NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 16.2: Fall 2016 - Page 18

( If , God willing , the prescient and guileless spirit of the angel does indeed continue to bless our understanding — not only of those things already come to pass but also of certain other events and coincidences now being revealed to me , even as I hasten to write this all down — then , perhaps , you , too ( who , for whatever reason , will have undertaken to follow us through the tortuous byways of this tale ) will also become convinced , as I have long since been convinced , that the enigmatic and prophetic lyrics of a gospel song written by a black teenage gospel singer from a Bedford-Stuyvesant housing project in Brooklyn , New York , known to her millions of fans around the world as “ Little Antioch ,” provide us with the only plausible interpretation of what took place in clear view of everyone present at that improbable “ Gospel Summit ” in Rome , billed by its enthusiastic — though perhaps overly venal promoters — as “ A Day of Glory Reenacting the Roman Emperor Constantine ’ s ‘ Vision of the Cross ,’” a unique , once in a lifetime media event , featuring thirty-three gospel / rock choirs from all over the world , which in spite of the perhaps overly enthusiastic hyperbole of its promoters , is now believed by sociologists , advertisers , religious conservatives and gospel / rock fans all over the world to have actually saved our planet from its hysterical rush to nuclear disaster —
For then and only then , that is if you , witness or reader , can in your heart accept as flesh and blood truth that a Negro slave with the fanciful name King Comus , born in the year 1817 c . in the New Orleans slave market , while his mother was being sold on the block was , both in legend and fact , the reincarnation of Prester John , that wise Ethiopic king of antiquity , in our day all but forgotten , but whose amazing and otherwise inexplicable reappearance a few short weeks ago at the abovementioned Gospel Summit , had in fact been predicted in the lyrics of the title song of the Angel , Little Antioch ’ s most recent and most sensationally successful album , “ Lord , Lordy Lord , I Need an Explanation !” which album , in the few shorts weeks since the astonishing sequence of events , which I will now attempt to relate has sold more copies worldwide than any previous album in the history of pop music ; only the Holy Bible has beat it on the bestseller lists .)
But forgive me , for I am rambling , and the truth is I don ’ t know quite how to proceed , for I am an ant traveling over one of those enormous Tapestries of Time , and I shall make mistakes of fact and observation and may not see in time what was there to see before attempting to climb up yet another mountain of colored thread — so first things first , and so as to doubly reassure ourselves that what follows is the workings of Our Lord and not the workings of the Demon , it may be wise for us , at least for the time being , to abandon certain vain and useless literary conventions as to the nature or not of narrative realism ( which in any case in light of newly discovered laws of physics make such guarantees at best illusory and academically vain ) and so , therefore , and without further ado and unseemly apologies before the fact , let us now hasten swiftly back in time to a certain night in Vienna , the night of June 8 , 1815 , where in this very instant , just moments before the church bells will begin to toll at midnight , a talented young musician with blue eyes and a straggly blonde beard , a virtuoso instrumentalist who has mastered almost every instrument in the orchestra of his day , including the rarely used musette and his first loves , the pianoforte and violin , an orphan steeped in the Hassidic lore of doting grandparents , they too emigrants from the claustrophobic oppression of the Warsaw ghetto , with whom our soon-to-become hero shares a dank , windowless and rat-infested basement but from whom , alas ( perhaps because of certain wild and golden dreams that have recently begun to torment his nights ), he has begun to feel estranged — summoned that very morning to the royal court orchestra ’ s rehearsal hall to substitute for the second violinist , a Freemason whose sudden death the night before had had ( so it was whispered ) something to do with the man ’ s surly and ill-advised opposition to the concertmaster ’ s choice of the