we are no longer surprised

we are no longer surprised
not for years
not for generations

you have tried every which way
to strip us of the miraculous
to slice it from us, the future
to leave us without the womb
into which a next world can be born

you want to cover the sky
deny us the sun
we see you casting smoke against our visions
still we feel our way
you slick shit waste oil into our veins
we drag it all the way down and turn it into algae
eaten by, eaten by, eaten by the
market rate fish you overpaid for
back, back all the way into your throat
and you think it’s delicious

you have no idea
what it takes to protect magic
yours was damaged centuries ago
you think it is gone
we know it is not
you are just settling for the smallest
shortest version of delight
the bloody meal in your hands
while we set a decadent table
for our children

listen
you will never, ever, ever disappear us
we are beyond borders, categories,
names you mispronounce trying to steal them
for your streets and creeks
we are beyond your bars, walls, and limitations

listen
you will never, ever, ever erase us
we are known to the roots of the trees
loved by the sediment which listens
to the stories our cells tell as they
slough off our corpses

listen
you will never, ever, ever best us
we don’t retire when we die,
we come back to keep you hungry
when you’re so rich you can no longer taste
to keep you lonely
when you have everything that everyone wants
to keep you working
when no effort can satisfy you
to keep you fighting
over imagined spoils

listen
you will never, ever, ever be free
when you knot yourself to everything you touch
with the word mine, mine, mine
foolish is a lineage that tries to pass along
anything more than lessons
everything is made of everything don’t you see
you are as precious as any stone don’t you see
you are as sacred as any text don’t you see
you are as holy as any treasure don’t you feel
you are as gorgeous as any ruin

listen
run away from the cages that make you believe you have to lie to belong

listen
the reason you will never be superior is because it is in itself the lowest form of existence,
you are swimming towards the sewer
can’t you smell yourself

listen
inside of you is a seed that can only be released
by burning down the horrific separateness
of privilege
inside of you is a prophecy that can only be heard after the words: I was wrong

listen
I was wrong
we were wrong
our ancestors, we must say it
some of us have ancestors
who were so wrong
in so many ways
and now here we are
less and less days left in which
we can turn the tide
I feel grief welling up inside
so much grander than I can hide
for all that we’ve tried
as our species has bloomed
but in the same arc,
died

listen
we will never, ever, ever surrender
our story isn’t one short lifetime long
your horrors are not contained by an empire
you are the shadow of our own eclipse
and you are the only one
scared of the dark

listen
we hibernate and heal during dark ages
until you forget the world used to revolve
around mothers
until you forget how a spell is just
earth and breath joined across a tongue
until you forget how a finger or a look can be a wand
and the earth can tell you how to burn
and how to grow and when to harvest
and what it is to love as mother birds,
as a lioness, as peach against teeth,
as flower following sun
how a stand of trees teaches us family
how a ghost teaches us devotion
yes until you forget that ancestors walk with us
and guide us and make us dream
until we see the truth of it all
how we are each of us a pulse
in the singular life of the divine
unable to comprehend how beautiful
it is to take one, whole, perfect, never again breath
.
.
.
until you forget how we are all
part
of god

9/15/20

(see/hear this read on my instagram account)

42, what feels true

1. we each have a purpose worth the miracle and struggle of our lives
2. finding that purpose is not guaranteed, it takes effort to look within
3. the conditions we are given are not our fault

4. we are responsible for what we do with the conditions we are given
5. we can’t control what other people do with their conditions, realizing that is a liberation
6. supremacy will either hold us down with false weight or lift us up on false wings – believe neither lie
7. true love is worth the risk – of vulnerability, of future heartache and grief, of happiness – every time
8. every minute and effort given to practicing and learning true love increases our overall life satisfaction
9. the heart can lead when the head is confused or frightened
10. letting in massive love makes me stronger
11. it takes scholarship to be satisfied, and it’s worth the practice and study
12. we can learn everything from nature
13. we are nature
14. our bodies know what we want and need, if we listen
15. our bodies deserve our own devotional attention
16. our bodies are worth the devotional attention of others

