Home > 1, Music > Book 3. The Vigil… Conclusion.

Book 3. The Vigil… Conclusion.

Book 3. The Vigil… Conclusion.

Remarkably, along the long zig zaggy journey to uncovering and discovering “who yu tink yu is?” or more precisely, “Who is you is you is?”  these good folks have for the most part, found their way to being themselves. 

 It is long past time that we stop telling people who they should be, (based on the old racist  models, or the newer racist bullying of the “who’s blacker than who prison gang model”) and allow people to decide for themselves who they are, and how they wish to be..and further, to welcome them there

 You might think that I’ve been on some kind of a socio/religiological dig, or vigiling for reasons to rant and rave, but I’ve been thinking about these things long and hard since my own childhood and particularly since I (as a young white boy) became the older brother  to one and then another younger brother of color.Trying my big brother best to help each of them find their way in the world; as children of color and young men of color and then, as  men of color, with children of their own, of color.

 In addition to these thoughts and concerns swirling in and out of my head and around and through the solemnity of the occasion,  I confess that I have also been holding close, a secret hope, to see a certain smile.

 I am watching and waiting for the one who inspired my poem  “The Girl With The Golden Skin”

“The Girl With The Golden Skin”

When I was a boy I fell in love with the girl with the golden skin
Gold dust is her face, she glowed as if she were little sister to the sun
I whispered her name to the moon, I sang, she was music to me

Can you imagine?.. A girl with golden skin..

She fought in the street for me when another girl said, “he’s mine”
And again when her Mother said “he will never do”
he is too Splotchy  and blotchy and pink and red and foolish
to think of you,
the girl with the golden skin.

You are our pride and our joy
You are our prized possession
the peak of perfection
he will never do, he is not for you.

The sky was blue in those days,
The air like frangipangi  soup
the world a ruckus of color and sound
my head pounded to think of her,
I could never catch my breath

You are not for him, her father said
We have suffered for centuries to make you as you are
denied our destiny from Africa to Colon
slaved in increments of a hundred, hundred years
To make you
You are not for him

I was a hero in those days, a little one but still..macho
A splotchi-ty blotchi-ty pink and red, 85 pound macho man
A hero for justice and equality, a fly weight street fighting “doun de road” boy
Against the drunken U.S. Navy. Once, twice three times a week

“But he’s good Mam’ere and he’s a hero” she said, “I love him”
“He is not for you,” said her Grand Mother “he is nothing but a ragamuffin pae-hae
his Mother is a drunken white woman married to a drunken black man
life will trample him, time will explode his illusions
like balloons on a string
bang, bang, bang, in his empty and presumptuous  big head

You are our triumph, our future story. We vanquished Portugal and Spain,
Africa and the Aztec. the Dutch and Dane, the Carib and the Ciboney
All are in you, the girl with the golden skin, the apex of our intention
the vessel of our arrival, the dawn of our day, the virgin saint of our freedom come

There were trade winds in those days, and I would put my face in them
I knew that they came from Sahara,
I knew that they carried truth across time
to those that cared to listen.
and so I came to know my place..

Still, a lifetime later,
I can never catch my breath
my temples pound  
I will love forever, the girl with the golden skin
Gold dust is her face, little sister to the sun
I whisper her name to the moon, I sing, she is music to me

The apex of perfection, the virgin saint of freedom come, the girl with the golden skin
The one that they would bless for you, could never be me.
because he must never be… less than golden too…

 I had been at the vigil for over an hour, and  had promised my friend Nicky Russel (The Mighty Whitey) that I would come and do some tunes at his open mike night at “Tickles”, a bar and restaurant in the Crown Bay Marina. I was beginning to go back and forth between the idea that it was time to go home to start tuning up the pipes for the performance, and staying right where I was, to hear the service and especially the singing of the old spirituals. (And yes, I’ve confessed that a certain lady girl was on my mind).

I struggled back and forth and finally, my sense of artistic responsibility won. I got up and excused my self along the pew and headed out.

When I got to the foyer, I ran right into the girl with the golden skin.

She looked at me with her aquamarine eyes and said in a melodious voice that moves me like a Philharmonic  “I heard your new song (Surrender To The Sun) on the radio this morning”  My dear friends,..can you imagine what those words mean and meant to me?  As I cooly stammered out “Yee ya yo ya yu did?” my shoulder was grabbed from the other side by my old friend Freddie, the Chief of the  Carib/Arawak Federation, and in that moment she was gone.

 I stared in amazement as the crowd that I had just come through, closed around her.

Friends, I have loved this girl for over fifty years. That’s a long time for a boy of thirteen to hold on to that kind of feeling, but there it is. In all that time, in all the years that I have known her, we have not exchanged more than a hundred words with one another, and sixteen of the best of them were spoken and sputtered just moments ago.

 I would like you to know, that I know that she is a married Lady, (and unbelievably, a mother and grand mother even) and that I would never intentionally disrupt her situation in any way (well in ultra-truth, I would hope that she still holds at least a sparkle of affection (if not a raging wildfire) for me, but I will not be  disrespectful of her situation or her sweetheart, and will behave appropriately..(This despite my dear friend and long time advisor in matters of relationships and the heart, (who shall remain anonymous,) insisting over and again that clearlyI should have grabbed her and pulled her into the room where they keep the frozen dead people, and given her a big fat smooch)

 Anyway..I struggled with the irony and a cascade of ephemeral but insistent emotions and concluded that the Great God almighty was saving at least two of his star-crossed children from further heartbreak and mayhem, and that my shoulder grabbing friend Freddy, Attorney at Law, Chief Of The Carib and Arawak Federation, ultimate Wazam of The Knights of The Mysterioso, was used this day by the divine as an interventionary angel. I wondered if Freddie had felt the gentle hand of the Eternal directing him as he reached out and distracted me from pursuing what might have become (and still could be) a  disasterous and dastardly destiny.

Whatever else, “The girl with the golden skin” has always been an inspiration to me and will be forever. I do hope that she knows or at least suspects how grateful I am to her, for her…

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  1. Fran LaMountain
    December 29, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    Scottie – Thank U Thank U.

    I just plugged into your website or foresight or afterglow or whatwever it is and I am blown away. I can’t wait for Ms. Rose to return so I can share this with her.

    I wish my hearing was better so I could understand the lyrics but the melody and feelings are soooo moving . . . . . I am just sitting here with tears in my eyes.

    Thank you Mr. Scott for being in my life. Over time I will read and play it all . . . . . til the cows come home.

    francisjosephstephen

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