Throwback Thursday (1)

February 19, 2015

Several years ago, I, along with fellow members of an online poetry group agreed to participate in a poetry challenge. I don’t remember the exact perimeters of this particular challenge. I remember it had something to do with music. I remember I chose the song below

and wrote the poem below that for the challenge.

Song: History of Africa by The Classics:

Poem: Blood Will Tell (My Mother’s Song)

While my older cousins were upstairs
doing the hustle and other disco dances
I was downstairs, ingesting
with all the delight my seven yr old self
could muster
the nice history of Africa.

Then my mother and I moved
and the song got packed away
lying dormant in the quiet storm of my blood
while I gravitated towards Michael Jackson
and the music flowing at neighborhood block parties.
i joined one nation getting down
just for
the funk of it
and learned how to dance under water
without getting wet
from swim instructors/block mothers.

but my blood knew it wasn’t a done deal
knew I would find my way back
to the nice history of Africa

and I did

some twenty years later
when I took one of my bi-annual trips
back East and raided
my mother’s closet for my history.

And there it was, my mother’s song
carried all the way from London
more than twenty years ago,
still in pristine condition.

I stowed it away, carefully
and when I arrived back in Cali
quietly deposited it between Prince albums
and 12 inch versions of Rapper’s Delight
and I Feel for You.

Never listening, only reading
the nice history of Africa
until my Jekyll and Hyde man
knew that, this time, I was serious
about leaving him
and stole my record player
in preemptive retribution.

I told myself that’s it
no more music for me
and donated all my records
to a community store;
too distraught to realize
I was also giving away
my mother’s song
the nice history of Africa

and when I awoke, it was too late
and I was never able to find
the song again
until one day, I did a blood-driven
internet search and there it was
the nice history of Africa

and my blood settled
coming full circle
with all the delight
a thirty-seven year old
could manage.

Excerpted from my book In the Whirlwind

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