Tag Archives: soul

Charles Bradley isn’t dead!

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As more professional athletes begin to ‘take a knee’ for racial equality and the right to peaceful protest permitted by the American constitution, it seems almost fitting that we are forced to recognize the immortal words of the Screaming Eagle of Soul. For even in passing Charles Bradley arrests the skies with powerful volume:

This world
Is going up in flames
And nobody
Wanna take the blame
Don’t tell me
How to live my life
When you
Never felt the pain

I can’t turn my head away
Seeing all these things
The world
Is burning up in flames
And nobody
Wanna take the blame

These lyrics belong to the song ‘The World (Is Going Up In Flames)’ and indeed for much of America’s black community, this soulful lamentation may well go beyond melody. An acknowledgment of even the most recent history forces a confrontation of what is, arguably, racial inequality that has cruelly rendered many black men and women residents of the heavens or overrepresented in prisons. Black athletes, activists, lawyers, educators, politicians, artists and their allies are employing diverse gestures to confront the same struggle as those who precede them. A hard earned equality as of yet unknown. This, often to the detriment of their future employability.

One cannot escape the irony of the cancerous systems crippling the African-American community and the timing of President Trump’s most recent controversial statement delivered a day before Bradley’s passing from cancer. However, one cannot ignore the capacity of the choir conducted by the creators of today’s protest songs. The ones that record a vocal account of the pain people of color have been subjected to, and the necessary quest for accountability, remedy and justice.

This week in particular, a resurrection of celebrated images of Tommy Smith, John Carlos, Peter Norman and Muhammad Ali are being widely shared beside those of Colin Kaepernick, Steph Curry and Bruce Maxwell—to name a few. Additionally, a large number of NFL players on Sunday knelt in peaceful opposition to the divisive words of their president; provoking the expansion of picture frames by claiming a seat among proponents of freedom. In the immortal words of Bradley, they are in fact refusing to turn their heads away. There is real triumph in unity—in accepting responsibility for your fellow human beings’ welfare because it is the right thing to do even when you are granted an alternative existence.

Bradley may no longer grace the musical stage with his physical presence but I like to think he is demonstrating still in his own way. By virtue of this alone, he continues to live boldly.

My soul is bleeding.

Here’s to an American Eagle! My how you soar.

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Music + Food + Him

Sometimes the soundtrack is just scoring the spinach, fish and mango- not life. Not an entire existence. Just healthy food on a plate accompanied by Gallant in all his soulful glory. Easy. Monday. x

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Filed under Short Prose & Poetry

What if… we bled?

The poetry our hearts can speak is often imprisoned by our reservations. Overflowing cells guarded by the fear that we won’t be heard, won’t be loved, won’t be wanted. What bravery it takes to bleed so openly as to sing against the score of our prescribed existence. To feel something in a world that asks us to be numb. Feel something. For someone. A refugee. A friend. A parent. A lover. Someone.

“I see the changes in your eyes
The spark that’s in your smile
Just ain’t the same no more
The way you hold me close
The heaven in your hello
Just ain’t the same no more
What if I gave you everything
Would we be okay 
If I gave my love to you
Would we be okay
If I gave you everything 
Would we be okay
If I gave my love to you
Would we be okay” – Jacob Banks

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I think Jacob Banks Is Talking To Me

I’m a wrecking ball at best,
A big house with empty photographs,
You are my only souvenir,
You are my silver lining.
                                              – Jacob Banks

I’ve been harbouring a debilitating anxiety lately. I just feel like I can’t escape failure long enough to find something to love about life. I needed this song. It’s the meaning behind it, I think. The fact that Jacob Banks wrote it at a time when he “hated everything and wasn’t content with a lot of things in his life”. Sometimes I have conversations with people who don’t know I exist, and their words feed my soul. Strangers who turn their pain into verses of healing. What I love is that everyone else doesn’t matter, just the song and the salty tears. No one will share the burden of being me, I am the sole proprietor of my trials. Still, it’s nice to hear a voice that speaks of the pain, and sings of the brighter day, especially when those closer- Just. Don’t. Get it.

Even if it does just last for a few minutes, he makes me want to believe in silver linings.

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The Break-Up

The worst thing about loving someone is having to stop when you realise that nothing will ever make that love enough. No tireless effort will change the reality that your words can’t morph into sounds they want to hear. No rationalisations they give you will reveal a new chapter of adoration. So you search your mind and rattle your memory in some hope that all the cracks and dents are fixable if you just take some time to find their origin. And when you do, you plant seeds in them and pray for rain. But the rain never comes and your tears aren’t enough to bear fruit. So you have to accept it. You have to live with your differences and change the pattern of your love.

“Friends?” they say.

“Friends.” You respond.

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