brief thoughts 2: starting small

this pandemic has really been a dance for me and my body.

i thought i was going to be very healthy. i stocked my home with healthy things.

then i placed another order for the things my body actually wanted and needed in order to move through isolation and stolen control and grief.

i heard crissle say not to judge my body for gaining weight during a pandemic, but instead be grateful to be in a body that has so far survived a global pandemic.

i heard glennon doyle say love and control can’t coexist, that you don’t control what you love and that’s how she knows she still has self love work to do with her body.

i did a round of sugar shift where i removed added sugars from my life for three weeks. i noticed how much better i felt and slept. i thought i would continue like that forever.

then i returned to the comfort of sugar, without much judgment.

i read lizzo talking about body normalization, and how do we normalize that there are all kinds of bodies that are beautiful and incredible. i read it while having sea salt caramels and sea salt chips, which really compliment each other beautifully, rubbing on my softer belly.

i tried to do a celery juice cleanse but was quickly reminded that i am allergic to raw celery. as i cleaned up the mess of bodily rejection, such a clear message, i reflected on all the vegetables i can eat raw, and how many vegetables and fruits i truly love.

i went to the hospital convinced i had covid-19 or an embolism, but after a variety of tests i was told i had an upper respiratory infection and otherwise am so healthy – this communicated by a stranger speaking with the slight surprise of health practitioners who assume the worst of fat bodies. i feel grateful that even my pandemic comfort kitchen is mostly populated with whole, organic foods, that i love cooking vegetables to eat with my jalapeño cheddar cornbread, that i drink like the receiving end of a waterfall.

i had a deep discussion with a friend about how sometimes the “you go fat/disabled/hairy/etc girl!!” energy can feel so inauthentic, tinged with the fear people still have around anything not socialized as normal and desirable. fear almost always shows.

i notice that i feel the ease of more bodies being normal in my mind, in my eyes. i pick up less and less on the false narratives of normalization, and more and more on how at peace people are within their skin, their capacity to celebrate their own aliveness, their capacity to grow. ah, more people strike me as beautiful.

i notice that what matters most when my life feels good is how it feels inside, how i listen to what i need and how i celebrate my aliveness…it’s intimate personal work, and i don’t have to measure where anyone else is in that work, but i have to find my own peace.

i notice that in my recent video calls, almost everyone is softer around the chin and face in ways that no angle or lighting can hide. a few are more gaunt, hollowed, shadowed. the constriction and pressure and patterns and grief is touching and changing us in ways that are visible. i find i rather like the softening, though i know better than to say so in real time because this territory is a tender one. maybe others don’t feel ease with their smoother edges…i know that just as with my own body, assumptions are rarely useful or relevant.

i have returned to my yoga practice. every morning before i touch my phone, i get on my mat. my body is fluent in yoga, so if i bend forward, the language of sun salutation flows through me. each day i leave room for my body to lead, and am genuinely impressed with what i can still do even with my arthritis, inflammation, gut; the freedom and flexibility increase with breath. i shift poses slowly, fluid as if dancing, feeling the strength and stretch in sustaining. each day the practice is a bit longer, and now most mornings include some crunches and the new-to-me practice of qi gong. i remember how good it feels to be in a body without the hypervigilance of thinking about how it looks.

i am practicing not being distressed to be alive in my body.

i am practicing hearing the old and new colliding at the border of my awareness.

i am practicing starting small while being big.

i am practicing what it is to be and do enough, based on a measurement within.

i am practicing loving my body, normalizing my body, relinquishing control, listening to my inner communications as if to a teacher, being authentic in my self love.

i am so grateful to be alive.

i am considering that this state of mind and body might just be the healthiest i have ever been.

brief thoughts, 1: movement as liberatory space

how do we vision, build and sustain movements that are liberatory spaces? where, by entering, humans find themselves in spaces where their whole selves are welcomed and they are encouraged to grow?

