I once dreamt, when I was going through a different but also rocky time in my life, that I was in a therapy session with the dear and now departed Dr. Maya Angelou. For my troubled sub-conscious, there was no better healer or guide available. She sat in a comfortable chair and I reclined on a sofa in the traditional therapy poses, but we were on a platform of a flatbed truck that drove around a city, as I talked through what worried me, what I hoped for, and what I wanted to be. It was like a literary feminist music video. I have no idea what she told me, but I woke up feeling whole. I remember thinking, yes, of course Maya Angelou fixed my life. Reflecting on her life’s work now that she’s gone, I remember how giddy I felt when I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, at the thought of a life that generated volumes of autobiography. The woman sang for Billie Holliday and cooked for M.F.K. Fisher. She did. She was. I can. Her life and her work have always made me feel that way, that I can.
Weekend Glory by Maya Angelou
Some clichty folks don’t know the facts, posin’ and preenin’ and puttin’ on acts, stretchin’ their backs. They move into condos up over the ranks, pawn their souls to the local banks. Buying big cars they can’t afford, ridin’ around town actin’ bored. If they want to learn how to live life right they ought to study me on Saturday night. My job at the plant ain’t the biggest bet, but I pay my bills and stay out of debt. I get my hair done for my own self’s sake, so I don’t have to pick and I don’t have to rake. Take the church money out and head cross town to my friend girl’s house where we plan our round. We meet our men and go to a joint where the music is blue and to the point. Folks write about me. They just can’t see how I work all week at the factory. Then get spruced up and laugh and dance And turn away from worry with sassy glance. They accuse me of livin’ from day to day, but who are they kiddin’? So are they. My life ain’t heaven but it sure ain’t hell. I’m not on top but I call it swell if I’m able to work and get paid right and have the luck to be Black on a Saturday night.