Felton Eaddy

“Remember Forget Remember Forget”

 

Felton Eaddy’s poem calls to mind Romare Bearden’s comment that “The memory has a way of embellishing life, but it is forgetfulness that makes life possible.”

 

Eaddy is the founder, curator and host of Felton Eaddy’s Poetry Kitchen, a poetry venue that regularly features poets and spoken word artists in performance.  The Poetry Kitchen is housed at Hammonds House, in the historic West End of Atlanta.  Felton is poet, editor, arts administrator, teacher and vocalist.  In Atlanta, he is a fierce and constant advocate for poetry and poets. 

 

Eaddy designs and delivers workshops for all ages often incorporating traditional musical instruments, such as the Mbira, kalimba and others, to enhance his performance of poems and stories.  He is the author of three books: Bending Over To Pick Up a Snake, Living By the Sword and If I Hold My Tongue. His work is anthologized in The African American Review, Brilliant Flame:  Amiri Baraka, Poems, Plays and Politics for the People, Drum Voices and other publications.

 

http://feltoneaddy.com/writing.html

Felton Eddy reading his poems at the High Museum's Bearden exhibition on January 3, 2020 at The Art Section live event.

Romare Bearden, Mr. Jeremiah's Sunset Guitar

Remember Forget Remember Forget                                       

            Romare Bearden’s Mr. Jeremiah’s Sunset Guitar       

 

they wake soaked most muggy summer mornings

a stale breeze drifts into the bedroom before dawn

unspoken daily sorrow

living for tomorrow on mr. david k’s farm

they wake soaked

 

the fine line that sliced between bedtime and field time

is broken at 5 a.m. when full throttle rush begins

like the pulsing stubborn strokes of a six-string guitar

as fast as b.b. king could strum lucille’s strings

to sing a blues refrain, or groan or moan of love’s thrill gone

the fine line that sliced between bedtime and field time is broken

is broken at 5 a.m.

 

“but in the evening, baby, when the sun goes down,

 aint it lonesome when your lover ain’t around.”

 

remember, forget, remember

forget the heat, the sweat--it’s sunset

forget cumulus clouds open for orange sunlight

over the rooftop, a halo, a halo

the red guitar sings mixed dance chords

from our ancestral catalogue of heartbeat rhythms

where everything rests on the ‘one, the ‘one, the ‘one

 

mrs. lizzie plowed a mule named blue

mrs. lizzie plowed a mule named blue

in sandy fields beside her father’s dirty rice paddy

on great dismal swamp

but old blue, too, rests now in her stable

she stands strongly on three legs; the other limp, eyes shut—as if asleep

no more furrows, no more furrows to plow today

 

“grandma’s hands soothed the local unwed mother,

grandma’s hands used to hold her face and tell her,

baby grandma understands that you really love that man

put your faith in…”

 

mrs. lizzie’s bare, black feet, earth grounded

power-charged her soul for the journey forward

from kitchen to field to kitchen to field to pick

pick and shell full green beans

to pick, pick, pull and pack cotton into burlap sacks

soft, thick locks, white gold

cotton grows in straight or curvy rows

grows, grows along long, winding roads

cotton blinding white sea of connected fields

 

remember, forget, remember

the blues, the blues, blues …I’m on quit you, baby

can get bluer than the deepest blue sky

forget songs of salvation

blue sky will provide the answers, by and by…

 

“summertime and the living is easy,

so hush little baby don’t you cry.”

 

remember, forget, remember

forget the heat, the sweat--it’s sunset

forget that mr. jerry was a baby--then--before

hurricane hazel took down the purple grape vines

as a young man, he donned a wide, cobalt-blue brim

learned to pluck his red guitar that summer solstice

it took his mind inside his heart

run after run, he strummed it just for fun

against the steady beat of a bass line

tenor notes, tenor notes bounced harmony into powder blue clouds

 

remember, forget, remember, forget

remember how the notes swelled

blended with faded train whistle in A sharp

pluck after pluck

northbound train, northbound train

“people get ready”

southbound silver plumes of smoke

floated in the clouds like white doves

“there’s a train a coming”

felt free, almost like home—if only in that moment

--at dusk, orange sun suspended above rooftop

round melodic tones of strings

that only saturday brings

 

“people get ready there’s a train a comin’, you don’t need no ticket

you just get on board, people get ready….”

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