Friday, October 1, 2021

Three Poems, A. K. Toney


Am a jazz player
Player forward on
Bringing swing back home
Straight ahead zone (twice)

My Jazz was a transference of energy 
From spirit hands that rode horse and felt the needles
It was handed like wooden stick and spark from sound of metal
The bell left a timing in me that gave Griot to poetry

It clapped like slaps from palm to tight animal skin
It rang as twangs from ngoni strings singing melody
It swings rapidly as brushes to sock hat from snare wear
We were on wax before vinyl with no origin of difference

It came from keys on saxophone pushing me as horn to high 
It came from those traps like nigger boys need to beat things
It came from that cool cigarette between fingers after laying hand on instruments
The testimony was a sermon, that was more than holy
It was a club ceremony of sanctuary

The sanctified gave house and put their hands together praising
They smoke papa loco as itations
They drank libations in honor of the sound
They speak easy in a house of Juke Swing big band quartet
Blues given like communion sloe gin…

Come from a place where they line up at Church
To listen for an Arkestra because they couldn’t hear the piano Saturday night
Came to the crossroads of music when predecessors passed on…
Had to pay homage to Ancestors by playing own rhythms 
With the stories of them validating legacy

(For Sarah Webster Fabio)

Prof. Fabio,
Miss you and never met you…
How do you become Mother of Black Studies?
How you speak like whisper that make nigga shake out?
Make you never know that word from your tongue…

She tells me,
“You gotta slap back time and find yourself
Steal what you can and use the last little bit of it…
Use your blues jazz soul hip hop be bop classical Africa
To let the people, know where it come from…
Grab your Licking Stick and cook up some wild
On what don’t know about Folkways Records
Jujus/Alchemy of the Blues Juke Joint sounds that
Birthed funkadelic starship chitlin’ circuit street”

Our Betty Davis of Poetry
She became penetration of infiltration
Slipped in real coolie…
Slick and so wet that others couldn’t touch her
And if they did, they got wet and slick
Then she was just there…
Now everybody was real cool…
I Would Be for You Rain

She became the reign of all these that have forgotten her
Never acknowledged, never known Black World
Or Dialogue Between Two Messengers of Peace

We miss you Griot Fabio and never knew your voodoo
How you kept the souls of Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles,
Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Margaret Walker, and Langston Hughes, inside of yourself…  
You gave us Glimpses of retro get down noise pains of words that 
Were Timbuktu, Cleopatra, and slaves that overcame
Through rhythms and story and showed us a good time
With that oral timing that drums need from your harmony
Lonely is an Independent, alone is the child that has their own, you are the end that means…

Miss you and never met you 
Mother of Black Studies
Ashe. Prof. Fabio. Ashe.


COVID19 is a stupid teen, believing the world is flat,
Accepting truth being alternative facts, walking around a party,
And then got the nerve to be racist…  

Remember in Africa, when wearing a mask
Was worn for ritual and for purpose or ceremony…
Now everyone everyday around the World
Must do that ritual and no one can ever forget the purpose…
Or lest we attend ceremonies via zoom

Since when did vaccination become discrimination?
The number one predator on the food chain doesn’t eat
It just kills…
A nonliving invisible that can’t be seen by the naked eye
Lurking as a parasite moving from host to host
Serving suffering because we wouldn’t listen…

That stupid teen has become a fraternity sorority known as Delta
Excuse me, my bad…  Delta+!
A little extra, a little faster, easier contagious 
Three-week time limit if you can make it…

My personal vaccination came with
Hand sanitizer, double mask, keep my social distance,
And for Life’s sake! Isolate.

A variant of a variant from a strain to a virus…
It only becomes dangerous when Humans become
The Independent Variable that is introduced…

Hypothesis: Unpredictable and instability
Results of Conclusion: Non-conclusive, due to ignorance, non-subject compliance, 
And no supportive evidence to convince variables for immunity herd. 
(Yet the facts are substantial and real)
Get your twenty-twenty vision fixed
Receiving a negative test for the virus is the most positive gift…
People stop being Pe-ople-less!

A. K. Toney is a Griot, writer and educator. He currently is a Literacy Coordinator, Artist teacher and owner of Reading Is Poetry. He is currently working on his first book and album chronicling his life as a poet in the Leimert Park Village area in Los Angeles, CA. 

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