So long, Sekou...

What if we were Life

Or Liberty

Or the Pursuit of something new?

Between the rocks below

and the stars above

What if we were composed by Love?

And what if we could show

that what we dream

is deeper than what we know?

Suppose if something does not live

in the world

that we long to see

then we make it ourselves

as we want it to be

What if we are Life

Or Liberty

and the Pursuit of something new?

And suppose the beautiful answer

asks the more beautiful question,

Why don't we get our hopes up too high?

What don't we get our hopes up to high?


This passage is from the 51st dream state, a music-theater-spoken word performance by Sekou Sundiata, the poet, writer, and educator who passed away this morning from heart failure at age 58. I sat in on an interview with Sekou (and choreographer Bill T. Jones) for the premiere of his piece at the Walker and found myself inspired by his mix of political engagement, humor, aesthetic rigor, and love for the Enlightenment ideals -- seemingly threatened in times like these -- that have made America great. His death is a big loss for art, and I send blessings to his family.

Sekou was diagnosed with kidney disease in 1995 and had a successful transplant, about which he made the work blessing the boats. Appropriately, donations in memory of Sekou may be made to the National Kidney Foundation at 30 E. 33rd Street, Suite 1100, New York NY 10016


Anonymous said...

oh ..... this is a beautiful piece. i hope you don't mind - i am going to link this post on my blog...

everyone should read it.

Paul Schmelzer said...

Not at all. Please do. Here's a more official version at the Walker Art Center perf arts blog (he performed there three times over the years).

Raj said...

Paul, is your heading by chance a reference to an Olivia Tremor Control song? I never knew who Sekou was in that song, "Hideaway." Sundiata?