The Lion Laid Down to Sleep - Elegy for Uncle Red
He opened his mouth in that smoky smooth voice and made you feel like he was not miles away. His voice cut through the clutter to utter clarity in the situation. We sat at his feet and met him in the virtual and he was as real as real as any man could be.
He gave it straight and honest and without the fluff to cloud the truth. Many phone calls and hours of council and he was giving in wisdom. If you listened you learned and niece was daughter and nephew was son.
He never faked the funk and told it like it was so you could get on with the doing what you should be doing. The Lion's roar is the voice of reason, the pragmatic is what it is to help you find your way though the what ifs and the whys. No apologies in his realness, radical red self. He knew the what and didn’t bother too much with the why, just saw it clear and invited you to be bold.
His voice message, “well hello, I’m not available to take your call” was in that cool groove smooth mellow ain’t nothing going to bother me voice. I will be here for you daughter call me anytime, Get on with the living it is only one you have. Do you and don’t worry about the rest, yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, today is all you have, Mother Used to Say, he’d say and don’t look back He’d say life is not a test keep living and grooving and how are the kids? I love you he’s day and I knew I would have coffee with him again and we talked over dinner in LA.
He dropped some pearls and talked me through and kept it like it was no excuses no worries no judgment just love. Listen and learn and let it sink in he gave it straight and spoke to the heart and made you feel like you were all the world.
He was just a man fifth child first son and my mother loved her brother and he called his sister every day in the living giving to say, hey today I’m breathing today lion laid down his pride standing around to love and touch and call. Let it be he’d tell me to live and keep on and do what Mother said too cool for all that too smooth for this and that and he heard it all and gave it clear. He gave it straight if you could hear.
Aloysius Bumpty Red Uncle Brother Father Dad.
And the Lion Laid Down to Sleep.
by Tayé Foster Bradshaw (niece of his eldest sister)July 8, 2014, spoken word piece for the St. Louis Memorial.performed on Saturday, July 12, 2013