Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

22 books in 21 days: my reading/writing retreat reviews/thoughts/reflections

2015 reading/writing retreat book thoughts/responses/reviews for the 22 books i’ve read this year:

1. herland, charlotte perkins gilman
this book is a collection of fascinating concepts embedded in dated writing that was hard to read at moments, particularly around race. the central concepts around what a society of only women would be like, what a mothering-based society would look like, are really quite lovely. it’s a quick read, i would recommend to folks looking at feminism and parenting in sci fi, to mothers.

2, 3, 4. saga volumes 1-3, fiona staples and brian k vaughan
this graphic novel may actually be the best thing i have ever encountered. the writing is gorgeous and visceral and hilarious, the visuals are emotive and stunning. i was moved to laughter and tears multiple times. i couldn’t put it down and i wanted to know that all of these complex characters were going to be ok. magnificent way of casting the world in a war vs peace question without feeling boring or earnest. can’t wait for more.

5. the secret history of las vegas, chris abani
subtle, strange, poetic. a good mystery with skilled reveals. particularly of interest for those considered freaks and outcasts by mainstream society – how is that condition, that distance from the center, survived, navigated? abani is a masterful writer, he creates a situation where you wouldn’t want to be in this world, but you can’t not see it.

6. a book of common prayer, joan didion
this book makes me want to release a particular little keening moan. didion writes about grief and pain in the most exquisite precise way. this story is very small and personal and a little mysterious…i can’t exactly put my finger on what she was telling us about other than heartache. but it’s enough. apparently it’s about to be a movie with the redhead from mad men – i anticipate.

7. chronicle of a death foretold, gabriel garcia marquez
garcia marquez could write about sitting on a toilet for 100 pages and i would be stunned by the beauty of it. this is a story of a murder, where the murderers are known, and the motive, and everything. but the exploration is around how the whole town handles it both before and after. his writing is poetic and objective and casts judgment without any accusation, simply with the information he offers.

8, 9. fifty shades trilogy (darker, and freed), e.l. james
i just had to know: what was the big deal about these books? as someone who doesn’t really read romance novels, there was a certain thrusting loin quality, where every brush of the knuckle against sensitive skin blooms an orgasm that felt beyond ridiculous. but what i was left with was a lot of discomfort, not from the kind of sex, but from the abusive relationship between this virgin and a possessive, traumatized, controlling man. i was glad to see the presentation of bdsm agreements and communication around sex that gets explored here. but the way sex was used to connect with someone so emotionally volatile and manipulative made me want to sit down with this girl and do some life coaching and mediation. i’m sure someone good has already written about this somewhere, but i hadn’t seen it. i kept rooting for her to put her foot down and say no, you can’t treat me this way. alas, they would instead fall into romantic throes again because she bit her lip and his manhood was involved. yay for bondage and consensual play, but all thumbs down for the presentation of this as any model of a sexy relationship.

10. positron episodes 1-3, margaret atwood
this is a hilarious dystopian future series. i didn’t realize it was an unfinished series when i started or i probably would have waited til it was done. but it’s funny enough, though not her best, not on par with the maddaddam trilogy. she is skilled and cynical, she makes me actually laugh out loud, and the idea is a brilliant critique of the modern prison system.

11. the blind assassin, margaret atwood
a tragedy, written in slow full detail. very different, sadder and more earthbound than anything else i’ve read of atwood’s work. this is a great family drama, and it’s quite cinematic. there is sci-fi in here but its tucked inside a world war 2 era tragedy that builds up to be very specifically of it’s time, the kind of tragedy that can only emerge out of deep shame and politeness.

12. kafka on the shore, haruki murakami
ahhhh. this book had so much magic, so many of the right fundamental questions, so much good taboo and sensuality…it is a perfect book, each character unlikely and compelling, the mysteries pulling you forward. there is a section of this story that actually feels impossible – an act of sexual violence that is somehow made part of the journey through innocence, that i have to note as a survivor, and also say i never thought anyone could write such a scene in a way that still felt safe, tender, forgivable and humane. the whole thing is brilliance. the story is paced perfectly, and there are things like having half of a shadow, or talking with cats, that make total sense here. i want to read a lot more of his work.

13. at night we walk in circles, daniel alarcon
this story really echoed garcia marquez’s chronicle of a death foretold in it’s pace, in telling of how scandal and love and youth happen in a small place, or in this case a series of small places where people are trying to make meaning of their lives. i love how daniel writes, and i love what feels like looking behind a curtain at the friendships and society of men, the immense quiet suffering, confusion and pride.

14. killing moon (dreamblood), n.k. jemisin
n.k. writes fantasies where the darkest skinned people are the divine presence, where romance is queer and crosses gender, sexuality, ability and species. there is tension, longing, principle, power play. she easily evokes and drops us into worlds that are fully formed and believable, and then she focuses in on tender interpersonal dynamics. this book really examines death – seeing it as something not to be feared, as a possible transition into ecstasy that i found very compelling.

15. the salt eaters, toni cade bambara
this book is difficult! there isn’t something clear to grab onto and hold as you enter the heart of this healing, and i found myself having to approach it as a spiritual journey rather than a narrative as i was moved, confused, annoyed, touched, witnessed and worked. i am grateful toni opened herself up to this one, and i know this isn’t my last time reading it.

16. americanah, chimimanda ngozi adichie
ahhhhhh. ah ah ahhhh. i saved this book for near the end of my trip because i had great expectations and i wanted to savor the anticipation. adichie delivers. she writes this book about all of these normal things – love, family, friendship, growing up, figuring out who you are and want to be – and she makes it all feel honest and meaningful. what is it like to be aware of yourself being difficult, or being silent in the face of injustice, or walking away from love? how many of us are moved by forces we can’t quite put our finger on, between choices that don’t offer clear and easy next steps? when i finished this book i hugged it, literally, with gratitude.

16. this is how you lose her, junot diaz
yunior! this book felt like it flew past, the voice moving so quickly, so of the world junot is documenting, that i wanted to make myself read it slower, but i couldn’t. i appreciate what feels like a shamelessness in this, the exposure of how straight men learn to speak to each other and think to themselves about women. and how much these women with their fears and care and needs actually mean to the men, in spite of the training to disregard love, to be greedy. i wanted it to go on.

