throwback---september 13th 2003

It started in damp darknesswomblike tangle of sheets wet with sweat in my cousin's room in Times Square.1409 @ the Marriot. Her voice blended with the dark sounds of predawn morning reminding me to wake up before check-out time. reminding me cuz I sleep like the dead [my mother once theorized that my mind is so active in waking hours that sleep takes me into almost complete shutdown, shutdown till recharge, no matter the time] So then I rolled over, she was ten minutes gone, got out of my bed and crept into hers, warm and dry, but sleep didn't come back to me. I stared at the clock till 7 from 5-something, sleep never nearer. Finally, I peeled back the covers, these not sticky but still close like a second skin, and made it to the shower. I set it for hot, you know, cuz the damp was still in my bones.Finding the water too cool I baked my clothes in steam from the hotel iron trying to store up heat for the gray day outside. Hefting my bag I stepped into glass and dropped to Broadway then to McDonald's across the square. I had a deluxe breakfast platter w/o sausage, and orange juice to fight the catch in my throat. I sat in the front window, surveying the street, watching the passers-by passing by, in the morning there in Times Square. Hefted my bag again, buckled the buckles and strapped the straps, and stepped back out.Into the rain.I waded through 10 or 11 blocks of mist and rain to the jump-off. It had started in rain. I arrived there at around 9 gave pounds to the crew and helped set up, breaking for the rain, electric rain, no lightning but static from folks who ain't have shit to do but fuck with us. They got off easy cuz the fam is oldskool, we know that black power is a clenched fist. they came, not in droves, or in waves, but in trickles, and the burps that are chartered buses disgorging the road weary, and the rain paused for us as we got into what we came there to do. Cities got their shout outs, you know that shit builds morale but its funny how it always reminds me of ACT-SO, the parade into the award ceremony. So we got to rapping in voices high and hard, and smooth and deep. I linked with my young comrades, in a lineup unseen in 18 years, while this little Asian cat stalked us for photos. I think he was... well, you know. And we were there vibing on the 13th, it might have seemed odd, us there laughing and joking, there in the middle of the crowd, but we've known rallies, our souls have grown deeper than rallies, and we've known more, and our souls have grown deep like that more. We are already teachers, writers, artists, activists, and poets. Our reconnection energized us, gave us reason to have come there that day.Sallome from Y4R sent me to this cat who was talking to youth for a magazine, I am the youngest of us, at 20 I can still go undercover like that. As we rapped my father pulled me for the stage, to speak for the young, to speak to the young so I composed, and laid down the Word. There was so much that I forgot to say, but my people felt me, and we shared life that day, as Africans can do, and we sang out "we are an African people" We built and networked and resolved to disperse through this nation and be about the Work. And over a strong backbeat my Aunty Vi shouted let the rains come, as we thrust umbrellas and fists into the air, and they did.and it ended with rain, as my bus rolled out into the dim wetness of dusk, Chi-bound.