We Slay/We Stay: Science Fiction Haikus from NC YOIs Freedom School

11 07 2016

13581899_10102510401856352_6943246821039640244_oThis past Thursday I was blessed to spend a morning with the brilliant young activists at North Carolina’s Youth Organizing Institute Freedom School.   In the wake of horrifying violence by police against unarmed black people broadcasted on video we write about Revolutionary Mothering, the act of keeping each other alive.

We wrote about the ways that young people keep each other alive as peers and engaging in revolutionary mothering acts of sustenance and love for each other on a daily basis.

Some days being able to keep each other alive feels like Science Fiction.

Some of these poems, which we generated through an activity where the participants listened to stories about who they had been and what they had done they had been in the dreams of people who loved them, expressed the urgency of love in philosophical terms.  Some expressed the urgency of love in zombie apocalypse terms and in direct confrontation of the violence of the moment.   Here are some of the poems (curated into we stay/we slay by yours truly).

 

We Stay

ocean brings us life

power lives in your bones

markings lead us to freedom

Abuela calls on

the daughters of Oshun

to tell us to breath

sometimes you can feel

not through the phone, but inside

your heart, what is real.

time and space will not

make strangers of us again

i won’t give you up

she is your best friend

wanting to be together

never letting go

dreams and ambitions

goals to make it together

be lit forever

soaring through the sky

our happiness blocks all the hate

our love is a bond*

*bond: spiritual link made by love and can’t broken (definition from the poet)

We Slay

The zombies burst in

Samaiyah and Sajdah are

Ready to kick ass!

The purge has started

Jasper and Courtnei run out

2 hours later they have blood on their hands

Mafia lightning

Striking scars against yellow

The cats deadly glare

Lane just hit the gas.

Panicked, frightened, with much stress.

His friend shot his head.

The most beautiful things can

Be the most deadly

The ocean is very beautiful

And soothing but

It killed Nathalia and Joana

We freeze our zombies

You and me are wolves-always

Oh, Rahssan Rahssan

P.S. If you are looking for a place to write through the complexity of staying/slaying in this moment, check out this Thursday’s online workshop Nobody Mean More to Me Than You.





and i will: the flamboyance of accountable writers

1 07 2016

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.





Online Intensive: Free Enterprise- Towards your Autonomous Sustainable Writing Practice

29 06 2016

Free Enterprise: Towards an Autonomous Sustainable Writing Life (After Michelle Cliff)

41NTinMMUoL._SX307_BO1,204,203,200_

July 11, 12, 13th 9am PST, 12pm EST

The late  Jamaican black lesbian feminist genius Michelle Cliff wrote a historical novel about Mary Ellen Pleasant aka Mammy Pleasant, a freedom-fighting radical who collaborated with John Brown and also funneled escaping enslaved Africans through a hotel that serviced the richest white folks in San Francisco and who also disagreed and theorized across space and time with black and indigenous thinkers about what how black freedom could im/possibly exist in capitalism.

What does that have to do with you?

You are a writer from and accountable to oppressed communities still seeking freedom through black words  on the white paper and screens of an anti-black capitalist context.  This three day online intensive connects the freedom-seeking in Free Enterprise to our fugitivity in this moment and offers exercises, insights and technologies to go deep and emerge with tangible strategies and goals for your autonomous sustainable writing life.

Hold your spot with your $50 deposit here:  

registration for the whole intensive is sliding scale $150-300.  (Installment payments available upon request.) Email brillianceremastered@gmail.com and let me know your goals for the course by July 9th.





