Looking for Clues
I am a mother anxiously waiting for her son past curfew. I am his wary lope beneath floodlights.
I am the hoodie draped over the deejay’s freshly shaved head. I am the brassy highlights in the bartender’s curls, I am the obituary of the old love shoved in her back pocket.
I am the neighbor making excuses to talk to you at dusk, lingering at the mailboxes. I am the midnight whistle of the cross town train.
I am the dented trombone played by the scholarship student in New Orleans. I sing the music of the Spheres trailed behind the second line.
I am the love you make with the lights on. I am the dance you chance when you forget your cares.
I am the breath you exhale after paying your rent.
I am the last time you rode the bus, the seat you gave up, the elderly woman, the steel gray of her braids, tenderness in her stare.
I am the Ancestor murmuring in your blood.
I am the curve of the crescent moon Iman and Yasmeen spied last Ramadan. I am the prayer that broke your heart at dawn, just before it was answered.
I am the undrawn gun in the church, the moment before it was too late. I am the mother quieting her child hidden beneath a desk.
I am the unending grief unraveled. I am the unimaginable, audacious forgiveness we somehow can’t forgive.
I am the broken teeth of the veteran sprawled across the median at rush hour. I am the wave of wayward stardust thrown from a mermaid’s tail.
I am the tension released from your bones as day succumbs to twilight. I am the moan that escapes your lips, that spirals into the night.
–Maura Alia Badji
The Artist: Leonardo Benzant, Brooklyn, NY
I create art connected in terms of a single vision emerging in various forms including: sculpture, painting and performance. Growing up in the 80’s, as Hip-Hop was flourishing, I felt an inner void prompted by the lack of an African-perspective in mainstream America. I began to investigate identity and spirituality. Being aware of the divide/conquer strategy of colonization, I initiated in my formative years during Catholic school, an investigation into African retentions, continuities and points of connection among the people of African descent throughout the African Diaspora for the purposes of healing, transformation and empowerment, both individual and communal.
Explore More of Leonardo Benzant’s work at his web site: http://www.leonardobenzant.com/
Sept 24th – Oct 31, 2015
Curated by Oshun Layne and Daniel Simmons
Rush Arts Gallery
526 W 26th St # 311
New York, NY 10001
“The Cosmology of Resistance and Transformation” Leonardo Benzant
The Poet: Maura Alia Badji
Maura Alia Badji’s poems and essays have appeared in Barely South Review, Cobalt, ArtVoice Buffalo, Switched-on Gutenberg, Exhibition, convolvulus, Spillway, teenytiny, Signals, The Buffalo Times, and The Haight Ashbury Literary Journal. Her themes include multiracial identity and families, female ancestors, social justice, female sexuality, and the discovery and creation of mythos. Maura has been a contributing writer for The Buffalo Times, Soul Music of The World, and LivingSocial.com.