Thursday, December 23, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
(a genderqueering photoshoot
after June Jordan's "Poem for My Pretty Man")
the complexity is like your legs
... See my Tabblo>
(a genderqueering photoshoot
after June Jordan's "Poem for My Pretty Man")
the complexity is like your legs
... See my Tabblo>
Thursday, December 09, 2010
I hope you all are finding warmth as it gets really cold outside. I co-curate Women on Wednesdays Arts and Culture Project based here in NYC. We are currently accepting performance and workshop proposals from girls and women of the African diaspora to present creative works and teach during the month of February. Here is the link: http://www.bettysdaughterarts.com/women-on-wednesday-teach-in.php If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email me at email@example.com.
Ebony Noelle Golden
Friday, December 03, 2010
Greetings loved ones! For those of you who did not experience the delicious first session of the Juneteenth Freedom Academy on Love Poems here are some highlights from but one of our incredible poetic exercises!
See you next week? Event details here: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=103868#!/event.php?eid=135017403218949
Voicemail messages after June Jordan....
After June Jordan's "Resolution #1,003" and "Why I Became a Pacifist and How I Became a Warrior Again"
(transcript of response to Why I Became a Pacifist and How I Became a Warrior Again)
I dare you to listen
to this entire message
My only apology is
to the self I will never again suppress.
I am singing my song and it sounds like
loving every smell every noise every accidental shine
of the self I came to be.
Also known as (sung) yeeeeeesssssssss!
My head clear and open
nobody else's voice in there
except maybe a lullaby from my grandmother.
And I dare you to keep listening
if you can stand to sit still long enough to hear
that praises something other than your sorry ass.
Singing my song feels like hearing my baby's
heartbeat for the first time...and the more than that
is putting down my shield, laying down my sword
and facing love beautifully naked.
I need space to sing my song and you take up all the space.
I am ready for a room where I can breathe
and sing and smile and take off my clothes.
I live ready for live so
full so loud from my song
love so deep and naked and vulnerable
with ALL my nerve
and my sword
and my shield
(sung) singin' my war song
Because my song twists and turns in the
autumnal blaze of this battlefield
Because you want to hear the notes turned
To choose them
To take them home
To sharpen them against a blade
To surrender to them
I will be experiencing
My soul sings with the joy of knowing
I have much more to offer the world than another sorry.
And I dare you to listen to this entire message.
We love you!!!
and p.s. donations are ALWAYS welcome in the form of money, toilet paper, or forks and plates!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Because love poems make the best presents...come to the Juneteenth Freedom Academy on Revolutionary Love poems Wednesdays at 6pm at the Inspiration Station! Come to any of these three session...or all three!
The Messiness of Love: Wednesday, December 1st, 6pm
"In your love I am sometimes redeemed
Since love cannot actually be described, the best we have is poetry. June Jordan wrote a whole volume of poems about one break-up, wrote poems about affairs, and awkwardness, and long-distance longing and late mornings and diligently tracked the direction of her own desire with poems like Leaves Blow Backwards, Romance in Irony, Poem Number Two on Bell's Theorem or The New Physciality of Long Distance Love and more :)
Join us to explore Jordan's poetry, write our own poetry and play delicious fill in the blank games about the uncontainable complexity of LOVE gone right side up upside down, up and away and everywhere all at once.
"last time I got married was
Jordan used the incisiveness her her poetic voice to critique the dominant institutions (especially marriage) that are used to understand, mold, shape, kill, or keep love, and to make new spaces for love to grow and move. Come over and queer your ideas of love syllable by syllable!
Like Jordan our small scale love and our large scale love are intimately connected. And as June Jordan says "Love is lifeforce." We will explore Jordan's love poem to Fannie Lou Hamer against the, her love poem to Joy Harjo against genocide of African Americans in the southeast US, against the genocide of the Creek nation in North America and explore the love poem as a method of combatting the language and the fact of genocide in our lifetimes.
If you love this idea, feel free to make a love offering
and email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP!!!!!!
Thursday, November 04, 2010
This week's emphasis on vision and purpose (see the Combahee Survival activity here: http://combaheesurvival.wordpress.com/2008/10/04/1-vision-and-purpose/) has me very inspired. After some crucial and helpful conversations with participants in the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind process and some wisdom from elders who are part of the MobileHomecoming Project (especially Barbara Smith, Imani Rashid, Nadya Lawson and Cessie Alfonso) I am excited to share a vision for Eternal Summer in 2011 that will celebrate and amplify the way that BLACK FEMINISM LIVES in our community as an intention and as a catalyst for us to honor our interdependence.
- Thanks Barbara!!!
