Fluggle-Boogle Perceptions

Cover for Southern Exposure's Southern Black Utterances Today cover featuring a woodcut print of a Black man's face gazing upward, by Atlanta artist Lucious Hightower

This article originally appeared in Southern Exposure Vol. 3 No. 1, "Southern Black Utterances Today." Find more from that issue here.

dedicated to: Brother Freddie Hubbard


Red double-knit stretched T-l-G-H-T

and temptingly at his groin


Subtle promises of tenderness in

his eyes


Soft, yet gruff, voice makes a dedication . . .

to me; a tribute to Soul City,


As he twiddles with the red cloth

napkin, matching in color only

his heart's depth.


He slowly wipes the sweat away

and gives the audience one of those

grins, not a smile, just one of those

sly, arrogant grins,


The tune: RED CLAY


"Oh, Wow!” I whisper my surprise

and embarrassment,


Excitement sweeps down my spine,

I feel all damp . . . everywhere.


To answer his eyes, I purposefully

and slowly, light my cigarette

with the candle


He knows how I feel.


As I look away from the scented

candle and at my husband's nervous


I wait for a stolen glance — Hard accomplishment.


For we are all on stage, "The Saga

of Soul Stirrings,” performed for

Soul-less honkies who contentedly

pay the exhorbant prices to "slum”

with the "Hip-Black-Jazz-Lovers."


He keeps the moment unspoiled

by blocking out the un-reality

of the FROG and NIGHTGOWN,


His lower lip is wet and slippery

as he begins:


Soft, melodic lines established,

he wails, and weeps and hollers


Then, he teases a little while

Fantastic Control!!! Calm before

the storm,

As he leads me to the ultimate,

the highest pitch of excitement,


At the climax, he, NO — his horn,

NO, THEY are groaning, and




Umph, Umph, Umph, Umph !!


Four ounces of spit has oozed from

that hot horn, as I strain to read

the inscription through the mist in

my eyes.


I hear strains of gospel toward the

end . . . Back to the soft, melodic



From these roots: Red Clay, yea, MUD

The beginning and the End for us, for

Black folk.


Then, Aries is the beginning, and He knows,

and like he's moving us —


And they say Jazz is irrelevant

cultural nationalism


He takes us from clay to church,

to the fields,


in the horizon . . .

Earth . . .

Red Clay


It's a long and winding Road—

From Reformism to Revolution

From Struggle to Liberation

From Awareness to Action

From Red Clay to Church

to urban ghetto

to dope

And back to Red Clay


He gives to me this heritage

trip and

Love vibrations, besides:

A moment of Bliss

A moment tinged with Bitterness. . .

(the honky waitress got on my nerves)

A moment full of wonder

A moment of what might have been

But, the moments pass, and we have

Both share it —


Timing is a Bitch; And, 'That'' time is over,

We move on . . .

Blow-on, Brother-Man-Aries,

Blow Pure and Sweet —


I need some happy memories 'cause

the Red Clay Roads are Hard,

much too Hard,

To travel



April 1973