17. how to slowly kill yourself and others in america, kiese laymon
i wrote some about how this book effected me in my delirious travel posting. i think kiese is writing a very particular voice that feels like the open vein of this political moment, wonderful and accessible and also hard to read. i love his southern black boy stance, i love reading him be vulnerable about what he has lost in trying to be tough, i love his relationship with his mama and the women who love him, i love that this collection of essays is designed to be read in one sitting – even though i took a break in the middle to have a spiritual enlightenment moment – and i love that it feels like there is so much more to come from him.

18. y the last man volume 1, brian k vaughan
after falling hard for saga people kept mentioning this work to me and it’s fantastic – the premise is like herland, a world of women, and the experience of a man/men traversing that world. vaughn writes characters you want to kick it with, want to kick the asses of, and want to see win at life. can’t wait to read more.

19. motherless brooklyn, jonathan lethem
this book was a find on the shelf where i was staying once i ran out of books. i grabbed it because it had incredible reviews, and i found it an interesting book – the lead character is a detective who lives with tourette’s and the most fascinating part of the book by far is being inside his tourette’s ticking mind – the self awareness of control and lack of control. made me think how much i take for granted the relationship between my mind and my body. the detective story was fine, but the journey into the protagonist’s brain was the reason to read this book. i’m excited to see ed norton take this on for film.

20. lion’s blood, steven barnes
wow. i wanted to read this book because i had heard about how steven flipped white supremacy in his head to the degree that in the book hard times are called ‘pale times’…i wanted to see this flip. this book is well researched and deeply plausible, and it really pushes the mind to see how clearly white supremacy works, where it is embedded and assumed. there was a point where i was reading and wanting to close the book because the account was so traumatizing, and then had to release a good cry because…that’s my lineage. this is a powerful, innovative and thorough alternate history.

21. healing sex, staci k haines
this book is so necessary. staci is my teacher in my somatics and social justice path, and i have been needing and fearing this book for a few years. i worked through it one chapter at a time and there was so much smart, nonjudgmental, ambitious and practical wisdom in here…i feel like i grew up a few years in my journey of sexual health and power with this book. i recommend it to anyone and everyone who has sex.

22. soul talk: the new spirituality of african american women, akasha gloria hull
this book, prescribed to me by dr alexis pauline gumbs, also got touched on in my delirious post, but i want to add that i thought it was brave of akasha to name that the book was a spiritual journey in and of itself, in addition to being a whisper across spirit between these women of the 80s and those of us reading and learning from their words today. this book is full of vulnerability, and not trying to condense or synthesize black creative and spiritual brilliance, but letting it be ethereal and precise and emotional and mystical. she helped me read the salt eaters, and moving through it one chapter at a time, it put me in contact with my ancestors in a way that feels precious and right.

being so utterly alive. or, a visceral release of grief. or, from delirium.

I wrote this yesterday after a sleepless night of creative output that led to a spiritual breakthrough. I considered not sharing it. It is my voice from delirium, not neat or polished. And it is an intimate movement of grief in my life, and it feels like a particularly open me, and a special, necessary moment to share, for y’all who have been with me this far.

Gratitude.

I recommend putting on the song Glosoli while you read this…not yet but when I cue you. Demand it even.

Today I had the moment I came on this retreat for.

To be there with me you have to time travel, to first know I didn’t sleep last night. The words came to me, flooded me around five pm and just didn’t stop.

No, further back – I’ve been working all along, editing my novel (!) (which by the way is hard! because the characters have a lot to say about themselves and really want to negotiate in this process) and putting down other snippets of words as poems, short stories, drawing characters and pregnant women in magical forests as per usual (I have a vast collection of colorful drawings of pregnant and/or alien women in nature, just my goddess thing I suppose.)

And I’ve been reading…professionally, a book a day at least. Fiction I fly through, nonfiction I have to dose myself, a chapter every day or so. Reading writers who make me laugh and rage and moan or sigh with pleasure and realize I should give up and then remind me to just be myself, to bring my whole self to the page.

I’ve been immersed in Soul Talk, from Akasha Gloria Hull (on recommendation from sister teacher Alexis Pauline Gumbs), a stunning exploration of black women’s writing and spirituality in the 80s, full of interviews with Toni Cade Bambara and Alice Walker and Lucille Clifton and so many others, which I will do a full review of in a couple days. But for now just know that one thing she talks about is black women intentionally communicating with spirit, ancestors. And I decided to try it here in a few ways over the past weeks.

Yesterday I tried the pendant. I have this pendant I bought last year because my friend Mia had one and it seemed like some good clear magic. But as I often do, I carried the magic around faithfully, everywhere, and didn’t quite practice it.

I pulled it out yesterday afternoon and started asking hesitant questions in a doubtful tone. When the pendant started swinging and I couldn’t tell how, I asked better questions. Eventually I was in tears of clarity and gratitude, both for what I was learning, and for who was teaching me. More on that when I write my autobiography in fifty years.

So then the words came, because the ones I really wanted were backed up behind those questions and tears. They been there just waiting. They came through me, prolifically. I kept sitting back and thinking whew, good. Then the next words would come and I’d adjust on the hard little chair and keep going.

I needed and need this kind of writing.

Mexico holds me just right. In 2012 I wrote for eight hours straight in the sun, no food or bathroom breaks, after a sleepless night. I’ve been longing for that torrential downpour again, and here it was. When the words for one thing ended, I turned to the art supplies, and later to poetry, and then more stories, all in that dusky zone between confessional and fantasy and future memoir that I call my fiction.

At exactly 8pm, an innocent seeming courtyard enclosed in white pillars next door turned into a NY errybody-come-thru club and started blaring the loudest music I’ve ever heard outside of the Outkast show in Rotterdam, and in that case it was partially because we were right in front of the speakers. Not being anywhere near yesterday’s speakers, I initially felt a pure and total wow of respect for the volume.

The music was fascinating, literally every genre I can name and several I can’t, in no clusters or order I could follow. It felt like there were 500 musical desires there and the dj was just playing them in the order they were requested. But somehow the shit sounded great, and the crowd was going wild no matter what song came on. And I felt blessed because yay, I have a soundtrack for this explosion of writing.

At around 2am, I’m still writing on the balcony, on my little glowing device, in the dark, when the music stops. I felt pretty complete with my creative outburst, still soft and wide from the magic pendant experience. I started to get ready for bed.

Stopped is the wrong word however. It was merely a pause, possibly because the police came by? I think they then stayed to kick it based on the yelling, but I can’t be sure since, in spite of several half-ass efforts and lots of good incentives (see: five trips to mexico in three years), yo still no habla nor comprende most of le espanol, feel me. Point being, all of that other music, the Rihanna salsa Elvis merengue Kanye square dance Goethe/Kimbra waltz pachata James Brown bagpipe Queen Jay Z Beyonce Air Supply part?

