Today, 14-February, we at Praxis Magazine Online are celebrating the birthday of our senior editor / publisher Daniel John Tukura (better known as “Tee Jay Dan”). HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
EL TEE JAY
You were born the day a saint was martyred,
or maybe two saints, maybe three…beheaded
on February 14, the lot of them, by Romans.
What should be history is short of certainty
and details…one of these saints was said
to be a priest who married young couples
secretly, couples whom the law did not permit
to marry, young people who professed beliefs
with which the Roman emperor did not agree.
One of these saints was said to have been
imprisoned, and from there restored the sight
of the blind daughter of his jailer. And you?
What do you do precisely, when you are taking
meetings in the middle of the night? Why so
much hustle hustle hustle, toward what scheme,
to what end? Is there a literary event that’s
taking place? A spelling bee? Expect to see
and hear El Tee Jay there. Is there a poet
or photographer, someone who is struggling,
drowning in depression or recession, needs
encouragement, needs some source of hope,
someone to throw a rope? Who is ringing that
person’s phone on a weeknight with a joke,
offering laughter, including them in a dream?
Why does it matter to you to make those calls,
to throw ropes to the drowning, to hold a space
where voices from the world’s margins can have
a forum regardless of their gender, faith,
skin-color, or origin? Why do you take time
to broadcast news on education, literature,
and art? Surely there are more lucrative
hustles than supporting the humanities? Surely
a man who owns a black suit has better things
to do than live-broadcasting primary spelling
bees? Or even filming an authors’ association
documentary? You want to be a millionaire,
a billionaire someday. Every day, you work
to build this boat of dreams. But the going
is slow, challenges abound, and you hustle
hustle all the time to find a workaround.
This boat of dreams…maybe the building
of it would go faster if you stopped taking
time to throw those ropes of hope out
to those around you, those in the shadows,
those in desperate need…maybe you would
have your first, second million now already.
But you will not be satisfied with just one
small canoe, building a boat that can only
carry you. You want to bring all the broken
people with you. You want to bring the whole
broken country with you. Beneath the gleaming
shirt and suit, we see you: we see the old
blue jeans, we see the holes worn in their
knees, we see the torn t-shirt. And beneath
the torn t-shirt, we see who you are, we see
what you do, we see your passion for beauty,
we see your insistence on justice, we see
your arms wide open and inclusive. And beneath
all these, we see your heart. We SEE you, sir.
Laura M Kaminski (Halima Ayuba), is Poetry Editor at Praxis Magazine Online.