As many of you already know, the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind happens locally and portably through in person gatherings in Durham, North Carolina, workshops around the countries and internet engagement around the world. Those levels of participation have been very symbiotic or helpful to each other. All the different people who have supported the project and interact with the educational materials in different ways have been spreading the good news (that BLACK FEMINISM LIVES!) fortifying their own revolutionary spirits, and creating inspiration in the different and overlapping communities that they love. The work that happens at the Inspiration Station in Durham gets uploaded as Inspiration to people elsewhere. Folks as far as Berlin make donations to receive publications and help pay the energy bill at the Inspiration Station. And this is only one energy cycle. More importantly everyone is participating in an energy field where we get more and more excited and inspired, more grassroots, low-overhead projects are popping off in Durham, queer Yoga, free healing clinics, community supported food justice sources and every day I am inspired by the initiatives that women of color are creating online (the Revolutionary Petunias Reading Group, the Crunk Feminist Collective, the Divine Survivors free online reiki clinic) and in person gatherings where folks draw on creative genius from within their communities and the communities they politically align with are sprouting up too as organizations like the Detroit Summer mural tour, the amazing Pachamama Skillshare and more sustainable beautiful spiritual, ritualized, intellectual and politicized initiatives to align our movements with the transformative messages of the universe. Eternal Summer is part of this energetic field and shift, all of this is interconnected and interdependent. We are benefiting from a shared ecology where inspiration, as a process, is circulating. I love it.
There have also been some lessons learned in terms of intentionality this past year that have clarified what it takes to continue abundantly participating in the flow. One major lesson was that while it is important to document and share the brilliance and inspiration that happens here in Durham with our wider community, and our local community who just didn't have time to stop by....it does not work to facilitate the same curriculum simultaneously in person and online. There are major benefits to letting the very jazz influenced, improvisatory and spiritually transformative work we do in person inform the development of shareable curriculum. Doing it at the same time seems scattered and rushes both processes. So in the name of INTENTIONALITY and to support the continued interdependence between the local and planetary impact of Eternal Summer it has been important to be very PRESENT to the local programming and the amazing energy that people bring as a major life source that everyone benefits from more when there is less pressure to produce a "product" for wider consumption immediately. In other words the clarity is that keeping the in person project somewhat blurry is good! Look at these beautiful blurry people.
Similarly the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind ecology acknowledges that while Black Feminism centers the role of black women and black queer folks in transforming the world, the transformation that we are participating and the critiques and practices created in that process are necessary for all who would live holistically in a loving world. This is why the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind has and will continue to create spaces specifically inspired by and focused on the brilliance of black women and black queer people that are open as a space of study and worship for everyone who is ready to be inspired and transformed. I am especially excited about the merging of two favorite activities...the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist mind monthly potlucks and the Black Girls Rock series. In the first six months of the new year every monthly potluck will be a listening party and discussion about the brilliance of artists from Abbey Lincoln to Lauryn Hill. Also as a contination of the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survival School there will be biweekly poetic activities specifically for survivors of child abuse and parents intending to break cycles of violence in their families. The work of Nadya Lawson with Holding Our Own an initiative that is intentionally 60 percent women of color and 60 percent queer reflects my vision for diverse participation in the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind.
In addition to these ongoing programs that acknowledge the pricelessness of a Black Feminist approach for all people, there will be at least two programs that honor the intentionality and value of space that is more specifically and intentionally aligned. Based on the belief and the historical reality that spaces where black women and gender-defiant folks engage each other deeply and specifically open a space for radical healing and invite a powerful spirit of transformation into our communities. The historical example of the Black Feminist Retreats, which we learned more about last week from Barbara Smith and Cessie Alfonso and the contemporary brilliance of the Gumbo Yaya 12 week session on Sistering, Mothering and Daughtering here in Durham are more than proof of the value of intentional loving spaces for Black women as a gift for our whole communities. In that spirit I am excited to announce, far in advance Indigo Days a week of healing, building and visioning for black women (trans and cis) and genderqueer black healers to share their magic and affirm each other which will take place May 20-26th here in Durham. All of our diverse allies here in Durham are exuberantly invited to offer food, childcare and housing to make this event happen!
Another specific priority of Black feminism historically and need for our communities in the contemporary moment is space for diverse women and genderqueer people of color to build relationships with each other across shared oppression and important differences. This was the energy behind last year's Love Harder session and is part of the reason that this January's MotherOurselves Bootcamp (January 7-9), based on Audre Lorde's theory of learning to mother ourselves by addressing internalized oppression as it impacts our own spiritual expression and our relationships to other oppressed people, will be specifically for women (trans and cis) and genderqueer people of color. Again we will need and want the support of our diverse community in making sure we can have accessible space, food, childcare and housing so that all the women and genderqueer people of color who want to participate will be able to feel fully supported to attend.
