Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind

and i will: the flamboyance of accountable writers

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candle-546563_960_720Last night in honor of Michelle Cliff about 20 self-identified flamboyant writers gathered to honor her legacy by writing our love in fire.  We are taught by Michelle Cliff that the work of loving our people, embracing our divinely destined communities and audiences and writing the words that we need to burn through the systems of oppression that divide us is complex and necessary.   Through a series of activities inspired by Cliff’s essay “If I Could Write this in Fire, I Would Write this in Fire,” participants lit candles that brought our flamboyant loved ones (and the loved ones who make our flamboyance possible) into the virtual space and then we did the difficult work of mapping the distance between us and those we want most to embrace with our words.  We grappled with the depth of grief and love that our connection requires of us.  We used our own writing as a reflective surface to go deeper into the reasons behind the moments we shy away and the instances where we sometimes reproduce our separation in our own acts of articulation.  We stated our love as boldly as we could and then we found even deeper love under that.  I am so grateful to each of the participants and everyone who sent love and good thoughts for this gathering.  If you want another opportunity to learn from the legacy of Michelle Cliff, one of our newest, fiercest ancestors, consider signing up for this month’s 3-day intensive Free Enterprise: Towards a Sustainable Autonomous Writing Life.

For now, here is the group poem of commitment that we created in the flamboyant tradition of Michelle Cliff which burns through us.

and i will

 

a group poem by the participants in the Write this in Fire online workshop

“There is no end to this piece of writing. There is no way I can end it.”

  • Michelle Cliff in “If I Could Write This in Fire, I Would Write This in Fire.”

si pudiera escribir mi amor en el idioma de tu alma,

escribiría mi amor en el idioma de tu alma.

y lo hare

if i could dance this bass and rhythm in honor of pleasure and sensuality

i would dance this bass and rhythm in honor of pleasure and sensuality

then i will

if i could write this in a free and uninhibited, raunchy and elegant dance

i would write this is a free and uninhibited, raunchy and elegant dance

and i will

if i could write this in excessive glitter that will never be ignored

i would write this in excessive glitter that will never be ignored.

and i will

if i could write this is in the freedom of my body through swinging hips and thick thighs in “too bright”, “too tight” dresses

i would write this in the freedom of my body through swinging hips and thick thighs in “too bright”, “too tight” dresses

and i will

if i could write this in the erotic epiphanies that manifest in long walks at sunset when all the connective tissues of the universe become apparent

i would write this in the erotic epiphanies that manifest in long walks at sunset when all the connective tissues of the universe become apparent

and i will

if i could write this in free holistic integrative healthcare for all of us and everyone we love

i would write this in free holistic healthcare for all of us and everyone we love

and i will

if i could write forcefields of protection around the beautiful vulnerability

i would write forcefields around the beautiful vulnerability

and i will

if i could write this in the words you long to hear spoken

i would write this in the words you long to hear spoken

and i will

if i could write this in Sunday dinners that you don’t have to cook

i would write this in Sunday dinners that you don’t have to cook

and i will

if i could write this with the hope that i’m trying to untangle from the thorn bushes of indifference,

i would write this with the hope that i’m trying to entangle from the thorn bushes of indifference

and i will

if i could write this in skywriting on fire above 32 south flagg st, worcester ma

i would write this in skywriting on fire above 32 south flagg st, worcester ma

and i will

if i could write this in the last storm cloud you left on your bedroom floor

i would write this in the last storm cloud you left on your bedroom floor

and i will

if i could write this in water that envelops and holds

i would write this in water that envelops and holds

and I will

if i could write this in lovenotes that will reach you one day

i would write this in lovenotes that will reach you one day

and i will

if i could write rain into the parched places

i would write rain into the parched places

and i will

if i could write this into the broken places and by writing manifest something whole and abundant

i would write this into the broken places and by writing manifest something whole and abundant

and i will

if i could write this in oven-clay fingers,

i would write this in oven-clay fingers.

and i won’t — they are much too hot –

but i will sculpt you the poems that i owe our femme bodies, darling

i will pick your lilies

if i could write this into wretched tears and each drop be a new birth

i would write this into wretched tears

and each drop be a new birth

and i will

if i could write this in the scars and tender places on our souls, I would write this in the scars and tender places on our souls

and I will.

if i could write this in healing rosewater baths to soothe our wounds, so we can see each other and ourselves clearly

i would write this in healing rosewater baths to soothe our wounds so we can see each other and ourselves clearly

and i will

if i could write this in dirt for us to grow through

i would write this in dirt for us to grow through

and i will

if i could write this into the earth beneath our feet

the soil touching our soles

i would write this into the earth beneath our feet

and i will

if i could write this in liberation songs sung deep into the core of your bone marrow i would write this in liberation songs sung deep into the core of your bone marrow and i’m sent to

i’m damn sure sent to

if i could write this in the cells that are you and already know the magnificence of your being

i would write this in the cells that are you and already know the magnificence of your being

and I will

if i could write this onto your beating heart so you can see me in my entirety

i would write this onto your beating heart so you can see me in my entirety

and i will

if i could write liberation into every beating heart

a freedom that cannot be removed

that would be unnecessary

it’s already been done.

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