“I’ve found you’ve got to look back at the old things and see them in a new light.” – John Coltrane
“My music is the spiritual expression of what I am – my faith, my knowledge, my being … When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hangups … I want to speak to their souls.” – John Coltrane
“There is never any end… There are always new sounds to imagine; new feelings to get at. And always, there is the need to keep purifying these feelings and sounds so that we can really see what we’ve discovered in its pure state.” – John Coltrane
Last summer, at a time when I connected socially with some of the writers at the Lighthouse Workshop, I was invited to dinner by a classmate. I had more money then and could afford to attend regular classes, and since I seemed like the token black writer, I was like a magnet, attracting whites, who were sincere and empathetic. Attending classes at Lighthouse allowed me to rub elbows with a collection of pretty impressive writers, some who seemed to only attend the classes for entertainment and leisure.
Many were well educated, and were quite wealthy. My classmate has a PhD. I was honored to be asked out by him. I was not as skilled a writer. I had written for about 20 years, but followed no rules. I wrote namely about my trials. But surprisingly my friend liked my style.
He seemed a bit infatuated with the African American culture, almost as much as his passion for his Yiddish culture. He was crazy for jazz, particularly for John Coltrane. He got me to listen to Coltrane. I did so especially in the wee hours of the morning when I’d usually write.
On this summer day, he invited me to yet another outing with him. I met him at an Indian restaurant, somewhere downtown. The restaurant’s décor was unimpressive. It was brightly lit like an iHOP, and was accented with Indian artwork, and tapestries. Otherwise, it was like any out-of-business diner, converted to a Chinese or Indian buffet.
As I moseyed down the lunch buffet, I did my share of partaking in the offerings. I did so out of courtesy. Being well-raised by my mother Eunice, and being from the South, no matter how difficult it may be, I will eat well when invited for a meal, if only to show appreciation.
Unfortunately, I may have overdid it. I filled my plate in the ‘around the world’ style, taking a dab of virtually everything, except for tofu. I eat it only occasionally, avoiding it most times because it’s all GMO.
…And I ate well! Tandoori chicken, samosas, saag paneer, chicken tikka masala, naan, chutneys, pickles, and Poppadum, even dishes I could not pronounce or never heard of. I was on an Indian adventure! Absorbing the smells, tastes, and décor, I thought I was in India for a moment.
…Real Talk….before long, I had to take one great shit!
My classmate was talking to me about his interests in collaborating on projects that would bring the Yiddish and black cultures together. We were visioning, collaborating on reflective poetry and stories, performed in the mood lighting, with music, and visuals. I was impressed. It’s a passion that I still hold, to bring creative writing, music, video, and other inputs together to convey inspiring and soothing messages, sort of like Prince Ea. I was very interested in in my friend’s conversation, but it wasn’t not enough to suppress the digestive rumblings of a well-needed dump. My stomach was yelling, but only I could hear it, “I gots to shit!.”
I kept checking for the restroom, but to no avail. The tiny one-person-at-a-time restroom was occupied each time I checked. After several failed attempts, I found myself next in line after a customer before me just gave up.
At last, a man of international decent unlocks the door to the restroom, as I am anxious to relieve myself to get back to this conversation with my classmate. In marched into the telephone booth décor pink box, and made a ‘yuge’ discovery! The guy that just exited, left with his deposit, still in the toilet bowl.
As I cleaned the toilet seat, and attempted to flush the turd down that he left me to remember him by, I said, “Oh, I see how you are”. “…Leaving me with this turd to deal with?” “No wonder you took so long in the bathroom.” I didn’t actually say this to him or anyone. I said these things in my mind.
I had to get to work quickly. There were people in line on the other side of the door. So, I flushed, and I flushed, but it was one of those really buoyant turds that would not go down. “Oh, that dirty dog”! “He left me with the unruly turd”. “Now I have to resolve this!”
