Category: Urban literature


Northern-Burkina-Faso-Fulani-African-People-Griot-Griots-Storytellers-2010-12941-ireneabdouphotography-com

Word of the Week: Griot
Pronounced: GREE- ût or, GEE-uht.
The u (û) has a short “uh” sound. It’s like you are trapping the “uh” sound in your throat so that it doesn’t flow out of your mouth. Think of the words “hut” or “gut” when sounding out the second syllable of this word.

A Griot is a storyteller originating from West Africa. They are bestowed the gift of communication by their elders which goes hand in hand with the gift of entertaining the masses. You will find numerous griots- authentic, home raised griots- in almost any part of West Africa.

These gems of the West African community are well versed in the literary arts. They are traveling performers whose stage is usually a space of land in their local village or a community miles away.

In addition to storytelling, griots inform their audience about history and genealogy. They are also preservers of tradition and heritage. They are musicians who exalts praise and worship while engaging in fellowship with their audience through the instruments they play and the songs they sing.

Griots are socially responsible people who are like ambassadors to the community. They are humble and kind souls in their own right. They are wise men (and women) who admonish their community through proverbial lessons. Griots are peacemakers who sometimes mediate on various issues or disputes. They are also brave people well skilled in defending and protecting their community when necessary.

Don’t be pursuaded by the glamorized images of griots you might see or hear about in western world. Becoming a griot is not easily obtained. It takes many years of training and development before the chosen successor can go out into the world with this gift. Training begins at a very early age by an elder in the family. This is how the gift, or tradition is passed down through the generations. Stories, history, certain musical instruments and traditional accounts are just some of the valuable things taught during the training.

Griots are also known by their alternative French name, Jali, or Jéli. The name has two different spellings but only one way of pronouncing it. DJEHY-lee. Think of the word fudge when pronouncing the J word in French, “djuh”…. “djehy”…. DJEHY-lee. French is the principal language spoken in many parts of West Africa.

See you next week with another word. 🙋

~Arose

Article written by Arose N Daghetto for Literature Voodoo blog

_______________________________

 

For more information on griots, please visit these sites:

http://www.seckoukeita.com/my-story/my-culture/

http://www.bucknell.edu/Documents/GriotInstitute/What is a Griot.pdf

 

*****Disclaimer*****

All photos, drawings and writings belonging to other artists featured on this blog are solely for entertainment or illustrational purposes only. I do not own nor do I have any desire to take credit for any photos, artwork or writings not belonging to me. They all belong to the rightful owners of the work and the original websites they came from.

This excludes my own personal writings and photos I share on this blog which are always indicated and credited under my name and periodical company.

 

 

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Derek Walcott: A Poetic Genius

By: Arose N Daghetto for Literature Voodoo blog

 

Born in Saint Lucia in 1930, Derek Walcott was a poet whose writings thrived on challenging the human mind and social consciousness. His poetry unveiled the marriage between the beauty of the islands and its continual growing pains of post colonialism.

Walcott gave readers candid and sometimes dreamy perspectives of life through the eyes of Caribbean men and women. He paired his poetry with his artwork which further indulged readers with visuals of those perspectives. He enabled readers to breathe in the spirit of these characters. We get to walk in the characters’ shoes. We feel their love or their heartbreak. We experience their wins and grieve along with them during their losses. And because Derek Walcott’s work often included excerpts of his personal life experiences, we are given the opportunity to become acquainted with the man behind the poetry.

In Hilton Als’s tribute article to the late poet entitled, “Derek Walcott, A Mighty Poet Has Died” (The New Yorker, March 17, 2017), Als fondly recanted his interview with Walcott:

“I felt as though I had always known him- not known him, exactly, but seen him, been in his aura, his history…”

Als used many positive words to describe who Derek Walcott was. One of those words was complex. Although one might question how could saying a person is complex be positive, if you read his article (provided below)*, you will see where he meant it in a good way.

Derek Walcott was complex. He was complex in the sense of creativity and intellectualism. He was a poet, painter, playwright and journalist. Intellectually, he was a Nobel Prize laureate, a professor at Boston University, which is one of North America’s leading Ivy league schools. He was also the founder of the Boston Playwright Theater. Furthermore, he was honored by The Order of the Caribbean Community, The Order of Chivalry and The Most Excellent Order by Queen Elizabeth II, who elevated his name to Sir Derek Walcott. These are only some of the many credentials and high honors Walcott received during the course of his prestigious writing career.

