Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Dirge of the Unfinished Drum 11/20/08

As gently as I have been able to inhale the beauty and magnificence of Africa, "The Dirge of the Unfinished Drum" still haunts each breath that I exhale. It is true that light brown skin can still be Afrikin and "Black" is not a color, but a construct describing that which encompasses all light and is the source from which all color originates (at least that what I mean when I say it)... But, as Mr. Amoo put it yesterday while he was teaching a student how to make a drum "...Nobody wants to buy that color. It's the natural color. It works fine, the wood is strong and good, but when you add the darker color and polish it, the drum becomes more bold and demanding. If you don't polish your drum you will hate it..."

PhotobucketDrum skins on the steps. (Accra, Ghana 2008)

I'm sure he was NOT talking about me or the color of my skin, but tears filled my eyes and I had to stop videotaping all the same. It's amazing the shapes that words can take as they travel through the air. He sent me a circle, I turned it into a rectangle. That's why my ass needs to listen and stop interrupting so much. Most people could figure this out at home, but not me, I had to come all the way to Africa. Lol. My first embarrassing "African American returning to the Motherland breakdown" was destined to come sooner or later. And no, this is not the story of "...poor me I'm light skinned boo hoo. Why don't my people accept me?", because that just simply isn't true. Me and my black people have always been in the truest love I've ever felt. I think this whole thing is more about the question of how and where to begin the healing work I came here to do. Dr. Halifu described it best in our conversation yesterday at the National Theater. She said"... it's like meeting a mother you never knew you had for the first time." I never articulated it that way, African Americans as adopted children that have never met their birth mother. It makes perfect sense. (And let me not pretend like I am that unconscious. I just be getting caught up in the day to day of the U.S.A.).

PhotobucketRemoving the fur from the skin. (Accra, Ghana 2008)

I don't think it always has to be like this. Dirges of unfinished drums, whips, and chains echoeing through our daily breaths. I completely have the power to create healing around these scars...but scars leave marks on your skin. Inside and out. Here (in Africa) scars are tribal and help identify which villages people come from. I think they're beautiful, but this Hausa man I spoke with thought they made women very ugly. Again a circle changed into a rectangle. Except this time it wasn't me.

I guess that's where I can begin to tell the story of me and my brother Akil.

Akil is the key to the ancestral lock my life's journey is to open although he doesn't know it. We are 19 months apart. Still, dark, magical as amethyst rock surrounded by rose quartz. A volcano erupting little by little. A mirror shattering and reconstructing itself over and over again. He is thoughtful and intelligent by nature, traumatized by circumstance. Both of us like Hurricane Katrina on our worst days. The same as me, but different. Not better. Not worse. "Same" in the purest sense of the word.

PhotobucketUnfinished drums. (Accra, Ghana 2008)

Both of us fight daily to let go of the past. Both died in other people's dreams of who we were because jumping off a scyscrapers into pools of water helps us cool down. In real life we were born again. A crab and A fish. Both of the sea and can't see eye to eye. So we don't speak to each other anymore. When we do it hurts us both. He thinks I look down on him and don't listen. Part of this is true, the rest is not. Just like everything else that has two sides. Love has never been the question. Honor and respect always has been. The same. No difference. Me to go here. Him to transform anger into greatness at home in the Africa we call "The Bay". And he is doing exactly that. I hope to be there when he is finally satisfied with himself. I know he feels the same way about me.

Our post- traumatic slave syndrome has not disappeared now that Obama has won. It's just become the place where I can begin to whistle "The Dirge of the Unfinished Drum" with hope and a smile. I pray that he is polishing his drum and doing well. Ase.

No comments:

Post a Comment