31 days of songpoems

My best friend in 1995 won tickets on KROQ to The Bob Marley Festival at the Long Beach Arena. This was the first concert I ever went to and it was 10 hours of getting high, eating jerk chicken and plantains, while being serenaded by an array of musicians. It was one of the most amazing days of my young life. That’s where I pierced my nose. 

As the sun set, the crowd cleared a bit, and the main acts came to the stage—I heard this gorgeous sound, 

Here I come,

Shoodilley-wop, shoodilley-woop, ooh woh ooh
Eeh-ooh, eeh-ooh
Ooh-eeh-ooh
Shoodilley-waddliley-diddley-diddley woh-oh-oh
Zeen!”

A stout man (Barrington Levy) dressed in a white suit comes to the stage and suddenly the crowd begins to rattle—an ocean of waves starts to sing back his lyrics—a whole coliseum shakes the ground beneath me. Children, fathers, beautiful mothers, young goths, hippies, everyone is represented and they are melting quickly into each other. A huge joint is passed around and the walls are sweating and swelling with a happiness I will never feel again. 


young face swings her hips, 

a pendulum that eats

never has she ever been 

in the middle of so many people,

hot smiles sting her eyes, 

belly full of island food familiar to the palette

she’s not so far from herself after all—

there’s an unexplainable slap that triggers 

old heart rhythms in the womb

veins blown with the cadence of her mother’s mother intonation

shoulders are palms swinging in the breeze

thirst is unbearable, fermented fruits soothe the gullet

the ocean ripples as she walks along its periphery

a night turns twilight

the night is over, 

but the pulse of a million particles keep dancing on her skin