Poet Tracie Morris Looks Ahead to the Past

Morris was delighted to find that Carlos was not expecting her to explain the poetry. Carlos got it. Her own pieces are similarly abstract. She, too, braids ambiguity, mutability, and possibility into her texts, as if mere facts can't evoke the proper spirits.

"We've done a lot of excavating about what the work really is," says Carlos. Not that it's saying something other than what Morris intended. According to Carlos, "It's saying more. There are more connections to what is historical, and it's in a historical context which has to do with ancient memory, and that ancient memory does not go away as we move into the future. It becomes even more pronounced."

There were other things: "That technology exists in the context of historical memory and historical behavior. That the minstrel show has not abated." Carlos mentions current films by Queen Latifah, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, each one "a coon show."

Morris (center) with Val-Inc. and David Thomson of Afrofuturistic: "Palmpilots are not making me free."
photo: Robin Holland
Morris (center) with Val-Inc. and David Thomson of Afrofuturistic: "Palmpilots are not making me free."

"This is never going to end because we have been inoculated with this mythology," Carlos continues. "My grandson will be trying to figure out how this mask fits him, and he will always be stamped with it. That is not going to change. So that's the excavation for me in this particular journey. And I think a lot of people are going to be shocked at how much of that exists on the stage as we talk about Afrofuturistic.' "

Afrofuturistic runs through May 24 at the Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, 212-255-5793.

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