Wednesday, March 31, 2010

for avotcja (14)

for avotcja
1941 --

melodies, rhythms, & timbres arise from
the immersive environs of spanish brooklyn.
a girl child is born, swaddled in the wafting
cuerpo de espíritu of laguerre velez, the
crónicas of jesús colon & the deific
conversations of tito puente. u came
to us,
avotcja, addicted to sound, even the
white noise
released from the kinetic crashings
of cultures,
the new sonorities of loneliness.
passing thru
spanish harlem's liminality, thru
its screens of
specified mesh growing up
latina in new york —
u landed in & bounced
around the avant garde
spaces of los angeles'
central avenue & the
influence of horace tapscott.
no one had to tell
u of the inseparability of
music, dance, rite &
poetry, my sister. like
most african-derived artists, u knew
that such separations were but artificial
of academics trying to stretch their thoughts
goat skin over the membranophonic frames of
heart & soul
. yr ideas word, rhythm or song
grew organically from the nature of yr spiritual

timbre. yr poems are polyphonic choirs of wood,

skin, & metal; yr rhythms, melismatic inducements

for spirit trance. yr dance, acrobatic virtuosity

wed to explorations of multiple percussive
color & rhythm. these were yr meat; sustained
you thru the fire & blood of watts, thru yr
sojourn in europe & return to california to play
with rahsaan, john handy & so many others.
u have always known, my dear
poet sister,
percussionist, olorisa, just like u
know the
source of earth, wind, fire & water, that
music erupting from the fissures in yr heart
& soul, is the same
as the dance of the claves
in yr hands, the rippling, cascading twinkle

of tuned wind chimes, the urgent slap/strike
of yr ocean drum & idiophonic wood
blocks &
cowbells, the contained rainstorms of yr rain
the reco reco's rasping counterpoint,
the life rattle of the shekere & the stark
tintinabulations of yr temple gongs. the
poignant poetry of the words condensed
yr deep water body through which all
feeling (draining from the soul of the world)
flows,or from the magic theater of yr sobriety,
where one learns to do the next right thing
one day at a time;
produces its own validity;
is validated again &
again in yr rich creative
spell-weaving that celebrates
the ever
resurrecting goodness in us all.

©Joseph McNair; 2010


  1. Joe, this is one of your best poems--combining ideas and sound in a remarkable way.


  2. Thank you Geoff. Some how i knew you would be watching Happy holidays!

  3. My dear beautiful Brother... I am speechless. There could be no greater gift than the honor of your amazing Poem. I am drunk on your words & so very grateful to know you've heard the Music in mine.
    Thank you Brothaman!
    Bright Moments

  4. it is indeed my pleasure. This is the time of yr reaping. Receive & be glad.

  5. Beautiful, wonderful tribute to an amazing woman whom we all love and respect. Thanks for sharing this Baba. Ogbo Ato!