And of course you are ALWAYS ALWAYS welcome to donate towards these experiences being free and freedom-producing for everyone!
or become an Eternal Summerian by donating monthly!
I am so excited about the coming year and the ongoing ETERNAL energy of transformation that we get to participate in together in this little piece of the world we want to see.
Infinite love and inspiration,
Lexp.s. so this is my clarified vision...what's yours? Participate in the activity here: http://combaheesurvival.wordpress.com/2008/10/04/1-vision-and-purpose/
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Last week at the Juneteenth Freedom Academy session on Palestine we started to write letters inspired by June Jordan's "Letter to My Friend" (available in this packet: Juneteenth Palestine Essays). Here is my letter. Looking forward to seeing you all at any of these upcoming Juneteenth Palestine events at the Inspiration Station. Feel free to post your own letters in the comments or email them to email@example.com.
Wednesday, November 3rd: STORYTIME FOR PALESTINE! Bring the whole family for an evening with Ellen O’Grady’s picture book “Outside the Ark“
Thursday, Nov. 4th: Session 2: Journeys Towards Solidarity (featuring Jodeen Olguin-Taylor and Bryan Proffit on their trip to Gaza)
Friday, Nov. 5th: Movie night: SLINGSHOT HIP HOP
Thursday Nov. 11th: Session 3: Because We Still Are Here (with possible telecast from Mai’a Williams in Cairo)
You were my best friend at Sundance preschool. I remember going to your house. I remember your going away party where most of the friends were from temple and my family was very visibly Black and my parents didn’t stay too long, but I insisted on staying with you, and the kids from temple and the parents who had a world that like all adult worlds was incomprehensible to me.
You taught me some words which I’m sure I forgot and then relearned from other jewish friends at other private liberal schools. But you were first. And you left to move “back” to Israel. I would not have known to call you a settler. But I could tell that you were on an adventure. You sent a letter once, with pictures in it, I think. I sent a letter too, all the way to a place I couldn’t imagine, and would never have known was only the age of my grandparents. It wouldn’t have registered. I thought places, like grandparents, were forever.
Nobody said that there was water poisoning and olive tree removal and armed forcing of people out of their homes that was happening to make room for families like yours to go “back.” Nobody in no private liberal school even to this day ever mentioned that there was a war the year after we were born where 60,000 people, some of them preschoolers like we were when we knew each other, were forced to leave where they lived so that families like yours could live there and feel safe and at home. I felt safe and at home when I was in preschool. I felt safe at your home in New Jersey.
I got the feeling that you were leaving because you would feel much more at home in Israel than you did in New Jersey with me. I didn’t know back then that there were some people who were not allowed to feel at home. I didn’t know about all the people, some of them my indigenous ancestors who had been pushed out of New Jersey. I didn’t know that the both the Caribbean islands that more of my ancestors came from used to be full of indigenous people who were made to disappear by the same ways and means that my ancestors were forced to live there.
I knew we had something in common. You were my friend. I didn’t know how much. Sometime later I learned in a young adult fiction book about the kibbutz. Collective work and living. It seemed very socialist, very Kwanzaa. I didn’t know back then either that the man who invented Kwanzaa had tied up some outspoken women in his organization to pipes in his basement and tortured them for being exactly the type of person I am, for speaking their minds.
I learned about the Kibbutz and it resonated and I thought not about pipes or poisoned water or smallpox blankets. I thought about you my friend Maya with deep eyes like mine. I imagined you peaceful and working and growing up and like me and working and responsible. I never thought of you when I heard people say “peace in the middle east” to mean goodbye on Arsenio Hall. It never occurred to me that you were part of a war.
I learned about driedls and latkas in elementary school. I played Hannukah games every year. In middle school I found the ofikomen at my friend Jessica’s family passover. I went with my almost completely Jewish seventh grade class to the Holocaust Museum in DC and cried. I saw a boy named Jared, the same name as my brother lose it on the bus and slam his hand against the window when we saw a man with a poster saying the holocaust was not real. How can people deny genocide, I thought. I was in Washington DC getting ready to visit the White House. How can people deny genocide, I thought. I knew that I was far from Aryan, I knew that many people of color and people who were any kind of different were murdered by the Nazi state. How can people deny genocide, I thought. I was looking at a big white house that I didn’t know was designed and built by enslaved people. I was not thinking about that. How can people deny genocide? I was not thinking about indigenous people from the land that I stood on at all.
I learned more and more Hebrew words in high school. I identified with a people who remembered that they had been enslaved and who remembered that God wanted them to be free. At the Passover services that I went to, there were quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. And my first year in college, my roommate Alyssa and I made the most beautiful blue and white hannukah decorations for our all-girls Ivy League dorm hallway where June Jordan used to go to school. Where Edward Said was teaching at the time. Lanterned dreidles, stars and candles.
