Spoken Word

Spoken Word

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Griot Soul




It was the griot soul

who wrote our history
on walls in graffiti,
and scribbled our scriptures,
in graphic mystery,
painting our likeness in cerulean mixtures,
undeniable hieroglyphic pictures,
of who we were meant to be.

It was the griot soul

Who cared about the young, 
who'd come after us,
who wrote their story in dung
on papyrus,
to let them know, 
they were not a curse,
but let truth show,
that they were Africa's
children first.

Have you ever heard the spirits speak,
encourage caution, and whisper warnings?
Have you ever been who the spirits seek,
in the early dawn of the morning?


 It was the griot soul

who composed our spirituals,
chanting litanies of our past,
in dance and song,
and to our own selves held true,
we strummed our misery, 
from the bowels of jazz,
and from that labor pain, 
gave birth to the blues,


It was the griot soul

Who carved our memories,
into monuments of Olmec collosal stone,
then left them by the sea,
and like any document ever known,
these heads speak volumes for all the world to see, 

On the West bank of the Nile at Aswan,
sleeps the governor whose beautiful mind,
caused a griot to inscribe his autobiography down,
and another to sculpt his head onto the body of a lion.
and place him in the desert for time reknown,
a guardian of time and truth,
some mistake him for Khafren,
but he is the Governor Harkhuf.


Have you ever heard the spirits speak,
encourage caution, and whisper warnings?
Have you ever been who the spirits seek,
in the early dawn of the morning?

We once communicated in talking drum,
We who the Dynasties built,
We don't know anymore where we're from,
And some don't even ask it,
We who once stitched our stories in quilts,
And wove our secrets in baskets,
don't know from whence we've come,
Or even question if the story we're told is true,
You should never let the enemy hold the pen,
because when your story is through,
The only person who will remember you when,
Is the griot soul in you!


Have you ever heard the spirits speak,
encourage caution, and whisper warnings?
Have you ever been who the spirits seek,
in the early dawn of the morning?

I have...

Victori Bass  ©
  
The Griot Soul





Sunday, March 19, 2017

23 Jazz Riff



23 Jazz Riff

Nimble fingers pace,

across 23 bars,

like Emanon on base,

plucking jazz from the mitochondrial dust,

of nameless stars,

half identical by descent, in  F sharp,

swung in recombinant syncopation,

groove to an ancestral tune,

played in residual replication,

This DNA gyrase two step,

jibes because of a dance,

down the big boss line of generations,

glides across our mother tongue

dips and slides,

as Afro-rican as

Johnny Blas

as mambo as

latin jazz,

survives, like Irish trad,

gyrates the hips,

like a congo drum,

its heart beats, so give it some,

what beautiful music made are we,

composed of a genome,

mixed and sampled on a keyboard of 23,

segments of a chromosome,

in perfect harmony ~victori

For Eric Garner...



My heart is broken,
Its time to grieve,
fight back the tears,   I'm choking,
I can't breathe,
I can't believe,
this been going down,
since Emmett Till,
whether it was Georgia's Sam Hose
or Los Angeles's Latasha Harlins,

Will it ever end?
every black mother knows,
Lady Justice ain't no friend,
She's lynching still.


July 13, 2013 Victori ©

Sun Loving



Being photo bombed by the sun,
No strength to spurn it's advances,
Every California girls dream to be the one,
It's radiant beam romances,
ravages, then remisses,
sends a flower to in its ray,
warmly caresses, and sun kisses,
makes me feel it's Valentine's Day,
Left in the radiance of euphoric bliss,
romanced and de-flowered,
feeling the exuberance in this,
joy, makes me strong and empowered.


Victori ©

Sunday, March 5, 2017

All Be Free! (The poem)




We left there on the run,
in the moonlight,
as his body swung,
from a tree,
in plain sight,
his skin hung,
like bark from a hickory,
charred now into unfamiliarity,
We left there on the run,
We didn't look behind us,
We avoided the sun,
We didn't have a compass,
We left there on the run,
Not a second to kill,
Only ourselves to save,
with hounds at our heels,
An escaping slave,
On the run,
We saw their intention,
in the way that he hung,
meant to scare us into retention,
but without the effect,
for which they'd longed,
hoping they wouldn't detect,
that we had gone,
We left there on the run,
between thicket to thicket,
from the swamp, where we'd begun,
No sound only crickets,
with just rags, and welps on our back,