Write This In Fire: A One Night Writing Webinar in honor of Michelle Cliff

22 06 2016

Write This In Fire (In Memory of Michelle Cliff): Thursday June 30th 6:30pm EST

Michelle-Cliff.jpg

On June 12, 2016 on the same day as the Pulse massacre, we lost the genius, jamaican, black feminist lesbian author Michelle Cliff.  In honor of Michelle Cliff and her legacy and all of our unkillable queer of color flamboyance this one-night webinar is for writers who want their words to make the impossible possible, those of us who will not be content until the bodies of our readers answer the challenge of our words. Through exercises inspired by Michelle Cliff’s work and in honor of our loved ones at Pulse we will bring our words together in a cleansing, purifying, unforgettable flame.  In preparation (or to convince yourself it’s worth it) read Alexis’s 2009 essay on Michelle Cliff’s book If I Could Write This in Fire:  http://vc.bridgew.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1186&context=jiws 

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/write-this-in-fire-tickets-26207353901

 





Revolutionary Mothering: TELEVISED

4 05 2016

Revolutionary Mothering co-editor Alexis Pauline Gumbs hosts an episode featuring brilliance from Mai’a Williams, China Martens, Cynthia Dewi Oka and Vikki Law.

Happy Revolutionary Mothering Day!!!!





Revolutionary Mothering: Listen to Lex, Fabi and Ntozake Shange on the Radio Today

2 02 2016

1936367_224576660626_5235243_nTuesday Feb, 2  3pm-4pm Pacific Time (6-7 Eastern Time)

Use this link to listen in as co-editor Alexis Pauline Gumbs and contributor Fabiola Sandoval share about Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines the book, the concept and the community!

We are honored to be part of a revolutionary episode that also features the work of AF3irm and an archival interview with Ntozake Shange!

http://feministmagazine.org/2016/02/feb_2/

Alexis Pauline Gumbs was the first person to dig through the archives of several radical black feminist mothers including June Jordan, Audre Lorde, Lucille Clifton, and Toni Cade Bambara while writing her dissertation We Can Learn to Mother Ourselves: The Queer Survival of Black Feminism, a 500-page work. Alexis was named one of UTNE Reader’s 50 Visionaries Transforming the World in 2009, a Reproductive Reality Check Shero, and a Black Woman Rising nominee in 2010, and was awarded one of the first ever Too Sexy for 501c3 trophies in 2011! Alexis’s work as co-creator of the Mobile Homecoming experiential archive and documentary project has been featured in Curve magazine, the Huffington Post, in Durham Magazine and on NPR.  She is the author of Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity (Duke University Press, 2016.)

Fabiola Sandoval lives, works, and plays in Los Angeles with her daughter Amaya and three pets. Since this essay was written they have moved from Lincoln Heights to another neighborhood in Northeast LA. She’s originally from South LA and mostly understands that home is in communion and connection. Amaya is now eleven and continues to dance,
sing and no longer likes long dresses. A poet, she has an essay published in Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind, and has been a regular contributor for make/shift magazine. She blogged at fabmexicana.com (her own site) actively from 2004 to 2013. Being a part of the communities: Radical Women of Color blogosphere, and SPEAK! Radical Women of Color Media Collective was instrumental in shaping her writing life.

Feminist Magazine is on the air to educate, advocate, inform, and entertain through a variety of feminist lenses.  We provide the tools necessary to implement feminist analysis and action via interviews, commentaries, performances, news, open dialogues and other features involving activists, intellectuals, and artists, etc.

11088567_10101764613966262_5582316824369544295_n

Fabiola’s brilliant daughter took this picture last Spring!





Revolutionary Mothering: Help us fund our national book tour!

29 01 2016

12592240_10102244687984082_6772422108958848860_n

Motherful events coming your way!  We are getting ready for our national tour!

Donate here:  https://www.gofundme.com/revolutionmother

Who We Are:
8653701_1453954943.8013
We are Mai’a Williams, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, and China Martens, co-editors of the anthology, Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines and starting in February 2016 Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines will be in the world and in your hands.
Donate here:  https://www.gofundme.com/revolutionmother

Our Goal:

Our goal is to raise $10,000 to create a series of events, through a national tour,  that will truly embody the legacy of radical Black feminists and move their visions forward, because marginalized mothers are at the center of a world in need of transformation.

We are now so excited to bring this vital work to your communities with readings, and a national tour, where we will do not only revolutionary readings, but also motherful community events, presentations, conference panels, and interactive workshops.
Donate here:  https://www.gofundme.com/revolutionmother
large_746_Revolutionary_mothering
More information on the book and the tour:

We have been working individually and collectively to center marginalized and oppressed mothers’ voices, inspired by the radical and queer Black feminists of the 1970’s and 80’s.