Not enough people have heard about the genius known as Derek Walcott, especially those of the younger generation. I didn’t know who Derek Walcott was either. A beautiful friend I once knew introduced me to his poetry several months ago.

There is still more to learn about this poetic genius. A humble genius who often used his gift to mentor and advocate other upcoming writers. His poetry did more than just earn him a place on the elite list of world literature’s greatest writers of all time, it secured his place there. Like Chaucer, Homer and Shakespeare, Derek Walcott’s masterpieces should be on the syllabus of every middle school, high school and college English classes.

Derek Walcott wore many hats in his lifetime before and after he became a world renowned poet. The genius may be gone physically, but his voice will live on forever through every book he wrote and every legacy he left behind. Long live Derek Walcott. Long live Saint Lucia. Stay beautiful and never give up on your hard work for a better tomorrow.

 

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“Doubt was his patron saint, it was his island’s,
the saint who probed the holes in his Saviour’s hands”

“(despite the parenthetical rainbow of providence)
and questioned resurrection; its seven bright bands.”

“Saint Thomas, the skeptic, Saint Lucia, the blind
martyr who on a tray carried her own eyes,”

“the hymn of black smoke, wreath of the trade wind,
confirming their ascent to paradise. “

 

~ Tiepolo’s Hound by Derek Walcott, 2000

 

_______________________________________

* Hilton Alt’s article:
https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/derek-walcott-a-mighty-poet-has-died

 

*****Disclaimer*****

All photos, drawings and writings belonging to other artists featured on this blog are solely for entertainment or illustrational purposes only. I do not own nor do I have any desire to take credit for any photos, artwork or writings not belonging to me. They all belong to the rightful owners of the work and the original websites they came from.

This excludes my own personal writings and photos I share on this blog which are always indicated and credited under my name and periodical company.

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What can you expect to see on the new and improved Literature Voodoo? Lesser poems. More cultural articles. More concise. It’s that simple.

• Articles will cover a variety of topics related to the literary arts. They will be engaging, entertaining and reader friendly.

• Profiles on language, spirituality, and other forms of entertainment from cultures around the world, especially those of the African diaspora

• Word of the week

•  Writing tips and resources to help writers succeed further in their writing goals

• And more!

Here’s to breathing new life into this website. Sending positive enlightenment to every person this blog reaches.

Ase.   🙏

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Stay tuned.

~Arose N Daghetto

 

*****Disclaimer*****  

All photos, drawings and writings belonging to other artists featured on this blog are solely for entertainment and illustrational purposes only. I do not own nor do I have any desire to take credit for any photos, artwork or writings not belonging to me. They all belong to the rightful owners of the work and the original websites they came from. 

This excludes my own personal writings and photos I share on this blog which are always indicated and credited under my name and periodical company.

SAMBA: A BRAZILIAN AND INTERNATIONAL PHENOMENON© 

By Arose N Daghetto

 

Did you know that Samba music and its dance was created by African slaves who migrated to the city of Salvador, Brazil, which is one of if not the largest population of Afro Brazilians?  Samba is of several success story to come out of the African diaspora, for it is a culture that’s taken Brazil and the world by storm.

 

Samba came from humble beginnings, tracing back to the Salvador, Brazil.  The city of Salvador is also known as Bahia (which means, “Bay” and is also called “The Bay of All Saints”,  a place where not only Samba was born, but a place where Orixas and Candomblé religions were born.  These religions are rich in Congolese, Yoruba, Togo, Nigerian, Ghanaian and Benin cultural influences from Africa.  This is also where many of the African Slaves came from and this area of Brazil is one of the first places all African slaves were brought to before being dispersed to different parts of the South, Central and North America.

 

Salvador is also the birthplace of the famous Capoeira, which is a martial arts that combines dance and music. Capoeira was originally a self-defense mechanism the African slaves practiced to use against their slave masters. Capoeira was used by African warriors to prepare for war against rival tribes. Having such captured warriors among the community of slaves, they secretly used these moves to train one another for combat and protection. Capoeira involves kicks, head butting, acrobatics, leg sweeps, slapping, elbowing, punches all incorporated in dance. 