That was just the buildup.

At 2:20am began the coherent part of the night – three hours of what struck my ears as nonstop German street fair techno (see: my entire childhood). Each song would seem to be the last song, and then the dj would do the soccer scream and drop the beat harder and the crowd would flail in vocalized bliss.

Blasting.

Sleep was not an option, because I personally can’t sleep when my body is being vibrated with such gusto at the cellular level. I was even somewhat concerned that my heart’s rhythm might get thrown off beat by the other, deeper sound.

So…I kept writing. I lay in bed and thought and wrote and drew and thought and wrote some more. In spite of the unusual soundtrack, and the realization that no sleep meant I couldn’t scuba dive today as planned – I felt happy.

The spark is why I’m here, and I was on internal and externally-fueled fire.

When the party ended around 5am, I tried again to sleep…but then the roosters started. There’s also a cat who somehow knows I have the capacity to be swayed by sounds of woe, so she comes and weeps outside my window around six each morning, but she also knows I’m allergic to her so she compassionately runs away when I try to give her milk. Or maybe cause it’s rice milk?

Regardless, it was daytime.

I got up, stretched, trying to remember the last time I wrote all night. It’s been long enough that I can’t remember it.

I made a remarkable Spanish omelet for breakfast, did my little rituals, canceled my dive because it seems dangerous to risk napping 90 feet under the ocean’s surface, and then decided to come to the beach and read Kiese Laymon’s How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America. I also brought Soul Talk to finish.

Soul Talk ended beautifully, in the sunlight, sand between my toes. Topless but, you know, on my tummy cause they ain’t necessarily ready for alla dis. I felt of a lineage in a way I think every creator needs, regularly.

Then clouds covered the sun, the wind brought in a bit of cool air, and I picked up Kiese’s book. I stayed at the beach because even with the clouds, it’s warm and beautiful and not winter. Also Sunday is the best, the beach fills up with local families, so many kids.

So, we have caught up with: my moment. (Cue music.)

I’m halfway through the book, which is filling me with such immense tenderness. Kiese’s writing is ferocious, he comes in fists up but he’s punching mirrors and letting us witness and also demanding we not lie, even as readers. I’ll review it when I finish it but it’s already black excellence/a classic/must read/brilliance.

I have my Falsetto Season Spotify mix on, which I hold as basically the best thing I accomplished in 2014. And Glosoli comes on as I reach page 97, finishing a chapter. And I look over at the ocean all pretty and dark and choppy, there’s some seagulls flying over, and I think: Iceland has made really good music for being on Mexican beach.

And before I can look back at my page a soccer ball rolls in front of me. The kid who grabs it and says ‘pardon’ shyly to me is one of the most handsome children I’ve ever seen. I realize that he’s Finn, my nephew, in a few years – lanky and intelligent in the eyes and not concerned with his beauty. In that moment I feel towards him what I feel towards Finn, a total may-you-have-all-of-the-things love.

Then he is kicking the ball back to the group and I set the book down and really look at these boys. They are all Finn, all bright and fast and easily beautiful and incredible at soccer. Beloved.

The sun moves out from behind the clouds in a glorious big reveal which brings an energetic burst of glee up and down the beach, and the song is building, and the moment becomes cinematic. And as the moment is happening I know it’s cinematic, part of my brain is already writing it down, complex meta awareness. And often I scold that part, like just Be here. But I am a goddamn writer and that is exactly how I Be anywhere and that little thought made me laugh.

I look left and there are little spirit twins of Siobhan and Mairead, my nieces, a princess running fast and fearless with her hair flying out behind her like a kite of curls, and her androgynous sibling trying to keep up, baby fat thighs on fleek. Their young parents sit on a blanket laughing and touching each other, overtly loving. I see my sisters and their beloveds and my parents in them.

And then with the sun turning everyone to shimmery gold and caramel,
and the music twisting up into throes of ecstatic beauty,
and the people running in and out of the waves,
and this dope crone rocking her wrinkles in a bikini showing how to age flawlessly,
and an older couple leaning on each other in the shadow of a beach wall that look like my landlords in their sweet comfortable knowing togetherness,
and the tooth free man approaching with the guitar who periodically ogles my beach décolletage and says ay que linda while offering to sing me a love song,
and the dogs, especially the three legged lassie look alike, running ahead of their humans and getting called back and returning with reckless devotion,
and the littlest ones righteously terrified of the waves but also needing to touch their toes in,
I realized (again but anew) how deeply connected and miraculous existence is, how beautiful it is to be awake to the ways humans love and care for and play with and grow each other.

We are connected in that we love. Love is the common form of our best ‘being human’ (the essential focus of Kiese’s book and perfect way to explain this thing).

And as the song peaks and tears are coming to my eyes, I look back at the sea, turned by the sun into a rolling rainbow of turquoise and light refraction. And, of course, just then, a flock of over thirty massive pelicans are taking to the sky from the water’s surface, moving into emergent formation, my life’s obsession.

And the grief moves through me.

Not out, but through, filling me up with it’s own powerful and life affirming force. We grieve because of this, all of this simple and overwhelming love and beauty, which resides in the small work of being humans on a fragile and resilient and perfect and changing planet.

The tears are brief, because whoever in the universe keeps track of tears knows I have been crying. These tears were joyful, and gave way to long deep shameless orgasmic laughter.

I’m sleep deprived because I’m creatively spent, and I’m whole because I have loved and lost and learned so much, and I’m here.

Right now.

And everyone I love who has died, and those who loved in ways that led to my existence, my ancestor-strangers, they’re all also here, right now. They are with, of, in me. The way water is ocean, mist, fog, diaphanous cloud, nourishing cloud, rain, river, ice and all? We are like that, we are all here, in and with and of each other.

And I laugh too because I’m not high, not drunk, not hungry, not distracted, not preaching, not aiming for brilliance, not longing for anyone or anything, not giving or taking anything, not doing anything at all, just being. At peace with who and what and where and how I am, we are – the living.

Being so utterly alive.

