Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind

C(h)ant. Breathe.: Coming Back to Breath in Honor of Eric Garner and Many More

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photo by Adrienne Maree Brown

Yesterday I had the honor of bringing Black Feminist Breathing to the BOLD National Gathering which took place on a reclaimed plantation here in North Carolina.  Sister-Comrade Genius Facilitator Adrienne Maree Brown describes BOLD as the current Black Power Movement and beautifully contextualizes yesterday’s miracles here:

In preparation for the paradoxical and necessary task of bringing Black Feminist Breathing into a moment where as Black folks we are collectively remembering and struggling with Eric Garner’s last words “I can’t breathe,” I offered myself and the participants this meditation.  Maybe it can be a healing part of your journey back to breath.

C(h)ant.   Breathe.

Dedicated to Eric Garner

And to Margaret Garner’s Daughter

*take a deep breath everywhere you see a star



return to the place

where you learned

how to breathe


where night washed itself

into your dreams



to the place

where you learned


breathing was bigger

than you

or your fears of

dogs bats and sea creatures


and would continue

all night long

without you trying

to keep it going


human freedom is like that


as the ocean at night

sometimes the crashing is just louder

like right now




we are feeling it in our chests

right now

the underwater knowing

of upside down justice

that has to right itself

that hasn’t righted itself


the sinking feeling

that the chokehold of the state

is more persistent than the ocean


it is not




if I could

I would bring all our people

right next to the ocean

to just sit

and breathe with the ancestors


just listen

knowing all this sand

was bone

and the stars

are just us


across the black history

of the universe




i want every last breath

to be a tide going out

so we can imagine

some baby somewhere

gasping into time

with an unbroken custody

of air


i don’t want the choking struggle

the staccato of bullets

shattering the song

of what we know


but sometimes

even as the ocean

slaps the sand

it sounds shocked to me

shoreline shaping impact

this is happening





I imagine

Eric Garner

becoming the ocean

like Margaret Garner’s baby

awakening stream

how all blood flows back

to the salt in this water

how something






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