Reliving the Harlem Renaissance (Imaginative Poetry)

“Art must discover and reveal the beauty which prejudice and caricature have overlaid.”
―Alain Locke

A bluesy drenched the old south.

The roaring twenties hummed a woeful dirge-

ushering in the great migration.

The north looked attractive with an artistic hue and

literal jazzy paradise that I just wanted to soak in.

A perfect haven for an African poetess to thrive.

Harlem sat seductively on an intellectual bed of cultural,

social and artistic reformation.

I felt the refreshing breeze filled with epiphanies from

the Harlem river.

The tickling caress of freedom ushered in a new

black culture.

 

A cloud of artistic magic covered Harlem.

My eyes feasted on Aaron Douglas’s silhouette like

painted murals on public buildings- exemplifying

the “New negro”.

“Migration series”  sent nostalgic shivers all

over my body- reminding me of my history and heritage.

I felt at home.

I run my fingers all over Meta Warwick fuller’s sculpture,

“Ethiopia awakening” which depicted the essence of

re-birth.

Archibald J. Motley’s 1929 painting of the blues tickled

my musical mind. I fitted right in!

 

The flowers of literature, philosophy and activism

bloomed across Harlem- igniting my poetic flame.

I witnessed Alain Leroy Locke birth the Harlem

Renaissance with his compilation, “The new negro”.

I met Claude McKay at the edge of my consciousness.

He became my mentor amidst injustice and molded

me a fighter.

His poem, “If we must die” became my inspiration in

the presence of social injustice.

I fell in love with Langston Hughes- quietly stalked him

in blues and jazz clubs.

His well crafted Jazz Poetry bribed my soul with the

“weary blues”.

His travel experience and knowledge took me back

to Africa with his poem, “The Negro speaks of rivers”.

I got hooked to his vibe like glue after the 1926 essays,

“The Negro artist and Racial Mountain” where he

said; “One of the most promising of the young Negro poets said

to me once, “I want to be a poet–not a Negro poet,” meaning,

I believe, “I want to write like a white poet”; meaning subconsciously,

“I would like to be a white poet”; meaning behind that,

“I would like to be white.” And I was sorry the young man

said that, for no great poet has ever been afraid of being himself”.

This enlightened me deeply and made me understand the kind

of poet I want to be.

Langston Hughes’s torch still lights inside the mansion of my heart.

I celebrated with my girl, Zora Neale Hurston when her Novel-

“Their eyes were watching God” became a success.

Worked with Alice Dunbar Nelson for a considerable time.

Campaigned with her for the passage of the dyers anti lynching

bill amidst challenges.

Her articles, academic journals re-awakened the activist in me.

I cheered for Arna Bontemps  when his first novel, “God sends

Sunday” got considerable attention. I was so proud of him!

I had dinner with W.E Du Bois and he took me for a long ride

through history and Pan-African concepts.

Initiated me through the “Crisis” and taught me how to use

art to promote black causes.

 

The sound of jazz created a heavenly concert in Harlem-

A combination of the boogie blues, ragtime and minor

chord sounds.

I danced the jitterbug to Duke Ellington’s swing feel at

the cotton club.

Got lost in a day dream as he romanced the chords and

his bassist lay down a great groove.

I grooved to Louis Armstrong’s hot jazz- a mind blowing

mix of drums, bass, banjo, and the guitar- creating an

amazing crescendo.

See, I was the flapper doing the Lindy hop at the

Savoy ballroom.

 

And right now, I am the poetic globetrotter, the griot,

the time traveler peering through the Harlem

Renaissance portal-

Reliving the 20th Century- a period where black poets,

artists, musicians, actors, and intellectuals

flourished.

A period, a poet in these times can only imagine.

 

The world needs more writers, poets and artists.

 

©FloetryC 2017

 

***Langston Hughes Citation: The Nation, 1926***

The Art of Communication.

He is hearing; he isn’t listening.

She is distracted, she isn’t paying attention.

 

Confined to himself: His thoughts are

sequestered in a closed library.

Propelled by technological uptrend; he prefers

tweeting, updating his social media status with

esoteric verbiage , memes and quotes to oral

communication.

 

Disconnected: She thrives on texting which

creates misunderstanding instead of listening

to the rhythm of the unfiltered truth on his

verbal tones.

Feeds on ambivalent expressions- brewing

assumptions, misconceptions and speculations.

 

Withdrawn: He has a patent on ignoring her.

Feelings are concealed; pregnant pauses

amidst conversation become the norm in

the presence of confrontation.

