On September 28th an eclectic group of poets gathered for session 4 of the Finding Poems Series. We were inspired by June Jordan’s architectextual poems and by the powerful video conferenced-in sharing of environmental justice scholar Cheryl J. Fish to engage the spatial realities and legacies of Durham in a poetic way. We wrote many poems that day but here is our group poem/group of poems for Durham.
And you can listen to it here:
Durham Poem #34
Durham, don’t dig down deep
Beg barter and plea, Baby
For transformation you are not willing to have as your birthday wish, Honey
Durham Poem #9
whirlwind my heart you dirty city
you tobacco dust you slave lust trust
you breathing devil land
Durham Poem #23
The beats of the hearts the angers the terrors the smiles
Durham Poem #24
in durham, traffic slower
than my blood flow
during morning prayer, a man
ask me for food, or change
in front of mcdonalds,
i extend a banana,
he refuses, i continue
singing. i belong here.
Durham Poem #25 (26, 27, 28…)
the first year i shivered. who knew there could be snow down here
making broken oak litter
the two next i plumped + grew + crossed under electrical wires to a turtle river.
and coming for fourth year, three thunderstorms have
drenched me here: the drops are so much bigger than
new home, you got warm tapioca pearls, got aloe blood, got muscadine guts coming from the sky.
Durham Poem #31
Not West Virginia
Durham Poem #4
There is a man waving a gun next to the Bull
We’re to hide inside, as they kill him; watch him die till morning
As a city with its history tattooed on your sidewalks, I wonder how you might caption your present.
Durham Poem #202
This elastic place-when I breath it
I’m learning new shades; if I remember to keep my lungs open
Here-I am becoming more comfortable with complex color patterns and asking for hugs when I need one.
For more information or to sign up for the upcoming October 19th Finding Poems Retreat Lucille Clifton and the Poems of Our Past Lives contact Lex via the Finding Poems Page: https://blackfeministmind.wordpress.com/finding-poems-a-series-of-one-day-retreats-in-durham-nc/
To sign up for Lex’s Nov. 2nd workshop at LaVenson Press Studios “Blue Airmail Letters: The Impossible Poem Home” sign up here: lavensonpressstudios.com/events/poetry-with-alexis-pauline-gumbs/