From the Abyss: Maroon Studies Poems Inspired by Sylvia Wynter

17 06 2015

Yesterday was day 2 of Brilliance Remastered‘s Maroon Studies Intensive #1: Debt and Black Unbelievability.  We let Sylvia Wynter and Gayatri Spivak rock our worlds with their theories of the trickery of global debt and development.  We engaged Sylvia Wynter’s proposition that development is teleological (that the problem of debt is primarily epistemological and only secondarily economic, that we cannot survive on a planet with a project that asks the whole world to emulate the greediest and most wasteful people on the planet aka “the developed”)and what it may have meant for her to present those propositions at a conference of economists trading development strategies for Africa in the 1990s.  We engaged our personal and collective abysses.  We reflected on the primary and secondary and simultaneous aspects of our needs.  We tried to inhabit darkness without reverting to enlightenment.   Here are some poems from our process.

What You Do Not See

41l+vqrif1L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_“What you do not see does not exist.”  -Hamidou Kane, Ambigous Adventure (epigraph to Sylvia Wynter’s “Is ‘Development’ a Purely Empirical Concept or also Teleological?: A Perspective from ‘We the Underdeveloped'”)

you do not see

my grandfather’s bleeding feet in the canefields

how my hips know how to stand like my grandmother stood

how my heart remembers my ancestors’ heartbreak

my grandparents’ excitement about their grandchildren who they never met

what surrounds me when I chant and pray in the morning

what got me from the stolen shore back to the sea

what my sister is saying when she calls me and can’t breathe

what my aunt knows when she can’t speak or move

the weight between myself and a student when I tell them I cannot find them more money to attend university

how i could eat plantain every day and not grow weary

the potential living bound up in hear of talking and listening to the one you believe has hurt you the most

how i am healed each time I give and ask for help

all the fingernails I cut off so I could love the shape of my hand

the generous spaces I’ve carved in journal after filled journal to help me through the day

how we look when we don’t see our reflection

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i wish for that opening

“the future citadel…will open its wide windows on the abyss, from which will come great gusts of shadow upon our shriveled bodies, our haggard brows.  With all my soul I wish for this opening.” -Hamidou Kane, Ambiguus Adventure (1963) cited by Wynter

i wish for that opening where ancestors come through and have plenty of water to drink while they tell us the stories we need

i wish for that opening where one moment of being seen could fill the grooves of decades of invisibility

i wish for that opening where I can greet my future self and receive her gifts

i wish for that opening where life generating process garners more spotlight than outcome

i wish for that opening where enough is enough already

i wish for that opening where my prayer feels as productive as my work

i wish for that opening where I don’t have to wish

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There is still time to sign up for July’s Maroon Studies Intensive #2: Necessary as Water

Maroon Studies Intensive #2: Necessary as Water: July 15-17, 2015  (12pm to 2pm Eastern)

This is a webinar intensive for thirsty visionaries who value transnational/intercommunal connections and a planetary scale of transformation.  Transubstantiating the poetry of Audre Lorde, the theoretical work of Jacqui Alexander, Chandra Mohanty, Michelle Wright 
and Katherine McKittrick and the activist legacies of June Jordan and Lydia Gumbs, this webinar is especially necessary for thinkers connecting basic needs to brave visions.

6 spots remain. $150-225 sliding scale (payment plans available).

You can reserve your spot by offering a $50 non-refundable deposit here (please include the name of the webinar in the notes):





Some Poems About Our Blackness: From Day One of Maroon Studies Intensive #1

17 06 2015

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Yesterday was the first day of Brilliance Remastered‘s Summer Webinar Series Maroon Studies!!!

Yesterday (oh glorious freedom-redefining day) the participants in Intensive #1: Debt and Black Unbelievability focused on what is at stake in our relationships to blackness write large as the stars and our blackness in particular.  We engaged work on blackness by the geniuses Evie Shockley and Jamaica Kincaid.

We worked through contradiction and expansiveness, we got personal and theoretical and poetic (at the same time) and we created three poems as part of our process of articulating and refracting our thoughts, feelings, impulses and tensions.  Here are our poems!

9780819571403you are

by the participants in Maroon Studies Intensive #1 (Debt and Black UnBelievability)

(an ode to our blackness-inspired by Evie Shockley)

you are my joy in the morning

and my comfort in the evening

you are my open sky on a hard day

and the hard day

you are my hope in times of struggle

and the struggle

you are my tunnel for freedom

and the freedom

you are my bridge over the abyss

and the abyss

you are my heartbeat my hips

and my bliss

you are my scorching sun

and my shade

you are my lie

and my truth

you are my mother

and my child

you are my connection to my ancestors

and my ancestors

you are my dead and lost

and my finding awake

you are my sleep without dreams

and the dreams

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some folks

by the participants in Maroon Studies Intensive #1

(a poem about our blackness—after Evie Shockley)

some would say you’re a death sentence

some folks can’t see                      the way you bring me life

some would say we are behind

some folks can’t see                         we are on a different plane

some would say you’re illegal

some folks can’t see                        justice

some would say you are skin and hair

some folks don’t know            you are thick in the air

some would say you’re ugly

some folks can’t see                        the swing in your hips

some would say you are the opposite of light

some folks can’t manage            a darkness this bright

some would say this is all

some folks can’t see                        all is all we need

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Blue Blackness

by the participants in Maroon Studies Intensive #1

(after Jamaica Kincaid’s “Blackness”)

blackness

the blackness is not water or food

the blackness is not water or food

it enters the room and sets the mood

no other sound except the blackness falling can be heard

no other sound except the blackness falling can be heard

black is the letter the syllable the whole word

the blackness cannot bring me joy, but I am often glad in it

the blackness cannot bring me joy, but I am often glad in it

the blackness cannot bring me joy, but I celebrate being made from it

i am swallowed up in the blackness so I am one with it

i am swallowed up in the blackness so I am one with it

i am swallowed up in the blackness so that I can create from it

though it flows through my veins

though it flows through my veins

blackness is love, making me strange

within the blackness then, I have been erased

within the blackness then, I have been erased

through the absence I live in space

At-the-Bottom-of-the-Rivershe

she sits idly on a shore staring hard at the sea

she sits idly on a shore staring hard at the sea

she sees my nightmares, my memories, my ancestors and me

she sits idly on a shore staring hard at the sea

she sits idly on a shore staring hard at the sea

she sits idly on a shore waiting for Yemaya to appear on waves tumults and beauty

she hears the sounds within the sounds common as that is to open spaces

she hears the sounds within the sounds common as that is to open spaces

wondering and dreaming about simultaneous places

she hears the sounds within the sounds

she hears the sounds within the sounds

she hugs the heart of the heart deeper within unbound

so enamored is she of great beauty and ancestral history

so enamored is she of great beauty and ancestral history

that she forgets her name and sets it free

as she stands boldly now one foot in the dark the other in the light

as she stands boldly now one foot in the dark the other in the light

as she stands boldly now ready to transform into a being made of stars and moonlight

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And that’s just day 1!!!

If you want to sign up for July’s intensive “Necessary as Water” you can get more information here.

Black blessings,

Sista Docta Lex