NYU Black Renaissance Noire Winter 2014 - Page 59

Sources + Additional Resources Though Komunyakaa’s years and contexts are different from George Moses Horton’s, there is, in both their work, a coming to oneself via the work of making and the work of remembering — connecting, again, the spleen to the compass to West Africa. There is the sensuality of bodies moving in and out of other bodies, becoming other bodies, creating and bearing other bodies. And this Legba, this god of the crossroads is known for sensual and sexual desire, too. The quest of freedom is always connected to one’s system of desire. And to love. Toni Morrison’s Beloved helps us here. Arthur. “The LIFE, and dying SPEECH of ARTHUR, a Negro Man; Who was Executed at Worcester, October 20, 1768. For a Rape committed on the Body of one Deborah Metcalfe.” First published by John Kneeland and Seth Adams in Milk-Street, 1768. http://opac.newsbank.com/select/evans/10822. Davis, Erik. “Who is Eleggua? Trickster at the Crossroads.” First published in Gnosis 19, Spring 1991. 10 August 2003. http://www.techgnosis.com/trickster.html. García Lorca, Federico. In Search of Duende. Trans. Christopher Maurer. New York, New York: New Directions, 1998. Komunyakaa, Yusef. Magic City. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1992, p. 42. Komunyakaa, Yusef. Neon Vernacular. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1993, p. 142. Komunyakaa, Yusef. “Crossroads.” Ploughshares. (1997): 1-6. Consider Paul D. reflecting on a conversation with Sethe: Komunyakaa, Yusef. Blue Notes. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2000. Komunyakaa, Yusef. The Chameleon Couch. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011, p. 10. Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York, NY: Knopf, 1987, p. 162. Russell, Heather. Legba’s Crossing: Narratology in the African Atlantic. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2009. Sherman, Joan, ed. The Black Bard of North Carolina. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997. Sherman, Suzan. “Interview with Paul Muldoon and Yusef Komunyakaa.” BOMB 65 (Fall 1998): 74-80. Waldman, Amy. “A Pianist’s Final Piece: DeWitt’s Descent.” The New York Times, 18 January, 1998. + SEE YouTube: Rahsaan Roland Kirk, “Seasons” (live), Montreaux, 1972. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXD1OrmzCQI Collage titles are, in order of appearance: 1 George Moses Horton, Myself by George Moses Horton 2 Anodyne, Komunyakaa 3 Blue Notes, Komunyakaa 4 The Shortest Night, Komunyakaa 5 Ode to the Chameleon, Komunyakaa BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE I’d argue that Komunyakaa’s poetic vision is constantly limping toward this realization, is a practice in beautiful and perpetual movement toward the freedom Sethe and Paul D. consider above — the freedom Legba symbolizes. Etymology tells us that the word “free” (used as an adjective here) can be traced through Old English, Dutch, among other languages, to the eventual Indo-European root “pri”— which is “to love.” In Komunyakaa’s is a moving between worlds that is, perhaps, a remembering. A remembering of this great atomic kinship that ensures that we are made up of each other. There is such power in this way of thinking and in this ability to be and to be unfurled, freed into new seeing and, thusly, new ways of loving the world. 57 Listening to the doves in Alfred, Georgia, and having neither the right nor the permission to enjoy it because in that place mist, doves, sunlight, copper dirt, moon — everything belonged to the men who had the guns. Little men, some of them, big men too[…] And these “men” who made even vixen laugh could, if you let them, stop you from hearing doves or loving moonlight. So you protected yourself and loved small. Picked the tiniest stars out of the sky to own; lay down with head twisted in order to see the loved one over the rim of the trench before you slept. Stole shy glances at her between the trees at chain-up. Glass blades, salamanders, spiders, woodpeckers, beetles, a kingdom of ants. Anything bigger wouldn’t do. A woman, a child, a brother — a big love like that would split you wide open in Alfred, Georgia. He knew exactly what she meant: to get to a place where you could love anything you chose — not to need permission for desire — well now, that was freedom. Komunyakaa, Yusef. Thieves of Paradise. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1998, p. 127.