Requiem for Credibility
Forgetting and remembering the fifty years between 1964 and 2014 is intimidating. You listen to Eddie Harris’s “Cold Duck Time” (played with Les McCann) and doubt you can remember the day you took your first sip of Cold Duck and compared it to what. Now you remember you inhaled marijuana for the first time during your senior year in college, freaked out the night at Fort Knox when the combination of scotch, Valium, and pot enabled jazz to travel like a spider from one side of your brain to the other, and experienced the bliss of smoking grass in Viet Nam.
At your reunion with Tougaloo College Class of 1964, you remember the voices of your now dead fraternity brothers. You note how changed are the speech patterns and vocabularies of the women and men with whom you acquired an education in the ways of the world and in the necessity of civil rights struggles. You remember the hypocrisy of hope in the United States of America, the profound pain of segregation, the assassination of a dream on April 4, 1968, and the rich hues of cynicism that have enhanced your career for forty-six years. Change is the quintessence of moiety. Time obligates you to sing a requiem for credibility.
What credibility is there in your having forgot the murder of Kitty Genovese and the alleged thirty-eight witnesses who did not want to “get involved” or in acidic remembering that George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin? Winston Moseley, the damned killer of Genovese, is prisoner 64A0102 in New York. George Zimmerman, the damned killer of Martin, swims as freely as a twisted Florida shrimp in a thick Louisiana gumbo. Credibility is quite defunct. It orbits eternally in the astrophysics of misinformation, universal terrorism, and social networking. Are your own words any longer credible? The pseudo-Islamic obscenity in Nigeria and the pseudo-Christian insanity everywhere else on a planet enthralled by capitalism makes language impotent. We are forever enslaved by something. What a cruel joke is the audacity of hope.
In 2014, your mind suffering in the iron maiden of remembering and forgetting, you cast your fate to the wind. You believe in the sanctity of the uncertain. You believe in the rightness of death, in the edgy promise of Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” and Ellington’s “Come Sunday” in nine dimensions you have never known or will never know.
Jerry W. Ward, Jr.
May 21, 2014