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Intro to Anba Dlo, Lan Ginen
(previously entitled "Knowledge Is The Light")

Anba Dlo, Lan Ginen. I live inside being African, American, Haitian, woman and going home when there's no geographical place to call home, anymore. I live there. What saved me people, zanmi m yo, fanmi yo, is that I leaped over all the precipices when I realized, my nation, my empire are between my head and my toes. This, is my nation. This, is my empire: my brain, breath, belly, breast - they're enough. But sometimes, I try to touch myself and I can't. I can't. Because I've got this Western bought education.

Ohhhhh, Wangolo w ale. Kilè w ap vini wè m ankò w ale. Kilè w ap vini wè m ankò, peyi a chanje. Kilè w ap vini wè m ankò, w ale.

(Voiceover: "Folks say knowledge is the light, light, light...")

Mwen sitèlman lwen, sitèlman lwen dlo benit zansèt yo - Anba Dlo, Lan Ginen. Tande m! Men anmenm tan m sitèlman makonnen avek yo lè mwen anbrase nanchon mwen, teritwa m, ki chita ant pwent cheve lan tèt m, ak zòtèy mwen. Sa yo, se nanchon m. Sa yo, se teritwa m. S èl sa m bezwen se kokolo brenn mwen, lestomak mwen, vant mwen, epi souf mwen.

Men, fò m di nou, gen de jou m ap chèche m, m pase men, m pa jwenn mwen, paske ban lekòl loksidan bwote m sitèlman lwen zantray mwen. M pase men, m pa jwenn mwen.

Zanmi m yo, fanmi m yo, pou di nou konprann sa k rive m? Pou di nou byen konprann jan yo te lave tèt mwen pou fè mwen aksepte ke tout konesans, tout limyè se nan manti sivilizasyon Jideyo-Kritchen l chita. E sa m ye a, m pase men, m paka jwenn li...(but sometimes I try to touch myself and I can't because I've got this Western bought education...)

***********************
i'm so far away from the purifying ancestral waters - Anba Dlo, Lan Ginen. But so skin to skin near when i accept my nation, my empire, are between my head and my toes. Just these - my brain, breast, belly, breath are enough.

But sometimes i can't touch me because i have this, this ...Western bought education. i'm so, so far away from that lineage where i come from. You see...Folks i, folks i, folks i....

Anba Dlo, Lan Ginen
(previously entitled "Knowledge Is The Light")

Folks i live with say knowledge, Judeo-Christian knowledge (widen secularly) is the LIGHT that awakens. That God is (this) light, color, motion, landscape - spirit made flesh: FORM.

So how come i see a sea of Black stillness, vastness, thoughtlessness, timelessness, serenity, silence - Anba dlo, Lan Ginen - as the place i come from, been to and am lost to?

Sometimes, sometimes it feels like everything i am is erased, trashed in the spin cycle of silicon society and its interlocking improprieties - the veil i awake to.

(Di m ki jan m fè wè devan je m, yon lanmè poze, tou nwa, san bout, san lespri, san kòmansman san fen, san bri san kont: Anba Dlo, Lan Ginen. Se la m soti, se la m te ye, e lè manti sivilizasyon Jideyo-Kritchen an pran mwen, se la m pèdi: Anba Dlo, Lan Ginen...Yon lame tou nwa, san kòmansman san fen, san bri san kont. Kote m soti, kote m te ye... Kote tout zansèt yo ye...Anba Dlo, Lan Ginen.

Kèk fwa, kèk fwa se tankou tout sa m ye a efase, anfonse nan toubiyon sosyete "bing bling" ak tout malpwòpte k make nen ak li yo - kote yo vle fè w aksepte - kaka je se linèt!)

When i'm stressed.
Overprocessed by the LIGHTS.*
Like in the corporate world.
Bleached out as if dropped in acid.
i take a nap.
A mental nap.
To reflect...to Black out onto stillness, contract to formlessness. Widen. Widen nan Ginen. Develop the heart. Refresh....

