Thursday, July 7, 2011

Saturday Night at The Oasis

Celeste Pottier

On Saturday Night, July 2nd, the TLG girls
to the Oasis Resort to watch our drumming
and dancing teachers perform.

It was the brunyi who invited us there,

a young guy from New Hampshire

on a grant to study African drumming:

Come to the Oasis tonight at seven.

There was drumming, true,

a dozen drummers drumming

in a line along the back of the stage,

thrumming on drums of all sizes.

The brunyi tried to keep up.

An audience full of brunyis

at the brunyi resort by the sea

close to Cape Coast Castle

where years ago slaves

were stored and tortured,

shipped to distant lands.

And now, we sip fruit drinks

we probably pay too much for,

but it's the least we can do, considering.

Enter whirling yellow and blue dervishes

They dance of warriors in battle,

harvest, courtship, joie de vivre,

black limbs: legs, torso, arms, feet

swinging, moving close to the earth

I think of the tap dancers:

Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly,

Bill “Bojangles” Robinson,

Gregory Hines, Savion Glover

Here, the roots, the origins,

bare feet on red clay,

stomping hopping tumbling

whizzing—their bodies

blur into movement.

Effortless ease, like palm oil,

like the young boy who peels

and opens the coconut top

with his machete,

clean and flawlessly

like the woman who carries

a bundle of firewood on her head,

never fumbling,

not even when

she must stoop down

humbly and pick up

another load.

Like the baby on her mother's back,

still and content,

close to breath and heartbeat

the pulse of life

from which she came.

Stillness in motion

freeze frame shots

kicking punching leaping

turning turning turn-

ing, sweat on black bodies,

the drum hypnotic,

pulling you into

the rhythm of the soil.

Come dance with me!

Come, O'Brunyis!

(You can't do it like us

but you can try.)

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