IMG_6102

17. my body wants to be used in service of my own and others’ liberation, to sweat, to know pleasure, to be held
18. removing those who can’t see and protect our miraculous lives, bodies and time is wisdom in action

19. community works better as a support, spiritual cauldron, accountability space and strategy if we use the term community to mean specific people
20. my community is strong, brilliant, funny, petty without being cruel, intriguing, honest and brave. they flank me and help me learn
21. life is more effective and joyful when I approach a new year by scheduling togetherness time with family/love/friendships first, then regular well-being time (exercise, bodywork, therapy), then use what remains for my life’s work
22. writing is both my life’s work and my spiritual practice
23. what i write from heart and spirit resonates most deeply
24. my most successful writing comes through surrender and channeling
25. sex is a spiritual practice, a healing ground, and a favorite exercise
26. intimacy includes so many more acts, offers and touches than sex
27. true intimacy, being known, is nourishing
28. self intimacy precedes, lays and maintains the foundation for satisfying intimacy with others
29. breakfast in bed, footrubs and hair braiding are some of the sweetest intimacies
30. i have been blessed with black women therapists who help me see and love myself
31. i have been blessed with teachers I respect, who help me see and love my purpose
32. tarot allows me to hear the universe daily and channel it to others

33. astrology from the right teachers and practitioners is a delightful way to listen to the universe
34. auntie is my favorite role with children / I grow when I indulge and follow their brilliance
35. being a sibling, blood and chosen, is an excellent calling…I am so grateful for how many people are living alongside me
36. questions lead us to more interesting, honest places than answers
37. god is never separate from us – when I feel an absence of spirit it means I have abandoned myself, and it is time to intentionally return to myself

38. we can’t please everyone, and it will never be satisfying to try to
39. i can deeply please myself, and it is satisfying every day that i listen to and meet my purpose, needs, truth and longings
40. learning/remembering to feel returns us to the miraculous aspects of being alive
41. we are in an age of brilliant art and it makes the unimaginable manageable
42. life unveils so much wonder to a beginner’s mind

Black August Haikus, 2020

for years now, i have participated in Black August, a month of honoring the sacrifices and living wisdom of our political prisoners. inspired by the Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity and Spirithouse communities, i’ve participated in a haiku writing practice in addition to fasting and reading. here are this year’s offers.

Aug 1

six feet apart or
six feet under, but alive
black freedom fighters

we fight for your lives
lift your names up, sacred song
we open your bars

we stop wasting time
chancing our liberation
we owe you rigor

Aug 2

fill your mouth with us
our lives, our deaths, mattering
say each of our names

fill your fight with us
our time, our years, sacrificed
remember our names

fill your lives with us
our dreams, brilliance, this culture
we are more than names

Aug 3

love, stop complaining
of all this freedom you have
that’s our blood, our loss

all our sleepless nights
praying for you, for your joy
you can be grateful

you can stay humble
keep learning, as we still learn
tomorrow’s lessons

Aug 4

our worst nightmare fears
are your daily bread, your sun
rises inside bars

every single year
you see life in snapshots, flash
the children are grown

this is the debt due
our attention to your hearts
to your brilliant minds

none of us are free
we are bound to your hours
to your sacrifice

this is the debt due
practice freedom every day
we belong to you

Aug 5

look at the glory
standing naked in mirrors
waiting for your glance

take in the beauty
stripped of all small attention
infinite blackness

turn towards yourself
and offer that precious love
you always have you

you cannot be caught
you’re never less than your soul
open your cages

stand in the moonlight
bathe, swim in that reflection
you, you are the light

Aug 8

you are meant to love
in spite of everything past
you need to be loved

you’re meant for freedom
in spite of constant cages
you are still so wild

you are built to hold
in spite of the erasure
you’re built for worship

you are here to thrive
this is your reclamation
your orgasmic yes

Aug 14

we hold multitudes
do not shrink, don’t simplify
black complexity
was never for sale
we are not simple, fragile
we are whole, come true
be kind to your wild
ancestor-fed fantasies
distinction matters
oh imperfect one
what you are is so divine
don’t let us miss you

