Monday, January 5, 2009

Barack Obama, The Most Elegant Man In America (My first post with an enthusiastic one word comment)

The first time I saw him deliver a speech he moved across the stage with a grace and elegance I haven’t seen on stage since Fred Astaire. If you’re under the age of sixty you probably won’t get this reference at all, but the man was it. His career spanned sixty something years. He danced, he sang, he moved with such effortless grace. He was the most influential dancer/choreographer of the twentieth century according to George Balanchine and Rudolph Nureyev . Look him up on Wiki or rent some old Musicals and watch the man move. Forget the funny clothes. I know black and white film is a distraction, but take a look. Fred Astaire could be an ancestor of Barack Obama. Neither man is really pretty, but they both have that long-wristed, lean body that seems to always be slow dancing. And clothes hang on him so beautifully. No politician has ever had his slightly slouchy, dancers way of moving across a stage. So just the visual of him is fantastic. But I’m not talking about just the visual.

Barack Obama is an elegant man in every way we experience him—his voice is pleasing to the ear, and his use of language and phrasing makes the most mundane topic sound meaningful. But no matter how serious or important the topic, his voice and delivery are uplifting, soaring. It’s the reason Will I Am from the Black eyed Peas can make a beautiful song out of a victory speech. He is the man with a Dream for this generation. Every speech he gives is an “I had a dream” speech. His name is musical—a little percussion, a lot alliteration. It is exotic to us, so used to names like George, John, Bill—names so blunt and truncated. He does not need to use words like a cudgel to scare us like our current President—so stupid sounding. George Bush has the most tenuous grasp of his native tongue, making almost all words sound ugly. He couldn’t possibly be as stupid and boorish as he sounds, could he? But it is not just the almost eight years of being embarrassed by the speech of our leader that makes the elegance of Barack Obama’s words feel like a drink of cool, fresh water to the thirsty and tired, waiting to be uplifted and inspired, not just scared by threats from the boogieman Bush who uses words so ineptly that his very dumbness scares us.

Barack Obama has a smile that fills our hearts with hope. It light’s up his face, it lifts our spirits. We have been smirked at by a fake cowboy and his truly scary side-kick Darth Vadar glowering in the background. We haven’t pushed for impeachment for the high crimes of George Bush because we don’t want Dick Chenney as our president, not even for a few months. He really could finish the job Bush started and suspend the Constitution along with the rest of the Bill of Rights. He has his own personal private army of mercenary thugs called Blackwater.

The world is ready to see us right the ship of state, to elect someone who will not only inspire us, but make us proud of who we are. We will all be made more elegant, more eloquent if the leaders of our government set the tone, lead the way. We will again be seen around the world as a beacon of hope, where there is real Liberty and Justice for All. Not just big donors and rich friends. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, we might even get our civil rights back.

The More I See You, The More I Want You

Somehow this feeling just grows and grows.

In all honesty, I don't know how I ever got along without you. So forgive me if I indulge myself in a little more Oscar Peterson playing another great jazz standard. It's written by Harry Warren, lyrics by Mack Gordon and written in 1945, a year after I was born. This is the kind of music I grew up listening to. So it did leave its imprint on me. But since it's my preparation for my blogaversary, you'll just have to indulge me or ignore me, but I'm having fun.

As I Contemplate My First Year of Blogging

While I try to sum up what this past year has meant to me, my first year as a blogger, I went looking through the archived posts, and saw an unfinished draft here and there. But the one that caught my eye and wouldn't let go, was the one titled Lush Life. It has been lush in a Spartan sort of way. I didn't know what a blog was when I began this a year ago tomorrow. I had no computer skills--I used my computer as a Word Processor and storage space for the novel I was working on. I was often at war with my computer. I thought I hated computers in general. I saw it as a temperamental machine. It pissed me off mightily when it didn't do what I asked or needed it to do. So as I think about this change in my attitude and the change in my life that the blogging experience has been for me, I give you one more of my favorite Jazz performers playing one of my favorite Jazz pieces.

Poetry Monday

Apologies to All the People in Lebanon
by June Jordan

Dedicated to the 60,000 Palestinian men, women, and children who lived in Lebanon from 1948-1983.

I didn’t know and nobody told me and what
could I do or say, anyway?

They said you shot the London Ambassador
and when that wasn’t true
they said so
They said you shelled their northern villages
and when U.N. forces reported that was not true
because your side of the cease-fire was holding
since more than a year before
they said so
They said they wanted simply to carve
a 25 mile buffer zone and then
they ravaged your
water supplies your electricity your
hospitals your schools your highways and byways all
the way north to Beirut because they said this
was their quest for peace
They blew up your homes and demolished the grocery
stores and blocked the Red Cross and took away doctors
to jail and they cluster-bombed girls and boys
whose bodies
swelled purple and black into twice the original size
and tore the buttocks from a four month old baby
and then
they said this was brilliant
military accomplishment and this was done
they said in the name of self-defense they said
that is the noblest concept
of mankind isn’t that obvious?
They said something about never again and then
they made close to one million human beings homeless
in less than three weeks and they killed or maimed
40,000 of your men and your women and your children

But I didn’t know and nobody told me and what
could I do or say, anyway?

They said they were victims. They said you were
They called your apartments and gardens guerrilla
They called the screaming devastation
that they created the rubble.
Then they told you to leave, didn’t they?

Didn’t you read the leaflets that they dropped
from their hotshot fighter jets?
They told you to go.
One hundred and thirty-five thousand
Palestinians in Beirut and why
didn’t you take the hint?
There was the Mediterranean: You
could walk into the water and stay
What was the problem?

I didn’t know and nobody told me and what
could I do or say, anyway?

Yes, I did know it was the money I earned as a poet that
for the bombs and the planes and the tanks
that they used to massacre your family

But I am not an evil person
The people of my country aren't so bad

You can expect but so much
from those of us who have to pay taxes and watch
American TV

You see my point;

I’m sorry.
I really am sorry.

Thank you Liberality for posting this so I could "borrow" it.