Monthly Archive for December, 2017

2017: a review in tattoos

i got seven tattoos this year. a lucky number, and a way to understand what i committed to in 2017.

i cast liberation spells down my arms – “all that you touch you change, all that you change changes you, the only lasting truth is change, god is change”, and “the only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion”.

butler and camus. i am in a lineage of writer warriors.

i got a black band around my left arm, my heart arm, for my commitment to black liberation.

i got four creatures on my body, emergent strategy teachers.

unapologetically big, gentle, familial, communal, fiercely defensive creatures on my arms: my cow, my elephant.

under my right ear, my octopus, an alien-on-earth teaching me to hold a lot easily with many arms and be flexible for the sake of freedom.

under my left ear, a turtle telling me slower, slower, even slower.

grateful to Vanessa Reynolds for these body transformations. already scheming on 2018 ink and commitments.

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prayer for Erica Garner

i can’t tell you to stay here in this life with all that you have witnessed, all that has been taken from you, denied to you.

what was yours/taken: your father, justice, your skin as haven, the ease of holding your newborn child.

it’s so heavy to carry that love. your heart is not weak but it is heavy and we all know only pieces of that weight and we all carry pieces of that burden.

i cannot tell you to stay here. i just want to say thank you out loud while you breathe. you have been ferocious in this life, chosen the steepest path of grief, the one that will not rest.

some way you need to rest now.
if you come home, we await you.
if you go home, we release you.
with this black breath, we honor you.

solstice

whisper near a lit candle. when you finish, blow it out

i am grateful for the dark.
i am grateful for the black.
i am grateful for the shadow.
i am grateful for the fear.
i am grateful to still feel the future.
i am grateful for my rage.
i am grateful i can forgive.
i am grateful for each mistake.
i am grateful for the ancestors i’ll never know, only feel.
i am grateful for the ancestors i am claiming in the void left by colonialism.
i am grateful for my new ancestors, even as i weep.
(i can still smell your perfume and powder on my child skin, thank you.)
i am grateful for the long night.
i am grateful for this long sleep.
i am grateful for quiet dreams.
i am grateful for doors pulled but not shut.
i am grateful for those who show me their wounds when they see mine.
i am grateful for those who change through making, grow through listening.
i am grateful for private outbursts and offers of love, let’s not perform anymore.
i am grateful to be heard, even if i am not understood.
i am grateful for good work.
i am grateful for the smallest things.
the smallest, darkest things.

ps. my name means the dark one.

movements x exhaustion

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#sundayspread on the relationship between movements and exhaustion. (this read stunned me, I hope it will be of service)

what we bring? reversed traveler of knives: “emotions muddling your ability to think rationally and communicate clearly, or the inhibition of emotional intelligence by an over-reliance on logic, or alternating between the two.”

what exhaustion is bringing/saying, reversed visionary of branches: “finding inspiration in unexpected places. making one last push before your work is completed.” just a bit further…

the composite energy is reversed two of vessels: “conflict or blocked communication with a friend/lover/coworker. overwhelmed by emotions about someone, unable to see them or the situation clearly.”

the next step? six of knives. “pack light. release. prepare for departure. leave behind what you cannot carry. you’re in a period of transition. embark on a new journey. when you struggle to trust your own sense of direction, know that you have support. your grief can be transformative. recognize that a departure from a stagnant space means an opportunity to arrive at new places that sustain your growth. be patient with the future, it will reveal itself slowly. for now though, it’s time to wash your hands of a bad situation that’s been draining your resources. gather your energy back for yourself, and get ready to doing it ahead of you like an arrow.”

from @slowholler deck

earthseed poem

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the compass spins around
north becomes south,
becomes simply the horizon
the direction that matters is forward
we conjure from the darkness
a future orientation of the people
moving like firstlight, touching everyone
moving like water
weeping and crashing through mountains
nothing is permanent
“to shape god
shape self”
our destiny is to “take root amongst the stars”.
where do you think earth is?
root.

#earthseed #octaviabutler

ode to Tarana Burke

i hope you feel the black joy, and woman joy, and human joy
our species is writhing free of an old shape
and celebrating you, goddess
griot of your own survival stories
ground for a swell of truth
standing next to you we transform our shame into a spotlight:
here is the wound
and we are the healers
thank you for putting seed in the dirt
now the bloom is blood red
we reclaim our right to be wild
to be whole
to be here
we are not the error,
we are the unveiling

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Bitch 50

y’all…

i’ve been writing for Bitch magazine for the past year and it’s been such an incredible exploration. and i respect the team and the political stance they’re holding so much.

so it was a huge honor to discover this week that i was named as one of the first ever Bitch 50!!!!

“The Bitch 50 recognizes the most impactful creators, artists, and activists in pop culture whose imaginations extend beyond normalizing and affirming the same mainstream messages. The Bitch 50 have utilized their creative or political power to further advance visibility, equality, or access for marginal folks—especially LGBTQ communities of color.

