NYU Black Renaissance Noire Fall 2013 - Page 143

Work Song (3): The Wealth That Surrounds Us I will arise & go tonight I will go before the white scrim everyone talks about— not only because it’s strenuous like clay that clumps like honey on bare feet or because I have the marks on my skin they search for like a passport In another land where the old folks dwell knowing is where old folks dwell red dirt is well worn into grooves the way words embed themselves into action A road flanked by bleached skulls of perfidy leads to a chalk house by a crystal lake a peaceful place atop a hill They make it sacred by their acts of deep insight the art of a rainbow the strength of mercy If you are awake today they say you must know your father If I am awake I will uphold my father’s tradition of building temples from leaves, water, & lightning of cutting open the flesh to peer at the lush bush inside it is after-all what leopards do Oláyinká son of Ògbóyè crouched before a white scrim long ago poised to preserve his father’s work in the tradition of slicing the subtle from the coarse 141 BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE I give thanks to Oláyinká I must go now, go and grip the cutlass my father left me If I am awake tomorrow then tonight I am him BRN-FALL-2013.indb 141 9/13/13 12:48 AM