The challenges we face as movements working for racial, economic, reproductive, gender, and food justice, as well as anti-violence, anti-imperialist, and queer liberation are the same challenges that marginalized mothers face every day.

Starting in February 2016, the editors and contributors of Revolutionary Mothering will be on tour to share the work and spread the conversation in your community, on your campus and in collaboration with your organization.  We are excited to customize events that speak to the revolutionary power of our motherful society that will leave everyone uplifted.

Donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/revolutionmother

Revolutionary Readings:
Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines shares the stories of (number of) contributors, with various experiences of mothering that challenge and transform how we think about race, class, gender, justice, intimacy and the future.  A Revolutionary Reading is an opportunity for your community, organization, department to have a whole new conversation about life, how it happens and what we mean to each other.

*available for bookstores, campuses, living rooms and community spaces

“Love is Lifeforce” Interactive Workshops:
In 1977 black feminist poet June Jordan wrote “Love is lifeforce” as the opening sentence of a lecture she gave on the creative spirit and children’s literature. Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines is the first book to have published June Jordan’s speech in its entirety.

We’ll build a custom workshop based on the needs of your community that allows you to learn about black feminist love practices, dive into the ways life-force flows in your community and facilitates you through the process of creating a work of art, poetry or performance together.

*available for campuses and conferences

Motherful Reality: An All-Ages Coloring Workshop:
The Sisterhood of Black Single Mothers decided to change the language in the 1980’s.  Instead of describing non-patriarchal families as “fatherless” they described them as “motherful” families.  Riffing on the genius of those mamas the Revolutionary Mothering crew is creating Motherful community events around the country, which are open to everyone!  We will bring the crayons and revolutionary activities, you bring your generations of brilliance and you’ll leave with intergenerational learning tools to keep the revolution alive!

*available for partnering community organizations, conference kids tracks, and loved ones

The Paper Quilt: A Revolutionary Mothering Zine Workshop:
Before there was the book Revolutionary Mothering there were the zines Revolutionary Motherhood and The Future Generation and Outlaw Midwives.   The Paper Quilt workshop is an interactive workshop in which a group of people will quilt together a motherful publication in 2 hours or less!  This workshop is a great way to make your insights shareable and is part of our mission to expand the idea of what stories about mothering circulate in our society.

*available for community organization, bookstores, publications, living rooms and

Conferences Panels and Keynotes:
Are you planning a conference about mothering that could use a dose of revolution? Are you hosting a convening about the revolution that is missing the perspectives of marginalized mamas?  Is your conference about movement building, sustainability, future generations, radical history, black feminism, queer liberation, transnational solidarity, embodiment, risk, love, failure, dreams or transformation? Invite us to craft a custom presentation that will bring the core reasons for your gathering right home.

Campus Workshops and Class Visits:
Bring us to town for Mother’s Day season, women’s herstory month, queer awareness month, black history month, latin@ history month…or really any time.  We are excited to ramp up the conversation about mothering and transformation in your class, in your department and on your campus!  Our editors and contributors are available to give workshops and lectures and to visit courses listed in Women and Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, Literature, History, Creative Writing, Medicine and more!


We are creating a generous space for life in the face of life-threatening limits.  We are activating a powerful vision of the future while navigating tangible concerns in the present and moving towards collective solutions.  We live for more than ourselves and remain accountable to a future that we cannot always see.

Revolutionary Mothering is a movement-shifting anthology committed to birthing new worlds, full of faith and hope for what we can raise up together.

Donate here:  https://www.gofundme.com/revolutionmother
Find out more about the book and order it: Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines

Stay up to date with our blog!


Our gifts to you for supporting the Revolutionary Mothering tour:

Donate here:  https://www.gofundme.com/revolutionmother

In return for your support:

with a $10 or more donation, receive a postcard

$25 or more, postcard and magnet

$75 or more, postcard, magnet and mug

$100 or more, post card and totebag

$250 or more, postcard, magnet, mug and t-shirt