Life, grand, sacred, dear, should not be dictated by the unyielding structure and strictures of science and mathematics alone; but rather, art is what life is and should be about. The freedom to be. Without apology or approval of carnal authority, but like the ever-spawning sea - giving, daring, unpredictable.
Forever the master of her fate, her immeasurable depths too turbid to plumb, swirling beyond the latitudes and longitudes of her unknown, bottomless trenches.
But, ah, dear friend, here in this ignored and infested archipelago of crime, cries, and crypts life is anything but art. Well over 6% of the city’s 218,000 properties are vacant and abandoned, the schools are ill-equipped, ill-fitted, and ill-prepared to teach, malfeasance and political corruption continues unabated, houses of faith dot the landscape, throughout, and still we are not saved.
Rachel weeps for her children, but they are found not. Of the estimated 335+ homicides this year alone the overwhelming majority of the victims: young – Black - male, victims and targets at the hands of others likewise characterized as young - Black - male. The band wistfully plays Black Lives Matter but no one sings the melody anymore and there is no harmony in this elegy.
The school-to-prison-pipeline offers full employment, long-term security and staggering profits to politicians, judges, security officials and the owners of the burgeoning penal industry (sic).
“I used to watch the line where earth and sky met, and longed to go and seek there the key to all mysteries, thinking that I might find there a new life, perhaps some great city where life should be grander and richer—and then it struck me that life may be grand enough even in a prison.”
These words, only to be more celebrated by his other works, “Crime and Punishment” and “The Brothers Karamazov,” Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the great Russian novelist penned these heart-numbing, haunting, harrowing words in “The Idiot” (1868/9). It is beyond imagination that one could choose prison over personal liberty and freedom and yet we have designed a system for this exact outcome. We then dare query ourselves as to “how can this be?” But are we not getting the outcomes that we desire and at worse have designed our systems to produce?
“Stop the Killings” has to be more than just a chant for mothers of maddening misery to cry day in and day out, week in and week out, month end and month out, year end and year out, but the profiteers and proliferators of this soul-killing economy must be brought to task. But it will not happen until the artists arise.
And whether that artist be bluegrass, c & w, r & b, jazz, rap, folk, or any other genre in the end it must be infused with soul. Authentic soul music is what we need in order to peer into the misty blue of this most baneful riffs.
Enough of the autotune performers of social engineering with neither the requisite skill, proper training or care to address the true pain. However, music, a universal elixir, needs a catalyst - stirred and shaken - to activate the artist or else the metronome of hollow modernity lull the listener into mindless mumblings - uncoordinated, arrhythmic and ear-ratic.
Is there none who would listen? Then someone must speak to the beast and Tell My Horse and see the Dust Tracks on A Road as, indeed, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Is there no Sympathy for this Mother to Son, is there no Wilbur to teach me to soar as I teach him the lore? Oh yes, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
In times of tumult, tumor, and turbulence, the timbre, tone and tenor of the Artist is what the soul needs most. The boundless palette of color must address the incessant wails of the end of year Holiday as well as the once in a lifetime sightings of the Comet in order to truly perceive the starry night above.
Human beings are more than the corporeal compilation of chemicals and mathematical computations; NO! Every fruit bears the marks, the imprimatur of itz Creator, those creations whose primordial cry to the Universe is “Let it be printed!” Printed in song, in statues, in soliloquys but never in silence for even ‘“the voice of the turtle” must be heard in our land.’
So, on the eve of this New Year the tintinnabulation of the bells we yearn to hear are the sounds of music, magic, and majesty. In every creation the Creator deposits the possibility of life, true life, and immortality, for in the rendering the creator, of necessity, must continue to exist.
No creation remains a lifeless Pinocchio once hope infuses its being. Though dampened by the onslaught of apathy and indifference once ignited the spark can ne’er be fully extinguished. Never!
Those who laugh at our musings must be set aside and ignored, “for those who are seen dancing are thought to be insane by those who cannot hear the music.” So, come now, Community, one and all, the time is now to bring order out of the chaos, light out of the darkness, sound out of the silence, and life out of death. No ‘crystal stairs’ are promised but once again we are reminded that “it is the wounded deer which leaps highest.”
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