***

Bonus time travel round – I’ve been letting words come through without my rearranging them while I’m here, asking the ocean to tell me stories and truths. (Purple Rain and Cavalier played as I typed this up if you want to stick with my soundtrack journey)

This piece – not poem, not unpoem – came out the other day, two days before my magic moment, maybe three, and it feels part of it:

The first lie you were taught is I love you
That love happens outside the heart
Extended in an open palm to another
Between the naked flesh of frantic bodies pulsing blood and shivers
In the intense eye looking at you with wet hunger
In the soft swell of the breast feeding your wordless mouth

This lie has weight, put in your young hands
‘Take this and protect it
And also give it away’

You feel it become fire and pass it quickly
Not knowing how to hold it when it comes back impenetrable rock
You feel it slipping away like salt sea water
Cup your hands together tighter
Pushing all the air
hushed into your crisp lungs

Now I’ll tell you the truth

I love myself

Everything good flows from that being the truth
That you can be beloved every moment – every moment
And nothing heavy can cling to you
And your sweet body will open up with the laughter of being alone in an infant world
And the hands and the eyes of others will be mirrors that show you the galaxies
And there will be so much of the miracle of yourself
That you will sizzle and spark, root and flow
And always know
The true love

(Sing yourself all of those love songs honey
Know deeply how it feels to fall madly in love with you
Then you will see, every time it happens
That it is moon love from everyone else
and it can move the tides in your heart
But my darling it is your love
that is the light)

***

Now, back to crying with Kiese. Love y’all.

how to have a creation retreat (advance) any time, any place

i am on a reading/writing retreat/advance in mexico, and it is so precious and delicious. i have been reflecting on what makes it so good, and realizing that the majority of elements are ones i conjure up to advance my creative work any time, any place.

the word retreat is familiar, but really it’s an advance – taking the time to move forward intentionally in my life’s work.

so, partially to remind myself, partially to spark creative time for you, here goes.

1) time.

set aside time to get lost in the work. this might be an hour, a day, three weeks, a couple of months. obviously more time is better, though some people thrive in the small window. you know what you need. but don’t postpone until you get the biggest chunk of time. think of every moment as time you are intentionally feeding your creativity. when you are hungry, you don’t say, ‘well this meal isn’t big enough, better wait for the feast’. you nourish yourself (on local grassfed organic gluten free sugar free foods, but if that’s not there, pizza or goat curry also works, feel me?). small also opens the door to large. when you use an hour well, your system starts rearranging your circumstances, wanting more.

creating with others may work well for you, again, know thyself. be wary of work dates, be honest about who you can actually create next to or with. don’t cocrastinate, it will only grow resentment in all directions.

say no during this time, to plans, lunch dates, phone calls. scheduled things with others can disrupt the flow. tell beloveds you will see them on the other side. let people root for your creator self by giving you time.

the exception to this is if toni morrison, or toshi reagon, or kiese laymon, or beyonce, or bjork calls you to go out and talk about creating things. otherwise, it can wait.

time is the first way to nourish your creativity.

2) disconnect.

the whole internet with it’s crises and food porn and subtweets and azealia banks will be there when you’ve finished creating something. the texts and emails are generally not as urgent as they seem – be as responsive to your creativity as you are to the projected world.

airplane mode is a gift from the gods-of-getting-your-life-together. disconnecting will deepen your sleep, sharpen your awareness of the actual place and moment you are in, and give your mind a little room from the words of others to actually hear yourself. turn the outer world back on only after you have completed something.

it’s not even disconnecting really, it’s giving yourself the space to connect to your creative self. prioritize that connection which buzzfeed cannot capture.

3) input.

make a list of all of the artists, writers, musicians and other creators who inspire you, who are better than you, who are part of your field. ask for recommendations from people who are familiar with your work. spend part of your time inhaling, devouring, analysing, being humbled by and filling up on the work of other artists.

i like to juxtapose creative things, listening to jay-z while reading toni cade bambara. but do it how you like. you might need to take things in on their own. but take in the intentional arts of your possible peers.

don’t only take in art that is in your field either. poetry and essays are essential ingredients of great fiction. the natural world can teach you how to describe love. genius teaches in many ways, be open to unexpected inspiration.

4) options. give yourself multiple outlets through which your creations can flow.

i am here primarily to write, but i have a sketchbook, a small notebook for ideas, a journal for personal reflection and clearing, magazines to collage, a recording app if songs come, and the device i am writing on now for actual story writing and editing.

even if you just have a sketchbook and a journal, you’ve widened the options. stories can come as sketches, charts, character drawings, jumbles of many faces, photography, poetry, freedom songs. the main thing is to have a way to grab it when the genius comes.

5) supplies.

i think of prepping for a creation advance like prepping for a sport. i need water! i need food that is quick to prepare and meets the nutritional needs of my body. i love to cook beautiful meals for myself, basic delicious stuff i can prepare on the front end to heat and eat – brown rice stir fry, quinoa and veggies, frittata, etc.

give yourself as few escapes as possible – needing to go get food can be a procrastination move.

i also need all the creation options mentioned in point 4. chargers, pens, paper, ritual items (see 6). have it all ready to go on the front end.

the inputs – a stack of books, real ones and kindle downloads. also amazing playlists that make you want to put out.

and i think we all need what i think of as the valve, or pleasure, supplies – i want my body to feel good throughout the work. wine, whiskey, weed, sex toys – ways to celebrate a good day’s work. bookend the retreat/advance with body treats, have a massage booked, or go to a sauna. the body is the creative tool, treat it well.

6) ritual.

creating is the work of god(s), so set the sacred space. i create an altar for my work, pull tarot cards about what i should be open to, and start my writing days with journaling, yoga, meditation and somatic practices. i brush my teeth, i like to smell good for my creativity.

i also tidy the space where i am going to create – dishes, bed made. basic stuff, as cleaning can become a procrastination too. but clear space leaves more room for the new things.

your ritual might be coffee, a prayer, a long run, a mantra (i think i can, i dream i do, i breathe brilliance) or sitting mindfully in your studio. it can change as you go too, it’s the spirit of ritualizing your creative life that matters. creating a practice ground, where anything can happen.

mind body earth and spirit create, it’s not just your brain and fingers. i am thrilled here to be able to swim in the ocean each day, read in the sun, write in my hammock. i know that i write more under these conditions, so i have started keeping a fund for this purpose, going someplace warm, near the ocean, in the winter. but this is rare, and i don’t want my creating to be rare. at home i put on music, turn the heat up so i can wear tropical attire, light incense, and do the ritual, noticing my outer and inner worlds before i drop in.

