My mother taught me how to make a living.
My father showed me how to create a life to live.
She was deemed responsible.
He was deemed selfish.
… I want to be selfishly responsible from here on out.
We need passion for life
We need passion like ancestral sweat on jungle spring African violets
We need passion like the quieting of an infant’s cries for his mother’s nipples
like the drying desire to drink
let us do what we do best
detach from the world and all it has to offer
like the fall of sky tall pine trees
like a Muslim nauseous at the smell of swine
let us get away from here!
Like we did the first time
let us hungrily read Genesis to Revelation
and discover one another
let me be imperfect
not what the music and magazine say
but who I am this very second
the extent of me and you in divine disguise
the scent of me in heat for some passion
Like a 4th of July dog scratching against the screen door
We need passion for life.
We need passion like surrendering in a rain shower,
like the uncontrollable moans of a multiple orgasm
let me get this out!
let me get this out!
like the vulgar urges of bulimia
let me get this out!
I yearn this
I yearn this like Thursday evening paychecks
want me like the smell of your mother’s kitchen on Sunday
protect me like a father holding his child’s hand
let us discover God together
We need passion
Like the heaving chest of a woman giving birth
Like the finger sore of BB strumming the blues
Like a poem with a thousand metaphors
Let us make love over and over and again
We need passion like, like, like…right now.
Many people will read this and immediately begin to think from a religious perspective and ignore the transformation that can be experienced from this mantra.
The politics of religion is about mind and crowd control, not freedom or spiritual growth. And perhaps this is where the frustration begins. Instead of viewing the glass as half empty people will view it as constantly starting over.
Those hard times are where you are burning to rise. Where you should allow yourself to come undone. Only to give birth to yourself again. Think differently… think spiritually.
I’ve been writing.
writers write. writers read.
One of the roles of the artist is to re-create life’s perception within a societal context. Some say the conditions of the moment define the creation of art through political, cultural and religious/philosophical terms. With that, there will always be an audience for our voices, so why do we torture ourselves with endless edits and insecurities of not being artistically accepted?
So many of us sit surrounded by genius pieces of art inspired by our immediate communities. Award winning poems and best selling novels. We have garage spaces and storage units full of paintings and sculptures that depict an opulence of emotions. And the fear of our vulnerability being labeled as weak disables us from sharing. And the masses of our culture in the states does not support our profession so we get a “regular job”. And turn our passion into a past time or extra way to make money.
Everyday of the week. In every situation in life. The individual in the position to persuade or that perceived the story will always have an audience that understands and supports them. As artists, we have to identify when in our lives we began to believe no one would appreciate our art and stop this. Because no matter what the discourse is from the expression, it will be perceived by someone that understands and folds our endless nights.
Artists can be inspired by the simple things. The sudden swarm of birds on branches to a nostalgic smell of perfume or cologne. When I abandon concerns of the world, I am able to be inspired by almost anything because my senses are without judgement and I can apply optimism to everything! Perhaps this was the process Lorraine Hansberry encountered when she created the timeless theatrical masterpiece, A Raisin in the Sun.
She was inspired by the poem entitled, Harlem, by Langston Hughes. This was one of the first poems I memorized and one of the first I made my nephews memorize! This poem inspired her to write the play that put her in the history books. With her play, Raisin in the Sun, she became the first African American woman to write a play performed on Broadway and the youngest and fifth woman to receive the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. The success of this play led to it being translated in 35 different languages and inspired the talented Nina Simone to write her song, To Be Young, Gifted and Black. After Hansberry’s death, her husband was inspired to adapt a remaining collection of her work into a play with the same name of Simone’s song.
Art is a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy… The origin of art derives from the antiquity of documenting life or scribing so it is not surprising that this string of inspirations are connected. Some days I feel like Lorraine Hansberry when I pick up a pen and begin to write after hearing a song or note on from a saxophone or analogy from a poem. I get inspired by people and situations around me and of course I hope I will leave inspiration to others.