Friday, August 14, 2009
Off the record by Sekou "Tha Misfit" Andrews
we dont speak often enough.
too often these days
when i think of you
i think of the poet of whom i boast from the stage in tampa
who i cite as my inspiration during interviews in london
the habitual first name to leave my lips when inquiries demand my contemporary favorites
you are amazing
i carry the corners of my shaping with me
when i have intense writing deadlines for some
corporate commission too emotionally ambient to awaken my muses
i keep it in my backpack in a glass case labeled "break in case of emergency"
like a defibrillator i may need to shock my system into inspiration
i bought the book because it was written by one of my friends (and that's what i do)
i've carried the book with me because it was written by my one of my favorites
i never read it.
i did today.
not in it's entirety but enough.
enough to remember this woman who told me once, after
seeing my show, that she cried
went home and began throwing her poems and writings and aspirations away
so inspired by my work that it disquieted her inadequacies
like her to me, each poem of yours that i read
rendered me empowered as a person and paralyzed as poet
(or was it the other way around?)
i read your book
not in its entirety, but enough.
enough to walk down memory lane with you
remembering you reading me your work
and me sharing my work with you
and us touring together
and the note you left me in my writing notebook as i was performing on stage
and us seeing each other perform and hugging each other in that increasingly rare genuine way
but i suddenly caught myself squinting to make out these memories
we don't speak enough anymore
and i got scared today
because i read your book for the first time
not in its entirety, but enough
to realize that i'm beginning to have more memories of "By Jaha Zainabu"
than i do of my friend
starting to feel like i've read your voice more than heard it
seen your tears fall from your font more than your face
heard you speak of laughter resonating from my stereo speakers
more than i've heard your laughter resonate from your belly
your number one fan misses his friend
i dont miss the wise woman, old soul, big momma figure that the world has come to love.
i've got her the same way everybody does.
i miss the homie ridin shot gun in the car on the way to a venue listening to the demo of my upcoming cd that no one else has heard shouting how hot its gonna be, and telling stories of her son that no one will ever read, and talking about our respective love lives hoping we can get give some good advice as much as we hope we can get some from each other before we arrive at our destination too soon
and the hustle of life opens the car door for us and pulls us out.
and i don't have time to write this letter or poem or whatever to you
'cause i'm under one of those intense writing deadlines for some corporate commission and my muses are apparently wearing eye-patches and earplugs stuck in REM sleep
but i broke the glass case today
and while it may not have fixed the emergency it was intended to
pages 9-19 made the world look different when i looked up from them
pages 18-19 empowered me as a person
page 12 paralyzed me as a writer
and page 13 told me
"sure, you could wait--
you could click "save as draft" and pretend like your schedule will allow you to come back to this later to ornament each metaphor and spit-shine the structure until you feel your writing is strong enough to share with its muse
you could hold off, and add her to the list of important folks to call after your not so busy anymore or dead whichever comes first
you could forget the lesson of her table of contents, and draft and redraft this letter until you feel more confident that it is indeed a poem and not a letter (as if her writing has shown you that that matters) and then bronze it and wait to placed it on the proper published pedestal of a book or CD,
embalm it to preserve it for a formally presented gift in the future,
stick it in a cryogenic chamber and thaw it out years later, when you both hunch over and move slower and take time for rocking chairs a bit more, and present it to her as some "i've been saving this for ages to tell you how much you've inspired my life now that its almost over" kind of informal tribute,
you could adhere to the embedded lesson you've decoded from this page
and simply write what you feel
and share it as it is
as i sit here, the bottom of backpack dusted with shards of glass,
if i've taken too much time away from what i was supposed to be doing
or finally given enough time to what i was supposed to be doing
(even in the face of the mountain of work that is disappointed with my choice)
i sent this
and that's not like me
it's like you
and i'm better for that
we don't speak often enough
but that's gonna change
when it's time.