 

Whenever the slave masters questioned their act, they explained it was simple form of dance and celebrating with each other. It didn’t take much to convince their masters how innocent and harmless the dance was. Perhaps to each other, who probably endured a few scrapes and bruises in their “harmless” dance.  

 

Brazil continues to have highest population of African descendants, most of them live in lower middle class communities or Favelas, which is like African Americans who live the inner city, to put in a nice way or ghettos, to put in a not so nice way.  

 

Afro Brazilian singer, Gilberto Gil once said in an interview that Afro Brazilians knew more about their African identity than those of African Americans, because done so well in preserving their cultural and religious identity.  Slavery in Brazil had much more of an upper hand over their slave masters because they outnumbered their oppressors over time and was able to gain control over their freedom better than those African Slaves that populated the south-eastern regions of the United States.  That’s a fascination discussion that I will have to get into further detail on in another blog.

 

Anyway Getting back to Samba music, other cultural influences helped to greatly diversify the Samba identity in Brazil such as the descendants of Portuguese, Spanish Italian and Native American.  Today, there are many sub styles of Samba music, you got Jazz samba, rock samba, Samba R&B Samba, reggae Samba, hip hop Samba.  The music is undeniably a euphoric experience. You can see the joy on the musicians faces as they work up a sweat beating those various percussions and strumming those various sized guitars. The singers are smiling, laughing, hypnotized by the intense rhythms and lyrics.  It’s always a party anytime you hear the Samba.  Even sad sambas makes you want to get up and dance!  Samba is the antidepressant to the most depressed soul and hope to the pessimist. 

 

As time and generations evolve, Samba takes on new and different faces in the music genre.  In the more current decades, many Brazilians express their dislike for Samba music, claiming it’s old and out with the times. Kinda like Americans were with Disco music back in the late 1970’s.  Nevertheless, the number of those who love Samba music is outnumbered in the nation and many artists work hard to keep the beauty of this music genre very much alive.  Samba schools have been established to teach people about Samba music, dance, and culture.

 

Samba has long been enjoyed by not only Brazilian natives, but Americans, French, Caribbeans, Germans and others around the world.  Samba remains to be the Face of Brazil’s attractive and sensuous identity. So whenever you’re feeling sad and can use a little pick-me-up, or if you feel like listening to something culturally invigorating, pull up a Samba or Bossa playlist on your Pandora radio.  Once you listen to it, you will never look at music the same again!

 

Article (not pictures) © Copyright 2012 by Arose N Daghetto for Black Girl Down Publications. All Rights Reserved.

 

MON AMANT BLEU NOIR

    ~Written by Arose N Daghetto

Ses peau maure c’est si intense,
un poéme dans La Negritude qu’est si immense.
il est lourde avec l’histoire
un fantôme glorieux qui est emballé en noir.
et trempés en L’Afrique,
peureux et pourtant magnifique.
vers toutes de le yeux que lui voit
Son sourire est pur comme le lait.
Comme un fragment d’art
que s’est pelées lui-meme
á partir de ceux l’un ceux peintures de Van Gogh
il venu a moi comme si l’on était présentant un cadeau

il est mon amant bleu noir, mon chérie
Mon baiser du noirci, mon mûre sucrée
J’adore toutes les parties de lui
et je vais continuer se l’aimer jusqu’à ce que
c’est fini.

______________________________

 MY BLUE-BLACK LOVER (English Translation)

               ~Written By Arose N Daghetto

 

His moorish skin is so intense,
a poem in Negritude that’s so immense.
He is heavy with history,
a glorious phantom wrapped in black,
drenched in Africa,
fearful and yet beautiful.
to all eyes that behold him.
He has a smile that’s as white as milk.

Like a piece of art
that’s peeled itself
from one of those paintings by Van Gogh.
He came to me as if he were presenting a gift.

He is my blue-black lover, my darling
My blackened kiss, my sweet blackberry
I love every part of him
and I will continue to love him until
it’s all over.

