NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 18 Issue 1 - Winter 2018 - Page 22

poetry
By Duane Niatum
Trickster
Is the first to make you smile . He flies right into our hearts showing he created the world for his own amusement and ours . Trickster shares the merry-go-round world with us while pointing the way we put our foot in our mouths and our minds in the gopher hole . Trickster , the Raven , asks us please remember our most loved stories shake the silliness from our lives .
Raven does a little side step , a dance he learned from crab , showing us the sideshow glimpses of the world and ourselves . Raven sends laughter and glorks floating around in waves , the clown appearing on the stage or at the bottom of our dreams .
We love the many-masked one ancestors called the First Teacher . We see ourselves grow and change from his stories . Trickster flaps his wings and dances down the zigzag path so we can hold on to what life brings . If we fall in laughter he cushions the ground like a field of pillows . Elders told us he is the larger than life character , one who changes at the drop of a cedar cone into anything his four-shadowed heart desires .
He steps through the forest with the sun and moon as a person like you , or a fox or yellow lupine . Trickster surprises by surfacing from the oldest and deepest burrows of our ancestor stories . Raven ’ s so old he was skipping down Earth ’ s trail singing before dinosaurs turned into streams of oil pools .
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p Joseph Clesca. That was GrandAngele’s world, when I moved in. I felt liberated, as if on furlough from my mother’s strict rules, to be able to do things I had never done before. Even today, the image that still stands above all else apart from that period is of GrandAngele on her very large, highback rocking chair sliding front and back in a slow dance with time. I liked to touch her white hair; it felt like the rough cotton I had once seen on a tree, but it was so much brighter. My lips fell softly somewhere among her infinite wrinkles, when I bent down to kiss her with a “Bonjour GrandAngele” in the morning, and when I came back from school. Her usual good disposition betrayed her frail body, and sometimes I felt ashamed to ask her how she was. “Kouman ko an ye? (How is the body feeling?)” I sometimes greeted her in one of the traditional ways. “M ap kenbe (I am holding on),” she’d respond. Her voice resonated with a soft drawl of people with enormous power and courage who are listened to, because of the force of their words, their demeanor, and the aura of spirituality. I was maybe too immature to ask what she was holding on to, too scared of what she might tell me. Sometimes, I saw a faraway look in her eyes, as if she were looking at something in the distance, something that neither I nor anyone else around her could see. Other times, I caught her gazing absently at her compound. I felt her tiredness. But her wide brown eyes were always filled with love and kindness. It was like that every day that I saw her. “Bring a little coffee, please,” was her refrain morning, noon or afternoon, after she greeted someone. Coffee defined the day in GrandAngele’s compound. It provided rhythm to every event, every moment in our house. A coffee tasting ceremony started anew with every visitor, and she received a constant stream of them, each with his or her demands, problems, and affections. I loved helping prepare the coffee. I would rush to the small kitchen out back to beg the maid to let me help, while she put the beans in the chodye to grill them. I hurried to put my tiny hand over hers on the wooden spoon to turn them over, for they had to be evenly grilled on the small charcoal stove. If she wasn’t in a hurry or in a bad mood, I was lucky. Then, the beans had to be ground. Sometimes, I was allowed to turn the handle of the coffee grinder, while waiting for the water to boil. Then the little drawer was pulled out to reveal the ground coffee that was poured in the burlap perculator. “Hold it tight,” the maid would tell me, as she handed me the thin handle made out of a metal hanger, twisted for this purpose. Then it was time to pour in the boiling water to see the coffee pour out into the enamel cafetière. By the time she served the hot black liquid in the small white enamel demitasses, every inch of the house was perm X]Y]H[وٙYKܘ[[[x&\[]\YYK\HH\\وB^[ZٙYK8'Y\HK8'HB[^\ZY Y\\[] H[ܙ]\[Y[X\]Z[Hو]\٘X[ۂۈ\XK[HYYB\X\وZ]X[\XXKX\[[[H[YKݙ\H[۝Y][\BX[[\X[H\[HYX\YXZHH\X\وZ]X[\\ٙYKHۙ]Y][˂]\H^H܈YHH\قܘ[[[x&\[Z[H]X[ [\[]H]\]YH]\B\HYH]\YZY]HZY]\Y H\ؘXBY ]H\ۙ\]YKHY[ܙHYYKۘKH[HX[YۈHYB\Hوܘ[[[x&\[Z\\Y^H[[\\]BHX] [\Y\HY[\\K'X\HHHH]HH][HH[ۂZ]YH ^H\ؘ[Z[]܈YNš]\HYX[ K8'pHY][XY ]]Z\[ۙH[ݙ[Y[و\[Z\H]XYYHYB[Y܈[\XK[HZY^H\ؘ[ HY&]ۛ^Bܘ[]\\\K^\HHXX[ ]]Hܘ\[[ۈܘ[[[x&\YBY]\K][\[[H[B\HZ\\HH NL]HX\\H[^HۈYH^K\\H\\[[ۋ[]š\ؘ[ [H]H N][X\B[\Y\[Z]K\H]˜\\X\YYY[K\X[\H[H\[\X\HܛH\]\ۘX[YH[Y8'pYx'K[]8&\]ܘ[[[H[ܘ[B\Y \H\^\\Hۘ\[B[Z[Hو\\KYB[][ۘ[]Hو\]\[BZ]X[ۙHو\[\H\B[Z[H]Y[HX[^HۈقZ[ SX\H\]HܝوB\][ܝ X]KT[H[]Y[HZ[X\H\Xۚ]H[Kܘ[H\[YHHHۙ[BوY[\\[][\[[\][\ܘ[]\&\KH\\\HYZYܘ]Y’Z]HH[H[HX\H N \HH[ݙ\Y[\˜[Y\X[XKPۜ[Z[ SX\˂]\HX\Y][YXK\BY[\H[Y][H܈[K]XH]HY&]YY\\[YH[Z[HۛX[ۈ]]\[[[\ܝ[K\X ]\‘ܘ[[[x&\[HوYKH[[\[\H\BH[Y\Hܙ]\] [Z[B\[Z[K[Z[H\XܙY [Z[BY[Y\Y[]K]\\\[ HYݚYHHً Y\]KHYH][[[ق[ٙYK]\H[Z[HY[X\ZYܘ][›ܝH\[\][Bܘ[[[x&\]\\[Y[[[YH^H܂[][\\KXX\][BHݚ[\[YH]YH\]›وY]X\[Z][\ܙY]Y]Y\\][Y\]HK؛H[YۛܙH\H^H[YBKX\HXYKYܙY[[YBو\Y\[H]\\\œY[ۋ܈H^H[YKX\\X[H\\HHX\][ۙ\YY[KH]\]\HXZ[\[[ZYHZ\BوH]\YH[\[]Y\ˈ›X[H[KX[H]\ˈX[B[X][ۜˈX[H[][ۜ\˂]\[ۙH\[Y]\K\^BXYH\[[Y[][]\K\X[HX]HH[H܈B[]Y]\˂Hۜ[X[Hو[H[œ^YY]H\[[YۙB]N\[\H\[ۜ[[ݙ[Y[ \Y[H[]\B^\HYY]\Y]]\[ۙHۙ]š\܈\XN\H[ \B] \HX[[[›[ݙHۈ[[KX]\HH\]B[H܈HH[Y\H\šۛۈ[\YYH[ [HB]\[\[H^H\B^H\[[H^H\[&]^H][܈[x&\[[[[X][K]Y&]X]\XX X]\[[BH[Y[YH[\\YܙKH\[[[Y[ۙH\[\œYXY[ \][[YHۘ\و[Z^K