i think of movements as intentional worlds, or perhaps more accurately as worlds designed by and for intentional people, those who are able to feel the world not as an unfolding accident of random occurrences, but rather as a massive weaving of intention. you can be tossed about, you can follow someone else’s pattern, or you can intentionally begin to weave and shape existence. and yes, the makeup of your web is the same matter as all that already exists, but your direction and pattern can be new, unexpected, agitating new growth. what results from your efforts depends on your intention. movements intend to shape the world to be just, to give us all access to the inherit abundance of our home, to stop harm, to set us free, to help us live.

it can feel like liberation – i have felt it, been in rooms that felt it, where we understood something collectively that we did not understand alone. where we took action that changed the future in ways that increased life for all.

movements can also feel like exclusive containers, fixed sets of ‘right’ ideas, and dangerous places to lead. locations that, in order to grow, people must eventually free themselves from.

as i listen to movements process and feel and grow and shape, i want to bring attention often to this distinction: are our movements designed and practiced as places that liberate those within and without? or are we collectively creating cages, barrels, boxes…scarce domains in which no one can thrive in lifelong commitment?

are we getting stuck in regressive thinking and behavior that discourages growth, mistakes, and the hard work of holding leadership? how do we recenter humility, curiosity, and liberation in how we change the world?

does this pattern noticing resonate? have you seen solutions?

We Won!!! Stay Safe!!!

the video i transcribe below!

the transcript:

hi hi hi hi hi high hi

i just got the news that we have ousted trump. all of us have ousted trump. voters have ousted trump. organizers ousted trump. movement for Black lives ousted trump. all kinds of local efforts, both seen and unseen, ousted trump. stacey abrams ousted trump. Philly, Detroit, Atlanta, Milwaukee ousted trump.

we got rid of what does not love us. we took a massive step against genocide today. we gave ourselves a chance.

i woke up this morning and i knew today was going to be the day. today we win, today we take that step of victory. and there was something pounding in my head saying yes, but we’re not done yet, we are not done yet.

so here is what came thru:

when trump loses we will enter the most dangerous window we have been in in recent history.

many of you like myself may be tempted to take to the streets blasting ‘fuck donald trump,’ many of you may desire to run all up in people’s faces and confront those who will be taking to the streets with their discontent and their grief, rage, anger. it’s totally justified. we have every reason to go stand in the face of white supremacy and say ‘you did not win’, to stand in the face of toxic patriarchy and say ‘you did not win’. it’s justifiable.

there are many people who feel like a fundamental aspect of their worth, they supremacy, is being wrested from them in this moment. their feel challenged in their right to enslave others, to treat us as slaves – that means controlling the choices of our bodies, beating and killing us, giving us the bare minimum needed to survive and keep working, abusing us sexually, imprisoning us whenever they want, harming us whenever they want. and too many of us do not realize how big the we is, how many of us are in the target population. there’s a lot of women, black people and poor people who got caught up in trumpism because white supremacy is so seductive, supremacy is so seductive. i saw some meme that said ‘women for trump, black people for trump, chickens for mcnuggets.’ yes, you have been seduced into moving against your own interests and now the awakening is going to be violent and resistant.

so we have been in a race war, look at the casualties. we have been on the edge of a handmaids tale, look at the supreme court, look at the hysterectomies. we are still in a pandemic and the same people denying it overlap dangerously with those who will be hitting the streets looking for vengeance, for one more hit of power.

so i wanted to point towards resources – if you do feel that action is the move that you need to take, that challenging is the move that you need to take, absolutely look at, look at the blackout collective (@blackdirectaction on ig), look at the ruckus society, look at indigenous peoples power project, look at @wejointhefrontline on ig – look for resources from those who are skilled at taking action. pay attention to those, listen to those.

do not move out into the world by yourself looking to be in those confrontational situations. do look to people like ejeris dixon and others who are speaking to how we stay safe, what safety looks like in this time.

protect yourself emotionally, protect yourself materially, protect yourself spiritually.

we have to survive two and a half months now of having a narcissist who has suffered a very public loss in the highest office with access to armed militia hooked on white supremacy, patriarchy, and racial capitalism.

this moment is an incredibly dangerous and we need to make decisions from the place of knowing that our bodies are extremely precious. our lives are precious and on the line right now.

even if you are going to the store, make sure someone knows where you are, if you can roll with other people.

