There is a group that meets monthly at the largest local bookstore on island. The people who assemble come from all sorts of places with all sorts of accents and all sorts of ideas. We share our writings and speak our truths in poetry.
In the last session there was talk around A Gathering of Old Men. Quite the conversation starter, this little book of stories. I had a friend recite the poem of Theophilus Brown and the power of this timbre married to the spirit of that poem brought to life the warrior of the old Obi man sent back to Africa on the ninth night. From the performance came the discussion of ideas – the purpose of our gifts, the power of words, the feelings of victims, the obedience to the powers that be, the pointlessness of rebellion, and revolutions of history. The story of Salomé Ureña, the Dominican poet, was savoured. An Ecuadorian shared her story of three poets from her hometown who were responsible for the removal of a brutal despot. She quoted one of them saying “There is nothing harder than the softness of indifference.” (Juan Montalvo) A Jamaican spoke of the stigma attached to the black cat and the themes of racism in societies of the Caribbean today. A Barbadian distinguished the Jamaican story from the histories of the other islands. A young man asked “How do you see revolution?” and an answer was given “Authenticity – each of us is responsible for our own story, to be it truthfully and boldly”. Another answer was “Be the change you wish to see in your world.”
And it was decided. For the month of July, to remember the American 4th and the purpose of the poet, the Floetry theme will be Revolution.
As my fellow floets turn to the task of writing, there is some inspiration to be found in what has already been written. This is one of my new favourites.