7) spark.

everything up until now is setting the conditions. this is the fire pit, the dry ready wood, the abundant kindling, the paper, the air, the longing for warmth. now the spark might come at any time.

i often ritual, journal, read, draw, and then the spark comes, but sometimes it comes as i am drifting to sleep, or first thing when i wake up, or as i am biking past a tree. sometimes one spark will come while i am pursuing another – good problems!

the spark receives the highest honor, everything else is secondary. i stop whatever i am doing – reading, cooking, biking, dreaming – to blow on the spark, cultivate it, welcome it.

that spark is why we are here.

sugar is a white noise

as soon as i slow down i can see it’s not about the sugar, it’s about the pain.

it’s not just eating more greens, cutting out this or that from my diet, doubling my water, exercising. those are good smart things for humans, yes. but i have to give myself adequate room for the pain.

there is a way sugar is, in nature, a way we are meant to have it. the impact of a banana is so different from the impact of a bar of sea salted caramel chocolate with pecan bits…my body knows, because it is of the earth. it remembers surviving and grieving before sugar was our primary collective comfort.

it remembers that pain takes time.

beyond that sweet way of nature, sugar has a disorganizing effect, blurring the edges of life between infusions. i was feeling something hard but then i found the whiskey.

perhaps this is why we start comforting and rewarding children with sugar so early. the pain is coming and it cannot be avoided. but here is something faster, more tangible than god, and it will make the pain taste sweet.

after the service there were cookies, i anticipated those more than scripture.

then later in life you, i, try to make grief sweet.

in the quiet and the stillness i can feel the ache of who i don’t have, the presence throughout my body, the longing to hold my unborn nephew or niece, to look at charity’s smile and tell her how much i respect her, to hold my grandfather’s big hand and let him pray over me, to watch david perform a new poem, to ask sheddy about love, to meet aiyana and treasure and eric and renisha and mike and trayvon and jordan and see how precious they all are.

yesterday i was biking up a hill, and i tilted my head down so that my new turquoise straw hat, which is very glamorous, blocked the view. i convinced myself i was going downhill, looking only at the concrete moving under me, thinking like ender. i willed it into being a coasting, not an effort. it worked most of the way and i was giggling. and then the truth showed up in my thighs, my knees. look up. this is the hill.

this is the grief.

the dissonance comes when the sugar high, the delusion of sweetness, the delusion of control, is gone. the pain is not sweet, even though it is love. and it is not gone. it is sitting as a sharp emptiness in my gut, and it wants to be respected.

not reasoned with. it is, i am the one who has to accept it.

sugar is a white noise i make to block out the sharpness, the wailing, replace it with insatiability. i want, i need, i am alive.

then it’s dark, and there is no desire that will feed me, there is just sitting with what is, humbling myself before the things i cannot have, letting them go.

when i lose something, i try to keep tokens of it in my body. perhaps if i am bigger, softer, i can fit more memories inside myself, carry all the lit flames with me forever. this is semi-conscious now, i can’t claim the cluelessness of my younger grief and comfort eating. now i know, i know what i am trying to do, i know that it doesn’t work, i go through the motions, still hurting.

what i can carry has no weight. the little essence of a human, the distinctions, they don’t need heft, they only need time. i have to sit still and say their names. i have to let that sharp feeling move through me gathering up breath and tears and volume.

sugar is a false comfort, wrapping a festering wound in a beautiful scarf when actually it needs oxygen.

i have to let it out.

everything is undoable, and no two people, even in the most intimate togetherness, remember the same way exactly what is done. even if i can’t remember it, what i have consumed lives in me, what i have loved, when i have fucked up, when i have misunderstood, where i have held my integrity. it’s done, it’s perceived, it happened.

i have to remember what we did. i only have to remember my part of it, but i have to remember it.

my perspective sometimes feels so tiny, compromised. sometimes it seems like only the parts of my memory that hurt are really clear. maybe everyone isn’t like this. maybe it is a choice?

yesterday i felt 36. i was wearing sensible shoes and a wide brimmed hat, overt glossy sunscreen. i thought it would redirect certain attention, but still there were men in town trying to speak to me about sex while using other words, asking me to go swim or walk with them. i felt amused because couldn’t they read the CLOSED sign of my shoes? i felt enraged because couldn’t they see that i was preparing to cry?

i am learning to shake my head no in a more definitive way.

i am learning to care for my body.

i am learning to place my longevity ahead of social norms for how a woman like me should present herself.

i am learning i can’t make everything feel good.

i am learning to be still and quiet for a long time, with myself.

i am learning the limitations of coping.

i am learning to feel.

i think pain is teaching me these lessons.

just some resolutions for life

not just for 2015, but for all of life, i resolve to:

– never assume someone is pregnant

– keep the toilet paper stocked and the next roll in reach of someone seated on the toilet

– treat my body like a singular magnificent miraculous temple of mystery, resilience, ocean abundance and power, and fragile gold leaf secrets

– be more patient

– decompartmentalize, bringing all of me to every moment

– move at a pace that allows me to feel my life, feel the full range of joy and sorrow

– revel in the realm of good boundaries

– not bring up other people’s relationships (to ask about or speak on in any other way) to them or others…give people room to navigate and express their own truths, hearts and boundaries, or to practice their own privacy

– be most attentive to the people i love

– not settle!

– listen more deeply, with less need to insert myself into the narratives of others

– use my body in ways that neither machine nor corpse could mimic

– advance the line against white supremacy with my life’s work and my blood ties

– treat sugar as a drug…to enjoy the ways it sweetens life, and reduce the harm of addiction

– remember that breath is so sacred, and work to not waste it on gossip or complaint…to use it for tenderness, righteous anger, affirmation, pleasure and love

– relinquish false control, the perception of control over others…to embrace ‘worry about yo self’, ‘transform yourself to transform the world’…be about it, let others be about their own lives and lessons

– study magic and not be afraid to use it

– reduce belongings regularly

– embody freedom

come with me

2014 is almost over.

can you feel it? it’s almost over!

this wretched year is almost over!!!

y’all know i keep it positive, giving my attention with intention to the best of my abilities…and there have been beautiful things. totally.

miracle is my default, love and passion and travel and family and growth were abundant.

but the losses?…overall this year has been a pile of shit with threads of gold in it.

(i hear my radical ecologists arguing that shit is more valuable than gold and i see you, i mostly agree. just work with the metaphor ok?)