if you are asking people to deliver anything to you right now, make it worth their while. double, quadruple those tips. make sure you understand that there’s almost nothing with moving yourself into the line of fire right now.

burn everything you can burn that protects you. say your prayers, ask our ancestors for help. at a very tangible level, go and read Meeting Chaos With Calm: How To Prepare For A Potential Coup because basically for this next two and half months that’s what’s up is people saying no. we will not go and basically not accepting this loss.

after two and half months, after January 20th, after we actually have Biden in office and Kamala Harris in office, and after we actually land in that place, then we begin a next phase of movement, of pushing, of what it looks like to hold these people accountable not just to what was politically possible in this moment, but to what we actually need to survive as a species long term.

that’s a phase that i’m very excited for us to get to.

that’s the transmission that came through.

i’m feeling the joy that comes from feeling a huge spiritual, emotional and legal block come up between me and someone who is trying to cause harm to me, and my whole system is feeling shaky, goosebump-y, and alive. i feel victory, i feel celebration, and i also feel some tempered longing for us to all be as safe as we can be right now.

yes. movement did that. yes people of color, Latinx people, Black people.

ah thank you. thank you. be safe. celebrate.

oh great mystery (a prayer to the blue moon on the day of the dead)

oh great mystery (a prayer to the blue moon on the day of the dead)

[read out loud to make into spell, or listen to me read with a lit candle]

oh great mystery
we need your help right now
for we are in an impossible situation
which we must survive

our nation is caught up in conspiracy theories
demons and superiority weaken the mind
and we have so many people who would rather
dominate than do their share of societal labor
how do we break the tie of slavery
oh universe we need your help
help to clear the vision of those who cannot see
the dazzling nature of existence in each being

we have those who have turned from the earth
our only home. our only viable home.
they treat her and all who can produce life as machines
to make without ceasing what they then take without hesitation, gratitude or gentleness
how do we break the tie of slavery
oh universe we need your help
help us honor the places where abundant life blooms
protect the consent and agency and song of earth

there are so many who have felt the explosive power of death in their hands, in their bodies, in their imaginations
they roam amongst us, armed; crash into humans praying with their bodies to be deemed worth protection from our most abusive relationship: our nation
how do we break the tie of slavery
how do we quell the addiction to blood and completion
to power that breaks bones and opens flesh
help us relinquish the pleasure of violence

oh great mystery
oh great change which has a commitment to moving towards life
we struggle with humility and now i see i should have started with my heart on the ground
pulsing against gravity, in supplication
it isn’t that i doubt your resilience
only that i see how you might have concluded that we no longer wish to be a part of your constant changes and the magic of spring, so long have we hibernated in ignorance and isolation
so universe here i want to whisper to you what has been flowing through my veins
i want to live, i want to want to live
i want us to live, i want us to want to live

all who can love the cherry blossom,
the glorious fire of fall,
the three eggs opening to chirping children,
the magnificence of storms,
the electric tapestry of mycelium,
the persistence of the succulent in my winter window
all who can love the song of humpback motherwhales,
the rush of a room full of people telling their favorite memories,
the drum beat of a child gleefully chasing her dreams upstairs, the laughter of humans not performing
all who can love their own perfect bodies after a lifetime of being told they are flawed,
all who can blurt out their heartache before it becomes a weapon,
all who can say yes and no and mean it,
all who fumble at every turn but are still worthy of love and connection and being held and forgiveness and patience and one more chance

universe i, we, surrender to whatever chance you will give us
universe i, we, trust that we cannot know everything about the divine nature of change and how discomfort is what presses us into pearl and bursts us out of seed and shell and cocoon
and perhaps you are helping us to see how tight and breakable our current iteration is
and i am saying and singing that i see it
yes i feel the claustrophobic nature of our current ways of thinking
and i surrender to more, we surrender to more.
we pray that you open the way to us, with us,
the way that seems impossible with all the corruption and closed hearts and systemic denial of miracles
and even, quite frankly, the willful stupidity of reason and emotion

but we small and mighty choose life, choose this life
we choose the struggle of navigating dissonance and finding rhythm
we choose the brick winters and the terror of letting the child walk to school alone and even the nightmares that remind us how much we love sunrise
we pray today for sunrise
we pray today for tomorrow,
we pray for generations beyond terror
we pray today for memory,
for every single person to remember back through their lineage
all the way to when yours was the only voice they knew
guide us all in your way, weave us back into the tapestry,
let us be earthseed
let us be earthseed
let us be earthseed