I never heard Palestine mentioned in a classroom, but I saw orthodox Jewish men and younger students shouting at each other, deep in argument in the middle of campus one day the most passionate verbal arguing I had ever seen, right in the middle. I had no idea what they could be arguing about. I didn’t know that a Palestinian student would call my school the Zionist University of the United States. I didn’t know that years later, my friends and loved ones would be in a shouting match with men and women our age who believed that Israeli military forces could do whatever they wanted to people in Gaza and to anyone who dared to help them. I only knew about Zion as a place in the bible, and in the matrix and in a love song that Lauryn Hill wrote for her son. And then I saw an email about protesting the occupation of Palestine, and then right away, right right away an email that said there was no such place as Palestine and that if you looked in any atlas you would never find such a country.
I was shocked. I had assumed that Palestine was in eastern Europe because those were the countries that my middle school geography class no longer described correctly. I had no idea that Palestine was a place living in the hearts of thousands of displaced people. I had no idea that Palestine was a place denied so that a place called Israel could tell Jewish people that they had finally arrived home. Years of liberal education had given me no clue that there was such a place as Palestine. No literature class taught me that Mamoud Darwish, a Palestinian poet had said that possibly Palestine was a metaphor. I had no sense of Palestine as a history, as a critique or as a possibility as a secret and suppressed name for dignity and freedom. I had no idea, Maya, that you lived in Palestine.
I was yet to cry hearing Suheir Hammad, with a distinct Brooklyn June Jordan cadence read her poetry at the Poetry is Not a Luxury event in honor of Audre Lorde. I had not met my beloved sister comrades Nadia, a Palestinian woman from Detroit or Mai’a barred from Israel and living in Cairo. So now I am writing a letter, 24 years later to you, my best friend Maya, who moved to Palestine when we were little kids, in honor of you and of friendship and of the place, Palestine, where I could never address a letter to you. I don’t know where you live now, or what you call it. I don’t know if you are an Israeli peace activist, or if you have already served in the military and if you are one of the people who was proud when Israeli marines spoke out against the attacks on a flotilla sending aid to Gaza. I don’t know if you came back to the states to go to college or if you are in love or if you have lost someone or if you are a parent. I don’t know who you grew up to be or where you are now or what you believe.
I want you to know though, wherever you are, something important about who I have grown up to be. Like June Jordan who says she was born a black woman, “now I am become a Palestinian.” I always felt very peaceful around you, very loved and accepted, very much myself. I hope that we can be friends again soon.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Greetings Eternal Summer Family!
Last night was the kick-off of Juneteenth Palestine, a night school exploring June Jordan's actions and words in support of the fact that solidarity with Palestine and critique of the imperialism of the state of Israel was and is a Black feminist priority. This first night was about identifcation and solidarity. We brought our ancestors and loved ones into the room through a dedication exercise, meditated on June Jordan's "Moving Towards Home," where she declares "I was born a Black woman/and now I am become a Palestinian" and Suheir Hammad's meditation on "Black" in the preface to her collection Born Palestinian Born Black with collages, a BlackOutBodyBrainstorm, a telecast from anti-zionist Jewish organizer Tema Okun and a letter writing exercise based on June Jordan's "A Letter to My Friend." Experiencing the sincerity and brilliance of the folks in my living room was an honor and a true tribute to June Jordan's idea of Living Room as a global political vision of love. In honor of all displaced people here are some of our visions of living room...
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Eternal Summer means keeping it hot...This beautiful black booklet joins the legacy of Harlem Renaissance firebrands and the brilliant youth of SPARK reproductive justice (see firstname.lastname@example.org). It includes lust poems and polemics to/for/about black queer community and an essay on FLAMBOYANCE dedicated to Alexis DeVeaux and Gwendolyn Hardwick of the Flamboyant Ladies!
or just this link if it is easier: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-
p.s. oh and there's a matching podcast!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Want to participate! Send your own video about a book that you love to email@example.com to be featured in an upcoming episode. Or buy the books we mentioned for yourself of a loved one via charisbooksandmore.com OR buy email us at mobilehomecoming.wordpress.com to find out how to buy the books from charis for US to take on the road and distribute to our far flung community OR donate to the mobilehomecoming project at mobilehomecoming.wordpress.com/donate with the note "book money!"
Look out for episodes 2, 3, and 4 featuring Frances, Moya and L'erin coming soon!
lex and julia
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Some people be mad at us when we speak our truth, when we remember our realness, when we insist on the world that we all deserve.
Lucille Clifton reminds us to honor our memories and honor our truth anyway!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Dedicated to Pauline Ann McKenzie Day (aka Pajama) during her birthday weekend!