Poems (not picture) ©Copyright 2012 by Arose N Daghetto for Quiet Storm Enterprise. All Rights Reserved.

THE SPOOK WHO SAT UNDER MY PORCH LIGHT©

                                             Written by Arose N Daghetto

 

I’m not afraid of thunder…. I can roar just as loud
I’m not afraid of lightning…. My smile is also quite a killer 
I’m not afraid of the dark…. My soul can be my flashlight

I’m not afraid of gossip…. I never did hear that well anyway 
I’m not afraid of hate… My heart’s a ten time world champion
I’m not afraid of goodbyes…. My life’s due for some spring cleaning

But I will tell you what I am afraid of…

I am afraid of hellos…. I’m allergic to shiesty people
I am afraid of investing trust…. ‘Cause I always have to file bankruptcy
I am afraid of friendship…. ‘Cause people aren’t really your friends

 

I am afraid of love…. Love has a learning disability
I’m afraid to give…. What I give always gets thrown back at me

I am afraid to dream…. Dreams don’t always come true.

But I’ll never cease

to continue

conquering

the nightmares

that keep me

from inheriting

my dream.

 

Poem (Not Picture) © Copyright 2011 by Arose N Daghetto for Quiet Storm Enterprise. 

All Rights Reserved.

Sorry, Wrong Color©

           ~Written by: Arose N Daghetto

 

 

Yesterday I paid a visit to my local library.

I browsed through some Poe,

shook down some Shakespeare,

and caught a chill off Chaucer…

Awakened by the Chinua in my Achebe,

I relived August in some Wilson,

took out a few Counteé Cullen’s.

Leaving a few Dust Tracks on the Road

and a Rage in Harlem,

I found my Native Son

leaning against A Raisin in the Sun.

I gazed at my Beloved with the Bluest Eye

and was prepared to praise him all the way home

in The Color Purple.

 

 

Blessed with a tote bag full

of History’s finest literature,

I was about to hike it to the circulation desk

when I saw this Pharaoh beauty

browsing through a book two aisles down.

He was the personification

of all the alpha ingredients

that a real man could supply

this thirsty bookworm

ounce for ounce, good to the last drop.

 

 

God created him immaculately

from head to toe.

His dewy skin was rich like Egyptian toffee

and his twisted coils were bronzed

in kisses of mahogany.

Sorrow blanketed my heart

when I saw his woman

shouting at him in whispers

He didn’t flinch though

He just kept quiet, leafing through

Eldridge Cleaver’s “Soul on Ice”.

The more he kept his peace,

the more she unleashed war.

She swung her bone straight mane

over her delicate shoulder,

revealing her milky beige face

marred with exotic African features.

 

 

Anger twisted the beauty 

right out of her supermodel face.

Her fashion chic clothes hugged

her flower vase physique,

giving all the praise 

to her generous posterior

hot off the assembly line 

of her Yoruba foremothers.

 

 

Unable to tolerate being invisible

in front of her lover a second more,

the irate beauty flipped her hand in his face

and stormed away.

 

 

That’s when I, 

being the fearless bronze sista I am,

approached the humble brother close enough 

not to invade his personal space.

I said hello, he smiled.

I gazed at him, he gave me the once over

finding my thickness acceptable.

The corners of his lips

curved into an upside down smile.

The corners of mines curved sunny side up

into a ego trippin’ smile.

His eyes peaked with interest

for a fleeting moment

before retreating back into the unknown.

I told him my name, he murmured his.

I swallowed hard… the silence was cold.

I noticed him staring into space.

I wasn’t sure if he was daydreaming

or about to go into a seizure.

Whatever was going on with him,

he stayed like that for a while.

 

 

I followed the direction of his ogling stare

to the end of its trail

where a virginal black beauty stood

staring dreamily back at him.

Her complexion shined like an onyx gem.

White pearls for teeth embroidered

her plush, satiny lips.

silky Bantu knots sparkled like ice crystals

on top of her head.

Her deep mystical eyes were hypnotic

like blood diamonds.

She had a figure so petite, so graceful

that it could be immortalized on canvas.

Her sleek, elongated arms and legs

were like whips of lust

leaving welts of desire all over

my Pharaoh beauty’s heart.

