a poem, then 50 questions

here's the first poem i've written in a while - can't vouch for its quality, its an emotional 
outburst:

poems say i have forgotten how to write poems
what could you tell me of a poem in this world where the air is toxic and the water is toxic
but children have been brought back to play

i don't know pretty ways to say the water was over the houses
boats were chained and people drowned and the smell of death does not dissapate and
i'm too young to recognize it so quickly but then this is the second city i've seen collapse

and when i meet survivors i feel pathetic because i am so just barely not weeping
and i make charts
and they have walls black and soggy from the sludge which came in the night from canals,
industrial canal, from rivers where water was an enemy but
we made plans

we made plans even though people were still missing and
to be honest finding people only illuminates the losses but what do i know?
they're all smiling and even i can think of something funny
and how could i? and how could i not?

then we drove the streets where the ground was covered
in the dried water of, in the dirt of, in the detritus of -
god, god it was everywhere, it is everywhere
and i can't get clean
and when i next stood in scalding water
i couldn't remember what i did
and why i didn't come and get people

i resolve again that we must learn to save each other we must
free people's minds so they can save themselves but who knows
how to do that
i've never felt my stomach so tender for so long
that tumultuous stranger's grief
learning to read the code on the buildings

2 cats, kittens under house, 4 dogs
parakeet, child recovered
no one found, 1, 2 and 4 people

when i sleep i have nightmares
water coming in the dark and no way out
water coming in the middle of the night
the water line on my face
waking up to the sound of water all around
water already too high to drive through
water comes in my dreams and coats me
comes in my eyes and ears and coats me
my throat and tongue and fills my lungs and

i am always somebody's only child
i am a mother, i have lived in this house
this has been my home since world war ii and
i own it and i am not leaving it
not at gunpoint,
not to go to no where, or somewhere cold -
i've seen wind and i've seen water
and i've seen your kind so leave me be
i won't leave
not to never come home

i am a mayor who speaks like a brimstone pastor
but acts like a fish on the shore
i am guilty and i am blameless
i am a politician and i don't know how to do anything
only speak, only dream
i cry, but only in the bathroom and alone

i am a child, swimming towards the superdome
i am a child and i know i can't handle what i am seeing
and what i see is death in every direction
and what i see i my mother taken by men who are not my father
and my father taken by time and heroism and stubbornness and the water

dear god i am scared of these ghosts
floating spirits up from broken homes
smiling, bitter
we knew this would happen
we knew it was possible that - given a chance
you would leave us to die
leave anyone
leave us black people who own our homes on land you want
and we won't go, not till god takes us
you won't be free of us,
the air is thick with our suffering

you would leave us poor white people
who have always been here and
we don't have shit
and we've never had shit
and we aren't scared

we are your day laborers
we are your maids and we can give you a roof
and we can give you signs of life but
some of us, if you must know
before any storms came
because of the way you let life fall so heavy on us
we are vacant
we are hopeless
we aren't lovely, we are looters
we aren't saviors, we stink
can you love us, can you listen to us?
we know you saw us, we know your hearts broke

and if you think we will give it all up go on, break our hearts again
bulldoze our world and pile it up and take it away
rebuild, higher, better, more sturdy
the land isn't meant for you, it will break you too

but you cannot break us
we'll go kicking and screaming and when its safe we'll creep back in the night
and you who never loved us
you who never loved this
you won't understand why we stay and die, why we come back and fight

but you who see us, do not forget
do not forget what was done to us
do not forget this is our home
do not forget you are us and we are you
do not forget you saw it and you were moved
you cried for us
you watched it all
and we far flung are just stars burning
it may take us light years
till the scent of explosion is gone and
we may fall through the dark
we may not know how to do it the right way, returning
you might not want it
you might not allow it
you might even build walls designed to keep us out
levees high enough to stop the flood of returning
legislate the right of return, the right to our homes and
we may not feel the pull anymore, of that orbit of ours
that new orleans of old
that criminal scandalous beautiful laughing horn blowing new orleans
but those are our homes in that dirt
those are our beloveds in those tombs
that is our city
and we left solemnly for this funeral
but we will come back in celebration, dancing
preceded by magic everywhere

and we will not forget our way home

and now 50 questions, a compilation of questions from different places like inside the
actor's studio and the all-about-you email and vanity fair....just cause!

1. What is your full name? adrienne maree brown
2. What color pants are you wearing? slate gray, or grey - my preferred spelling of that color.
wonderful tight biz-cas pants i wear too often which my sister april gave to me because she
is now a marathon runner and much smaller
3. What are you listening to right now? Etta James
4. What was the last thing you ate? zen palate sweet and sour sensation and taro spring rolls
5. Do you wish on stars? in ny, that's a rare sighting. elsewhere, desperately. i specifically
wish that if anyone else is out there that they come visit and help us with some large scale
conflict resolution and evolution issues we're facing, planetarily.
6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? oh something very solid and bright, a
deep turquoise? fantastic fuschia?
7. How is the weather right now? ny fall, chilly and gray and very sexy layer weather. the
season of evans richardson.
8. Last person you spoke to on the phone? my sister autumn, who is very cool. no actually
hobbes from oakland. or - actually it was a conference call with up4democracy about new
orleans network folks
9. Do you like the person who sent this to you? i like all the 400 billion people i have
received things like this from over the course
of my email experiences
11. What is your favorite drink?  whiskey
12. Favorite sport? is hottubbing a sport? i am sooo good at that...swimming, scuba diving,
anything in water
13. What is your hair color? it's back to natural now, very dark brown
14. Do you wear contacts? nope. never even tried them. its on the list after joining a gym
so...maybe when i'm 30?
15. Siblings? two gorgeous stunning brilliant amazing women, april nicole the marathon
running photo-journalist family oriented one who lives in south carolina where she is dating
a big defensive end on the USC football team (thats not him in the picture, he black!); and
autumn meghan the early christian religion and greek reading professora-to-be actress-organizer
who lives at 107th and manhattan and dates a hottie hippy from minnesota.

