Impressions Of my first Vision Festival

(20th Anniversary)

Author’s Note: I caught my first Vision Festival here in NYC this week. I had a ball! The poem below was mostly inspired by my VF experiences


Blue wrist band still on
I’m awake
Showered in it, slept in it,
Rode the A Train in it, ate at
Washington Square diner in it

Is it a fashion statement? A
Conversation piece? A Nike
Thing, my “mission accomplished”
Moment: Vision Festival #20, my first?

Coming downtown from
Harlem with an open mind
Like I was lost—
Show me the way to
Great writers, thinkers,
Blowers, pluckers, beaters
Show me inside out, outside
In, my mind’s still a tool, a
Weapon thugs have yet to
Wrestle away
Show me silence and space—
Let it breathe
Let it breathe
Try cutting it.

Show me needs fulfilled,
I’m not a digger of musts—
Though political ones
“Must” find funky rhythms,
Sensuous movement, paint
Like love, more joy, compassion—
Those compassionate, loving, artistic
“Must” grow grown folks’ politics,
Grown folks’ theory, real time changes
WE can believe in, hear on horizons,
See on harmony reworking our world…

Show me my marketplace for
Meditating upon awakening each
Morning, standing steadfastly on
The plateau of possitivity, reveling in my
Unimportance and anonymity, defending
Gratefulness with just my smile, engaging
In fierce hand-to-hand combat, defending
Idealism and hope—not knockoffs marketed
By brilliant impostors, fork-tongued virtuosos,
Shills for sub-prime states of mind, Chittlin’
Circuits of corporate sharecropping…

Former forklift driver/warehouse worker/janitor, Raymond Nat Turner is a NYC poet; BAR's Poet-in-Residence; and founder/co-leader of the jazz-poetry ensemble UpSurge!NYC. Read other articles by Raymond Nat, or visit Raymond Nat's website.