Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind

Beyond and Across: Ancestor-Accountable Poems

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Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 11.24.24 AMLast week as everyone was reminded again of the urgency of our political, creative and intellectual work at this time, a group of us went underwater to hear the voices of our ancestors whose warnings, wisdom and ways are seeking to guide us in this moment.  Water holds sound and the love of our ancestors holds us as we make braver and braver decisions.  The Breathe Underwater: Baptismal Intensive was a sacred space of remembering and renewal.  We brought our ancestors into the space, embodied each other’s ancestors, dove deep into the ancestrally co-written works of M. Nourbese Philip, M. Jacqui Alexander and June Jordan, broke our contracts with slavery and internalized capitalism, cleansed ourselves with divine memory, listened to whales, coordinated our breathing, let words wash over us and laughed and raged and rose up renewed.

Below we are offering some poems that we created.  We were inspired by Kitsimba’s commitment (voiced across generations in Jacqui Alexander’s Pedagogies of Crossing) that “all life is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean” to create an invocation that articulates our connection AND we each wrote poems inspired by June Jordan’s Who Look at Me to prepositionally describe our ancestral relations.  Take a deep breathe and let these words hold you, like how water holds sound, like how our movement holds contradiction, like how our ancestors hold us and we hold each other.

P.S. If you want to learn about future online intensive or in-person Brilliance Remastered gatherings join the email list or the facebook group.

Join us on Thursday August 4th for a one night workshop on The Difference Between Poetry and Rhetoric: Responding to Police Violence.

Registration is also open right now for the Nobody Mean More to Me retreat in Durham on September 9-11.

pedagogies-picall

an invocation for and by the participants in the breathe underwater: baptismal intensive

(we recommend starting with three deep breaths and ending with seven)

“all life is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean.”

-Kitsimba in Pedagogies of Crossing by M. Jacqui Alexander

all light is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all love is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all memory is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all prayer is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all discernment is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all clarity is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all passion is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all singing is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all dance is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all freedom is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all resistance is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all abundance is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all playfulness is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all silliness is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all joy is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all power is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all sacred ritual is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all gratitude is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all compassion is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all forgiveness is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all rage is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all wonder is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all hope is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all transformation is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all wisdom is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all grace is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all elevation is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all rest is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all connection is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all breathing is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all dreaming is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all spirit is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all blessings to overcome are shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all that was, is and shall be is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all of who we are is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

Beyond and Across

by Njeri Damali Campbell

Who look at me?
Who speak to me?
Who laugh at me?
Who fight with me?
Right beside me?
Who stand above me?
Who rage with me?
Who cries on me?
Who move through me?
Who come for me?
Who be with me?
Who womanifest as me?
Who want for me?
Who travel across me?
Who remember for me?
Who remember as me?
Who exists in me?
Who persists as me?
Who endures despite me?
Who loves between me?
Who knows through me?
Who knows as me?
Who cannot without me?
Who wait beyond me?
Who speak through me?

*

by Beth Bruch

Who laugh with me

Who sustain with me

Who walk with me

Who dream through me

Who dream of me

Who remember in me

Who move through me

Who live in me

Who return to me

Who love through me

Who exist around me

Who work with me

Who sing through me

Who speak in me

Who dance around me

Who whisper to me

Who remember for me

Who create for me

Who run around me

Who receive from me

Who give to me

Who remind to me

Who help with me

Who challenge against me

Who slip from me

Who return to me

Who return to me

Who return to me

Who play with me

Who love in me

Who burn in me

Who yearn for me

Who are of me

*

by Natalie Clark

Who dreamed me into dreaming
Who held me in DNA
Who witness me now
Who unfold me yesterday
Who swims me
Who is me tomorrow
Who is me yesterday
Future ancestor.
My daughter
Who my daughter me…

*

by Sheena Sood

Who hold onto me?

Who guide over me?
Who cultivate across me?
Who be with me?
Who is around me?
Who is within me?
Who teach through me?
Who ground within me?
Who process through me?
Who belong in me?
Who laugh with me?
Who bestow upon me?
Who give beyond me?
Who come before me?
Who sit beside me?
Who endure inside me?
Who exist among me?
Who feel near me?
Who love beyond me?
Who forgive because of me?
Who heal through me?

*

by Laura Sullivan

you communicate through me
you extrapolate from me
you visualise beyond me
you create around me
you shine light into me
you grow roots underneath me
you love throughout me
you guide over me
you delight in me
you reassure despite me
you poke holes in shadows for me
you comprehend inside me
you manifest through me
you send ravens to me
to aunt Toni (Antoinette Blanche)
by Faith Holseart
Toni come to me
Toni don’t hide from me
Toni hear longing from me
Toni guide me
Toni help me
Toni guide me to how
Toni guide me to the heart
Toni meet me halfway
Toni trust me
Toni believe me

who lives within me

by ife kilmanjaro

who lives within me
revealing your lives in memories
in dreams
fights lost hopes deferred commitments
incomplete
it is for you they we that i am do
together we make up for things undone
way back then
and now
we live within we
together we work
to lift this ancestral shroud of
fears of sufferings of mistakes of violence
of …
our children deserve a chance to
be free of the consequences we
elevate the willing sequester the
unwilling
so souls can be free and
the living can live

who breathe with me

by alexis pauline gumbs

who breathe with me

who sing as me

who dance through me

who kiss upon me

who laugh around me

who bless over me

who love in me

who guide beside me

who open up between me

who designate exactly me

who fly through me

who hope inside me

who whisper into me

who rise under me

who radiate across me

who smile surrounding me

who protect by me

who teach above me

who love all of me

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