April_in_dressDsc00670















16. Favorite month? Any month when I'm on vacation.
17. Favorite food? Thai, generally, and Lebna, specifically today
18. What was the last movie you saw? two documentaries - word on the street by ny-la
hottie asif ullah, and stigma by ny-miami hottie tchaiko omawale.
19. Favorite day of the year? christmas with my family. santa still visits, though we are all
over 20 now, and we all give each other sweet sentimental thoughtful gifts, which ends up
becoming a present war between my two still deeply-in-love parenst, and then we eat
orange sweet rolls, my mama cooks a bangin meal and we spend the whole day just giving
each other love and watching our new movies and dancing together and being together
20. What do you do to vent anger? um...do you mean how big is the phatty i smoke?
just kidding, i take a pleasure moment to relieve stress. usually by the end i've forgotten
the stress completely.
21. What was your favorite toy as a child? i don't remember specific toys - i liked coloring
and drawing - still do. and i liked to come up with very intricate dialogues while doing the
dishes after dinner - i'd play out both parts of a romantic spat
22. Summer or winter?  summer
23. Hugs or kisses?  kisses, i love and love and love kisses, really good hot kisses
24. Chocolate or vanilla? Dark chocolate
25. Do you want your friends to e-mail you back? no, this is a selfish endeavor
26.Who is most likely to respond? no one?
27. Who is least likely to respond? no one?
28. Who is the friend you have had the longest? other than my family who are my road dawgs?
sofia
29. What did you do last night?  got home from new orleans, cried for a second on sofia's
shoulder, then vegged out to t.v. while sofia and her housemates rearranged the house so
their landlord could come see it and not think three people lived there. i think they overdid it,
but i had also sipped tequila out of a water bottle the whole plane ride  home and didn't feel
like weighing in on the matter...then went home and slept so hard and dreamt no dreams.
30. What are you afraid of? power hungry people
31. Plain, buttered or salted popcorn? Buttered and salted
32. Favorite car? no car, but HYBRIDS all the way
33. Favorite flower? bamboo, spider plants. shit that's REALLY hard to kill.
34. Number of keys on your key ring? 3. that's 3 too many. i hate keys, and feel much envy
for folks who live in places where they can leave their doors unlocked.
35. How many years at your current job? damn, two i guess!
36. Favorite day of the week? friday night, in my own bed.
37. What did you do on your last birthday? i went to the turkish baths, got a massage, then had
a small dinner with close friends. it was my first year in a while not doing a big party and it
was a massive relief not to have to think of making a great party for others.
38. How many states have you lived in? 6
39. How many cities/homes have you lived in? i keep losing count around 19, my memory
isn't the best one anyone ever had.
40. favorite indulgence? getting rubbed on by professionals, and cab rides when i return
from a long trip
41. favorite curseword? fuck.
42. what turns you on? generous and really smart people with really great senses of
humor, politics and style who aren't easily charmed but are physically and intellectually
interested in pleasure and alternative forms of intimacy...alternate from a straight up boyfriend
girlfriend marriage baby path. people who don't get jealous.
43. what turns you off? ignorance in any form, folks who think they own me, jealousy,
people who like me (so ignant, i like the crush and pursuit but then i get horribly bored),
people who fumble about my body with no skills, pessimists and...ooh people who are totally
self-absorbed! lol...
44. where were you happiest? in the south pacific with my parents and sisters and my dog
Sugarfoot, swimming and diving everyday, with internet access and plenty of journals to write
in all day, and only biking on the island, and dolphins and the sun rising in my backyard over
the ocean.
45. have you ever been in love? desperately. four times now i've cried desperately over
the loss of my future babies with someone which i suppose is my marker for love. each time i
realize it wasn't really love before, because this is so much more horrifically painful...the babies
thing, this may change drastically as i am currently unconvinced this world is good enough for
babies.
46. favorite position? doggy, hair pulled, someone breathing in my ear
47. who do you look up to? survivors who remember how to laugh, malcolm and ella baker,
people who break through to new territory on the environment like andy lipkis
48. who do you detest? no one. i find hatred a lowly exhausting and petty emotion. i'll add
hate to my turn-off list.
49. who do you love? my family, which includes my dearest friends
50. if you were to come back as a person place or thing, what would it be? water - drinkable,
livable and plentiful water. an endless well, a summer storm, coming and going, prayed for
and a blessing.

Author: Adrienne

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Your uprising against the forces of darkness has got to do more than say "no." A fierce, primal yes should be at the heart of your crusade. (rob brezny, long ago)

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