Traveling the Face-Sea

by Butterfly

Inspired by the music of Bakari Davis, drums, Nicole Mitchell, flute
 and Mr. David Boykin, saxophone

May and June did this  They lull me from my home
And let me sit to watch the  face. . .sea

I just watch and remember this sound
My head opens a space I emerge in     or either crawl
To the surface of an inner world where I see vastness waiting

Two brotha's walk in to see David    They say   "is this place okay,
I don't hear "sister" that much on the north side
But on the west side    most folks sistahs and brothas
One brotha an artist brings his portfolio for David to see
They look at the artwork around the place
Another [African] brotha comes in  He hears the artist say his name
And asks where he's from  The brotha from Chicago  but the African say
"you have an African name  Your name makes me think of my village"
It's one a.m. and another brotha strolls in   David say we got play one for
the young brotha   That just came in
David does that     he plays [probably] when the rest of his body sleeps
Nikki takes pictures and I see shots flick in rhythm

We missed the sounds this night but David spoke of Senegal and I thought
Of Claude*
I met a Haitian man  at the French Center    we talked for hours
And we met much afterwards  I find his passion for Haiti
An aphrodisiac   yet I cannot help but to romanticize on his love
For his country
I ask him why the Africans and Haitian's hate African Americans
He says they don't   but they come to this country and they do not see
Any trace of themselves     you [African Americans] have a lot of advantages
that you do not use
I tell him there is much about us they don't know
Our enemies have many faces even our own face
We [African Americans] struggle to find our links
When one finds a link the rest are like vultures (commercializing)
But there is much that we do   as there is much to be done
He is quick to point out what he likes and
Quik to swallow what he learns here
I too in him find a place I like  and
Open myself to swallow what I can learn
We find we both have a common goal    fruition of black people
We also find each other
"We" meaning  our families   our communities   our customs

Is this not a link between our people?
I think of this in Bakari's drums as his finger   tips

An African brotha enters  sits in front of the musicians
Nodding     violently appreciative        with his hands together he blows
And releases such avis sounds    I hear wings   They are rising!  The wings
Bakari and I find we are natives But at one point our paths were
At my odds   And I confront my anger ghost:    Black against black
I called him a snob
But later recalled  black against black  And in the face-sea. . .
who severs what?  Black taught to look down on black less
than you got    That's a fact
A borderline of school and a neighborhood
Changes us to those and those
He never knew me  But I knew his school
In the face-sea   I was wrongŻI think
about the borderlines black against black make

Diving into the face-sea under a prejudice mask I find
I made a friend

The little girl of my past is grateful
To Nikki and her flute
She peeps and dances with all her innocence in tact
Yet she is not a little girl all alone
In the face-sea she is with the other little girls
Who were widow-childed
Who believes as I in Claude's primitivism
Mighty and brilliant are the everyday people
Wizards are the mothers and grandmothers
Kings are the daddys and granddaddys who are our greats
Nikki's flute recalls them in the face-sea
Little girls are safe to play

Much comes with a self
The conditions placed on one
The conditions silence factors
Into one
The internal conditions one assumes based
On one's knowledge
And then there's the soul. . .

Oh lawd the soul
That seeks, that knows
That feels beyond conditions
The soul that is raw in emotions
Primitive in lust savage-anger
In songs and rhythm and joy
Soul that lives when David plays
Soul that searches in the world of Haiti
Soul that watches links tie through village names
And art and mental racial breakdown
Soul that dives into the face-sea
To search the world for the black shores
To link  to link   to link

They let me come here these guys to hear
Them play    I have no money
But I must give them credit

You know dat boy play dat music
And I swear mah feet do know no flo'
But I sho' like the way mah soul go

- a Butterfly's opinion -

* Claude McKay

Traveling the Face-Sea by Butterfly

© Copyright 1999. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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