Reflecting on a Life Filled with Music

by on September 25, 2023 · 1 comment

in From the Soul, San Diego

By Ernest McCray

I find myself lately
from time to time
thinking about the good time
I had on stage,
just a wee bit of time ago,
doing some rhymes
of mine
and poetry of a friend of mine
and the work
of poets who rank
among the best of all time,
poems referring to a people
still rising,
keeping on keeping on –
with some musicians
who can really blow
and I can’t help myself
from realizing
I’m one lucky so-and-so
to have had music in my life,
all my life,
beginning in the womb of a remarkable woman
who sang me lullabies
I could hear in her insides
and who happened to rock some hot licks
on the piano at Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church,
to the most laidback human being there ever was
who kicked it on an 88
in clubs
for all he was worth –
with a stride style
that supported him,
throughout his time on earth
and music could be heard
throughout our little tiny-ass house,
from bebop to doowop,
from big bands to trios,
from crooners and scatters
to arias from long ago,
coming from a victrola
I valued as much as anything
I owned that had any value,
It being my break
from the desert heat,
my vehicle for escaping
a racial slur I might have heard on the street,
it being
what I used to play songs
I could beat my bongos to
and harmonize to,
keeping my bass chops fit
for all the rhythm and blues
I sang with my homies
underneath shade trees
and for my contribution
to the junior choir at church
and to the choruses
at my junior and senior high schools,
to the group I sang with called the
who got to perform, briefly,
on shows featuring Bobby Freeman
and the one and only,
Chuck Berry.

Talking about some fond memories.

Oh, music,
singing, particularly,
has been a way of being in the world
for me,
as I’ve sung songs
to and with
students at schools I’ve run,
and on stage
as the preacher
in Langston Hughes’
“Black Nativity”
on its first-run in San Diego
and I often hum
a piece I wrote for my son
to tap to, “A Song for My Brothers,”
(Martin Luther King, Malcom X, and a few others)
as a way of letting a new school
know a little bit about who he was,
a performance that filled me with glee.

But the crowning glory
for me, musically,
was singing “Rosa, Rosa, Rosa,”
a song I composed,
to a smiling Sister Rosa Parks
with children,
including my own.

I couldn’t live without it.
So thankful for the role
it has played
in adding spice to my life.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rev Alyce SmithCooper September 28, 2023 at 8:36 am

Thanks Ernie. Always a pleasure to meet you on pages or air waves of poetry!Blessed assurance that we are still here to celebrate our past present and to usher in the future with elegant words!
From my heart ? to your heart ?
Alyce Smith Cooper


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