Being white and dancing is a lesson,
is a burden to bear,
is a leveler,
is a kind of unarguable truth.
I would watch Bubba, my friend, my black friend, dance.
We were 13.
It was so odd to me. How?
Without moving really at all, some middle part of his body shifted in
the sex of the downbeat and like water between this and that down…
It was so cool to watch, and I would just know way deep in me that Black people’s bodies knew something about rhythm that my body did not know.
And I watched and I wanted to know music like that.
When I say I watched I mean I saw every part of everything and that is still as successful as trying to reconstruct a baby by having a look at an ultrasound.
When I hear Stevie Wonder’s “You Haven’t Done Nothin’”’s opening bass riff (and the Jackson 5 on backing vocals!!),
something, everything in me, cuts in line and wants to find a home in my body
for what is happening in the spaces between the whacka rhythm guitar, the wocka keyboards and the platform heeled bass line. Everything. I get chills. Go hear and listen to the first 10 bars and try to turn away. You will stare at your computer the way I still stare at Bubba in my memory, with wonder love and envy. I can’t un-know that I experience funk this effort-filled way, but I love that the snake of it moves through me
dangerously and honestly.