NYU Black Renaissance Noire Fall 2015 Volume 15.2 - Page 138

Memoir of the Watts Excerpt By OJENKE (ALVIN SAXON) q Ojenke. 136 In 1965, I graduated from Fremont High School and started working as a riveter at the Long Beach Douglass Aircraft. When I first heard about the workshop, I quit my gig at Douglass and joined the workshop to pursue the profession of the “quill and ink.” I was one of the original writers to join the workshop; Johnny Scott and I did the debut poetry reading for the Workshop at the Westside Jewish Center. Being a pk, or preacher’s kid, my poetry joined sacred and mundane elements to create novel and moving works of art. I wanted to blow my poems, as opposed to reading them. Back then, we all talked to spirits and wrote down the revelations imparted on us. We each read our works to the other poets and writers assembled in the tight circle of seats, arranged in the bright white living room of the little frame residence at 9807 Beach Street. At times the spontaneous wisdom that erupted in the circle lit up the room like sunrise.