yusefI spent twenty minutes patty-caking with Gage yesterday. That moved, naturally, into Little Bunny Foo-Foo, the knee-bounce game we have no name for, and Five Little Monkeys. That last one brought back this memory (and an old post) from a visit to Anaheim’s Downtown Disney.

Under an inky black sky and a tree flecked with lights, the dreadlocked man with the obedient guitar shakes and shimmies to the sound of his own brilliance. He’s found a way to jazz up “Three Little Monkeys.” And from the gathered crowd, a handful of those monkeys, wearing sneakers and flip flops and baby Crocs, shed timidity and their parents and perform an unrehearsed dance revue, while we adults laugh and clap and urge them on.

One 30″ child with a penchant for pigtails and pink places a tiny hand on her tiny hips and sways to the bluesy beat before doing a slow, rhythmic turn. This one knows her charm.

Not to be outdone, a blue-clad boy in a backwards cap arches his shoulders, flexes his arms, and breakdances — right there on the street.

I don’t know when or how he learned to move like that, but watching his “look at me” boldness fills me with a sharp and sudden yearning. I want to recapture something I hadn’t known was gone till now. I want to be short and uninhibited, with a brazen stance and the gall to dance in public to the monkey song.

Brother Yusef


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