He sees so much fault in her.

Obstinate; he explores ways to make excuses

to avoid acknowledging his mistakes.

 

Silent treatment: Hesitation rests precariously

upon her pouty lips.

She is afraid to communicate her deepest

thoughts because she doesn’t want to filtrate

the balance. He is always right!

 

They are caught up in a mass societal disconnect.

A robotic world where people no longer want

to relate but stay connected on the web.

Most people no longer want to explore the depth

of consciousness with deep mental connections

and stimulating conversations.

Feelings are status updates.

Thoughts are tweets.

Emotions and opinions have been translated into

memes, quotes and emoticons.

Leading to a steady demise of traditional and

enjoyable human interaction.

 

Communication is a reaction to the eloquent

expression in the presence of conflict.

The answer to all reflections which fly.

And I just want to make love on a bed of effective

communication in all styles.

A cozy room where I can be myself and speak

my mind freely without holding back.

Drown in the essence of intellectual chemistry-

Listening to each other-

Understanding one another.

As adults without running to the internet to

rant and whine about our thoughts and feelings.

 

If we can’t communicate effectively, we can’t groove.

 

©FloetryC 2017

art love

 

 

 

Raconteur (The Storyteller)

The prolific storyteller weaves a quilt

of words and pictures on canvas.

Takes words and fertilizes them –

giving birth to a tale.

Her words are bred in a shade

behind the bamboo tree.

Nurtured under the beautiful sun on

mother earth’s warm lap.

Celebrated with the sound of the African

drum at sunset when the evening lull pays

homage to the streets and roaches start

roaming around like drunks.

Her tales come alive in the velvety dark

of the mischievous night-

provoking her thoughts and well hidden

memories to alight amidst the moon’s

gaudy evening gown.

 

She is an accumulation of stories both

grim and gory.

Life’s trusted narrator; a griot, thinker,

Spoken Word poet and painter of words.

She is the wordsmith without a portfolio,

the underrated singer and composer

humming “Les chansons de la vie”

 

Her words fly like a time machine-

opening a portal to a new world.

Enthralling adventures through

prehistoric times.

Witnessing evolution’s conspiracies-

drifting in and out of the world wars,

the civil wars and the industrial revolution.

Reliving the Harlem renaissance, grooving

with Langston Hughes.

Intergalactic journeys through planets,

galaxies, time and space.

Orbiting the sun, earth and moon- quiet

strolls with the milky way.

Globetrotting with meteors, comets

and asteroids.

Her tales of bravery, honor, loss and love

are christened by the ancestors.

Inbred with oral tradition, worshiped at the

bonfire in between marwa and folk-lore music.

Uprooted from the rich African soil and sowed

from one generation to another on a bed of

continuity. “The dead are not dead”.

 

She is the proverbial modern cave dweller

lodging in fairy tales and sauntering dreams.

She makes her way into the past, present

and future replaying history’s controversial classics.

Her words are engraved on her mental tombstone-

congregate at the junction of her mind and nestle

beneath imagination.

Stacked in libraries, bookstores and smudged

on literature websites, she hovers across pages

inspiring and educating.

 

So, gather around folks!– perk up your ears and

let me spin you a tale.

Allow me to take you on a mind blowing journey

through places both new and old.

I am your story teller today.

 

©FloetryC 2017

 

 *Marwa: Type of local Brew in Northern Uganda.

 *Griot: West African historian, storyteller, praise singer, poet and/or musician.

 story teller

 

 

 

Celebrating World Poetry Day( My life is like a Poem)

Happy Word Poetry Day to all Poets!

floeticgibbersandrants

My life is

an unfinished

poetry manuscript

containing my deepest

feelings, thoughts, experiences,

emotions and perceptions about the

world in rhythmical floetic inferences.

A collection of

current events,

the past and

cherished moments

embroidered with

love, happiness,

peace, fulfillment

and joy.

A recollection of

memories both

grim and gory.

My life is woven

in Spoken Word.

An open canvass

where i can paint

my thoughts on

blank pages to

build yearly poetic

memories.

Creating My-story,

not a re-creation

of His-story.

Authentic, not

fabricated.

I am

poetry

in motion.

My life is

like a

collection

of poems.

©FloetryC 2016

pobnmmmmpo

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Not black enough( Breaking the racial epithet)

Pigeon holed; the world built a posse

that branded her not black enough.

She didn’t subscribe to the insidious

stereotypes.

She didn’t pass the litmus test of real

black women.

Treated as a novelty in the black community.

Ostracized because somehow she didn’t

blend into the clan.

