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I reject your raft

you think you are the ocean
and you offer me a raft
of blackness
or womanness
fatness
or queerness
dis-ability
or my migrant nature
or something other other other

you say my humanity can fit there
can be defined by the surface
by what is seen
you don’t even grant me the depth of icebergs
the more beneath the sea
because you believe that you
you are the water
the essence of the world

i tried to make this raft my self
to string a few together and call it vast
but even though i make it gorgeous
an intricate slip of mystery and memory
it is always dry or drowning
always too small for all of me
and everyone else you want me to share it with

we are all seabed to bay
we are all storm and calm
we are
each of us
the whole realm of the moon
we are tired of clinging to the raft
we are not born of scarcity
there is no rule in heaven or earth
that we must follow

i am as god as you are
i reject your raft
i move away from you
towards forever
in wave after wave after wave

– to the slightly racist individual who (didn’t mean to but) thought she could shrink me

the scale of epiphany

all of my adult life i’ve navigated depression. it doesn’t show up in obvious ways. but i know when it’s running the ship.

i lose touch with the miracle, the clarity, the deeper compassion that allows me to move through the world and it’s sharp edges. i notice myself getting drawn towards my favorite things that numb me, it gets foggy around me, hard to see clearly, hard to ask for what i need.

turning inward brings me back. sometimes it’s extreme – like i have to go all the way to where its darkest and find the little light.

often its just moving through cloud, gray, a heavy gray that resembles the nothing from Never Ending Story because that’s the formative threat-of-apocalypse narrative of my life.

the last us election sent me into the fog. i wrote and worked and drank and smoked and got all cranes in the sky…but…i couldn’t get away.

so i’ve been moving through. into the unknown. into my own not knowing, more precisely. some people may know what’s going to happen, i believe that they believe.

but i don’t know. and when i try to imagine beyond a certain point, there is static as often as vision these days. i think we’re in a crucial place of making a viable future, and we might not make a compelling case for ourselves. i believe we have all the potential. but are we willing to practice anything new?

i have been working with groups and movements i believe carry portions of an answer i can imagine living inside.

i’ve been slowing way down. no one likes this. everyone likes it in theory but they still want their things attended to. it’s OK. i got a turtle tattoo to whisper ‘go slow’ in my ear.

and Sunday i took the day off. not just from work, but from chores. i looked at piled dishes and travel laundry and unswept floors and said ‘it’s my day off. i am not doing you.’

i slept so well last night. woke up and read the Ursula le Guin rendition of the Tao te Ching. then i read several graphic novels, between calls for interesting work and the (super amazing exciting deep sweet awesome) new podcast i’m recording with autumn, which included a talk about our summer bodies. in the midst of that conversation i realized and remembered how much i’m loving my whole body these days.

i put on the trolls soundtrack and danced while cleaning the house. i checked in on my heart, my mind, my body, my spirit. i cared for myself in many ways, and planted several seeds for things i want to do/experience in the next few months. i made a gorgeous dinner and ate it on the back deck in my fanciest robe. i listened to Bruno Mars and Superfruit to intentionally let the music lift me.

i feel a fog dissipating, a fire burning. and again the small epiphany: oh, the balance between solitude and togetherness! oh, using the body feels good. oh, no is a compete sentence and emotion. oh. the miracles continue. even when we aren’t worthy, grateful, gracious or even aware. the miracle is the river that doesn’t stop.

Oh.

someday soon I will become irrelevant

someday soon i will become irrelevant
i will say something out of line
or outdated
you will learn of my contradictions
and cancel my existence

maybe someone will say
but she meant well
she worked hard
stop making assumptions
but it will be too late

everyone shrinks the world in a different way
some say there is no other
we are the same
the world of possible emotions
is the smallest one we share

others make it bearable with walls
us, smaller and smaller, on this side
them growing on the other
all this quiet interior
all that time to fill

in some ways i anticipate it
love is a wave that comes in
with the promise of leaving
i think i’m drowning
then i catch my breath

we need each other
but only as much as we can handle
all that other-way-of-being
you, you can let go of myth me
i breathe out, that was never me

in the dark i see fireflies

in the dark i see fireflies
they are like we are
sparks sometimes shining
rarely in rhythm
rarely together
but beautiful

