NYU Black Renaissance Noire Spring 2015 - Page 125

ROOT SONG Once when I was tree flesh came and worshiped at my roots. My ancestors slept in my outstretched limbs and listened to flesh praying and entreating on his knees. Once when I was free African sun woke m up green at dawn. African wind combed the branches of my hair. African rain washed my limbs. African soil nourished my spirit. African moon watched over me at night. Once when I was tree flesh came to sacrifice at my foot, flesh came to preserve my voice, flesh came honoring my limbs as drums, as canoes, as masks, as cathedrals and temples of the ancestor-gods. Now flesh comes with metal teeth, with chopping sticks, and firelaunchers, and flesh cuts me down, and enslaves my limbs to make forts, ships, pews for other gods, stockades, flesh pens, and crosses hung high to sacrifice gods. Flesh has grown dull at the ears now. Flesh has grown pale and lazy. Flesh has sinned against the fathers. If flesh would listen I would warn him that the spirits are displeased and are planning what to do with him. But the flesh thinks I am dead, charred and gone. Flesh thinks that by fire he can kill. thinks that with metal teeth, I die, thinks that chaining me in alien temples with new gods carved upon my skin, thinks that all the voices linked from root to limb are silenced, thinks that by cutting me down, I will sing and dance no more, but flesh is lazy and clogged with fat. Flesh does not know that he did not give me life, nor can her take it away. That is what the spirits are singing now. It is time that flesh bow down on his knee again! 123 BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE Now flesh laughs at my charred and beaten frame, discarding me in the mud, burning me up in flames. Now flesh listens no more to the voice of the spirits talking through my limbs. BRN-SPRING-2015.indb 123 3/29/15 11:42 AM