(and i will even concede that the shit and the gold will have impacts that are transformative and necessary and...wait this is not a parenthetical thought. so)…impacts that are surely worth the rummage through the dung heap of grief upon injustice upon heartache upon grief that has walked with me every month of 2014.

it’s not a woe is me moment…i know a wide range of people, all kinds of backgrounds, privileges, capacities, locations. and everyone just barely made it to the end of this year.

and now we are here and it’s time to cross over that line that we all agree is there, that line full of the promise that the sun will set on one year and rise on the next. i am so ready. i am praying and releasing and singing and dancing into the new year.

(i am not naive, i know it will continue to intensify, i know, i know. however this 2014, for my family…the distinct and particular pains, tribulations and patterns of absence and discontent? i am ready to step over.)

oh so ready.

if you are the type of person who makes resolutions each year, a set of promises to yourself, love notes full of health and good behavior and clearer nos and being the beyonce of your life, then i just want to say hell yes to all of it. do it like it was your greatest achievement!

resolutions are just self-love notes anyway.

if you are the type of person who can’t be bothered with resolutions? great, hell yes to you too. you are so cool, and you know that every day is a day to practice loving yourself and being your absolute best. you are just going to keep it moving. i dig that. awesome.

this is not a resolution necessarily, it’s just what i can clearly see as 2014 comes to an end: in 2015 i am going to create. we are needed, y’all! our whole selves are needed.

to that end, i am going to write, publish, produce collaborative things, heal myself and others, sing, facilitate, and create, create and create.

i am surrounded by priestesses, witches, healers, creatives – i am leaning into magic, with my words, my voice, my energy and my attention.

and i want you to come with me.

if you are a reader of this blog, yay. become a member, it makes me feel yummy and says to me ‘keep writing!’.

if you would like these posts delivered to your inbox, let me know in the comments section, or email/text/message me your request and i will make it so.

you can also follow the blog by subscribing to my tumblr, where i post each entry in full.

my favorite place to express myself on the internet is actually my instagram feed, where my focus is documenting my awe, noticing all the beauty i can. my range is basically babies to sky fetishes.

i am learning to use twitter and tumblr more interactively. help me learn.

in 2015 walidah imarisha and i will be touring octavia’s brood, which will be published by ak press in april.

(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

so there is every likelihood that you and i will be face to face sometime this year if you want. i would like that. let me know if you might be willing to host part of our tour on your campus or…wherever you host things!

there are some other things brewing which are of utmost excitement to me, including deepening of my path as a somatics teacher and as a healer. i’m also going to be sharing emergent strategy work with more people.

thank you for the love, for the magnificent resistance and solidarity, for the brilliance of your survival, and for your own continued transformation. we are needed, we are precious.

let’s go!

music that got me through

This morning I woke up before the kids did, in the light of a Christmas tree, thinking of my ghosts.

I’ve also been thinking about the rebel Jesus…faith is a kind of ghost in my life too. I was raised with stories of a poor family of resilient miracle makers, and the birth of a freedom fighter who rolled with the same types of folks I roll with now, speaking of compassion, practice, sacrifice, forgiveness and love.

I’m not big on organized religion in this era of institutionalized greed, but I love these stories of justice, and I think in many settings, in my family, Jesus (radical, martyr, murdered, unarmed…and uplifted after death to create change in an unjust world) is another way to speak of black life, of dignity as a path out of oppression.

I’ve been thinking about how to live my values today and every day. Sade’s lyric ‘it’s only love that gets you through’ comes to mind over and over. I’ve been feeling ‘no justice, no Christmas’ these last few months, knowing that I wanted to reconcile magic and grief, resistance and abundance.

I’ve been exploring how ‘no’ is both necessary and not the shape of my daily life or work. Or perhaps more precisely, there are many ways to say no, and one is by turning up a righteous yes. So I thought, what do I want to say yes to, to grow, to multiply?

Love, yes. Creativity, yes. Black excellence and brilliance, yes! Authentic relationships and transformation? Yes.

To that end I gave gifts that reflect my values for creativity, spirit nourishing, genius. I gave and requested gifts that increased resources to black life. I gave to the families of as many of our black martyrs as I could.

Over and over I came back to music as the gift I wanted to give, and it made me realize what an incredible year this was in black music.

That sparked this post for today.

Here is the Spotify playlist to go with this post!

This year has had many many moments when music was the only thing that got me through. I want to thank the new and old artists who were medicine, soundtrack, and light at the end of converging tunnels.

I started the year in a Beyonce universe that kept providing joy and contemplation throughout the year, with 7/11 as a gratuitous cherry on top.

When my loved ones died this year, there were a few songs I needed to listen to, to move things through. Jimmy Cliff’s Many Rivers to Cross was the first and central song of my grief soundtrack. I’m also grateful for the familiar voices of Sade, Whitney Houston, Donny Hathaway, Johnny Cash and Sam Cooke.

In terms of new albums, there were a few that I want to lift up and shout out as healing either in content or just by exhibiting the beauty of fully realized creative output.

Obviously D’angelo has claimed the end of the year. Black Messiah is an instant classic, and a gift that is both on time and on purpose. All I want to feel in this moment is the easy good continuous blackness that he and Questlove deliver on this album. It works as a coherent whole, and as a loop with no beginning and no end. There is no moment, no note, no moan or snare, no rhythm and no lyric on this album that I don’t love. Black excellence.

Little Dragon released an incredible album – mature, daring, gorgeous music. I forgot this and had to come back and honor them because Nabuma Rubberband was excellent and feels classic as the year ends.

FKA Twigs, on EP1 and LP1, is the other artist who gave herself to us as a sensual whole this year. On the lyrical tip she is specific, naughty and evocative. Her voice sounds both heavenly and carnal, she arouses with an incredibly light touch. She’s theatrical in performance, she’s gorgeous and strange to look at, she feels both young and very comfortable in her grown-ass-woman-hood. I could listen to her curse all day.

(I want to note here that Lykke Li’s album No One Ever Loved is incredible. Heartbreaking direct feelings – and it almost gave me whiplash in terms of the growth from her previous work. It feels like an emotional bookend to FKA Twigs work.)

Azealia Banks is the truth. She’s better than all the other rappers and she feels her feelings, she is as emotive and intelligent as she is ruthless. Her album is not perfect, but it’s exciting, her flow is fantastic and as I decipher her lyrics I am impressed with her mind and her choices. She and Kendrick Lamar , whose performance on Colbert gave me life, look back at their field from a distance.