She felt isolated, ignored and marginalized

by her black brothers and sisters.

 

Educated; eloquent with a well enunciated

dictionary.

Sprung from a distinct background;

raised differently.

A black woman with an independent mindset.

Too white to be down.

The Oreo cookie; “not black, black”

Half, not whole.

 

She copes with a blinding spectrum.

Swallows snide comments with a straight face.

Tolerates slurred racial epithets thrown at her.

Labeled fake because of her strong convictions.

Painted a sell out because of her corporate hue.

 

Not black enough because of the way she speaks.

Like black is some sort of language.

Not black enough because of her complexion.

Too dark, too light- like something in her gravy

made up the strange looking creature that she is.

Not black enough because of her class, the way

she dresses, the music she listens to and her behavior.

Like the entire demographic should act and

think the same way.

 

Forced to define her racial identity and to

constantly prove that she is black.

Braving the knife of public scrutiny because her

melanin is considered fake.

Branded as a daughter of privilege- a woman

ignorant of the black problem.

A woman in their book who doesn’t know

struggle and hasn’t experienced racism.

 

Racism is global and not limited to a certain

demographic.

The stories are shared, experiences are distinct

and diverse- the aspect of individuality is

deeply embroidered in everyone.

She doesn’t need to conform to a certain

way of life, embrace an idealized mindset in

order  to be accepted as being black.

She doesn’t need to live a life that society splashes

in her face because of the color of her skin.

 

Being black is only about skin color.

It doesn’t matter where she comes from.

She won’t let anyone define her blackness

for her because of her lifestyle, tastes and

preferences.

 

©FloetryC 2017

educddd

 

 

 

 

Woman

You are a masterpiece.

Your anatomy embodies art

Intricately designed, beautifully outlined.

Your magnificence is represented by a

carnival of colors.

Your powerful aura bursts on canvas.

You are a timeless work of art.

 

You are a classic soul jam.

Your alluring femininity resonates

with the sound of music instruments.

Your resilience- respectful demeanor

and nurturing hue are embroidered

within the musical keys that accentuate

your glow as a wife and mother.

You are the romantic call at first blush,

and the melodious funk at the moon’s

block party.

You are the rhythm that compliments

his flow when he misses a beat.

You are the hook, chorus, the verses

and the middle eight.

You are the heart song that never

stops playing.

 

You are an anthology –a best seller.

Your philosophy and history

Encompass all literature.

You are the overflowing adjectives ,

the bold pronouns and the shy nouns.

The epitome of descriptive writing and

the inspiration behind ekphrasis in

contemporary literature.

 

You are extraordinary.

Your beautiful soul reflects inwardly

out with each gaze.

Intelligence exuded when you speak.

Love and passion ooze from your veins.

Respect comes naturally.

You are sensual and sexy.

The curves on your body are embalmed

with the fragrance of romance.

You are intriguing- unique, spontaneous

and caring.

 

You are a loving Mother, a dedicated

Wife, and an amazing woman.

A timeless work of art; a masterpiece.

A classic jam – a best seller.

Woman! When God made you- he

was just showing off.

 

Embrace your femininity.

Love yourself.

Celebrate Womanhood everyday!

 

©FloetryC 2017

woman poem

 

 

 

 

 

Humility

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself,

it is thinking of yourself less”. C.S Lewis.

 

Pride is the antithesis of humility-

delusion’s own prize relic.

Humility cowers between

amour-propre’s punches of asperity,

throwing him in the sea of conformity.

 

Humility advocates for appreciation

and respect for the human condition.

Ignites the fire of simplicity amid

complexity.

Heals humanity’s  braggadocio.

Keeping you warm through the

chaotic world.

 

Humility allows honesty to radiate

from ruins.

Offers generosity, alleviation and

compassion with no ill intentions of

vainglory.

Allows the essence of clemency and

apology to shine without advocating

for great obsequiousness- leaving you

barren of recognition but with a

better appreciation and understanding

of another person’s  worth.

 

Humility is an adjuration of ardor.

A haven where infamy is considered

sacred.

A reality where one doesn’t project his

own thoughts, opinions and beliefs

on others but accepts them with

their flaws.

A truth that you’re not greater than

anyone – or beyond the strings of

admonishment or plain criticism.

 

Humility is self restraint from

vanity’s seductive embrace.

Not devoid of your own modesty.

Laying down bashfully; abasing yourself.

Submitting to God and to others for

God’s sake.

 

Stay humble.

You’re only human.

 

©FloetryC 2017

 

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