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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Dub Poetry: Kwayana's Meditation (Wisdom of the Drum)

Abeng Dub Poetry: Kwayana's Meditation
(The Wisdom of The Drum)
copyright 2015 K. Omodele  @TheAbeng

"The Caribbean tradition, taken as a whole, is a revolutionary tradition. It is the stage on which acted Cudjoe and Cuffy, Accabreh and Accra, Toussaint, Quamina and Damon, Adoe and Araby."* ~ Sidney King (Eusi Kwayana)
Eusi Kwayana #FreedomFighter

Yow! Dis meditation/Moves di nation/

I feel de drum-min' of yuh words,
rub-a-dubbin' of yuh verbs,
yuh meditation is kinetic-
medication of de herb
levitates me like a bird-
yuh rebel riddim moves me
depose a titled king, go
liberate like Baba Eusi.
Asante rise up outta shanty,
proverbs, Broddah Anansi**,
yearnin' for Kumasi***
Cuffy burn down half a Canje
Uncle Brian scribed we picture,
painted scripture, sketched the sound.
Uncle Walter woke the people,
lit the city; Tell de town!

Yeah Man. Don't bother call dis no poetry/dis is kinetic flow-etry
Prophets are hardly recognized in their own lands
This rebelution forged by drum-ragin', fire-blazin' sound.

Seethin' like Accra buss 'e chain
want SParK field a-flame
Darke flicks-ing up the protest****
jukked an' gutted from de frame
pickney***** scatter down de lane
Boy, u bet-ter run
policeman ah come
wid bad-mind and gun.
But the soundin' of de gun
can't drown de wisdom of the drum
grind a fool down with a pestle
can't part de foolish from a dunce.
Kwayana's wisdom may taste bitter
cure de sick, move de lame
N'Daiye couldn't tame
cock she crown, lock she mane.

* Caribbean slave revolt/rebellion leaders. Quote from "Birth of Freedom," New World Magazine, Special Independence Issue, 1966
**Anansi, or Anancy, is a spider, a trickster character from African oral tradition, that was
brought over by slaves to the West Indies/Caribbean and lives on in Caribbean
tradition and folk tales. (Akin to Brer Rabbit in the U.S. South)
***Kumasi is the chief city of the Asante/Ashanti, NW of Accra, Ghana
****Father Darke was a priest stabbed to death while photographing government
forces brutalizing anti-government protestors in Georgetown, Guyana

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Where's My Hometown? Parts Unknown

By Kaie "Kaya" Omodele @theabeng

Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain proper served me up some real mind-racking, soul-searching food two Saturday nights ago when they re-ran a show featuring Ethiopia and Ethiopian-Swedish-American chef Marcus Samuelsson. You know how Bourdain does so love to delve down into the history of one of them "Parts-Unknown" countries, exploring its socio- economic complexities, so as to better understand the context of all the pot and pan stirring, finger licking and liquor drinking? (Which in truth is what keeps me hunting down this show because, for me it's not all about food, it's all about the story) Well, this episode a couple weeks ago followed Mr. Samuelsson during one of his returns to Ethiopia as he visited relatives and his wife's hometown. When Mr. Bourdain asked him where he considered home, the blank look that rolled across Mr. Samuelsson's face drew me in like a rum head staring down a bottle of 25-year-old Gold Label.

Mr. Samuelsson tussled with this stumper then teetered a reply like probably Harlem (where he now lives, owns and operates a gourmet restaurant); Sweden- enhhhh, enhhh; Ethiopia- not so much. Maybe he sounded a little bit more decisive than that, but that's all I gathered, disconnection. Which I recognized immediately because I get that same feeling sometimes when I stop and think about where in the world I consider my "hometown." Such is one song of an immigrant.

See, like Mr. Samuelsson who emigrated from Ethiopia to Sweden as a young child, and later on to the United States, I've trotted 'round a few countries, cities and towns, myself. I went to school in six different cities* before I was eighteen years old, seven cities if I count my Pre-K at my tow great-aunts' school in New Amsterdam. My longest stint in any of them was four years at Watooka Day Primary in Linden. My oldest friendships today began on that school compound and my first chups** was under the mango tree. (Big up Nikki and Rosie, Butchie an M-Lo; somehow, someway our friendship has lasted through decades, social mediaed over seas and Skyped clear 'cross continents) We got war-break memories with the boyz and ring-game memories with the girls, so Linden definitely tugs at my heartstring.
But then, I have coming-of-age, rites-of-passage memories floating 'round Brooklyn, where I  kissed the girls then made a one or two cry. Starlite Ballroom, Love People ONE, Village Hut, Caribbean City and Caribbean Dome. The County of Kings is where I began to smell myself, for real.

Whatever his reason for calling Harlem home, I find it hard to connect with one, single hometown. What matters most to me are my connections with people that have touched my life. I cherish moments. My mind drifts to a city and automatically recalls an experience shared with someone in a specific moment. In all my triumphs and failures, in every embrace or fight, through torrents of tears or gut-wrenching laughter, I've lived. "Wherever I lay my hat, that's my home."


** Kiss
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