I really enjoyed Mary J Blige’s The London Sessions. It feels experimental, produced by all these dope British artists I like including Sam Smith and Emeli Sande. I liked Sam’s album ‘In the Lonely Hour‘ as a set of well done pop songs that reference black music in every vibration, but he didn’t have the depth to hold me for more than a week of focused listening. However, paired with the life force of Mary J, there’s some really beautiful pieces. ‘Doubt’, ‘When you’re gone’, and a set of house dance tracks move this through.

Tunde Olaniran’s Yung Archetype was the most stylish stuff I heard this year, the music I put on when I needed to stomp around the house feeling fly. He’s an amazing performer and a righteous organizer and it’s a necessary combination.

As the year comes to a close, I have Nicki Minaj, Coultrain, TV on the Radio and Jesse Boykins III in the queue. (Speaking of Jesses, Jessie Ware was also the truth this year, and Jesse Williams made me believe in celebrity radicalism again.)

But the thing I am most anticipating is Toshi Reagon’s production of The Parable of the Sower. She’s collaborated with her mother to translate Octavia Butler’s work into an opera, and while I will miss these physical shows, my Christmas wish is a live recording, to spend years with this new music.

What about you beloveds…what are you balancing? And what music gave you life through this impossible year?

We cannot conquer each other.

Yesterday two police officers were shot and killed in Brooklyn. And in my social media realm I saw some responses that felt celebratory. I wanted to push back.

I get it. The more we become aware of the constant violence happening to us, the more unbearable it is. We develop an intelligent desire for vengeance.

But don’t let anyone get inside your heart! Don’t let the sickness of racism find a way to make hate feel at home in you.

I don’t expect any of our organizing and transformation work to rid this system of punitive police violence through legislation. This system is rooted in slavery, white supremacy, scarcity and violence.

I believe that our work is to begin and/or deepen experiments rooted in cooperation, compassion, abundance and dignity. We are soil, and earthworms in the soil. Nothing disappears, it only transforms, that’s just science. So here we are, knowing capitalism won’t disappear, composting the bullshit, producing fertile ground for life.

We must produce conditions conducive to black life inside of and between people and a nation conditioned for white supremacy…and we are not free from that conditioning even as we do the work. White supremacy and race-based capitalism permeates everything.

The primary symptom of this sickness of white supremacy is the capacity, and even desire, to write off a section of other humans as less than us, to believe that another group of humans, or several groups, do not deserve love, compassion, patience, transformative justice – or just, on some basic shit, to not be shot in the back. And to generalize a righteous defence into a murderous offense. Eventually, to not be able to see the innocence and possibilities in others.

I write this as the daughter of an American military man, sister to an American government employee, cousin to militia men, granddaughter of a christian evangelical, aunt to blue eyed children.

A few of you may come from families of 100% radical black freedom fighters. But the majority of radical people in this country are related to capitalists and racists.

We could write these people off because we oppose the systems they are a part of, have been persecuted by people just like them.

But for me, the bind of blood has made me consider my responsibility, has kept me in the game long enough to glimpse the wholeness of each of these humans, to witness the way they love even inside of all that sickness.

In many cases these family members would and have argued that their love drives them to participate in these violent systems. The particular sickness of race-based capitalism makes us believe the world can’t sustain us all, that we need to hoard and tier resources just for ‘our own’.

I believe that my love of myself and others and my authentic engagement can disrupt those systems.

My love is the only weapon I carry.

Part of my life’s work is to stay in direct contact with each person’s humanity, to show that I see it. I struggle in this, it’s internal liberation work. I don’t want to grow the violent, callous, reductionist aspects of humanity, and I believe that ‘what we give our attention to grows.’

Some days I can extend my love to all humans, or most of us. Some days I can only get as far as my family.

It’s enough.

Wartime comes into being when we cannot extend love and humanity to others, when we forget we are more alike than different. Yesterday there were communications going around using the word wartime, sourced from the police union in New York. Wars are fought to conquer, to win territory.

We can’t win by becoming what we are fighting against. In any case, the role of the police isn’t to conquer the people. We aren’t trying to win territory from police, we want to transform the root of racism within them, to stop the lynching.

We cannot conquer each other. The lie is that we can win safety through violence and war.

War is surface behavior, indicating something is rotten at the root. To truly change the conditions, we must do radical work. In and through ourselves.

This is the heart of black lives matter. It is not, and never has been, ‘black lives matter at the exclusion of white lives’ or ‘cop lives’ or ‘all lives’. It has always been about asserting that within the broader truth that all lives matter, blacks – black men, black women, black trans people, black children – are being executed at a genocidal rate. Black lives matter is us saying no, our lives are not disposable.

Miraculous precious mysterious black life is not disposable.

Black lives matter includes the need to love and cherish our own and each other’s lives…it doesn’t discount black on black aggressions, it doesn’t discount the need to counter our own internalized racism.

The brilliance of ‘black lives matter’ is that the truth is so simple and massive to hold: In spite of nearly everything that has happened on this continent since black people arrived, we assert our humanity, our right to exist.

I believe, and I’m not alone in this belief, that racism is an illness. Passed down through conditioning. A dangerous deluded state which, unchecked, yields slavery and genocide. It must be addressed directly.

Our most reactionary responses only grow racism. Fed violence, racism grows. Fed violence, all violence grows.

I don’t advocate for swallowing genocide – I believe in self defense. There are people I look up to throughout history who, in the face of escalating eradication strategies by the state, armed themselves and said ‘no more’. But arming a people in self defense is a different strategy from random executions.

A black man attempting to kill his black girlfriend and then killing two people of color in police uniform is not anything to celebrate – it is the sickness manifest. It is the inevitable place sickness takes us – death.

The thing we want to stop, in this moment of police violence, is black death by execution. We want to stop lynching, not match it. We want to stop the pattern of killing based on racialized distortion.

The fact that cops can see a black person and, in a situation that requires no violence, can decide to shoot that black person in the head, or heart, or in the back, or 6-41 times, or choke that person to death, or slam that person’s head into the pavement at a fatal angle, that is what we’re fighting against.

Dehumanization.

It enrages us that police can see a black person as a wild animal to take down, and we are standing up and shutting it all down to fight against that. For our dignity we are standing up, for our humanity.

Taking on that behavior would be the ultimate sign of our loss.

Some of us call the cops pigs, and I’ve heard my share of no bacon, no pork jokes. Most humor is rooted in trauma, we laugh so we can keep moving forward when irrational horrific things keep happening.

But police are humans, like us. Related to us. Some even still think they are protecting us. The harder truth is that humans – not pigs, not beasts – but parents and children and lovers, would treat other humans the way cops have been treating us. Have been trained to treat us.