What was I to do? Someone waiting to get into the rest room on the other side, rattled the door handle letting me know my time was up. I had to think fast! I knew that they were going to think that the ‘black dude’ left a turd in the toilet. I knew it! I was not going to go out like that for the life of me. At that moment I was a representative of ‘The Black Nation’. Now I couldn’t even consider taking a dump myself, because my deposit would make matters worse.
I thought okay, I’ll just take a pee. That should relieve some of the pressure. But I couldn’t. The minute I tried to, I felt my grip getting weaker. So I waited until the toilet bowl filled, and attempted again. It still did not work! The turd said to me, “You looking for me”, as it swam around the toilet bowl, like it was in a spa pool at the Ritz Carlton.
In survival mode now, about 7 minutes into this skit, I filled the trash can with water and used it to finally get that international turd out of my life, once and for all!
I never got to take a dump or pee. I returned to the table to greet my friend, as though life was sweet. The scent of spices seemed more intense. It was like smell of frankincense and myrrh, during Catholic Holy Week rituals. My stomach spoke louder than the sound of my friend’s voice. I did not hear a word he told me for the rest of the lunch. I was overwhelmed physiologically, physically, and emotionally, but maintained my state of grace. They say, ‘Never let ‘em see ya sweat.’
Immediately after we left the restaurant, I got in my car, and stopped at the nearest 7-11. I went specifically to one that was restroom friendly. I smiled in relief at the Ethiopian guy, who was always friendly to me. I asked for the key to the rest room, and he shouted in a squeaky unfriendly voice, “No restroom!” “Restroom out of order!” He was mean, and acted as though he had never seen me before, though I bought coffee there, nearly every day.
I nearly shitted on myself on the spot. I then drove frantically to find another restroom-friendly spot. Eventually, I used a supermarket toilet. I played gospel music real loud all the while I search, as I flapped legs, hoping that that my dear Lord would help me.
As I look at it now. It all seems so funny.
Later that night, once home, I listened to John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, and wrote these words.
Love is Supreme
By Kevy Michaels
Clouds for curtains unveil the Sun again
in an amphitheater with no audience
just me positioned centerstage
Naked and scarred
ambient rays reveal
I’ve been touched
…Touched by Love
Rhythmic chants and prayers
Returned me to a comfortable element
dissolving past destructions
Entranced now in its meditative tranquility
Until this moment
I’d been sleeping
…But now awakened, again
with a deeper awareness of me
…And of God
…The grandeur of Love
Profound and soul-passionate
Grateful as the grace of a guru breaths
Beliefs built casually on a foundation of
…Holy Water, dried Palms
Cross shaped ashes on forehead
Novenas to rosaries
not moved like a priest
but rather feeling inside
Like a Alabama preacher
…In this moment
Humbled by nature’s dominion over me
Strengthened by my importance
…and by my irrelevance
Thoughts capable of creation
…of the inevitable
Yet all escapable
Matter occasionally bowing to my mind
Finding wealth in scarcity
circling back and forth
Finding truth from every approachable angle and direction
Betrayals mapping paths to undeniable mercy
Trading greatness for nothing at all
Awakening to the sun before me
Is like none ever before
atop this mountain of understanding
One with Divinity
and if only for this moment
we both acknowledge our connectivity
To each other
…But only for a moment
I see myself exceedingly blessed and rewarded
Strained by overwhelming trials and burdens
Witness and participant in Miracles
twice buried in ashes
Reincarnated from a seed to a live oak
Iterating and reiterating
A new birth with each Divine revelation
Transformed through Crucifixion
Then through Resurrection
Awakened to my oneness
With Universal Good
vibrating much deeper in it now
Divinity and me
Acknowledge each other’s relevance
If only for this moment
Enamored by my essence
Feel like preaching the gospel of
Supremacy through Love
Love is Supreme!
…In this moment
I wrote the poem Love Is Supreme While Listening To this song, A Love Supreme. It is very interesting how each individual interprets sounds, sights, music, and art uniquely. You may get different sentiments when listening to A Love Supreme.
…Very popular, maybe even familiar to younger followers….