I knew that several poets from Ubuntu Academy were invited to do a reading at Ridgefield Library (you can Google that community), so I volunteered to drive them there to hear their verse. It was part of a MLK celebration and, as always, I continue to be educated by communities of the Nutmeg State.
I was very proud of the kids, even though they were extremely nervous. They didn't want to go to the Mic, but I assured them that their poetry was going to be better than all others. Akabaru had a difficult time and broke out in a nervous sweat. I thought he washed his face, but it was his nerves (I assured him that I feel that way, too, whenever I have to speak). I was extremely impressed that he decided to read his first poem in Swahili, and I love that he gave eye contact to his mother who was in attendance to see her son read (it was quite a hike from Bridgeport, but we all made the trip).
I think my favorite part of the evening, however, was the car ride to and from the library as the kids talked about their worlds, made jokes, asked questions, and wondered where it was we were going. "I don't know," I told them. "This is your gig. You're the ones who arranged it."
They all did great, and I have much to say about the entire evening, but I will leave it as this short Friday post. Each of their poems had some allusion to Ubuntu, and I was grateful for that.
As I predicted, they were miraculous. It will take some time, however, for me to process the MLK ceremony where they presented. It was one for the record books and where I leave think, "Is this really America?"
Yesterday was fantastic, and everything fell into place exactly as I wanted it: a retreat, a couple gifts of bourbon, the reading, and a note from the kid at LeMoyne (and later, a call). I love birthdays. It is so great to hear from everyone...but now it is time to head into my 45th year of life!