Yeah, you know this here is yo jam!
Here's a favorite peckerwood of mines, Paul Hardcastle. He is a treasure to Blue Eyed Soul. Hearing it takes me back. Back to 1984.
Though my trip is not Orwellian, it is my truth.
Personally--well if you wanna get personal, this reminds me of when my mother would play records/ or tune into WBMX radio on Saturday mornings /while she cleaned the house. PineSol, bacon, Hills Bro coffee and her Benson Hedges Menthol overwhelmed my olfactory, in the very best way. The phone would ring and my Auntie Bubbles/ or Uncle Che/ or Auntie Nonni/ or Uncle Willie/ or Auntie Gladys/ or Ain't Maggie (**funny side note here folks, all of the other ladies were referred to as "auntie" with the more rounded almost British sound. Maggie however was "Aunt"--flat definitely closer to a midwestern sound. But I thought they were saying "Ain't Maggie".) Anyhow...one of the kinfolk would call to talk to Mami, and no matter the combination, the two of them would cackle like hyenas. The music blared from the hi-fi. Some days the music was so great it would bust from the player --almost like the way, when you open a can of Hungry Jack biscuits? Speaking of which, I smell them...the biscuits are ready.
Well 'scuse me whilst I butter them with margarine and purple jelly.
It is after all 1984, and I haven't a care in the world.
We are Black and we are poor.
Yes. And I thank God for making me/us that way.
We had no money, but we had all the riches.
Soon, somebody is gone sneak a wrench from their Daddy tool box,
pop the fire plug,
THEN watch the water spout like a geyser, 200,000ft in the air! And us? We gonna get wet up.
Mami, can I please go get wet up? Please, it's hot. Please? Ma? Ma? Mamma. Ma. Mummuh. MumucanIgogetwetupunderthewaterhose? Please? Mu? Muuuuuu?
We finna get wet up! To hell with a water shortage. Cuz we ain't got no fuckin pools to go to. You gotta walk all the way to King Drive to the park, and them project niggas be jumping people, so all y'all kids stay on Lafayette. The grown ups here will sit on the porch and watch you while you play.
Ain't no cops gonna stop us neither.
Matterfact, when the squad car comes cruising thru, Officer Friendly gonna slow way down. He likes playing this game, that's why he moves thru like a shark. You see all drivers in the 'hood knew how much fun/ how much fun it was getting that car completely wet/ The car would get doused/ we would scream and laugh/ the cops would smile back/ and wave and then speed off.
It was the one moment neither side had distrust/
There was no "Fuck The Police" attitude when the squad car rolled thru our fire hose waterfall
(though we had not forgotten about Fred Hampton.)
I can dance in the street under the water hose, because Mami presses my hair on Saturday nights, so I can look good for church in the morning. I go to Sunday school with my cousin Marlo, then church where my grandfather the preacher.
Rev. That's what everyone, even his daughters call him. I call him grandaddy.
And at church--oh Mami, doesn't actually GO to church.
But she watches Rev. Clay Evans, Rev. Hinton & Bishop Brazier on tv.
She can't be bothered with actually going into the church building. "The house of the lord."
But surely, there was god in our house. Sundays and my Mami is another story.
But back to Saturdays. Saturday Night is now. Let the steppin begin.
She smoke squares and presses my hair. It's later in the day and I'm dry now.
The card table is set up. Libations flow. Spaghetti baked and cheesy.
Auntie Mouse (my play aunt) with her pretty red hair, mocha skin and stylish glasses was cleaning perch, catfish and "girl, we got some raccoon." Yep, so and so had gone hunting. And brought back carcass my mother couldn't bare eating. But they could. So she let 'em. She continued pressing my hair. "Yeah, I guess some niggas really is crazy." she offered.
The sink was red and full of flood. Better it be blood from meat, fish and poultry versus the blood of our people.
We have eaten chitterlings, ox tails, pig tails, tripe, feet and hog head cheese.
And nobody got sick. And nobody was ashamed.
Because we have worked in kitchens on plantations, and as short order cooks, pit masters and line cooks. We can take any leftover meat, and give it artisanal flair.
The Stroh's beer bottles gave the room an amber glow.
We laugh, and dance and I balance the styrofoam plate on my lap.
So does Big Titty Pat, who is laughing at them dancing.
"Vera, girl this perch and spaghetti so good! Pooh Baby (that's me),
Go gimme some more garlic bread and grab that hot sauce. When I'm done with my plate
I'mma show ya'll how to move, cos you niggas from the South Side can't Step!"
South Side argues best side. West Side argues best side. Best side of town folks.
Soon they will all be drunk, and I will perform songs and dance for them.
They will shower me with quarters and dollar bills.
"Sang Nicky! That girl look just like her big headed daddy! Look at her! Get it baby!"
I dance. I sing. I twirl. I sashay. And
We are all together, and I want this love to last. Forever.
It's 1984 and I have family, food, music, and everything I need....I am in my tiny house with every one. And we stepping. Like Kinfolk.
And La Shaun. And Uncle Billy. And sometimes but not really Webster. And Marlo. Sammy. Plummie. Charlynn. Chuck. Uncle Willie. Karen. Charlie Hughes. Billy Collier (Pronounced "Kayah" isn't funny how throughout the slave ages reconstruction tumultuous teens, 20s,30s,40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90's to present that we change our). Cousin Toad-A-Bump (I still don't know my cousin's real name). Godfather Malcolm X. (really, he changed his name to Malcolm X to honor the leader). Regina Price. Mr. Price. Uncle Bobo. Mookie. Monica. Monica. Lil Billy. Che. Lee Lee. Auntie Tutu. Marquitta. Bay Bay. Lil Yolanda. Jennifer. Breonna. Elisha. Kimberly. Tynaya. LeKia. Michael. Lucille. Rev. Cousin Molly. Grandma. Aint Maggie. Uncle Checkers. Uncle Bobo. Auntie Gwen. Ms. Nell. Niecy. Deborah. Big Titty Pat. And you. And you and you and you and you. You are in the house of my mind. Loving me. And me loving you.