Lucille Clifton has a brilliant way of turning around the messages of fairy tales to reveal the complicated and often silenced perspectives of the women in the stories.
What fairy tale are you living in, and how can you revise it this week so that it truly reflects the complexity YOU bring to the planet!
Monday, October 04, 2010
It is officially Fall and the end of Gay Pride Season! The MobileHomecoming Project has allowed us to relate to PRIDE celebrations in the South with renewed intergenerational intentionality! I feel so present to my love for Black Queer community I hardly know what to do! Oh wait! Yes I do! Create a podcast and a new volume of the Little Black (Feminist) Book Series!
While you are folding laundry or recentering yourself for a revolutionary day take a listen to this podcast dedicated to our Black queer community and all of the complexity of our pride.
To order your own copy of the beautiful bright orange booklet FIRE (picture soon!) which includes the poem "ShapeShift", and the essay "Flamboyance" along with several other works inspired by my love for our brilliant black queer community email firstname.lastname@example.org or paypal 15 bucks (or more you if you can!) to email@example.com with the note FIRE! All proceeds benefit the ongoing work of the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Educational movement in Durham including the Queer Black Sunday School Series!
*Special thanks to the amazing hip hop producer composers whose work is featured here. I strongly encourage you all to take a listen to Jett I Masstyr's "Me and Phillis Forever" based on the beautiful voice of Phyllis Hyman and the Idle Warship Mixtape ad the Cali Fire Commission's beat-tape and the Stuyvesent's beat masterpiece all featured on this podcast.
To support the MobileHomeComing's ongoing relationship with Detroit visit mobilehomecoming.wordpress.com/donate
lex and juliap.s. lookout for the Detroit City podcast coming soon, featuring tracks from Stacey Hotwaxx Hale and thoughts from black queer Detroiters on how they are expressing their purposes
And here are our mini videos on Detroit so far:
"I am Detroit," Kalimah Johnson bursts into poem over dinner. "I love this city so much, you can't touch me." MobileHomeComing Interviewee, founder of Women of Color Take Back the Night, Kalimah has been creating space for for women of color survivors of sexual assault to reclaim their destinies. Like all of the MobileHomeComing Participants Kalimah's poetic brilliance, sincerity and ongoing creativity is an example of queer black intergenerational power to transform the world!
Dr. Kofi Adoma speaks!
Sunday, October 03, 2010
"I am alive and furious." We can be grateful that we have survived without sugar-coating the experience of our survival. Lucille Clifton certainly isn't sugar coating. This week...write about how it really is.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Be good to yourself. Be good to each other. What are the insights that unresolved hurtful experiences in your life are offering to your community right now in our journey of healing together and loving each other right?
To learn more about the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survival School see: www.blackfeministmind.wordpress.com/survival-school
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
What do you need to brush of your shoulders? Release!!!! Your healing and the healing of the planet are deeply intertwined.
lex (and lucille)
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
6pm on Thursday September 16th at the Inspiration Station!
In honor of my grandmother Lydia May Gibbs/Gumbs on her birthday, I invite you to an evening dedicated to writing and sharing poetry for and about our living, transcendent, given, chosen, grandmas, big mamas, nanas, ma dears, meemaws, abuelitas etc.
Bring a snack if you like and be ready to write!
Monday, September 13, 2010
What legacies haunt the places that you live and pass through? What are the voices of forgotten, erased and violated ancestors teaching you today?
To learn more about the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survival School visit: www.blackfeministmind.wordpress.com/survival-school
To view earlier rebirth broadcasts see:
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
after Lucille Clifton’s “Crazy Horse Names His Daughter”
for Assata Goff
call down the name freedom call
up the spirit of no matter what now call
your shared name liberation veins steel will
fierce focus shielding sacred smile laugh
your own name radiant as cuba
laugh your yawning name into language laugh
in the face of any power that does not know you laugh
to save life from leaning and falling over laugh
planting yes between sidewalk cracks up mural walls
and we will sing your grace walk like we know laugh
earned and eternal when we speak
Assata is here
Monday, September 06, 2010
This week our Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter assignment is to cast names of powerful people in our lives and in our history into the future and to create a ritual or list of naming that describes the energy in the names of the children in your family, life or community.
To see all the Lucille Clifton Rebirth Broadcasts see http://blackfeministmind.wordpress.com/category/shapeshifting/
And to learn more about the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survival School and the upcoming Everett Anderson Storytime week see: blackfeministmind.wordpress.com/survival-school
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Take home message: ableism denies and perpetuates trauma. In this poem Lucille Clifton breaks down traditional definitions of autism and reminds us that every way we experience the world is poetic, and necessary for the end of oppression...i.e. the transformation we deserve.
