Gathered Around Fire (a prose piece for roux makers)



I was cold.  I didn’t know too much about The Fire Next Time (James Baldwin) or that it could be easily identified as the return of the spirit of the movement.

The presence of our ancestors to re-connect the seven sciences that we all represented.

I just know that of the several bonfires that appeared    /I chose the one closest to my home.  A few others had come to get warm.

We dared to stare down the center of this chemical process to identify what was causing the combustion.  And nothing was there.  Not with the naked eye at least.                                                                         It was simply a fire and I was cold.


I was of ember décor  / with the determination to sustain the fire through more oxidation.  Only oxidation in a rapid force could survive it                                          / could survive us.

So the oxygen became our stories.      stories we’d heard during Saturday afternoon hair pressings and front porch potato peeling.

And the stories were poetry and short stories and prose and song and rap.  And we remembered about drums and how sparks from finger snaps could contribute to the combustion.

And this became the roux our mothers had been trying to perfect for years with the careful measuring of flour and fat.  And true to the root, we served it southern style in white, blonde and brown.

And we stayed warm for a few years.   until the infiltrate came     / it wasn’t integration this time.  Well, that wasn’t the name.

/ it was divide and conquer.  it was feed some and starve others.  My political mind calls it  /slam poetry poetry                                                  Lose the roster listing the names of the shoulders you stand on and compete for cash.

Give them a (1) chance to (2) travel and (3) gain (4) notoriety (5) outside of their (6) communities.

But the roux makers are still here                            / amongst a kitchen full of children that can’t recognize the scent of lima beans from black eyed peas without lifting the lid.

the roux makers stand guard at the kettle and keep the flame to a flicker.         not too bold     /     steady.

And to know this, it would serve one to use both ears to listen twice as much as they speak.  And gather facts from the pot stirrers not the one’s reciting the history of it.

Because everyone gets a stamp.  And if today is the day you get identified during the naming ceremony,           be at your best.  A hard lesson learned if you become a foot soldier for a second line fire maker     / a local.  We have to become tectonic.

The fire is not out.

It will never go out.  Position your body of ember décor closer to the fire and become momentous.






3 thoughts on “Gathered Around Fire (a prose piece for roux makers)”

  1. Love that line structure. Somehow it syncs exactly with the flow of ideas. I especially like the “kitchen full of children that can’t recognize the scent of lima beans from black eyed peas without lifting the lid.” Great work, says I, from another family of roux-makers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s