Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Sound of the Wind

I hear a song. It is the music of Chicago still resonating in my ears. I find myself still grinning and moving my feet just as I was in that moment when the music hit me.

Friday at 4pm exactly I dashed from my office and headed toward Union Station to hop on the train that would take me to the plane that would take me to Chi-town for the weekend. I had on my travel clothes and my infamous black scarf that I wear everywhere and in every way imaginable. I love that scarf and I think it loves me too. After a short time in a long line I made my way to the gate at BWI and in a little under two hours I was coming out of a gate at O'Hare.

Hello Chicago, they call me ClayStarr.

Friday: Pooquie picked me up and we went to grab a bite to eat before heading out for the night. I did a quick wardrobe change and he and I went to the Prop House. I enjoyed the music and some of that Midwest flavor. People seemed friendly. I didn't feel the usual pretentiousness in the air. I knew I wasn't in DC anymore.

Saturday: I spent the afternoon at the theater seeing the first of three plays I would see during the course of the weekend. The cast was good, the direction was great, the script a little longer than need be. Following the show I had an early dinner with Pooquie and his friend the Silver Lady. She is 85 years old and a beautiful woman. As any woman who has lived a good life to become her age, she has lots of wonderful stories. She shared several with us during dinner. The one that touched me most was of her meeting her husband. She was 47 when she met him. He was 53. They were working in the same building and caught each others eye one day. He asked her out, she accepted. On their date she said she looked him in his eyes and could tell he was an honest man. He would be the man she would marry. Six months later they married. Their marriage lasted over twenty five years. He passed away two years ago. I'm sure they will be together again one day.

After dinner it was time to see another show. We saw the new Ntozake Shange play Layla's Dream. The acting was great, the set interesting, the choreography notable, the script was often heavy on analogies. What made up for the sometimes heavy language however was the beauty of it. Shange is still certainly a top notch poet.

Sunday: I lounged all morning and until it was time for me to hit the theater again. The third play was perhaps the most creative in concept. It centered around a black gay man working on his graduate thesis on the slave revolt of Nat Turner. He along with his 189 year old grandfather are transported back in time to the eve of the revolt. Interesting to say the least. The direction was good, the cast well put together.

Following the show Pooquie and I met up with my friend from home and her husband for a delightful dinner. It was a beautiful sight. I have known my friend Mrs. Perfect since the fourth grade. We attended the same schools grades 4-12. Mrs. Perfect, her husband, Pooquie and I all truly enjoyed each others conversation and company.

Later Sunday Pooquie and I ventured out to dance and have a final round before I headed out on Monday. The location isn't one that I would have picked. Just call me particular but I danced, drank and observed my surroundings. I reflected on my time spent over the weekend. And as I stood there the music hit me up.

Step in the Name of Love by R. Kelly came on – a quintessential sound of the city. It was the last song of the night - so Midwest - I so loved it. The lights coming on and the last song being played was a moderately slow to slow tempo. It reminded me of the days when I was sneaking into the clubs underage in Cleveland. The last song without fail was always a slow song. Sunday I stood there and watched 7 sets of black men grab each other by the hand and proceed to hand dance - step. I felt someone tug my hand and there I was becoming couple number 8.

I loved the sight of it. I loved the energy of it. It was something I don't think I've ever witnessed anywhere other than home in Cleveland. Men dancing - really dancing with each other – not jockeying for position, not pumping their fist to pump up their manhood, not strutting, parading or trying to show how hard they can be. They were enjoying the music and the moment free from a fear.

I enjoyed my time with Pooquie, when we get together we have so much fun and learn so much just by being friends. If Chicago were a cake, I could only say that in my short time there I was able to eat a slither. I think I’ll return soon for a whole slice.

Step Step, Side to Side. Round and round dip it now.
Separate, bring it back, let me see you do, the love slide.
See my whole world goes around, all because of you, spin me, yeah!
And when we are done making love, babe, hey! I just want to get to nothing,
go all over town!

Love brought us together so keep on stepin!
Because love goin last forever! Clap in the name of love!
Lets step out, hit the floor, DJ?s rockin its all for us, if anybody asks,
why were? stepin, tell em!!!.....We did it for love