Monday, June 22, 2009

Michelle Angelini

BLINDSPOT

In that moment
when going from light
to dark where
no vision exists
back into sun again
when sight returns
it’s too late
for defensive moves
to avoid the inevitable

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

CaLokie

WAR DANCE


1923

Mom was 12 when her father abandoned her mother
three sisters and three brothers
They moved to a town where some oil rich Osages lived
in the best houses in town

Some Osage classmates were attracted to Mom’s red hair
They laughed when she said she had some Cherokee blood
But when some of them met her dark haired, brown eyed, dark
complected mama they believed her

They invited her to a pow wow on the nearby Osage reservation
She was awed by ceremonial dancers in resplendent regalia
Then white haired elder arose to speak
He addressed assembly in native tongue
interpreted in English

He exhorted them
to go back to the blanket for warmth
to moccasins instead of boots and high heels
to the horse instead of stinking, noisy cars
He begged them not to take white mates in marriage
but to wed each other and rear their children in Osage ways

After speech, war dance begins
Some dancers brandish swords
some wave tomahawks over heads

Mom was never so terrified
She was relieved to walk away
with red haired scalp intact


1966

One year after the riots or rebellion
depending on your point of view
I attend the Watts Jazz festival
In the afternoon under the junk sculpted tower of Simon Rodia
The drumbeat was like a flower power fiesta at a love-in
and deep in my heart
I do believe
that one day
WE
black and white together
SHALL OVERCOME

But as Hugh Masekela trumpet fanfares
West Coast sun down
majority of minority European Americans
leave festival
I was left with a few whites lost in the immensity
of an African night

A Black Power beat takes over drums
Flash backs to year ago unrest follow
“BURN, BABY, BURN.”
“GET WHITEY!”

Suddenly blonde Euro in bare midriff
stands up in spotlight and shakes blue jean booty
to roar and laughter of crowd

A jazz brother needs ride
and in my ’53 Chevy I drive him to his ghetto home
My fading blue clunker could have broken down there
but it didn’t

And even if it did
as Miles Davis might have “kind of blued”
with muted horn
“SO WHAT”