For more info about the Lucille Clifton Shape Shifter Survival School of End Cycles of Child Sexual Abuse see:
Sunday, August 22, 2010
(Jewelle Gomez and her Nana, photo by Ann Chapman)
Reconnect with the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Potluck Series on September 2nd at 6pm at the Inspiration Station. We will be discussing Jewelle Gomez's "Because Silence is Costly" and discussing what it means for us to speak up intergenerationally and in community.
You can download the reading here: "Because Silence is Costly"
Bring a dish and a friend if you can and your brilliant eternal mind.
to see all of the Rebirth Broadcasts to go blackfeministmind.wordpress.com/category/shapeshifting.
and to find out more about the upcoming activities of the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survival School visit
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Dedicated to the man who didn’t want to let me into the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library
all beware the bright black girl
she who papercuts her heart
she who favor sliced to art
she who sells her soul to need
she who speaks and dares to read
look out, she approaches now
all beware the bright black girl
look how she approaches now
hair untaught, her hands unfurled
laugh uncaught like this her world
dare she look me in my eye
dare she tell me who I am
devil test my waning strength
look how she approaches now
devil test my waning strength
in my age I cannot bear
fertile rage the brazen heir
what god offers such a flame
Lorde, who justifies her claim
save me from her growing name
lest she sense my waning strength
save me from her growing name
build with me a wall of forms
pierce her skin with darted norms
someone rapture her away
someone capture her today
maintain my shame, at least delay
save me from her growing name
maintain my shame, at least delay
what her face must signify
she whose people sing and fly
painting life into their season
please encase me in my reason
(shit!) protect me from her
i was waiting for this day
protect me from her freedom
hungry ghosts trail behind her
high day song squeals deep inside her
look how savage lust provides her with
everything she needs
oh please protect me from her freedom
everything she reads
feeds needs unspoken
breeds youth unbroken
white god you joking do not let her look at me
uncouth truth watch her bleed out
everything we need
oh beware the black bright girl
impervious to hate and death
inhaling like this her first breath
multitudes astride her hair
avert your gazes if you dare
how her walk will swift unsuit you
lightning in her eyes seduce you
til there’s nothing else you can do
-Alexis Pauline Gumbs 2009
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Because. Because. Because. YOU ARE UNSTOPPABLE!
To see earlier videos visit:
and to SIGN UP for the ShapeShifter Survival School visit :
Sunday, August 08, 2010
Pronounce the shape of an unsafe life. Look at yourself in the mirror.
and don't forget, this is the last week to sign up for the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survival School.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
This Bridge Called My Baby: Legacies of Radical Motheringhttp://thisbridgecalledmybaby.
"We can learn to mother ourselves." Audre Lorde, 1983
All mothers have the potential to be revolutionary. Some mothers stand on the shoreline, are born and reborn here, inside the flux of time and space, overcoming the traumatic repetition of oppression. Our very existence is disobedience to the powers that be.
At times, in moments, we as mothers choose to stand in a zone of claimed risk and fierce transformation, the frontline. In infinite ways, both practiced and yet to be imagined, we put our bodies between the violent repetition of the norm and the future we already deserve, exactly because our children deserve it too. We make this choice for many reasons and in different contexts, but at the core we have this in common: we refuse to obey. We refuse to give into fear. We insist on joy no matter what and by every means necessary and possible.
In this anthology we are exploring how we are informed by and participating with those mothers, especially radical women of color, who have sought for decades, if not centuries, to create relationships to each other, transformative relationships to feminism and a transnational anti-imperialist literary, cultural and everyday practice.
"We don't want a space where kids feel that only adults can imagine ways to strengthen our communities and protect ourselves against the Architects of Despair," Sora said, "and we don't want adults to feel that either. We want to create a space where all of our imaginations help each other grow; but we realize that kids might get bored from sitting still the way that adults tend to do, so we set up the play room with toys and games." Regeneracion Childcare Collective 2007
Sometimes for radical mamas, our mothering in radical community makes visible the huge gulfs between communities, between parents and non-parents, in class and other privileges AND most importantly the wide gulf between what we say in activist communities and what we actually do. Radical mothering is the imperative to build bridges that allow us to relate across these very real barriers. For and by radical mother of color, but also inclusive of other working class, marginalized, low income, no income radical mothers.
"Parenting and being a role model to kids in your community is important because they will be the activists of tomorrow. And they will be our gardeners and mothers and bakers. They will question our generation, they'll write their own history, create new forms of art and media." -Noemi Martinez 2009
We find the idea of the "bridge" useful because we believe that the radical practice of mothering is at once a practical and visionary relationship to the future IN the PRESENT, a bridge within time that can inspire us to relate to each other intentionally across generation and space. We also acknowledge the not-so-radical default bridge function of marginalized mother in society. How our children in particular get walked all over in terms of public policy that criminalizes our mothering and movement spaces that claim to be creating a transformed future without being fully accountable to parents or kids.
