A River Blue

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Notes from the Road: An African Journal

August 21st, 2006

I was meant to meet Cecily
and Jason at jfk
And fly with them
all the way to entebbe
meet chandler at the airport stay the
night
Talk to some government
officials to let them
know our plans
get their support
then drive
the next day
to lira
I had never met
Cecily or Jason
and really only vaguely
know chandler whose
explanation
of the details
of this journey
always seem hazy
and hard to define
Lauren
drove me to the airport
after a particularly frantic packing
of
recording equipment
and art supplies

The traffic
on the way to
jfk
was brutal
and we almost
missed the flight
On our way
I called Cecily
to set up
a place to meet
at jfk
She
had left a message
earlier saying
she wanted footage
of me arriving
at jfk
(she was coming
to film a documentary
of what we
do in Uganda)
but when I got
thru she informed me
that she missed
her flight and that neither
she nor
Jason would be traveling
with me as planned
I already felt
a strange disconnect
simply by the fact
that I'd never really
spoken with these people
I was supposed to make
this epic and somewhat
dangerous
journey with
(I tried on several occasions
to call
but never got thru
and never got a call
returned so it was kinda
strange)
so what do I do?
I'm at the airport
with no time to spare
Already this hazy plan
is becoming more hazy
and we haven't even left nyc
How do I trust it?
Flying into entebbe on my own
at night with a bunch
of recording equipment a
guitar white boy don't know anything
about nothing
and is chandler even gonna
show up?

I've been anticipating
this trip for quite
awhile
Preparing myself
emotionally and mentally
for it for months
It is the moment of truth
and for whatever reason
I cant back down
Whatever is moving me
in this direction
has its own gravity
its own intention
separate from mine
and so I get on the plane
Giving myself over
to the journey
The first flight to Brussels
is completely sold out
Not a spare seat
on the plane
I start freaking out a bit
The nerves
and imagination
put black clouds over my head
I write a poem which starts out
Each of us have a death in us
I start questioning
what I am doing and
think maybe i'm a fool
What can I do
Who can I help?
Why should we be
attempting this at all?
I sit next to a child
who is heavily disabled
Her eyes are wide
and out of control and seem
to be looking
into another world
Communicating
with things we cant see
Her mother
is in the seat next to her
and we begin to conversate
The mother
has beautiful blue eyes
and a way of talking
which comforts me
instantly
I give her the rundown
of what i'm doing
and she had a soft
way of listening
which she attested to
the raising of her child
It was the first positive omen
I received on the trip so far
and I embraced it
totally
The fear dissipated
We waited almost two hours
on the runway to take off
But this woman made the flight bearable
Now I wait on the next plane
first to Nairobi then to entebbe
Delayed again at least an hour
Then about eleven hours
more
Lauren confirmed
that chandler would defiantly be
at the other end
so my spirit
is somewhat calmed
We'll see where it goes
from here
I will try to keep
a record
as best I can
of all that happens
Hopefully
I am no fool
and there is light
to give where I go