 

 

Before I could attempt to win him over

one last time

he excused himself 

and walked over to the stallioness

waiting patiently for him to make his move.

My heart thumped like it was on life support

when I saw him lock arms 

with this island  princess

 

 

As the prelude to their storybook romance

unfolded before my eyes 

he looked back at me and said,

“Sorry, wrong color.”

 

 

…Ain’t that a bitch.

 

 

Poem (not pictures) © Copyright 2011 by Arose N Daghetto for Quiet Storm Enterprise. 

All Rights Reserved.

WAR STORIES OF A SINGLE WOMAN ©

                                      By Arose N Daghetto

                                       

It’s not easy being a veteran soldier

battling on the frontlines of single life…

The longings, the urges,

the wanting to be wanted,

the needing to be needed,

the loving to be loved…

Living life solo doesn’t compare

To living life spoken for…

There are no purple hearts

only broken hearts.

There are no salutations,

no tributes to my victories

or my fatalities…

See my wounds?

I got this discolored one

across my stomach

when I was a POW:

Prisoner Of being a Woman.

I got this other one along my side

when I was MIA:

Misrepresented In America.

The long welts all over my back

were the number of times

I’ve been whipped by karma

in Vietnam.

The footprints all over my body?

Well, that’s when I was

pounced on by chauvinism

in Kuwait

and strung up by my own burka

in Afghanistan.

I was sentenced

to female circumcision

In Sudan,

Sent back to my homeland

castrated by a man called Black…

I’m caught like a deer in headlights

Trapped in a den of wolves…

Some have HIV

Others have another STD

They’re out to get me…

If I make it out here alive

I’ll reconsider

Proposing to abstinence.

This ugly scar between my breasts

is from all the open heart surgeries

performed by the Great Physician.

He had to exhume my blackened heart

and replace it with a new one…

It was a long process

that took several operations

in order to be reconciled with my body

so I could make it out of intensive care

and into recovery.

People say I’m not missing out on anything

I’d like to see them say that

when they put themselves in my shoes.

I want to see how tough they are

surviving days without the very people

who make their identity;

Their husband and their children.

Let’s see if they can make it twenty-four hours

Being manless, sexless and childless.

Tell me if they won’t crack up

if they don’t drop dead first 

from a massive panic attack.

I can handle those things

because I was born to be a soldier…

preparing for combat is my specialty,

fighting to the death is all I know

I was cultivated that way by society.

I learned the hard way

how to speak up for myself,

and how to handle men

Who like to beat on women.

I take pride in being a soldier

because I have the ability to go without

longer than anybody else can.

There are times I wish I can be a civilian…

I heard a lot about the benefits

to being a lady.

I try to conduct myself as one

but certain circumstances

won’t allow me to be one for long…

I have to cuss people out

after being stood up.

I have to live with being the target

for lovers to execute their PDA in front of…

I spend more time being Superman

than being Superwoman.

I have a lot of Lois Lanes to rescue…

I’m beginning to think I really am

Superman.

Who has time to be a woman.

when you gotta be the trinity:

mother, father, breadwinner.

That’s how I earned the title Superman

‘cause I can do it all and do it well.

So I must really be a man

wrapped in a woman’s flesh…

a veteran soldier designed for combat

who has plenty of ammunition

(in my mouth and my fists).

There is only one more thing I need

to make my look complete…

and that’s a pair of cast iron balls.

Poem (not pictures) © Copyright 2008, 2011 by Arose N Daghetto for Quiet Storm Enterprise. All Rights Reserved.

SLINGING IRON ©

                                 Written By: Arose N Daghetto

I’m in a chain gang…

standing in a single file line,

singing the same old love songs

along with all the other

iron slinging women

while pounding on iron hearts

trying to get in

but he won’t let me in.

Back to back to the broke down back

the new man becomes the new enemy…

Status Quo is yelling in my ear

about my biological clock,

torturing me with images

of women in my age range

and younger who been married

or engaged to say the least… 

This line of women slinging iron

is getting thinner and thinner…

I’m wiping the sweat off my brow

noticing I’m doing most of the work

By myself…

My muscles are sore

but I got to keep pounding

and grunting

and singing

much more than complaining

trying to make Status Quo happy

because Status Quo says I don’t get paid

unless I meet it’s expectations,

I don’t eat unless I break through

the very last iron on the crossroads track…

I don’t get revered

unless every train coming and going

comes and goes softly,,,

and smoothly.

