- After Alice Coltrane’s Journey in Satchidananda, and: Schoolboys Ponder
The bass—my gospel heartstrings that drummy hollow chest from beginning past end,inexhaustible fluid signature-cadence ofslow-swaying voice balancing positiveand negative. I move toward bliss sure-footed, each step indelible. I am not alone.We walk on walls in a world bereftof its footing. We know whichway up is. We build in earth to touch sky.Bless the skilled steps of our chosen direction.And the gospel heart’s faithful rhythm-melodyblending with precise fingers sequenced like raindroplets that pluck the great harp glazed withmagnetized blood, playing back through us
legacies notated into the voice of it, musicplucked with time signature of a little bird’sheart whistling the gospel heart’s melodysung by chords of the bass finding their timbrein the wafer-enclosed body, air in flow,eddies spinning harmonics, ancestral nuancein iron-rich blood. The foundation of allevocation, all genres born of sound, isplanted here: all entry into trance, safepassage through to what awaits with welcome.And the horn’s buzz—dawn shenhaithrough smoke and new light, a billionprayers rising, a rush of whispers, chants,mental meter, in petition to the fields of
bliss at the border of the universe, shornof all else, vista of which we cannotconceive, the gate of crossing betweenworld of duality and that which isn’tworld, universe of nonmatter withinthe self, heard now in whispers: toms,traps, hand-held bells—sometimes slippedround the ankle to blend with rhythmicdust rising, the stamp and foot-shuffle—chimes’ glissando meeting harp-soundmid-mind, spirit liberated into realmsof beginning, tambura fuzzing,ringing, echoing the gospel heartsoothed along the great bass line. [End Page 336]
. . . We are lost, must
Wizard a track through our own screaming weed.—Gwendolyn Brooks
On worn paths that intersect at school, weTalk transformation: from what we areInto what we aim to become, each lostIn books and due dates, doing what he must.Perhaps each of us becomes wizardAt his chosen field if we stay on track,Able to cross thresholds of doors throughWhich we’re proven worthy of entry by ourDedication, elevated alongside our own,Unbothered by the world’s screaming,Its carpet of pervasive, noxious weed. [End Page 337]
Robin Romeo calls Harlem home. He earned a BA from Vermont College, where he studied literature and creative writing. His poems are forthcoming in the Caribbean Writer and Curlew Quarterly. This past winter, Romeo was selected as a Brooklyn Poets Fellow for study in Jay Deshpande’s workshop on the sonnet.