I am thinking of my brotherfriend, the late David Blair, on what would have been his 45th Birthday. Here are some of his poems and songs that I love and listen to the most. I feel so thankful for all the gifts that he shared with our family and the world.
Excerpt from “Behind the Garage” Poem
by David Blair, 2002 National Poetry Slam
. . . I know people think I’m crazy
Because I dare to believe
That stars can fall into my cereal bowl
And mingle with the milk swirls.
And I know it’s irrational to
Throw crayons at God
And ask him to color the sky purple.
Yet, I remember the time that I did,
And the next morning I awoke to royalty skyward
To a majestic landscape of fantastic above.
And I remember later that evening
Finding the ladders tucked away behind the garage
Strewn amongst thousands of Crayola boxes all missing violets.
Does my memory serve me correctly or was there none of this?
Am I mad?
I won’t be angry.
It’s just that you’ve been dead for so long now
But I still wake up from dreams of you running through fields of flowers
The sound of one hundred acoustic guitars strumming and picking a beautiful music.
Today, I heard a music that could make the snow shine,
That could make the dead leaves claw a path through the lawn away from me.
Today I saw the beautiful shadow of a bird soar across a concrete wall,
Was that you?
* * *
Blair’s performance of “Behind the Garage” helped the Detroit Slam Team win the National Poetry Slam in 2002. Coach Aurora Harris said she told him that the opera singing would be a good addition, that it would blow everyone’s mind. Sistahfriend ain’t never lied. Now that Blair has passed away, the most poignant stanzas to me come at the end (transcribed above). Watch Blair’s 2002 “Behind the Garage” winning performance here: http://www.myspace.com/video/vid/55781888 and a 2010 Performance at the Detroit Institute for the Arts (DIA) Film Theatre, for TedX (where Blair begins by taking a photo of the crowd), below: http://youtu.be/AiheqPT0vL4
* * *
“Detroit (While I Was Away)”: I love watching this when I’m on the road traveling. There are several, more polished video versions online (including Detroit Lives! and TedX 2010); I like this one because it reveals Blair’s own feelings and the way strangers in the audience responded to him. Despite his decades of award-winning, amazing performances, Blair would still get nervous at events like this. Because he was human. And the best at what he did: http://youtu.be/6CCnRr1dQvw
Video: Detroit (While I Was Away) by D Blair at TedX 10/21/09
* * *
Less than a year before Blair passed away, InsideOut Literary Arts Project commissioned Blair to put Emily Dickinson’s songs to music. This one is my favorite. In this video, he says he was working on a new album called “Reasons for Leaving”, as if he knew that he would leave us: http://youtu.be/lIRu0eW9hig
Video: Blair Performs “I Haven’t Told My Garden Yet” a Poem by Emily Dickinson, at Wayne State University, February 28, 2011
* * *
More of David Blair’s music, poetry, and merchandise are on his manager’s website: http://seriousartists.com/honor/
Blair’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/BlairandtheBF
Obituary on the memorial website is here: http://www.dblair.org/
For some poems that I wrote about Blair, see elsewhere on this blog: http://divadiba.wordpress.com/?s=blair