December 25, 2010 § 2 Comments
so i have been (slowly slowly) working on the outlaw midwives zine vol 2. i really love the submissions. am inspired. get excited. and then there comes this block. and i just came seem to move.
what it comes down to is frustration. see, over a year ago i put out the call for submissions for outlaw midwives vol 1. i hadnt seen that many places publishing centered around birth, racism, violence – structural and direct, critiques of the natural birth movement/industry, practical advice for marginalized new mamas, etc. what i had been looking for when i was preggers, birthing, breastfeeding. so i decided i wanted to create a space for people to share their stories. i wasnt sure what to expect, and the response has been awesome.
last summer, squat, a birth journal, appeared. from the beginning i supported the work, keeping my reservations to myself.
my reservations during the first issue:
1. in the intro there was a mention of wanting squat to be a place for among other folks listed, like ‘radical doulas’, they also mentioned ‘outlaw midwives’. and yet squat never contacted me to say — hey there is this magazine getting started that we want to be a place for well, outlaw midwives. i mean it is weird, cause i didnt know of anyone who had used the phrase ‘outlaw midwife’ before me…
2. the contents of the magazine were white, liberal, middle class, natural birth industry stuff. i mean stuff you can find all over the web. i think radical doula miriam is the only person who was even kind of pushing the line…kinda…even though it claimed to be an ‘anarchist birth journal’…
before the second issue, squat contacted me and asked if i wanted to submit. yeah, sure. sounded cool. i figured it could be an exchange of support of sorts. i still identify (with major reservations) as an anarchist. and i hoped it would push itself to doing more writing and publishing relevant to the communities i center.
anyways, i ended up withdrawing my submission. some shit went down. and i dont feel like going into the details because i have just run out of my quota for ‘white progressive ladies fuck me over’ stories for year 2010.
issue 2 of squat came out. primarily white, liberal, natural birth movement-y stuff again. ugh.
now issue 3 is out. and on one hand, the content is much closer to what i had been hoping squat mag to be. on the other hand, i feel jacked.
December 19, 2010 § 1 Comment
what i am interested in is what will happen, how will we survive, how will we build community, after this empire falls. some folks are predicting that china or india will create the new empire. i say, no. i say, i dearly hope no.
was sitting at the bar with a few kids, economics majors, and we get on the topic of palestine. i can still see them pulling out the old cards, like, you have to agree that hamas is…blah blah blah…
hamas is…what? democratically elected?
what do you think of the fact that there is one jewish state, but more than a dozen islamic states?
i say, if israel wants to put itself on par with islamic states, fine, but dont let it claim to be ‘the only democracy in the middle east. you cant have it both ways.’
but at this point, it is not israel or hamas or any govtmental regime that concerns me.
what concerns me, is what does survival look like? when the soil is gone? when pollination is gone? when the sky is no longer blue?
what does survival look like for women who look like me?
what does palestine look like, when there is nothing left?
and i think about my daughter. growing up in egypt. surviving the fall out cause the very trees themselves are not really alive. what does her survival look like?
a couple of weeks ago, was having a convo with a friend who is palestinian, and he was talking as if palestine is the only struggle left. i turned to a mutual friend who was friend from nigeria. tell me about the biafra war, i said. and it turned out he was biafran. and for the next hour he filled us in on the 50 past years of biafra.
what, said my palestinian friend, what is biafra?
dont believe the hype. no one has the last struggle. this is our struggle. nothing unique except our lives.
give me a country that doesnt have political prisoners and i will give you paradise.
give me a country in which women dont fight for their basic rights to walk down the street as they wish without death/rape threats thrown at their heads.
give me a country where poets are heroines, where dancers are goddesses, where laughter is worth more than a signature on a contract.
dont believe the hype. aint nobody perfect cause aint no body free as nina tells us.
but i believe that freedom is possible with imperfect people.
and love is what you give, not so much what you feel.
and freedom is possible.