But that Light floods.
*(That coup d'etat light, that "bringing democracy to Haiti" light, floods.)
Blindsiding me.
igniting a blaze.
Awakening shrill cries, gurgling up, rocketing out, from untold dimensions.
From past, present, and futures it pours.
From the decapitated heads of my ancient Haitian granmamas it pours.
From the fires of awareness i'm facing it pours.
From the iron walls i'm hitting it pours.
Even...even from my thighs it pours.
in this life, in this life, this Judeo-Christian life.
The Lights*, "that light?" pours pain.
Capturing me.

But that Black - Anba Dlo, Lan Ginen - that mindful, conscious stillness?
it's not a place of images and structures at all.
it's the mystery i can't remember.
i know i've penetrated it.
My flesh holds the memory within forever on my returns.
i'm trying to recapture that Black in waking consciousness.
But being on the less elevated sphere, my eye can never meet what's there.
i only know it from what seems so far off; i can't explain it.
Words cheapen it.

i can't depend on the thin rays of conscious attention to shed skins and unravel the confusion i see in the world. On the vibrational level i'm on, i can't hold on to mystical blendings for long.

i long for Black: Anba Dlo. Lan Ginen.
No hell is greater than this reaching!
for the unreachable Black.
i'm lost in the Lights' reds.
A "light?" that wants me, a Haitian woman, to reconcile with injustice. A light that wants me, an African-American woman to reconcile with inequality. A "light?" that tells a woman. A symbolic mother of the species. Someone who gives birth to get with biological fatalisms - like racism, sexism, age-ism and even, and even, original sin-ism. i'm lost in that light. There's no setting for me in it.

But - Anba Dlo, Lan Ginen, the warm Black canvass.
The womb out of which my form, the chambers of my soul, my heart, my psyche rises and falls (because of the Lwas, from Rada to Petwo. Because of the Ibos...) remain undisturbed, formless.

i try hard to bring this Black tranquility, this African tranquility with me when i awake to the noises of my life's forms and work.
But most times.
in daily life.
i forget what i want to remember.
i recreate and join in the noise.

Quandaries cleave.
Actions end up destroying perfection.
Good intentions inevitably lead to corruption.
i can't hold on / to Black serenity.
Just like i can't WILL the blood (in Haiti) to stop pouring.

But even in the Light's reds - Zansèt yo e Ti Moun yo vini - i can see Moonlight reaching for me. Heralding the tomorrow that will come. Still, quandaries cleave at the very same time. in this moment that's my domain where i'm awake **(in a second coup d'etat no hero could stop "light").** it's not Dessaline's sun that's out here. i can't hold on to Black serenity.... The fire of the effort is hell!

Red pours, red pours, red pours.
Haitians in the Dominican Republic dying, dying, dying.
Haitians in the U.S. at Krome centers indefinitely imprisoned, doing unjust time, dying.*** Blacks in America dying, dying, dying, doing unjust time, unjust Rockefeller times, indefinitely detained and then deported to do more time.
Red pours, red pours, red pours. We're all imprisoned in Western biological fatalisms, contained in consumerism, financial colonialism, riddled in pain, poverty 'n pathologies. Red pours, red pours, red pours. Under this "Light?", this Judeo-Christian "light?" only Cain has a future. Abel disappears. Red pours, red pours, red pours.

Reaching for Black - Anba dlo, Lan Ginen! Keeps me from bursting into flames.

*******

(c) 1997 Ezili Dantò. Excerpt from The Red, Black & Moonlight monologue series; based on Kenbe La! Crossings of a Vodun-Roots Woman by Ezili Dantò. All rights reserved.

********************************

 

 

Performance notes:
* In presentations and readings done after the Feb. 29, 2004 coup d'etat, after the world "light" here and other places in this text, would be added for performances: The coup d'etat light; the bringing-democracy-to-Haiti "light" pours pain capturing me....


** The line "in a second Coup d'etat no hero could stop" was added in presentations and readings performed after the February 29, 2004 second U.S.-backed Coup d'etat against the Haitian people.

***20,000 Haitians dead since the coup d'etat. Thousand indefinitely detained in U.S.-controlled Haiti, like poor blacks are indefinitely detained and warehoused in the U.S. Haitian leaders in exile again, fleeing Haitians being terrorized in the Dominican Republic, deported from the U.S., Bahamas, back to the penal colony being made out of Haiti by the UN soldiers...red pours, red pours, red pours....

 

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