…to write a poem. By Jessica. Because she is.
Spit on the mic
by t.tara turk
This is a poem about a poem
It is a poem about a poem that started off at the bottom of haggard but loved feet that traveled miles
That carried water
Brought meals to children
Ran from kidnappers
Tried to carry itself up through a drum and escape a red tragedy yet to come
And then waves rushed up and carried this poem through murky dark water
Sickness and coughing
Tried to interrupt lost languages clattering underneath leather boots and grimy fingers
It arrived on a shore of green and cold
Split its back by trying to revolt
Disguised itself as it slid through fields to big houses and back
Danced around pots of weeds made savory
Suckled from breasts to newborn mouthes
Made way to more cold, more green, further up
Mirrored out of necessity a culture it could not understand
So changed that culture and made soul
It sweated on dance floors, jitterbugs not crawling but jumping high to ceilings and landing back down
Trying to forget the fifteen cents that will make a difference
Not drinking pretty water
But water nonetheless
Gathering in salons and oratated outwards but also crawling along fruit carts with the same ease
Can cut and conk
But will eventually blow up in Alabama with four little girls
And then come pouring out of a John Coltrane horn
Sweating and jonesing with Miles, Bird, Coltrane, Lady Day….
And clinging to Mahalia
It wondered into the mind of Lorraine one day as she smoked a cigarette in Central Park, watching white kids play and staring at a plant
That would belong to Mama, whether she bought her house or not
Because everyone watches what happens to raisins in the sun
You can’t turn away
This poem was black enough for deadly hoses
But white enough to let Jimi feel himself outside of the boom chick boom
And see blackness even in the rock guitar on fire
It made James split
Ntozake push out suicide as an option, along with purple feathers, fried fish and a creole dialogue
That made Africa, Latin-a and America come together on one tongue
Rolled in many hips
It curled itself around the turntable needed and scratched itself, squeezed itself into colored Levi’s
Rocked Lottos and nameplates
Curved around a foodstamp and carried it to the club in one syllable
It made poor know fur
It made ignorant find dictionaries to rhyme
It made ugly beautiful once it taught us how to draw a picture
With a word.
It is a poem that changes its name through centuries, is argued by elders who think they own it with youngsters who know they will change it
But youngsters will become elders
They just don’t know yet
But this poem knows. This poem knows that it will ride the wave of death and be present and millions of births of humans and things
It will be the only beat that could move a crowd
Or the one that will silence it
The only real evidence,
A spit on the mic
This poem is us.
I am screening for AFI’s Film Fest and came across a documentary that won’t leave my mind, which is good because certain things just aren’t supposed. Plus I got an amazing poem, of course, from my girl Jessica Care Moore, that shoo me the way a good dictionary word does. So this is for the GEMS girls (http://www.gems-girls.org/aboutus.html) and Jessica.
GEM is Truly Outrageous
by t.tara turk
I would wake up on Saturday to the tunes of a lawnmower, a distant plane flying away, and the beat of my own anxious heart
Ready to face the world
At ten years old
Poured myself some Cheerios in a too big bowl and turned on the TV
And sang along
“GEM is truly outrageous, truly truly truly outrageous…”
Teenage rockstars with purple and blue hair, strumming guitars and saving the day
What more could a girl ask for?
Three years later, I work a Guess mini skirt, encased my chunky thighs in panty hose, begged my mother to wear her silk shirt and smoothed the short side of my asymmetrical hair style
Yet I was a prude
I didn’t go all the way
I liked the honeymoon phase
And had no idea what the marriage meant
Wanted to be a woman but also a GEM, a purple haired pop rock stair who would save the day
My feet in too many points of a time line
I hit puberty
I went on to survive
No teenage babies
More than graduated from high school, college and grad school
That was then
The GEM of the 00s are the girls who hit the honeymoon phase with boys like the Titanic going under
Ran into grown ass men running game and didn’t know how to escape their bullshit vibrations
Gave their heart and gave up their golden boxes
Walked streets, all streets, for men looking for a little head on relaxation at the end of the day
These girls had no GEM to sing along with
They had homes they ran from, abyss filled argument holes where people made them adults before they even had breasts
Ran to the Player in the Caddy at the bus stop
The one who always has a spot in the “family”
The one who loves with the fist in the hidden parts of the body and never the face
The one who has a Wife in Law just waiting for a buddy
The one who knows about the quarter in your shoe
When you ran from this man, your heart misses him and skips beats
So close to the edge so far from SATs
There’s a rumor that there’s a savior lady with an English accent up in Harlem who can give you a bed and a way to find your dreams
She’s been there
She’ll give you a cigarette and ladder to the real world
But you have to climb it
My detour had me miss this song
This show wasn’t on Saturday mornings
My GEM song wouldn’t even be in the top 100
But this lady’s GEM truly saves the day, has the right beat, a melody to deflect Caddy in the booming system
Today I really don’t have much to say except its effin hot outside and this is California and I really thought I had left my days of laying sprawled out on the bed, sweating through the very act of breathing, loud noises outside and nothing on cable back in New York. Once again you can’t really ever run from what you leave behind I guess.
Something funky happened to me this week because of the internet. A stranger locked into my life and became a part of it by emailing pieces of me and I discovered them. Sometimes, dear reader, what I am pretending is that you and I have gone way back (with some of you, I have) and that, like grad school, this page is a safe space to bounce around random thoughts but I don’t know why I keep forgetting that this is so not true. Even old friends have turned on this site and that’s not necessarily a bad thing since I think the truth on the screen is sometimes too hard for most people to deal with….even if they are strangers.
I’ll keep dealing with this last day of heat and stop trying to run from it.
Almost as entertaining as the Lakers vs. Boston game last night is this kindergarten romper room of a tug of war with Hillary Clinton supporters (on Huffington Post this morning, one of the forum posters called her “Borg Queen” which made me laugh out loud but not because I don’t like her - just cause I see her impact on her supporters and it is very fitting) with the Obama supporters (which are, on the same posting board, called Obamabots - not as funny but I could see how they tried to make it funny).
The very idea that there are a group of people who so believe in their Borg Queen that they would rather vote for a war loving, womb controlling, old peepaw over somebody who believes in change as passionately as their now out of the running candidate is baffling to me.
This election more than almost any in recent history is all about the supporters and not so much on the candidates. I think we all learned from that Revenge of the Nerd campaign of John Kerry’s last time. Too anxious to not be disappointed in someone revealing that they are not their public persona, we have decided like the Matrix, to be the system instead. I really can’t wait to see these televised debates later on as I’m really tihnking that the world might combust over the revelation that there really are just two human beings running against each other rather than some big Mad Max Aunty Entity type deal.
Like some Laker fans, Clinton supporters walk the line of hypocrisy (wait - most people do but it’s more relevant at this point I’m making). Only when a call is made that benefits them do they ignore its flaws. Case in point, last night’s game has Laker fans calling BS on all the ref calls however I don’t really remember this outrage during the San Antonio game when the league actually had to APOLOGIZE to San Antonio for making a bad call at the last few seconds since that now missing call would have probably had them win the game. Sometimes your wins will be the cause of your losses later on, kids.
All in all, I’d like to thank all of you activisits for bringing some umph to the whole thing (Laker fans and Borg Queen followers, this means you) because now I can eat popcorn while reading the news and at night while watching the game. My waistline is indebted to you.