Tag Archives: Africa

Cumbia


If I wanted to court you
I might
show you
my cumbia
in New Jersey
or Mexico
or Guinea
or Nigeria
but if I show you
my Nigeria cumbia
you could never go back
to Lone Star
in Monterrey
no more baggy pants
or devil chants
Cholombiano
would be
Africano
and then you would have to
see me
desiring you
wanting you
dancing toward you
making you feel love
like you’ve never felt
love
giving it to you
with every wave
of my hip
my arm
my hand
my dip
I wouldn’t let you
touch me
just watch
and feel
what it feels like
to be entertained
and
ordained
in the practice
of spirit
can you hear it?

The Lying and the Fool

The Lying and The Fool

The Lion and The Jewel
was the lying and the fool
the fool was a woman
who got lost in the woods
an abnormality understated
a woman who
wakes up early
in the morning
and stretches
shakes it all off
who wants more
and works for
it
never loses it
who expects more
and never
chooses
it
gets chosen
the right way
knows how to forage
and
cut trees down
low
doesn’t need to climb up high
and swing from pole to pole
not knowing where loyalties lie
not knowing where lions cry
not knowing where beauty dies
makes it
easy for you to get lost
or lose it
but
a good woman
thundering her own applause
who sharpens her claws
and smiles when challenges wax
and wanes insane
never gets lost
in the woods
in the hood
is never misunderstood
can explain
make it plain
reflects on disdain
and never accepts
it is
not obviously something she is
going to get
if
she tries…..
the east and the west
at best
cannot get her
the north and the south
closed mouth
cannot convince her
when rooted strong
in common sense
she goes hence
she never forgets
to learn
something new
every day
means she flies

What a Runner Must Do

EXCERPT from “Padre!” by Raven Moore

The air is fresh. A gentle blue seeps through the dark sky. Here I go. My college spandex from the lone year of track I enjoyed at Georgetown still maintains. Red basketball shorts on top keep me modest and a white T-shirt covers me for the first time in a while.

I am light on the red sand beyond the porch, aiming not to leave footprints. Off to the quiet of a run —one thing I love. I step onto the main dirt road which splits right at Bogo’s house, and here turn right. In a few hundred yards, the side road disappears into the tall foliage that blocks the rest of the wide path from view. I’ll be hidden as soon as I get past this point . . . Yes! The courtyard along the side road, across from Bogo’s house, is usually full of life, movement, and children running adventurously but not now.

Fire smokes out from underneath an appatam right before the foliage seals me onto the disappearing road. Someone is awake. My heart beats fast. The blue sky lightens by the second. I time the sunrise perfectly and if I miss waking up at the right time then I do not go. Being seen, asked a question, judged, called out, said ‘good morning’ to, called ‘La Blanche,’ or any of that — hell no. As far as I know, nothing but the smoke has seen me.

A slow trot allows my eyes to adjust to the new darkness on the path that the foliage creates. Ten seconds in and I am a cheetah, or whichever animal that is with night vision. Yeh, definitely a cheetah because I can’t see shit! What in the world am I doing? Oh my God! I’m going to be attacked by a lion.
I’m going to be attacked by a lion!

After a few hundred yards more the road opens up wide. My heart breathes. Something yet formless in the dark scurries across in front of me. I do not worry about snakes because our encounters have never been negative. We’ve got a pact. Anything else that might be out here . . . let’s just hope it does not bother me as I will not bother it. I figure any path without grass growing on it is a man-made path, tended to, walked on fairly regularly, and has someone or some village on the other end of it.

Huuu Haaaaa. Huuuuu Haaaaaaaa. No air in the world like this. My capillaries open, my eyesight sharpens, my limbs loosen and swing. I hear nothing. No babies crying. No Bèté. No Jula. No French. No Senoufo. No Baoulé. No Mossi. The path widens more. The foliage shortens a little. Either that or the darkness shows the true length of the tall grass, as it appears shorter in the emerging light. Aaaaaah. A dip here and there but an adventure. The road moves straight ahead. I run enough to know how far I go just by watching the road. There are slight hills and the biggest hill has a fresh miniature pool of water waiting for me at the bottom that I cabriole over. When did it rain?

The road looks different every day. Something grows where it had not been before. Something disappears.

A man walks in my direction ahead one morning. He’s fine, too. He starts to slow down but then picks up the pace. I give him a look to say ‘I know what I’m doing here, what about you?’ If I’m going to keep running early without anyone and no one knowing, then I’ve gotta’ act like me and my bright red shorts belong. His machete drops from his shoulder, down to his side, and he keeps walking as he watches me pass. It’s not a ‘you look good girl’ watch but a ‘this is some weird shit, I’m about to cut you’ watch.

I look like a ghost to him at 5 a.m. out here this way with no machete, no bag of seeds, no jug of water, and no one accompanying me. Hallucinations must just be someone trying to do something a little different at a strange hour. His morning walks will never be the same. Yes, you have just seen a ghost.

Raven Moore is the debut author of “Padre!: A place whose rules rearrange your own”
– Now available in all stores. –

Learn How to Smile

If I was from Africa

I would smile

If I was from Africa

I would be rich

If I was from Africa

I would do everything

If I was from Africa

I would dance

Africa is the richest continent in the world

We are all from there

Learn how to smile

Cicadas, Bears, and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

Cicadas in New Jersey Scientists have concluded that there are about 15 broods of cicadas that come out of the ground across the United States about every 17 years and June happens to now be cicada season for most of the entire east coast. Cicadas emerge from the earth, play hard to get with an unceasing whistle of a mating sound they make with their body parts, fool around, get pregnant, bury their eggs, die, and then their eggs hatch and return to the ground; all occuring in a matter of weeks. Teenagers.

Black bears are one of the largest animals in New Jersey. A baby one was pulled out of a tree in Montclair just today. Is it so cute as all of the onlookers gushed it to be or so end of their habitat? They keep the ecosystem going, enjoy a trashy meal, are a quickly growing population, and attacks by black bears are rare. So, if you find yourself underneath one, you must have stared at them a little too long, were a little too quiet, moved a little too much, and appeared a little too unintimidating for your own good. Most people don’t dare to even exist. Black bears don’t get much taller than you or I, but can weigh anywhere between 200 and 600 pounds. Pigs.

Scientists have also discovered that women are capable of enormously high levels of multi-tasking, all manner of intelligence, can paint their toe nails and drive at the same time, can deliver up to eight babies in one birth, keep multiple jobs and a clean house, read, make more money than men, please themselves, lift heavy objects, focus, and even run 26.2 miles in less than 2.5 hours. Astonishing.

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is Harvard-educated, a former World Bank Economist, the first female President of an African country on the entire continent, a proponent of gay rights, married at 17, mother of four, divorced, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Typical. We anticipated this. That land of miracles we call Africa. Surprise us some more.