SPIRITUALS II


Elevated street. A flowing parade of energies, dialects, styles. Histories speak to one another, the canvas of pilgrims, travellers, migrants. Close to the heart, West Indian arrivals give fresh language to UK streets, tailoring to harsher winters, finding warmth in the functionality of fifties duffels and duster coats in Beuys grey and British tweed. 

From the East, a procession of Byzantines progress through Florence in handmade harlequin leathers. In the spectacle we find serenity in the effeminate son - a beautiful boy painted in the hat of a Magi, an Archer’s gathered silk tracksuit and patchwork boots by Manolo Blahnik. He joins a crowd forming to hear the street preacher’s sermon, a character informed by Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Renaissance friar Savonarola. Enter the new spirituals, a band of blessed innocents all in white; linen flowing robes, leather gloves, they wander the streets singing hymns, collecting vanities. 

Meanwhile, Second generation windrush - the Rockers step out in minimal utility shirting in cornflower blue, lime green, and hybridized jeans paired with square toed perforated leather mules. A Realness, a thread connecting the streets of Paris to Dakar, Kingston to London. 

Freedom rhythms. Elysia Crampton’s spoken word installation plays through a sound system transported from Notting Hill Carnival. Sampha’s soulful harmonies proclaim You're Free. Intellectuals and street poets embroidered with dalmatian gemstones weave through the crowds, united by a sonic magic reverberating through public space. No one is excluded, this a celebration. Out of many, one people. 


OVER-SONG FOR A SEER

Words by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye


Come cloaked in God’s Love,
Because I am not the One.
Not Yours,
The Smothering Smoke of Privilege and Grief,
Nailed up left of Jesus, I was the stricken thief.
Now you see me on the corner, bolt upright,
A Seraph in Snakeskin, blinking at the light.
Come sit beside me and I’ll tell you what I feel,
The Sundry under Thunder, Weakened by the Peal.

I Left Hades in disgrace and Satan wished me Godspeed,
As Sole Apostle of every Brother yet to be freed.
 

Come deaf to all sounds,
Because I am not the One.
Not Yours,
The Loudest Rip in the Stygian Silk,
I was weaned on Petrol and Asses’ Milk.
Now you see me on the corner, leaning back,
A Demon in White Damask, my jaw hung slack.
Take shelter under my tongue, I’ll tell you what I hear,
I’m everything you want to be and all that you fear.

Steal whatever you can find, since I have nothing left to give,
And don't expect my applause when you tell me How To Live.
 

Come with your eyes shut,
Because I am not the One.
Not Yours,
The Blinding Poke of an Obsidian Wand,
Lovestruck by the sight of my face in the pond.
Now you see me at the corner, down on all fours,
An Oracle in White Lace, correct at his chores.
Perch soft on my kneecap and I’ll tell you what I see,
Speak not of your Deference, it’s nothing to me.
As a November Narcissus, I crawled here all by my lone,
And don’t begrudge a Beauty when it doesn't Echo your Own.

Come with your mouth full,
Because I am not the One.
Not Yours,
The Inaugural Speech of the Raven King,
I puffed up my plumage, extended a wing.
Now you see me on the corner, poised to take flight,
A Peacock in Goose-feathers, screeching at the night.
I’ll take you under my wing, and tell you what I know,
About the Brother on the corner with nowhere to go.

I shook sugar from the cake top to win my due,
Now Prone to a Sweetness known only to the Few.
 

Come with your hands tied Back,
Because I am certainly the One.
I Am My Own,
The Grand Stone Grip of the Hot Onyx fingers,
My forlorn faith in a Rapture that lingers.
Now you see me on the corner, with my hands in the air,
The Soothsaying Brother in Alabaster goat hair.
I smile as broadly as the Jackal who’s had his Day,
And bid you no closer, as I’ve nothing left to say.

Praise not my Chastity, since my Virtue is Unclear.
Praise not my Courage, when it’s my Pride that got me Here.
 

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