in the dark i see longing
yawning open, wet and hungry
never full, never fulfilled
star teeth gnashing
(who can swallow scalding food)
and beyond that, a constant empty

in the dark i see memories
distorted by ego
we love being wise
we hate the learning
we love being right
but we’re usually wrong

in the dark i see dreams
and the long distance
between the constant fire
i yearn to be
and the brief flashes
i can pull off

in the dark i see the moon
saying ‘nothing is constant’
even a rock caught in light’s orbit
even these constellations are
a flash across infinity
that brightness doesn’t last

but the dark is forever

black band on flesh

last summer i started wearing a black cloth band around my arm as a sign of continuous black grief and resistance.

over the year i felt the commitment spread through and over me until i was mostly wearing black in my clothing. it made me feel aware, spiritually protected, connected to my life’s work.

as i’ve slowly returned to the bright colors and patterns of happy style, i have needed to feel that band in my flesh. today my friend Vanessa, an incredible creator and black queer tattoo artist, put it on my body. ?

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a few things I try to say to the children, without words

I am not here to surrender to mediocrity

I am not here to deny the many ways of being
or anyone else’s pain

I know the water flows around obstacles
and I know it can get stagnant sometimes, need the heat to raise it up, to move
up and over,
or the earth to swallow it up

I am here to love deeply, to love beyond my means, recklessly and then like the sun loves,
into the void, no favorites, only orbit

I have no bottom, I am not separate from hell or heaven, they are in me, they are in this world

I am learning to dance with every part of myself
to leave nothing to shame
to declare my love from the inner recess to the stars, light years pound out of my heart
make me visible to the nebulae I love

I am not leading, I am experiencing
earthworm chrysalis snake skin
and the pond where the geese rest on their journey

I am not mothering a child, but I am raising a way of being, nurturing inside myself
a liberated self
knowing one day it will cast aside everything I have known as me

I am a beautiful detritus-to-be,
a candle wick in the molten wax
just smitten with fire
as it changes everything in me
convincing me that everything, with a breath,
can change

happy birthday octavia

today is the day octavia butler was born into this world. the majority of my adult life has been spent reading her work, engaging it, geeking out with others about her as a writer and a person, and building work like barnacles on the structures she left behind her.

on her birthday i feel gratitude that after four miscarriages, her mother’s body was able to hold onto octavia’s body. and then that octavia was precocious enough to surrender to her calling early, to practice so tirelessly.

there were times when i wanted to be more like octavia, more serious, more demanding of respectful awe, more prolific and fearless in fiction – my queer strange distortion of love and admiration. i would wonder what octavia would make of me, and usually landed at: annoyed and amused.

but the longer lesson has been that octavia was so utterly herself, and what she channeled across time and space came through her own acceptance of who and how she was, her unapologetic realization of her self.

i don’t need to be her, or impress her across the barrier of life and death. i just need to be me, the me that nearly worships her and tries to maximize the reach of her wild and wondrous mind. the me who knows there’s an abundance of space and attention and bookshelves for brilliant black visionary fiction writing.

i met her, i shook her hand, i heard her voice, i listened to her cadence, i loved the shape of her face and how dark her eyes were, the width of her shoulders. i was moved to tears by how she understood the world and spoke of it to a room of 19-year-olds as if she believed in us, believed we could understand humanity.

it turns out that octavia is one of the great loves of my life. i have so far avoided the huntington library because in my heart she is too present to be archived. it brings me to tears to truly sit with who she was, who she is in my life.

happy birthday great spirit. i continue to give my life work and attention to you, with joy.

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summer solstice tarot and I-ching reading

summer solstice tarot and I-ching readings say:

to be a good conduit of the divine, humble yourself (you are not special), while accepting your callings and gifts (you are each special).

rest and resource your body.

keep finding the work that can be done in authentic relationships.

build up everyone you can honestly uplift. and if you can’t, make the choice not to bring others down, especially others oriented on freedom…turn your attention to the places you are connected and respected.

keep growing.

wake up again and again. and again.

reflections post #amc2017 (movement. crissle. emergent strategy.)

movement reflections post #amc2017:

we must build each other up.

conflict is generative if we engage in transparent, direct, emotionally honest communication. the rest is a waste of time and a dragging weight on movement.

we must hold each other’s impossible stories with gentleness.

we’re all learning and doing our best.

we must stand/be next to each other and share the risk and effort of stepping/moving out of the status quo towards liberation.

