just of hellish ordeals
But of something more real!
Something that would survive!
For the sake of the future’s opportunity, she kept them alive!

But look at us now.
We tie ourselves to a new slavery.
The contradiction rests heavy upon Soul.
Hands tied to a thought.
Feet shackled by an irreverent fear of excellence.
We cling to the past and not accept our present.
This gift that was given
That Soul future sent.

Today is too rich a soil to live in turmoil.
Soul sustained their oppression to make us a people
Who walk in opportunity’s direction.

again
i say:
Today is too rich a soil to live in turmoil.
Soul sustained their oppression to make us a people
Who walk in opportunity’s direction.


© 2009 t.j.h

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