Still, like the people the cops have been killing, innocent or criminal or criminalized, they all have the capacity to transform. That means there are options.

Cops are family to non-cops. If you have a police officer of any race in your family, don’t rage at large on social media – call them. If you have racist family, or family suffering from internalized racism…write them love notes. Talk about why ‘black lives matter’ and Ferguson moves you, talk about what you long for, grasp them at the root and let them know you are fighting for their humanity.

Violence is often seeded in cowardice and distance – now is the time to be brave, directly.

Our movement will keep growing, what’s happening now will keep escalating. In the same way that some of the most powerful activists against war are ex-soldiers, we need those who’ve seen the inside of structured police violence to know there is another way, that they have a place in the fight for liberation. To know that we believe they can reclaim their own humanity.

This is a moment to embody what we long for. To see humanity even through the most dehumanizing conditioning.

Can we offer the thing we demand, the capacity to look beneath the surface, in spite of the trauma and brainwashing?

Can we relinquish the comfort of faceless enemies?

Can we protect our basic ability to grieve the loss of human life?

Can we hone our ability to find the humanity in each person and keep our attention there?

Can we generate in the face of destruction?

a perfect action

it’s a beautiful day to be black.

woke up this morning to a brilliant new d’angelo album dedicated to ferguson and occupy, resistance. it’s full of love songs and funky grimy sexy beautiful man sounds over guitar and…so prince, so shuggie otis, so marvin, so bilal, so brilliant, so worth the long wait.

and then ava duvernay became the first black woman nominated for a golden globe (oscar coming soon i’m sure) for best director for selma.

and between those two things, i got to attend an action called by the blackout collective in oakland, flowing together efforts for #blacklivesmatter, #blackbrunch, #asians4blacklives and others.

i wasn’t planning to attend, i was heading to the airport after a tight trip to california mostly spent in petaluma at the strozzi dojo as part of my first generative somatics teaching team. i’ve been in training building to this for two years and think the work we do is mindblowing. and it’s massive, i usually can’t do social or event time around it.

but my ride to the airport was one of my loves, alicia garza, one of the three women who dreamt up #blacklivesmatter and spoke our longing into movement. we were heading to breakfast when the news broke, oakland police department shut down. so of course we had to go skip breakfast and see what was happening because social media had us both texting in exclamations.

image
(from the blackout collective)

if you don’t know me, a while ago i was part of the ruckus society staff. going to an action in oakland is family reunion time. today’s action was beautifully familiar, and also different in ways that deserve noticing.

on the action front, oh god it was so good, i was taking in as much as i could as my tears of joy and gratitude blended with the soft cold rain. i couldn’t stop hugging people, people who were white, asian, black, latino, taking actions to assert that black lives matter. i wanted to be close to these massive hearts.

the action, from what i observed, was perfection. every entrance into the oakland police department was blockaded. the street in front of the entrance was blockaded on both ends, abundantly. the banners were stunning and clear – ‘black and breathing’, ‘complacency is consent’, and a flag flying from the OPD flagpole, held in place by a brave human who scaled it with muscle and rope, with the faces of our recent martyrs, stating once again that ‘black lives matter’.

image

the action was so incredibly powerful because it clearly centered around the messaging, leadership and visibility of young black leaders, stepping and chanting and singing and marching and fists in the air claiming historical space. the blackout collective. you know that scene in malcolm x where they march to the hospital? it was like that but with no one appearing to call out the directions, with women and queer folks and locs and fros. they seemed to move as a body, dignity head to toe.

just as clearly, allies were providing cover, taking risks, embodying solidarity. such a necessary resource when done right!

the main OPD door was held by loved ones, asian comrades, with the banner #asians4blacklives. another door was held by white allies with a banner reading ‘every 28 hours a black person is killed by a cop or vigilante’. these door blockers were locked down, a good and organized mix of risk. the streets were blocked by what appeared to be white allies, and i saw latino and indigenous leadership as well.

image

i cannot overstate how powerful the container felt, with the blackout collective and other blacks yelling ‘show me what solidarity looks like!’ and the allies on the streets and locked to the doors and guarding the base of the flagpole all yelling back ‘this is what solidarity looks like!’

i am getting chills remembering it to share with you.

here are the protocols being practiced in this ally work:

image

every time the cops moved in for arrest, a hundred devices popped up, those documenting also chanting, to be clear that there is nothing, not anything, that will go unnoticed or unseen. vigilance. a plethora of roles. an abundance of ways to be OF the moment.

i was so moved, trying to smile and say hello to old friends with so many tears in my throat. the personal difference for me was getting to attend as a black person, not in the action, not in the know. i was dressed for femme bonding breakfast and then the plane, ruby woo on my lips, trench coat, boots, suitcase.

i’ll admit here that the whole time i was at ruckus i felt out of my league, the badassery around me so thorough, and me so library-nook-nerd trying to understand how groups and people change. but i felt so good this morning, like all the right people were in all the right places. i felt beloved and held. i am a facilitator and singer and writer and healer in a movement that evolves from and advances many movements. again, not a beginning or end, but not a phase either. a move forward. it isn’t confusing. i wrote afterwards to one of my friends in the action that i felt beloved. i feel it now, that my life is precious, that my life matters. it surprises me to say this, but…it feels new.

it’s such a tender green shoot of a thing, because i am not saying this about america, where i know it will be a long long time before i feel a real mattering, a legislated, cultural mattering. i don’t expect it in this nation state structure.

no what i mean is in the smaller space of movement, where i believe we have to embody the world we long for, where so many of us have been hurt and broken hearted and ignored and disrespected and kept coming back, where so many of us have been stepped on and over and still stood up and kept finding new ways, kept offering our love to this effort to transform it all, seeing the conditioning, working not to take it personally, finding an open artery to send our love into the blood cells of revolutionary work…i mean in that place? to feel that my black queer woman facilitator thinker writer artist healer lover life matters?

yeah i need to go listen to this d’angelo and feel all my feelings. thank you oakland.

All the tears

Ocean is a bowl of salt and water
So am I
Whispering and weeping of a son or daughter
Gone to the sky
Or the dirt

No one knows for bone deep certain
Which way is up
We spin towards the sun until it hurts
We spill the cup
It stings the face to try and dam it all in
What comes to flow
It wears us out to try and grasp the edge
When it’s time to go

Goodbye, to the part of you who thinks
You see me from above
No enemy can know me without weeping in this way
In all this love