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Fall/Winter 2017

Ngoma Hill


Me and Mz Queen step off the train
125th and  Lenox
dressed to the nines
feeling fine
hyped 'bout being in Harlem
cause it's the mecca
the place to give homage
the space that birthed
Take the A Train
we real cool
planning on checking out the scene
looking for the hotspots
like the Babygrand
but there's a closed sign on the door
and we notice the ghost
of all the hot spots that have disappeared
so here we stand
on sacred ground
The Cotton Club
Just Be Simple's birthplace
Across 110th to 155th
river to river
Home of the Lindy Hop
and the Audubon
where Malcolm was shot
place where Marcus Garvey
recruited for the Black Star Line
Home of the cool
where the women are fine
the place Sammy hoofed
and Ben E King sang Stand by Me
where they listened to Coleman Hawkins
danced to Tito Puente
in El Barrio
Watched Hip Hop Poets in a cypher
puff puff passing rhymes
Danced the Harlem shuffle decades before the Harlem Shake
Watched Bojangle
and Sandman too
James Brown at the Apollo
before Michael Jackson was a thought
from the Lindy Hop to Bebop to Hip Hop
now all of the legacy
has been closed, sold out and bought
not even the Red Rooster  crows like it used to
where Adam Clayton Powell ate breakfast
before Sunday's service at Abyssinia
So it's got me wondering
how can this legacy be saved
or will it be like a cemetery
with a tombstone that says
Jazz doesn't live here any more

Ngoma is a performance poet,mult-instrumentalist,singer/songwriter,Artivist and paradigm shifter, who for over 50 years has used culture as a tool to raise socio-political and spiritual consciousness through work that encourages critical thought. A former member of Amiri Baraka's "The Spirit House Movers and Players" and the contemporary freedom song duo "Serious Bizness", Ngoma weaves poetry and song that raises contradictions and searches for a solution to a just and peaceful world.



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