“Memories…don’t live like people do.” – Dante Beze
But music does.
Part of the reason for this, is that through all the strife and struggle, all pleasures and parties, there is music. Our feelings, perspectives, dreams and realities are all bottled in a beat floating in a melody somewhere out there.
For me, I travel. A lot.
I remember when I first listened to a certain track named “30 Something” on Jay-z’s album “Kingdom Come” and Jay said to me, “You ain’t got enough stamps in your passport to f**k with Young H.O.”
I took my headphones off and stared back at them…
“Ehm…actually, Mr. Jigga, I do. What I don’t have is enough space to f**k with more stamps.”
At that disgruntled stage in my life, I couldn’t understand what his fascination with traveling was.
Island hopping over the summer is cool. Being able to stare at a globe and paint memories with your eyes next to each city name you read is ineffably dope.
But being away so often or so long that kids grow up behind your back, friends forget your face, lovers leave you, babies are born and peers pass, and you no longer know what a “home” feels like is probably the closest feeling to death a man can experience in his lifetime.
It’s one of those “gift and the curse” dichotomies that leave one’s soul weary. Every journey is an emotional tug-of-war, which is generally why most of the faces you see at the airport are not smiling.
I am one of those solemn faces with travel documents in my front coat pocket and my loyal disciple – a duffel bag – following close behind me. As I steer through the terminals and across the runways, my earphones stay plugged into my dome like IV-tubes for my troubled mind.
My sanity greatly hinges on being able to put melody to the madness, harmony to the heartache and soothe my soul with a song. Having theme music for my struggle turns an enslaving, painful occupation into a poetically beautiful struggle. This song, ladies and gentlemen, is this Negro’s spiritual.
If ever you have to leave, or have been left; be you a soldier, a businessman, an MC, a wife, friend, parent, child, brother or lover that has uttered the words “Goodbye” with uncertainty and hurt, find your song and let it massage your soul.
Originally written by myself and published on The Smoking Section [“This Negro’s Spiritual” on MAY 31, 2008] and published [“Ryokō-sha Afurikano” ] in JAL’s Skyward Magazine’s July 2008 Edition.