Because lightning struck a tree in Germantown & Sun Ra knew what to do. Because AM over OR amor. Because ancestors at the parades. Because Zoe Strauss. Because Barkley Hendricks. Because rowhouse windows are shrines. Because SEPTA’s “getting there” lol. Because you all love Questlove & he’s one of us. Because it’s one of the original 13 & the colonizing isn’t yet over. Because Giovanni’s Room. Because Philly Barbacoa. Because Ben Franklin may have loved it here more than he hearted being naked in France. Because neighborhood crossroads. Because Dirty Frank’s. Because Gritty scares away Richard Spencer. Because Malcolm Jenkins. Because some dope poet laureates. Because Octavius Catto’s got his own spotlight on Broad. Because the spirits of Sigma Sound & Little Pete’s Diner will haunt new luxury housing. Because LO over VE love. Because you’re welcome to stay as long as you come correct. Because even vegan cheesesteaks are good. Because Ars Nova Workshop. Because Philadanco. Because Ramona Africa couldn’t be killed & rides the 13 trolley. Because A.I. Because the Bowie bar. Because you might try but cannot hate on the epic Cy Twombly room. Because Schooly D. Because Bernie Parent. Because McFadden & Whitehead said we can’t be stopped. Because we’ve got Duchamp & we’ve got Cornbread. Because the Frank Rizzo mural kept on being interactive. Because the Ellen Powell Tiberino compound. Because Marc Anthony Richardson (“how deep do you want to go?”) Because there’s no such thing as vision without memory. Because a bell got cracked so this is what you get.
April 21st was the culmination of work I've been doing with Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture that included a collaboration with Dr. Jay Fluellen, and a series of workshops with kids from Northeast High School- the most diverse immigrant student population in the Philadelphia School District. Journeys Across Imaginary Lines was a performance at the Philadelphia History Museum that featured Hafez Kotain, Trapeta Mason, Valerie Gay, Kinan Abou-afach, Jay Fluellen and me. The afternoon included a workshop that Trapeta & I led exploring movement, memory and loss. One of my favorite moments was when a Palestinian poet who published two books in Arabic wrote his first poem in English during our exercise. It's a beautiful poem. It was a beautiful day.