Aug 16

the whole universe
is a black woman, vast, thick
glitter in her hair

she loves the quiet
small infinite busy-ness
cannot disturb her

on Sunday mornings
her languid body slumbers
while you pray on it

drift outside of time
and her silent company
will meet you dreaming

the revolution:
remembering power is
like her great stillness

which only gives trust
to those in mutual awe
no limitations

Aug 17

we learn to lose weight
smaller, grieving, contained: shrink
hush all that weeping

we learn how to lie
be fine, smile bright, say yes: mask
the truth is violent

we learn hunger pains
naked, alone, tired: fuck
this is who I am

we learn to expand
growing, loving, trusting: heal
we aren’t so heavy

we give up that fight
trying to be likable
we choose greater love

Aug 19

the real heartbreak is
even though change is needed
I feel death ahead

feel it every day
as we go thru our motions,
beyond miracles
to keep us alive
to grieve us, to let us go,
holding the broken
promises, prayers
treaties, amendments (they said
oh so many things)

even as chills come
and I find myself wanting
to trust tomorrow

even as I try
not to be selfish in spells
to speak gratitude

I see death ahead –
and know that face, injustice.
let my people live.

Aug 21

laying in the dark
counting heroes and saviors
praying up farmers

pray up prisoners
who fight fires when healthy
but caught the virus

pray up the teachers
forced to watch their dear students
for symptoms and signs

pray up the nurses
and doctors who toil, tired
no respite in sight

pray up the parents
meditating thru kid-screams
loving thru danger

pray up the artists
creating for us laughter,
dreams, threading forward

bless organizers
beaming light and direction
from here to justice

this is how I sleep
counting gratitude and hearts
beating, surviving

aren’t we a wonder
harnessing a tomorrow
we won’t surrender

Aug 23
black rest is sacred
time reclaimed, time indulged, time
that is mine alone

we need time to cry
to hold ourselves, each other
and this too much world

lay down in the dark
of your own sweet mystery
and wander, amazed

particles of star
waiting to whisper pathways
beam within your black

fill up your glass jar
press down the red dirt, water
and seed your garden

dreams may beckon you
smelling of vetiver, sage
visions live in sleep

humble into deep
slumber like a soul at peace
let the night hold you

Aug 24

birthday girl Marsha
your pink cake laughter comes home
when we turn to look
back across time you
broke free from invisible
smashed the glass and screamed
you left us unwound
from false binaries, from lies
you gave us beauty
you left us on high
celebrating all trans lives
thank you for guidance

aug 25
mountain range of rage
I punch the sky with longing
misunderstood. fuck.

how you gonna come
with those bullets for my back
and paralyze me

how you gonna come
to where I sleep, and take me
out of this sweet life

how you gonna come
with tear gas and shields and guns
to this small altar

where we keep praying
you’ll find some sense, you’ll come to
you’ll see our heartbeats

tectonic rage bursts
and the fraught landscape reforms
beyond your hatred

we are miracle
we cannot be killed, feel us
we are multitudes

pray we don’t taste blood
pray we don’t remember you
pray we feel mercy

pray for miracles
we have faith like seeds in braids
we have rage intact

we have grief within
we are heartache hurricanes
you will scream our names

Aug 29
we who lose our kings
grieve dignity, grieve honor
grieve our own best selves

no, we don’t need kings
we need our beautiful ones
to live, to survive

to hold our sick close
to face cancer, to fight it
that is a true war

Aug 31

did we do enough
we knew what was falling down
did we hold enough

our muscles trembled
our backs ached, our knees went out
forgot how to sleep

forgot how to pray
or why, remembered in tears
returned to the whole

raged and reposted
slipped behind scenes to reach out
broke each entered door

danced into the war
refused the disappearance
spoke names to candles

shared each known spotlight
whispered clues back down the line
spoke the truth we felt

did we do enough
when we speak of freedom then
did we do enough?