"I came into the Third World Women’s Caucus when it was well under way. The women there were discussing the caucus resolution to be presented to the general conference. There were Asian women, Latin women, Native Women and Afro-American women. The discussion when I came in was around the controversial issue of motherhood and how the wording of the resolution could best reflect the feelings of those present. It was especially heartening to hear other women affirm that not only should lesbian mothers be supported but that all third world women lesbians share in the responsibility for the care and nurturing of the children of individual lesbians of color...Another woman reminded us of the commitment we must take to each other when she said ‘All children (of lesbians) are ours." -Doc in Off Our Backs 1979
We see this book as a continuation of the accountability invoking movement midwifing work of the 1981 anthology This Bridge Called My Back in that it:
a. is the work of writers who see their writing as part of a mothering practice, as not career, but calling and who believe that their writing, and their every creative practice has a strategic role in transforming the possible world.
b. contextualizes contemporary radical mama practices in relationship to socialist and lesbian mothering practices experimented with and practiced in the 1970’s by writers including Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Adrienne Rich, Third World Lesbians conference, Salsa Soul Sisters, Sisterhood of Black Single Mothers
c. seeks to speak to those who participated in that earlier practice and who have been informed by it as a primary audience, and to connect those who have not have access to that work to it
We invite submissions including but not limited to the following possibilities:
*Manifestas, group poems, letters, mission statements from your crew of radical mamas or an amazing group from history
*Letters, poems, transcribed phone calls between radical mamas supporting each other
*Accounts of your experience as a radical mama
*Reflections on enacting radical mamacity at different ages
*Motivations for/obstacles in your practice of radical mothering
*Conversations with your kids
*Rants and rages via the eloquence of a mother-wronged
*Your experience of radical grandmothering
*Self-interviews, interviews with other mamis
*Ending child sexual abuse
*Mothering as survivors (survival and mothering)
*Mothering with and without models
*Mothering and domination
*Mama to-do lists
*Overcoming shame and silence in the practice of radical mothering
*Sharing your stories from where you live
Please send submissions via email to
or via snail mail to
P.O. Box 4803 Baltimore Maryland 21211
by April 1, 2011.
Sunday, August 01, 2010
what light is coming to you this summer? what signs are you receiving to tap into your inner divinity for change?
(and see earlier broadcasts at blackfeministmind.wordpress.com/category/shapeshifting)
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
August 1 · 5:00pm - 8:30pm
|The Eleanor at Rigsbee|
204 Rigsbee Ave. #201
*this event is a fundraiser for the MobileHomeComing Project a queer Black multi-media experiential archive project. Please bring a love offering if you can!
Monday, July 26, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Juneteenth Freedom Academy
Apply for Juneteenth Freedom Academy Unit 1: ANGRY LETTERS AND PROTEST POEMS here:http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CWWYZ3N
During theJuneteenth Freedom Academyparticipants break bread during weekly night school sessions that deeply engage and build on the work of June Jordan as transmitted through the committed (obsessive) research of Alexis Pauline Gumbs on the angry, letters, protest poems, solidarity politics and teaching practices of the visionary badass June Jordan. Participants will also get coursepacks with some exclusive and unpublished materials on/by Jordan and will apply what they learn of Jordan’s methodology to pressing community issues. Participants can choose to participate in one 3 week semester or the entire process. Everyone who completes an application and can attend each session is admitted!!!
Want to donate to the Juneteenth Freedom Academy? Name a scholarship? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details!!!!
Unit 1: Angry Letters and Protest Poems:
6pm-9pm at the Inspiration Station on August 18th, 25th and September 1st
June Jordan is described by many of her editors, publishers and colleagues as “difficult” because of the intense anger at all forms of oppression that she expressed in her writing. This course is based on the belief that our anger can be powerful and poetic when we channel in the service of creating the world that our communities deserve! During this course we will explore some of Jordan’s angriest and most impactful open letters, unpublished letters and poems and write our own protest poetry, and open letters that transform the world!!!!
Apply here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CWWYZ3N
Unit 2: Free Palestine
6pm-9pm at the Inspiration Station on Thursday November 4th, 11th and 18th
During her lifetime June Jordan worked in solidarity with Arab-American women towards the vision of a free Palestine and in protest of the media mis-representation of the occupation of Palestine and Zionist imperialism. This unit of the Juneteenth Freedom Academy allows participants to engage in indepth study of Jordan’s poems, speeches, writings and letters on occupied Palestine and the 1980′s conflict in Lebanon, and learn about local solidarity efforts against the 60 year occupation of Palestine as part of a local strategy for solidarity towards the end of imperialism and towards the self-determination of all oppressed people.
