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Ego Tripping

December 7, 2009 Leave a comment

This is probably one of the first poems that I heard performed. It speaks to what I’m interested in exploring in my work in progress, “Run”. I’m interested in strength and locating the multiple ways that a body works with the term strength. I want to go beyond the idea of strength as the quality or state of being physically strong, and in “Run” try to locate other connotations of the word. How does strength operate in violence? Where is strength located in love? How is strength demonstrated during times of weakness? My tendency is to start off with an idea such as this, and let it unfold in the process and then the product resulting with sediments sprinkled in of my beginning theme. “Run” may be something completely different by the end, but that’s the beauty of art in my opinion–the unexpected.

The poem is titled Ego Tripping and it is by Nikki Giovanni.

I was born in the congo
I walked to the fertile crescent and built
the sphinx
I designed a pyramid so tough that a star
that only glows every one hundred years falls
into the center giving divine perfect light
I am bad

I sat on the throne
drinking nectar with allah
I got hot and sent an ice age to europe
to cool my thirst
My oldest daughter is nefertiti
the tears from my birth pains
created the nile
I am a beautiful woman

I gazed on the forest and burned
out the sahara desert
with a packet of goat’s meat
and a change of clothes
I crossed it in two hours
I am a gazelle so swift
so swift you can’t catch me

For a birthday present when he was three
I gave my son hannibal an elephant
He gave me rome for mother’s day
My strength flows ever on

My son noah built new/ark and
I stood proudly at the helm
as we sailed on a soft summer day
I turned myself into myself and was
jesus
men intone my loving name
All praises All praises
I am the one who would save

I sowed diamonds in my back yard
My bowels deliver uranium
the filings from my fingernails are
semi-precious jewels
On a trip north
I caught a cold and blew
My nose giving oil to the arab world
I am so hip even my errors are correct
I sailed west to reach east and had to round off
the earth as I went
The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid
across three continents

I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal
I cannot be comprehended except by my permission

I mean…I…can fly
like a bird in the sky…