*thank you Octavia Butler for earthseed, and Lucille Clifton for the reminder to listen to what comes before dawn

this massive rage (poem)

(read on adult ISH podcast)

as we move closer to the elections
again we have to contend with
how much we will play the game
showing up and waiting in lines
people of faith as we have had to be
and always been
and really what other option is there
we come in droves
we speak amongst ourselves
if we love ourselves we know
which of these men has less tulsa in their blood
which of these men doesn’t long to see us
below deck, below branches, below the unbearable weight of them
their egos, their desire for us to just take it
the violation of polite conversation
after the abuse
but before the overdue apology
and anyway
so much has been taken that justice is impossible
some days it chills my blood
how will we ever know peace
will we have to forget everything?
will we have to burn the books and make the history fiction?
how can we breathe near you
sleep near you
dream with you
when we remember
when we can be living our lives and be reminded
by griot, thoughtful essay, scathing expose, image kept fresh across years,
by threat, or bullet, or lie, or law
how, when you haven’t stopped murdering us in our beds
gleefully taking our blessings
killing our children
counting us collateral damage as you choose money over masks, over safety, over adaptation, over earth
shooting first and asking no questions, ever
all the while acting as if it were us
trying to take anything from you but our own lives
our own labor
our own right to grieve all that you’ve claimed
beyond your portion of miracle
you lost soul, you greedy, greedy, i lose words
I choke on the anger, even I,
all the time cultivating joy in my heart
even I, seeing beyond the constructs
when I come across the artifact
or the present moment
or the border in my dream that says how far I can go
we can go
we can be
I remember we are not yet free
and will not be, cannot be
until you choose to be free
who designed it this way
how will we ever get beyond bitterness
how will we ever get beyond heartbreak
how will we ever be able to tell our stories in any genre but horror
how I wonder
as we barrel towards another battle
that we have no wish to fight
as we want to hold each other
but you’ve made it dangerous
we want to lick each other’s wounds until the scars spell new names
make different promises
fly but not like angels, not like birds, not like anything that has ever moved through the sky before
fly beyond your touch
that’s all we need
and it seems to be the only thing we cannot do, cannot get to, cannot run for
you wait around each corner of history
belly gaping with hunger, eyes pulsing with hate
demonic, vapid, wasting the precious
and only
life you will get
and you even tell your children these lies
to shape into them a foolish worldview in which
we cannot rest and they cannot feel their blessing
I have been casting spells and speaking dreams
my whole adult life
but even I feel the ways you are making me into your nightmare
without my consent
making me your enemy
when I bear no arms
making me your prey
wherever I graze with my children
it has been so long
so long I have to remind myself it isn’t forever
it is so constant
I have to remind myself it cannot last
it is so small
to be a part of the sacred
it is so heavy
this massive rage
I am only able to sleep
dreaming of volcanoes
which peel away the surface and explode and melt down what is
which decimate and steal and swallow and change
which become glass and then green island
which become breeze and beach and whale watching
and song and fruit and dance
and children and children and children
when I feel it inside me
this raging molten flow of the truth
I can only rest remembering
life comes from the eruptions
and nothing you’ve made will last
and my rage fills up my mouth
and our rage fills up the earth
and we can darken the whole sky
and if we can’t breathe then you won’t either
and our destinies are intertwined
you fools, you fools, you flesh and bone
suckle and moan
terrified to be alone
you, there, hiding behind your telephone
you will heal, or your line will end
we will heal, or we will die praying and dancing
surrendering to the joy still beating in our chests
we will find a way to live here on this earth
or she will blow us to the sky
melt away our flaws
leave only a perfect stone
full of story

come out

come out, yes. and that isn’t the end, it is a first time to practice becoming yourself.