We honor those who have taken risks in their work that push us closer to progress—a world where more LGBTQ people are in leadership and decision-making positions, democracy is a practice not a hope, and racial inclusion is a basic start instead of a goal. The Bitch 50 highlights the firsts and the pioneers; the people who created a ripple or a path from the margins to the center. We looked at cultural work that generated exciting possibilities for expressing identity, power, gender, sexuality, and relationships—work that intentionally focused on freeing others.”

there’s so many people i look up to on this list – Tarana Burke, Amita Swadhin, Lena Waithe, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah…and then star people like Ava, Oprah, Shonda. first name people. and then!! Beyoncé and Rihanna. mmhmm.

this ain’t some every day kind of list…as a facilitator i’m generally not on lists anywhere and that’s fine, AND this is thrilling for me. check it out.

loving the people like Fred Hampton

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“i’m going to live for the people
because i love the people”
– Fred Hampton

lately everything has been changing fast
and we are reminded, in case we forgot,
that our blood is sacred
that it might be required
for the spell, the strategy, the next move
we are called extremists for our love
of ourselves
of our people
of our humanity

it is not enough to articulate
a radical politic
we have to declare a warrior nature
we have to embody yes-to-the-mystery
for, knowing nothing about our deaths,
we must promise to give our lives
to the future
to the children
to strangers with our skin

and maybe it isn’t your last breath
that is most needed right now
but, for the people, would you change?
for the people, would you apologize? forgive?
for the people, would you be honest?
for the people, would you learn, and learn?
– not for me
not for you
but for all of us?

because if you refuse to change
to look within and seek yourself out
your freest self, and your systemic self
your self which is imperfect and must grow
your harmed self who causes harm
your heartbroken self, and your resilient self
how can i trust your blood
how can i trust your work
how can i trust your love?

we do not survive when we live for ourselves
when we die our truths are forgotten
held in no heart, at most a legend
part of no wholeness, tender in no memory
when we live for the people
we never die, seeded so deeply in each other
love yourself, and the people
give your life for the people
give yourself to the people

bears ears, grand staircase, a bargaining spell

great life of the universe,
which only changes and changes,
help us learn to love you again
let us flood with gravity
so that our words cannot be ignored
for we must make sure everyone knows
it is not too late
but it is almost too late

help us stop tearing ourselves apart
with knives, laughter, and violation
stop all this rape and rape and rape
let us learn this mistake
we do not know how to do this at scale
at the velocity you are running
we are humbled
we have been so deeply humbled

I put my neck to the dust
blade to the beat
what I mean is we surrender
we have nothing but everything to lose
the mountains are shuddering in terror
can’t you feel them
tell me you can feel them
tell me you still feel us

universe we are not dead yet
we are caught in a web
spun like a veil
spun like a sticky white sugar
all we want is tomorrow
even if nothing real makes it
we think we think we think
it’s ridiculous

great life of the universe
I grovel alongside so many
who love you so dearly
we come begging miracles
with empty hands and bellies
we’re the worst, the very worst
and yet, a brief moment of our love
brings a purpose as great as you

make us brave
make us brave
make us brave

let us grow
let us grow
let us grow

– cast backwards at last night’s moon

one liners for the full moon

a. one liners and
b. conclusions

a. if i can’t feel what you love, i don’t care what you hate.

b. let love lead, and let it show. realize that ‘hate’ is another way of saying ‘lost’.

*

a. if i can’t see what you are creating, i’m not interested in watching you destroy.

b. creating is the hardest work.
creating when you could destroy is a sign of maturity at any age.
without the creative thrust, destruction is jealousy, grudge or bitterness in action, immaturity unleashed.
the creative only destroys in order make new, to repurpose what is into what will be, or when the new is bursting out of the old.
focus on creating.

*

a. we must practice turning away from the destroyers.

b. if our mouths water at each other’s destruction, we are becoming cannibals. human flesh makes humans sick. imagine what consuming human dignity, joy, freedom and spirit does.

*

a. if you tell a story without the mess and failures, the iterations, i don’t trust the success and lessons.

b. you are nothing pure except human. neither/so am i.

*

a. if you hide your mistakes, you’ll never be known.

b. perfection is impossible. projecting perfection is impossibly lonely.

*

a. everyone makes mistakes – what matters are the steps you take to learn the lessons.

b. be humble/d, laugh, own your shit, stay in your dignity, make new mistakes.

*

a. don’t come for healing under the cloak of love…bring healing in the light of love.

b. be honest: you need love, and the only way to get to it is to love.

*

a. don’t be a love tap, be a love river.

b. stingy love leaves scars. flow towards me, or flow away.

*

a. you are not in control, you are in collaboration.

b. release your plans, but not your responsibility. shape change, your fingerprints are on the future.

*

a. you are the only one who will ever get to love yourself from the inside out.

b. be especially generous with loving the parts of yourself no one else knows.

*

a. we must remember ourselves, remember our original shapes before all the wounds distorted our divinity.

b. we are the cells of god.