and then the phone rings/no payment possible: maroon poems on debt

18 06 2015

41LiBkt628L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Yesterday was the last day of Brilliance Remastered‘s June class Maroon Studies Intensive #1: Debt and Black UnBelievability.  I can never repay the participants in this class for their bravery in co-creating it, the honesty they inspired in me and the generosity of what they each shared.   Yesterday we articulated the urgency of how debt and credit emerge in our lives, the false binary between the external enforcements of capitalism and how those enforcement filter into our closest relationships and the depth of incalculable love we are experiencing.   Below are some poems from our process.

(And) Now it’s time to sign up for July’s class: 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.

8 spots are available. $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):

and then the phone rings

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

“We felt it in the way someone saves the best part just for you, and then it’s gone, given, a debt.  They don’t want nothing.  You got to accept it, you got to accept that.  You’re in debt but you can’t give credit because they won’t hold it. Then the phone rings.  It’s the creditors.  Credit keeps track.” -Debt and Study by Fred Moten and Stefano Harney

then the phone rings

it’s the person i owe a bio (and i still don’t know who i am)

then the phone rings

it’s me asking myself am i smart enough am i good enough did i plan well enough this month


then the phone rings

i need to graduate in order to validate my learning


then the phone rings

it’s your future, the one desired for you, foreclosed, all the major appliances missing.  you are going somewhere unknown, but dark

then the phone rings

it’s your cousin who needs help but he always lies to you

then the phone rings

i have nothing to offer you because i don’t have any money

then the phone rings

it’s my partner who needs a place to stay but can’t help pay the rent we can’t afford

then the phone rings

my parents need to retire and be taken care of

then the phone rings

your family is trying not to resent you for being so happy and so broke

then the phone rings

it’s your sister, your niece is hurt, your sister is full of rage, your niece is hurt, your sister’s rage is older than both of them

then the phone rings

it’s auntie, she wants to know what it is i could possibly see without a television

then the phone rings

and you don’t answer because you didn’t do what you said you would do yet, and you did so many other things


no payment possible

(debts that cannot be repaid)

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

“The place of refuge is the place to which you can only owe more, because there is no creditor, no payment possible.”  Debt and Study by Fred Moten and Stefano Harney

i am selling my house back to the bank, but i cannot repay the land i’ve lived on

i cannot repay my grandmother’s labor in hospitals and schools

the bush tea strangers made to save my grandfather’s life when  he was a child

nearly bleeding to death in the cane fields

the teachers who told my mom she was smart and held high expectations for her

my teachers waiting while I work it through

my mother’s voice telling me I was wonderful before gender in the womb

my mother teaching me to dance and cook despite my resistance

the many conversations i’ve had with my mother that allowed me to find my voice

the experience of watching my father and his siblings dance, reminding me of an unstoppable sense of pride

or you for how you don’t understand and you love me anyway

and you for how you do understand and don’t mind when i don’t notice