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me-eee aa-and crissle, crissle west:

i got a teensy taste of what famous feels like (because amc IS emergent strategy so everyone at home base had the book) and it was pretty overwhelming. now granted, i wore a catsuit with a tail on it for the opening, a very leo move for this virgo. but by hour three i promised myself not to put anyone on any pedestals ever again.

but then i saw crissle from the read on the closing panel and she was so funny and lovely and smart and great. i would have romantic intentions towards crissle but she’s publicly said she isn’t into boobs (or any non-studs really), and i respect her self knowing, so i know our relationship would be challenged.

but i immediately wanted her to feel my gratitude for her existence. her graciousness with my fumbling hellos and requests for a picture was good teaching to me to just let it flow and keep it moving. she immediately did something awkward and cute and i was tongue tied and danced away cause there isn’t much to do with an intellectual crush in a loud bar.

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emergent strategy exercise premier:

i wanted to premier an emergent strategy exercise at #amc2017 that was built live. here’s what emerged, feel free to use, remix, share!

1. i reviewed the elements of Emergent Strategy, as well as the lineage.

2. i had people get in circles of four.

3. i had people reflect on which elements they already feel at ease with, or expert in. each person got two minutes to share their expertise. they could also share silence if that felt right.

4. i overheard people naysaying their wisdom and made an adaptation of not wasting time denying your knowing.

5. once everyone went, we did learner affirmations – each person got one minute of appreciation, reflections from the other three on what they learned. that way everyone had to admit they knew and had taught something.

6. then we increased the pressure. it was suddenly apocalyptic conditions and they had to figure out survival priorities and skills as a team. 7 minutes.

7. next we did a silent assessment of how well the group upheld emergent strategy under pressure (thumbs up/down/neutral on each element, looking at each other)

we closed with open discussion on what we learned.

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i’m feeling so grateful for ill and our long friendship, the outstanding closing ritual (that song is in my head) and our work at Detroit Narrative Agency, for jenny, mike, muna, mo and oren for the film we’re creating for AMP’s 20 year anniversary next year, and for my sister autumn, who encouraged me to rest and thrilled me during our first podcast recording session. it was also incredible to be at #amc2017 with the babies of my life ones meeting each other and the extended family.

love bursting.

spells for radicals

these are a collection of spells from radicals, generated in the spell casting workshop today at the allied media conference!

if you didn’t get it to me yet don’t fret, just send it along and i’ll add it. or if you want me to add your names, send them <3. enjoy and add on: IMG_5357

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Console our childlike memories
Caress it’s hood, drink tea with the child
Repeat the emotion of lovemaking
Speak in love into our existence

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we call on earth, ancestors and friends to hold us, to stand at our backs
give us ground and give us cover

nurture what we instinctively and lovingly knew as children

for the ground to hold people with privilege as we face the reality of the ancestral and active harms of racism and colonization, for a spark of possibility to push us into transformative action

share your pain, I’ll hold it with mine, release it towards ones that play with your power, a discomfort heered

Nah
Loreto
Carly
Erica

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Clear the illusion and make space for love.
Clear the air surrounding our bodies, identifies, and broken pieces.
Together we will practice forgiveness in the service of creation
And accept uncertainty and all that it brings.

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“a flickering light ignites the spark to our rebirth / growth pulsates as we tend to the fires at our center, / illuminating our way so that others are guided by / this ever-deepening love for our eternal liberation.”
— co-created with lucecita cruz, yvonne gail estolas, tara scott-miller + katherine tom

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let us counter fear with radical love and generosity

healing our wombs with fierce care for ourselves

going beyond binaries, birthing the revolution

we follow the sun like sunflowers carrying our ancestors wisdom

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as the light dawns on you

when the wind disrupts your leaves
carelessly dropping your former fruits to the ground

be patient.

from the top of your crown
down to your sturdy roots
in the nourishing clarity of the earth

your branches are still growing.

peace, love and gratitude,
Quito, Ayshea, Clare, and Mary Joyce

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I am whole in all I bring
Smoke and water flowing things
Protection like a sacred skin
Letting go and letting in

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some images:

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