black music is sweet potato pie on your windowsill with the grass still unkempt scratching your toes with the sun soaking in summer blistering the land with hands like time tipping water from the clouds making it dance over your tongue.
like the first signs of love eating your bones down to the bottom till your feet leave the air gaining gravity from the weight of jubilee jumping in your skin and shining sweet wherever the lips lay licking up the leftovers, lifting up the newness of the eyesights, tiptoes in ya mama’s basement sneaking in you know what’s under you know where’s and we don’t care’s stalking the starlight.
like the first time you saw gravity in their eyes doing things with your feet practicing embryo Olympics in those sheets your mama saved for when the “company” came and you came and wept over the losses and times that the speakers kept you planted, kept you sunny, kept your right.
black music is overstating the obvious and making it marvelous over and over and over and over again, ovaries stirred to the sounds of heartbeats beating mythical sounddrums at a thousand speeds per infinite making it rotate making it do something, something for the ancestors who burned themselves turned themselves hidden for your birth we owe them more black music is, scores of us feet sore sawing the needs of others in half to share the rest with those less able to carry the load of a million slaves bartering water for the trip.
black music will ask you where have you been lately and will tally your debt against your service to the spirits shackled looking to you for retribution reparations reputation and restorations contributions to the soul will be added to the pot we stir in churches and backyards doing electric slides and cupid shuffles and practicing Aaliyah dance moves in the mirror and doing Beyonce ring finger movements with your girlfriends after the bouquet drops.
black music is the art of making noise sound beautiful like your grandma made it by herself in someone elses kitchen praying you’d be a doctor or a lawyer or own a business or give your children more than what you had and hamhocks and chitlins and greens cooked just right and hope in a penny with a hole and a dream in a well and a seat in the back and a i’ll drink water whereever i gotdamn well please and bruises born in love and worn in struggle and glowing with redemption.
black music is salvation in a minor f chord skipping under Aretha’s breath and Stevie’s beads and Hathaway’s keys and Redding’s voicebox. it is the culmination of lost notes dirt under the nails and corners bleeding with the blood of milk crates cardboard and sedgwick and cedar down to jheri curls and two seaters and five on the black hand side and black and white kung fu films with my big brother on saturday afternoons and jelly shoes and chalk for hopscotch on the concrete sharing sips of quarter waters.
black music is the heat you feel under your breath after Fela plays and you see a sister with her natural and wonder how God how did God know how did He know the history of our roots sit in her teeth God why are you so merciful oh wonderful God who broke our backs to break open the front for the rest to walk through it/is the train porters and nannies washing white babies to feed the feet of black children with shoes that don’t talk. have you been there? have you seen what black music will do for your children? here have this land breastfed in your mouth by the likes of a young boy with four brothers and some deep dreams singing and dancing and living in gary, indiana and tell me that this ain’t syrup this ain’t heaven by a landslide shucking and jiving Gregory Hines Savion Glover style across your living room with the plastic still on the couches thank you God thank you black music