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The Salon

From "Chronicles of a Comic Mulatta: an oreo/choreopoem"

by Josslyn Luckett

(Note: One night in Swaziland my young bus sis, Tana, who is doing important work on people of mixed race ancestry in South Africa, told me she experiences the question, "What are you?" as an act of violence. Over the next few days I reflected on how after 40+ years of being asked the question myself, I'd be a worthless pile of bloody pulp if I experienced the question in the same way. It made me think back to this one woman show I wrote in my 20's when I started playing with the idea of the comic vs tragic mulatta...so by the time we got to Ginsberg I called up the first monologue from the show at the Biko Center and dedicated it to Tana.)


Chronicles of a Comic Mulatta: an oreo/choreopoem
by Josslyn Luckett

(opening monologue)

i get this pain sometimes
right over my eye
right here
like this "why" in my head is not gettin' addressed
so it presses real hard
saying
"see"
both in the colloquial
"see"
and the standard
see
like a request, or maybe really a command
saying girl you got to see things for what they really are
not tragic
not ideal
just one real brown beaming shade of truth that is you
and your eye twitchin' self
tryin' a make sense outta mad mad circumstances--
circumstantial evidence like the cross colors of my kin,
the light shade of my skin
might lead you to lay that
TRAGIC MULATTA
legacy
right on down to me
down to this
high achieving
high yellow negro
historians would have you know
that all of that civil rights era co
-mingling
is still having a devastating
effect on a bastard generation of
high yellow
half breeds
yellow
half breeds
yellow
hello
hi
welcome to the oreochoreo show
and you might think this is a freak show
seeing as some of you might see me as some kind of freaky- tongue-and-cheeky-
category-less-can't-check-one-no-nation-having-hybrid
but this oreochoreopoem is coming at you straight from one particular colored
girl,
refusing to consider suicide
why should I?
leave the tragedies to william shak
the comic mulatta is about to attack
that's right
comedy you know
in the quote "classic" style
mistaken identities
contradictions, songs
happy ever afters and so on
but this comedy is also black
take a whack at that
or maybe really brown
see, i'm bringing a whole new genre through town
brown
comedy
which includes blues
yes brown sugar blues
dancing better than jagger ever dreamed of
how come?
stories alone
just my stories
alone
me often alone
often not having too many familiar type comrades in this
particular type struggle
not a father or a mother who share my particular
chromosome chorus
of black and white
unlike creoles or puerto ricans where the legacy of brown
is passed down
mine just popped outta a simple social workin state-a-maine
born girl
and a super serious southern mississippi
born boy
after they came home from a dylan concert in honolulu
"all i really wanna dooooo"
summer 1969
which was well--
hell of a summer if you recall
with woodstock and
whitey on the moon and all...