That time was perhaps one of the most special to me. I dealt with a lot of me up in West Lafayette, more of myself that I wanted to.
Indiana was the last time that I actually did spoken word at a high level in my eyes. When I moved to Arkansas, I slowed down a lot (and I know, we rehashed this before).
I woke up this morning thinking about that time and I wanted to share this moment.
Each spring, the Haraka Writers would have a performance for all to view. The theme of that performance was Let’s Have a Toast. During that time, I knew that I would be leaving Indiana. So I decided to write a farewell to friends I met in Indiana but also address my own drinking habits up to that point.
It was perhaps the one of the hardest poems that I wrote and performed. As an artist, I believe in the act of genuine, purposeful display of vulnerability (and still do) but that poem was hard.
With that said, here’s the last poem that I performed: “ice in my drinks.” Luckily, I still had a recording of an initial reading to this; so I have attached it as well if you want to listen and read along.
“ice in my drinks”
my first fifth came when i was 20
i was a lover of ping pong at tougaloo and
then I found my second love:
taaka vodka straight &
i partaked not to fit in but
to loosen the straight leg jeans i walked in.
to inhale a new life
as the burn sifted down my throat
i realized that i can filter into all eras of time:
3 parts of sorrow songs
mixed with a cup of sinatra billie duke nat
plus a wedge of motown funk hip hop
a concoction that
no soul can walk me down
no blue beast cannot hide
no dirty martini can obscure
from my Friday drinks and Sunday nightcaps.
Unholy communions are the exodus
to earthy enlightenment,
sins are cranberry apple
past present future blur flee and
the beginning stages of the first buzz are re- lived.
lusts are pursued.
fantasies are conquered.
dreams are discarded
i hold in the tequila salt that flows from eyes to lips
left to wonder whether taking their souls is worth the risk of saving my own…..
to those grams lost and gained joy guilt pride pain:
jewels bestowed on my royal crown that i never will relinquish because of the warmth of life
rubbing elbows and learning and growing with friends:
oxford west lafayette
i am thankful for hating ice in my drinks…