Unit 3: Dedication
6pm-9pm at the Inspiration Station on Wednesdays Dec 1, 8th and 15th
Poem for the Poet Alexis De Veaux, Poem for Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, Poem for Nana, Poem for Daniel Pretty Moynihan, Poem for All the People in Lebanon. Over and over again June Jordan wrote poems for specific individuals and groups of people, and in her act of dedication modeled a possible revolutionary or critical relationship to love and solidarity. In this unit of the Juneteenth Freedom Academy, just in time for the gifting season for many traditions, we will study Jordan’s “Poems For…” and create our own revolutionary dedicated poems for the people in our lives, our communities and people we stand in solidarity with.
Unit 4: Experimental and Hopeful Society (on Teaching)
Summer 2011: specific dates to be determined with visionary teachers in and around Durham, NC
June Jordan, creator of the Poetry for the People curriculum and facilitator of numerous poetry programs for all ages of children and adults thought of the classroom space as an “Experimental and Hopeful Society.” For those of us teaching in a variety of liberatory and constricted settings this is a space to learn from Jordan’s syllabi, and her philosophies on teaching while supporting each other to develop strategies for an experimental and hopeful approach in our own teaching settings everyday!
And don’t forget to sign up for the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Poetry Intensive: http://blackfeministmind.wordpress.com/survival-school/
(and let me know if you want to support by cooking a dish, hanging out with the young revolutionaries , or donating photocopies or moola!)
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
may I never forget
the warning of my woman's flesh
weeping at the new moon
may I never lose that terror
that keeps me brave
May I owe nothing
that I cannot repay.
-from "Solstice" by Audre Lorde
As I write this I am terrified. Early morning clarity has me too present to reality to breathe easily, despite the ocean next to me, despite an hour and a half of attempting deep breaths.
I am terrified because we live in a world where police burst in on little girls and kill them, where juries believe that fearing unarmed Black men is always justified if you are a cop, where cops think tasers and guns can protect them from the karmic weight of their impact on our doom (look what fear does), where the demolition of the Duke Lacrosse Team's house in Durham provides an excuse for racist privileged people must want the right to rape and get away with it to attack survivors of sexual assault for speaking out. I am terrified because a month ago my partner jumped from our moving RV to escape someone desperate enough to threaten her. I am terrified because a week ago friends of ours were attacked by a group of homophobic (look what fear does to us) boys for being "two men laying on a picnic blanket," and held at gunpoint. I am terrified because we don't yet have ways of addressing any of this that don't produce more fear, more desperation and ultimately more violence.
But I am also grateful to each of you who keep me brave. I am grateful to have you as catalysts to turn my panic attacks into poetry. I am grateful to my sisters in UBUNTU for gathering to speak up, speak out and support each other at a moments notice yesterday in Durham. I am grateful for Moya B. and the twitter brigade for bringing the energy of healing and dialogue to the Oscar Grant verdict responses, and for Bea, Allette, Maceo and crew for showing up to realign the energy in person. I am grateful to Ron Scott and the Heal Detroit Coalition for standing for holistic responses to police violence against oppressed communities. I am grateful to Josh, who even after being held at gunpoint maintained an institutional critique and spoke eloquently about the impact of spiritual violence and churchgrown homophobia on all of our lives. I am grateful to Julia for continuing to unstoppably wake up everyday ready to transform the world with me.
How does terror keep us brave? Terror keeps me brave in the priceless form of you, who survive, in my chance to participate in the shape of your survival, in the unabated possibility for loving in these of all circumstances. I would not want to be numb to the horror of violence as it appears in our lives. It is clear to me that all of this violence is unnatural, direct results of systems of oppression. It is clear to me that those who export terror, and try to pretend it comes from outside of the US are using fear to blind themselves and others. Those who war against terror deny its source. Terror is the reverb life of violence in our bodies, hearts and minds, the shouting of our spirits against that which does NOT honor life. I do not want to lose this terror until the oppression that causes it is over and done with and out of our lives. And even then, I will remember how much I love you and keep creating rituals that affirm our worth and our love and our pricelessness beyond fear.
These past three weeks I have been preparing for the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survival School with Rebirth broadcasts (thanks for the shout out Safire!)
that highlight how Clifton's poetry reminds of key skills for times of terror especially for those of us who are survivors of the many forms of violence that an oppressive society produces (click the links to see the videos)
1. Celebrate Our Survival
2. Bless Ourselves and Each Other
3. Assemble Our Ancestral Amazons
I invite you to explore the bravery of your terror and the transformation it requires. What are the warnings of your flesh? What is the terror that keeps you brave? Join the discussion here: http://quirkyblackgirls.ning.
Visit Quirky Black Girls at: http://quirkyblackgirls.ning.