Lord, I don’t want to disappoint

Status Quo

I got an ego to find

and reputation to defend…

I’m still working

While seeing my former iron slingers

leaving the tracks for a better life…

They’re being celebrated

for the work they completed

while killing time

on these broken down tracks…

I’m trying to catch up with them

so I can get to where they are…

but I’m losing sight of the goal

and I can’t do that

’cause Status Quo hates

when I take too long

doing the work laid out for me…

Status Quo is watching me like a hawk,

hissing at me everytime my gung goes ho

and my head ’em up goes bottom down

and my grunts turn to groans

and my groans turn to cries

and my cries turn to screams

Lord, why did You create my body

to work slower than everyone else?!

Why did you create my brain

to catch on to things

slower than everyone else?!

Why did you create my features

to fall below the standards of beauty?!

Why did you create me to fail

the paper bag test?!

Why did you create my name

to be associated with words like

least deficient, most imbalanced, truly unfit,

definitely unqualified, a little “off”

and a bit “out there”?!

Lord, why am I still slinging iron

while the rest of the women

are sitting on pedestals

in the finest gowns

sipping champagne

throwing their heads back

giving one of those Miss America laughs

and thanking God they’re not where I am

anymore…

I make up my own song

since I have no one to choose one

by starting off the first verse

and everyone else follows suit…

I sing through my tears

sing through my aching muscles

sing through my worn out bones

sing through my lust

sing through my loneliness

sing because I got an ego to find

a reputation to defend

and a very impatient Status Quo

to satisfy.

Poem (not pictures) © Copyright 2008, 2011 by Arose N Daghetto for Quiet Storm Enterprise. All Rights Reserved.

Pathetic ©

                                                 Written by: Arose N Daghetto

Now I could tell you

where to get off!

Take them grab bag hugs

and second-hand lovin’

back to the streets

from which they came!

And I could tell you

where you can put your

Ah baby baby’s

and what’s my names…

Take them back to Roscoe’s,

let him deep fry you some dignity!

Tell him baby baby sent you.

I could even tell you

to take your ragtime charms

back to the pool hall…

Mama need a new pair of shoes

and daddy need to catch a clue!

Are you feeling lucky now?

I could also tell you

to take your gumbo thoughts

bankrupt soul and foreclosed heart

and slithering slick tobacco tongue,

stuff them in an envelope

and give it to your alibi,

the mailman.

And if that ain’t bad enough,

I can really go all out

and tell you you’re a no good,

low down, two timing

snake in the grass

who don’t know how to do nothing

but get high, get laid and get paid!

You ain’t nothing but a full-time punk

in a part-time man’s body

who was raised

by a bunch of cackling hens

who spoiled you rotten!

They let you keep your boyhood

by taking away your manhood!

You wouldn’t even bust your ass

for a lollipop!

I wish I could tell you all those things,

but I can’t.

Not to your face anyway…

I can’t tell you those things

because I love you.

Poem (not pictures) © Copyright 2011 by Arose N Daghetto for Quiet Storm Enterprise.

All Rights Reserved.

Hunger ©

                                                      Written By: Arose N Daghetto

Feed me

not with food or wine

but with words of knowledge,

a heapful of philosophy.

My mouth is open to receive

the tiniest morsels of science

with an ounce of musings

and a slice of scholastics.

I want raw, homegrown

organic truth

with a twist of theory

and a harvest of reason.

Saturate my mind

with juicy academia…

Interdiscipline me with culture

and probiotic rhetorics

That will strengthen

my immune system

to fight off ignorance

and resist inflammation

of free radical lies.

I want to prime the pulp

of history

where evolution flows

and feast on logic

handpicked from crops

of certified research.

I want to savor a mouthful

of slow braised direction

that’s been simmering all day

with a pinch of patience…

If you do this

I will be full and satisfied,

but come tomorrow

I’ll be back

for a second helping.

Poem (not picture) © Copyright 2011 by Arose N Daghetto for Quiet Storm Enterprise. All Rights Reserved

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