the universe has a moral arch

there is an ever swinging pendulum

some track its arch like cartographers

historians who collect facts to connect points

jean damu did that tracking the places the

pendulum stopped stood still paused disappeared

reappeared to swing in a counter direction how

its trajectory was skewed how it got righted who

wanted to hold on to swing from it damu was good

like that but he is gone the pendulum remains

damu introduced me to

robert chrisman the black scholar

chrisman said

the pendulum is always moving

towards right or left the future or the past

right or wrong moral or obscene always being tugged

pushed pulled

prayed into motion maybe when two

opposing sides pray

with all their might we get the

pauses damu was so good at tracking

the changes in

direction the places things touched

if you looked close enough you can

always find who owns the wind

but chrisman and damu are gone

perhaps they both pulled on martin luther

when he wrote from a jail in birmingham

professing his belief that the moral arch itself

swings towards justice cornel west preaches

pragmatic optimism perhaps we are optimistic

praying for the good in a place where none exist

perhaps we can forge right from prayer only

i think we need james cone’s bible we need

to build the pragmatism on jeremiah wrights

understanding of what can be blessed and what

must be damned if the pendulum is to

find it way with surety if moral arches

can be moved i think its work for

human hands so i pray with mine

moving looking for the tipping point between

the certainty that oppressors rarely willing

grant freedom & the bruises my chains have

wrought on my life the firmness with which

I grasp my humanity the desperate pace at

which I move through the whirlwind the

weight of the burdens that are older than

i am and the memory of direction

wired inside pulsing towards the north star

looking for the good

building the road

adding to the map

praying while sharpening swords

keeping oil in the lamp

waiting for instruction but moving

because movement is life

movement like music

metered measures

going somewhere

they pendulum they say is

always moving

the moral arch leans towards

good they say i say

remember the proverb

trust in allah but tie your

camel remember prayer

with  hands moving

writes new scripture

rights wrongs

moves the pendulum

king said the moral

arch leans towards good

but king is gone


image:nathan selikoff beautiful chaos, 2013

About Ayodele Nzinga, MFA, PhD

I create; therefore I am.
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