Friday, March 28, 2008

YouTube Clip from our Dub Poetry Workshop

I am so pleased to be able to share this clip from our Dub Poetry/Music Event that took place at our college in January. Our special guest was Jamaican jazz guitarist Maurice Gordon, but this clip features a young man from Aruka, British Guyana, (now studying at Claflin), who did a spontaneous song for us called "I Need Your Love Every Time, Jesus." He was one of the band members who just showed up from various local colleges and the community to form a last-minute band on the stage with Maurice. It was just too cool. The video is shaky because we did it ourselves, and we are just learning, but we are pleased to be able to reach students where they live --- on YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, and MOG ! We will be posting students performing their dub poems over the coming weeks; this is our first effort.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Poem by Tamara Miles

Around my neck, an Alma-tross,
my wayward grandmother's wedding band.
My father found it when he came in from
school at ten years old, along with a goodbye note
meant for his father. I'm sorry. Albert and I
are in love. We are leaving. Forgive me.
He never saw his mother again.

He wept when he told me about over lunch
at Wendy's, over fifty years old and it still
hurt that much. She was his adoptive mother,
he had already been abandoned once...

He ran away, too, eventually, and didn't go home
for 45 years. When his father died, the family
couldn't find Dad. He was, as he likes to say,
studying drinking then. Last week, he visited
his father's grave for the first time, and gave Alma's
ring to me. We are all runaways.

My mother whispered, as she lay dying of
pneumonia, "I want water. I want water," and
I gave it to her, a few drops at a time, through
a straw. Her only goodbye letter to me, my only
one to her. But there was all this love before
and after. All this grace.

Alma wanted to come home after Albert died in
prison in Arizona, and she didn't have any money
to bury him. You can't come home, my grandfather
said into the phone, but I'll send you the money to
put my
brother in the ground.

All dead now, and all thirsty, they lie in the sun
and wait.

This wedding band is a prayer, and it
just might bring the rain.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Poem by Tamara Miles


In the bathroom at the high school
Where I teach, two girls from the special
needs class wash their hands in the old white sink,
one lingers as the water rushes over her right
hand, left hand operating the chrome faucet.
I peek at her and she at me
while I quickly cleanse and towel.
I think of Helen Keller at the water pump,
Her teacher spelling w-a-t-e-r into her hand
In the sunlight, the sudden
Understanding and mad rush of words

The girl goes on washing one hand,
As if it is a spiritual ritual, her friend now at the electric
Hand dryer, looking at me looking at her,
All these eyes calculating and no words spoken or spelled
But heavy in the air:
I am curious; this is awkward;
say something;

Her friend, who wears royal purple, points to my keys,
which have fallen to the floor from my bag:
“Hey. Your keys,” she says, and I celebrate
The words, the dawn of her smile. I am free to pick up the keys and go,
And still the girl washes.
W-a-t-e-r, I sign to God, to Him who sits
at the right hand of God.