No tickets,

No tags,

No gun,

No time to wonder what we'd become,
freedom was on the horizon,
concepts we could only fathom,
until we left there on the run,
We moved swiftly from slavery to War,
To Reconstruction,
Like returning through the No return door,
into the Great Migration,
We left there on the run,
Fleeing into self-determination,
leaving the shared Southern crop,
on the Plantation,
Letting the hoe, the plow, and sickle drop,
And running to Northern discrimination,
Peonage,
And mass incarcerations,
We left there on the run,
Singing, we shall overcome,
S o m e d a y,
With either a pencil, a pen, or a gun,
Until they killed our leaders,

One by one,

Gone our eloquent speakers,

Our chosen sons,

Our chiefs,

We wanted to run,

We stopped for grief,

and dropped our gunny sack,
Only once, to nap
and fill our lungs with crack,
Our chosen exile,
Government subsidized,
And ready to sell,
Government supplied,
cash crop needing slaves to bale,
We waxed foul,
They caught us trapped,
in Public housing,
Disenfranchised,
and herded to jail,
by the dozens, 
Labeled criminal element,
Even when we wasn't.
Patter roller come,
Kill our sons without flinching,
Claim they had a gun,
Just another lynching,
We left there on the run,
Degree in hand,
We moved from intern,
to self made man,
to doctorate, to resident,
from uneducated to learned,

To President,

And now we've come,

To where we'll be,

We'll march, but we won't run,

No more until every man

Is free


victori--©


That One



I am that one,
The one who will love you til the end,
I am that one,
The one who remains your one true friend,
I am that one,
The one with courage under fire,
I am that one,
The one with the resolve of McGuyver,
I am that one.
The one who will still be going strong,
Yes, I am that one 
The one who is a survivor,
I won't beg you to stay,
I'm not that one,
I won't cry you a song,
If you got to go away,
Then just hang up the phone,
I am not being mean,
We just weren't meant to be,
And it remains to be seen,
What's heaven sent for me,
I am not that one,
To make your life a living hell,
But I am that one,
The one who will watch you go,
And wish you well.
And when all is said and done,
At the end of the day,
I am always that one, 
The one who got away.

victori-- © Mar 2, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2017

U M O J A (U N I T E D)



Could it be you've heard of me,

though we've never chanced to meet?

or maybe, we shared a common ancestor,

amid the Saharan heat?

My ancestors were Fulani,

Yoruba and Oyo,

Our cousins were Ashanti,

Hausa and Sokoto,

I am the Mansa's daughter,

The Griot from Segu, 

Could it be we've met before,

somewhere in Timbuctoo?

My mother? An Angolan warrior,

fighting the Portuguese,

In Queen Nzingha's army,

bringing white men to their knees,

My brothers? all noblemen,

scholars at Jenne´

before the transatlantic voyage,

seized them from Goree´

We were the language people,

fluent in Bantu and in Boor,

before they suppressed our languages,

our customs, and our mores,




They churched us with Jesus,

in the belly of 'The Whale'

before they sold us into slavery,

and delivered us straight to hell,

divided us by dozens,

and separated us by lots,

branded each of my cousins,

to be sold, bartered, bought,

Could be that you know me,

think you've seen my face before?

because they separated my family,

as soon as we reached the shore,

Sold my brother to a rural planter,

Sold my mother to an urban store,

kept my sister in the big house,

and forced her to become massa's whore,




Could be that you've seen Tom?

can you tell me which way he run?



Got tired of working from dawn,

To the setting of the sun,

He plotted insurrection.

the day he broke his chains,

can you tell me in which direction,

He ran off in the rain?

Could be he followed a northern star,

on an underground train,

He is my grandpa,

bound by a DNA chain,

and what a story he could tell,

if only he had a name to claim

and a "free" paper trail.

Could it be you know me now?

Don't I look the same?

Could it be you seen me,

just a little while ago?

fighting to be free,

from Jim Crow

You think I should turn the page?

You tell me to get over it,

say the pain will subside with age,

but until you've ever lost a loved one,

then you can't understand my rage,

I thought slavery had ended

in the year of jubilee,

instead I found my love offended,

tarred and feathered,

strung from a tree,

even after two Civil Rights bills,

we still ain't free,

I know now you know me,

I know now that you do,

Allow me to introduce myself,

For brother I am you!

Victori © written 1992 second revision