Ignite the Senses
House lights still up, Baba opened
his mouth, his heart, his eyes, pouring straight
into ours, thanking Yako for the soup,
for the music, thanking us all
for being there. We basked
in his rosy glow, his wailing,
his hip hop eulogy for his father.
Together, we plunged into darkness,
into the twist and swirl of memory,
with Sequoia Rose as our wondrous guide,
whose four year old super power wish is
to sprout flowers out of all ten fingers,
and bring dead ones back to life.
Baba is the son of jazz, the keeper
of the past and our great hope
for the future, storming through gentrifiers
in his old Lower East Side, listening
to the subway buskers, parsing new
New York give and take.
Baba tended his father’s grave with us,
poured water over the wilted bouquet
and presto, we were right back with him:
four years old in his father’s den,
learning performance and friendship,
six years old, at Theater for the New City,
in a haze of pot smoke and apple juice,
adolescent, sprawled in the infamous den,
threading beats over and under vinyl jazz,
not even born for the great escape from Brazil,
retold in a prison of light and shadow,
all grown up, pleading with his father to plan
for the future, to think about his mother and tomorrow,
and now looking all the way back, sorting through
the articles and artifacts of legendary love.
Baba said, “You’re with me in the scream
of the saxophone,” and we screamed back, call
and response, 2016 knows how to get mad, shouting
SHUT THE FUCK UP, Donald Trump,
technology has dulled our senses,
but we still feel it. His father said,
“Ignite the senses in order to ordain the soul,”
and we ignite together, pay homage in the theater,
commune in community space, spill out to an open mic
where we shout our own pain. There, Baba stood sipping
from a clear plastic bottle, flowing in the tides of love
for his father, and the spinning wheel spun on.
Performances of The Spinning Wheel will take place January 8–16 (see schedule above) at BRIC House, located at 647 Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn. Tickets are $15 in advance / $18 at the door and can be purchased by visiting BRICartsmedia.org or by calling OvationTix at 866.811.4111. The Spinning Wheel Festival runs through January 29 at BRIC.