NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 16.2: Fall 2016 - Page 86

Atoms of Dreams ( In Memory of Marie Laveau , 1794 – 1881 )
I
At the cuff of the crepuscule When the sky is crowned scarlet-orange And drums are morphing the gods ’ tongues , I imagined you zealously dancing , Your statuesque quadroon frame Dressed in a bouffant cotton-laced robe Turning loose bulged blues in the veins With a fervid Congo water-dance .
II
Marie Laveau , distant spiritual sister Tough as hickory , you lingered Beneath the weight of history As the Louisiana wind fluttered With the changes of flags . Still , Vodou remains as worshipers Of life congregated with rosaries and roses .
III
The air in Congo Square , drunk with drums And peppered rum . Sounds suffused senses As masters , free quadroons and slaves enraptured In fragile embraces . Your stature is imprinted , In their marrow , supervening your steps . Your fervid right hand tightly gripping A copper-colored calabash gourd Intricately meshed with various tinges Of ceremonial beads , rattling divine cosmos .
V
In a jazzy dream , you hemmed yourself Into a seven folded point tignon And wrapped a crown of knowledge upon your daughter ’ s head And uttered : “ knowledge is sacrament .” And when Marie Laveau II mirrored you Both on the streets and at ceremonies Behind the St . Louis Cathedral , Conjurers wove tales of your potencies , Becoming bigger than life and placing upon You an armor of eternal youth .
VI
Just at the cuff of the crepuscule When the sky is crowned scarlet-orange And drums are morphing the gods ’ tongues , I also imagined you turning loose Bulged blues with an Ibo fire-dance . Spiritual sister , tough as hickory , You are now an atom of soul Meandering on earth , And through Vodou ’ s axis , Cellular memory knows no end .
IV
At the crossroads of the Americas Vodou gave you birth and you heeled , Hailing the spirits ’ will through life forces . Beyond motherhood and your Creole exoticism , You ruled the French quarter with prayer books , Sweet Basil and warm candle waxes dripping And sticking between your thumb and index finger . You became not only a nurse and a healer , But also a decoder of life and death axioms . Vodou was your pivotal axis And existence was your essence .
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