come out within yourself by noticing what your heart moves towards and what makes your root pulse.

come out into your true voice, in a confession, to a beloved, who is surprised, or who is never surprised.

come out by letting your gaze linger, your smile hint, your questions press.

come out with the new look that lets people know who you are, that fashion that doesn’t give a fuck, or fashion that cares very much.

come out with a kiss that takes your breath away, a kiss you didn’t know was possible, kisses that pull fire from the core of the earth into your belly.

come out as a lover, and be wild with your desires, or shockingly tame in your satisfactions, or both, and, ever shifting.

come out as a weirdo, and be deliciously odd as you race away from constructs and deconstructs.

come out as one who doesn’t know anymore what they were so sure about, but is delighted by the mystery.

but don’t stop there. don’t stop now. keep changing. keep going. never aim for normal, aim for you, utterly and dreamily you.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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,

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

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
of god


(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


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?

strategy and kamala feels

“we are fighting over which employee will best suit the needs of an important job. it isn’t political home – we both have those outside of the electoral process, places and people to whom we feel accountable. this is for mass strategy, mass protection, high level policy protection of the communities we love.

purist debate is important, honing how you feel and having a place to practice it fully is important. make sure you have a political home. don’t get that confused with the American experiment, with shaping the conditions of this experiment such that the most vulnerable stand a chance of surviving and changing it themselves. do not make poor people and immigrants and women” (and trans people and disabled people and students and teachers and essential workers) “and our babies the collateral damage of purist ideologies. your theoretical happiness is not more important than the earth’s and species’ tangible survival.”

one of my favorite things about being a writer is how sometimes my words come back to comfort me. yesterday i was not feeling much about the nomination of kamala harris as vp – watching other people have strong emotions one way or the other, and just feeling like, ok.

then i was reminded of how i feel about electoral politics! electoral politics isn’t and shouldn’t be our political home. it is a commons of service, meant to be accountable to informed people who direct the values and policies of those we elect to deliver and construct service provisions like home, health, water, education.

maybe you’re more excited about the dem ticket today. maybe you’re appalled. but either way don’t get confused: electoral strategy = placing human beings we can hold accountable into representative offices.

electoral strategy doesn’t include identifying ideological doppelgangers who will lose, or aren’t on the ticket, but assuage our sense of imperial complicity (yes, here i mean that american practice of paying taxes each year and then trying to distance ourselves from what we invested-in/didn’t-stop by not taking responsibility for who manages the money thru nonvoting or emo-voting). it does include assigning our paid representatives to positions where they are hired to govern, which includes synthesizing amongst many possible distinctions and directions to find paths that allow the majority of people to survive and grow.

political home, on the other hand, is a place where we ideate, practice and build futures we believe in, finding alignment with those we are in accountable relationships with, and growing that alignment through organizing and education.

political home is where we solidify our critiques and generate solutions for human and planetary futures that, with practice and time and a functional government, become viable enough to scale (deepen, normalize), or, faced with resistance and dysfunctional government, divergent enough to move for secession or battle.

the current occupants of highest federal office are opposed to all forms of life and evolution outside of power and pussy grabs. our current available move is voting them out, as no one has a viable secession plan (really open to being surprised/wrong on this) and their side is armed and militarised. our strategic option right now is to fight on an electoral battleground riddled with corruption and confusion. biden and kamala are the viable ticket opposing those in office. recognizing the available strategy doesn’t always equal endorsement.

and it’s OK to feel excited if you see yourself in kamala, to be excited about representation, or even to feel amused by uncle joe.

and it’s OK to feel the flood of critique, the way this ticket runs the faultlines of race and power. it’s OK to feel disappointed and/or bamboozled by the closing off of significantly more thrilling alternative futures (like an abrams/warren/knowles ticket).

either way, the strategic next move is to vote on november 3 and now you know the other name on the ballot.

feel all your feelings along the way, but don’t let those feelings keep you from seeing the biggest picture, the one that includes those more vulnerable than you.

let those feelings clarify and grow your political home, even as you create the external conditions in which having a political home can and will matter.