We were fighting to get the publishing rights to your songs back. Debby and I learned all there is to know about Work-for-Hire contract law and instead of getting angry though we were angry and offended and entangled and the bend in the river went blind for a while as we learned and re-mastered the new form of slavery, how it’s written into law and everything, but we remained calm and kept fighting. We won that way. Today is that day that your songs came back to us. We won, we one today. That’s how we won.
Do any black children grow up casual? Naw, we grow up shipped, knowing that we are loved but knowing more than that, that terror, that knowing is scrawled money for our bank. We’re sure-shot and avoided, singing blue devil blues like a black and blue disciple, out from Sallis, Attala off delta, change-played, flowed to that subcommon up-river fate, our Waterloo and phonic quarry, step-sharp, sharp-squared, strait-shawled, boot-sharp visitor, made for walking, talking remnant of an extra-impossible accord, then Los Angeles. Resonances and renascence of everywhere we come from, Harmony, deepest Holiday since Jason, since Jimmy, having gone to find him, makes these missive runs, assured of her allure but running from and in that into open, unsure dream. She sees it’s getting late. Her archive has a microtonal blush. Sightsound, as Russell Atkins says. Can you say what it is to sing a song of love I can show you, right here, ask me now.
- Fred Moten
Harmony Holiday is a writer, dancer, and archivist/mythscientist. She lives in New York and Los Angeles
Cover image for Go Find Your Father is a still from the film Ganja & Hess, used with permission. Cover image for A Famous Blues is a photograph by Liza Simone Wolff.