Monday, April 24, 2006

Bronx BiAnnual

I’m damn near thirty (8 ½ hrs away to be exact) and have been seeing my name in print since I was about fourteen years old. And while I am far from what you would call a prolific writer, I still get a thrill whenever I see my name in print. Maybe one day it’ll become second hand, but for now it always amazes me, “did I do really do that?” I often ask myself when a new project has completed the publication length of the course. The next thought usually is, “I wonder if anyone’s going to read it?”

What’s prompting this reflection you ask?

Well today when I went downstairs to check the mail I was pleasantly surprised to find my complimentary copies of the debut issue of Bronx Biannual, a new journal edited by Miles Marshall Lewis. Bronx Biannual has been called “an urban Paris Review,” an intriguing nomination considering how urban Paris is for some of us in our imaginations. For those whose leanings are slightly more Francophone rather than Francophile, after reading the essays by Adam Mansbach, KRS One and Greg Tate, you’ll be forgiven for mistaking Bronx Biannual for an updated version of Tropiques, the journal founded by legendary Martinican poet, philosopher and politician Aimé Césaire and his partner Suzanne Césaire an equally dynamic poet and philosopher.

You may have never heard of Tropiques, but might be familiar with the better known Présence Africaine, another journal that the many of the Négritude, Harlem renaissance and black modernist literati in general were affiliated with. Whether Bronx Biannual becomes Tropiques or Présence Africaine depends a lot on what the readers decide. Not necessarily just in the sense of appreciating the writing, but in a more practical sense of enjoying the medium through which it is being conveyed—a bound journal. In an age where we’re being ushered further and further into the realms on online media, Lewis is rather daring in banking that people will care enough about not only reading, but holding what they are reading in their hand to invest in this journal.

Of course I am slightly biased. I do not have a financial stake in the success of journal, so I’m not in it for the money. I’m in it for the—hmm—I’m in it for the happy—or maybe even—the giddy. You know the giddy. You’ve surely gotten the giddy at one time or another. Some folks get the giddy when they buy a new gadget, think of when you got that new Blackberry, those new Manolo Blahniks, or those Nike dunks with a color scheme made exclusively for you. That’s the giddy. That’s the feeling I get when I see my name in a by line and hold the paper/book/magazine in my hand or read a like following from MuMs’ piece “Angels in the Realm of Paranoia” that’s featured in the journal:

Every now and again

They do to the beat

Move like the cherubim in rhythm

Reencounter clockwise

Never cross the eyes.

They know how the God creep

They listening for signs...

I’ve been listening for signs since I was fourteen and I got my first piece published in The Hilltopper, Jamaica High School’s student newspaper. Sixteen years later I’m still “listening for signs,” doing “to the beat” the only thing that I know for sure will give me “the giddy.”

It remains to be seen whether I am angel in the realm of paranoia, because I do believe there is something to this concern about the future of the bound text. I also know, or think I know how the God creep, and longer that we can go without crossing those eyes, the more opportunities we all will have to get the giddy, and the more chances there will be to reencounter each other in clock wise ciphers. Or could it be as the God once said, “In this journey you’re the journal I’m the journalist.”

Harlemite Miles Marshall Lewis, could not follow the leader no mo, couldn’t wait for another solo from hip hop’s own Godot, Rakim—and with his right hand man MuMs (amongst others) has sent us looking for signs in a time piece called Bronx Biannual trying to yet undo our propensity to look for dime pieces….But I digress.

Here is where I tell you to check out Bronx Biannual and to holla at yo boy to let him know what you think…and in the meantime, I’ll keep enjoying the giddy.

1 comment:

MF said...

I love this concept of doing something for "the happy/the giddy." It prompted me to think of what gets me giddy. What makes me so happy I can hardly contain my excitement. I get "the giddy" when I set foot in a new place/town/city/country with ample time for exploration and endless possibilities for discoveries of new food, new friends, new feelings, new perspectives senses. Similarly, I get "the giddy" when I am in old places, with comfort food, old friends and old memories. Giddy is good!