December 16, 2010 § 2 Comments
–dont compare yourself to others. if you are going to compare, compare who you truly are to who you are pretending to be
–age aint nothin but a number (getting down aint nothin but a thang?)
–haters gonna hate
–no really. haters. gonna. hate.
–we are living in a miracle
–sometimes taking pharmies is exactly what you need to get yourself back on track
–no one can make you angry, happy, sad. you do that to yourself.
–to be a good writer, read good writers, to be a better writer, read better writers
–abstract expressionism lives
–karma is a bitch
–internet activism can be just as relevant as any other form of activism. the question is how far outside of your comfort zone are you willing to go for freedom?
–if it aint about freedom and love, it aint about me.
–dont give a damn about your bad (or good) reputation
–dont dim your light, cause other people around you are insecure. they wont get more secure, just because you are less bright.
–no one will love you more than you love yourself
–whip your hair
–to be happy, give happiness
–look for the details, always.
–follow your inspiration
–never be ashamed to be a revolutionary
–the world’s shit is not your fault
–actually, my poems, my lines, my images, are at the same time free and welcome to benefit all and are sacred and i own them…dont use them in a way that i did not intend out of respect for my time and energy and talent and willingness to be that open to the multiverse….
December 15, 2010 § 2 Comments
On waiting for your lover in prison and other private rituals of the 21st century
my only time in jail was the week before obama’s inauguration. hope is an aphrodisiac falling out of love
tonight, beer glass next to lighter, plastic beads in one hand, pen in the other. flip a lucky in the back of the pack , shoo a fly away with a burning tip inhale let the soul slip. i flip three coins ask who will my lover be once he emerges from the other side/ still pay attention to this little lady who used to write poems about suicide?
My eyes follow the sky birds, lets make an adventure this morning we ride our fate
Hearts break when you use them as bait, trying to catch the sun cause the sun always escapes the black bars of paradise
fagr call to prayer via text message, but i am already awake.
December 14, 2010 § Leave a comment
contracts into a fist the heart is a lonely hunter but i am coming for you in the midst, said you’d be back in a minute. Forget it. Now you are in the concrete block bereft, sailor, you hated when i told your story but now whose words are left?
sometimes only the broken know how to be an angel
My daughter is talking to me, the dust storms rattle the trees against the windows, she keeps asking me questions that i cant answer why is it purple what is music what is wrong
the wave you are riding is crashing into me. I am more questions than answers. more more breath than body
Love letters angry letters disappointed letters, your letters are digital sparkles flashing across the black black sky, if i keep writing letters to you, will they keep you alive?
you asked me once, you dont believe i have a soul? No, you are one.
You said you wouldnt steal from me again. You said. And then you walked out of my room with a shard of a promise. Cause you cant break something thats already a million pieces on the floor.
December 14, 2010 § Leave a comment
Cold moans through the slats of the shutters. I open the window and watch the branches swing into my room. Black shadows sweeping. Ive lost my socks and my shoes are all too heavy to wear tonight.
Do you have a scarf, a cup of coffee, a white light over the shoulders? Let me get you a glass of water, a dried iris.
Wait, i ask, what did you think when you and your brothers were standing there naked, the first time you had seen each others’. What did you think?
“That I was the oldest.”
I laugh rolling over the words. You can be so cold.
December 14, 2010 § 1 Comment
No god but ghosts
when you think of me think balance crescent moon recitations, the final hours of sleep
my arm covering my mouth and you peeling me away dropping this carcass on the floor, i want to hear you, you groan before you catch that last bus to the horizon stretching like a rosary a cross and skull counting out the days til you return
me, dust slamming against the trees your soul as thin as paper leaves
December 11, 2010 § 2 Comments
really excited about this project
Our Vision is to resist and transform a historical and contemporary legacy of trauma and violence of socially and state controlled birthing.
Our Mission is to gather birth stories that name the traumatic birthing incidences of Black women & lift up our resistance to the social control of Black women’s bodies by the birth industry in the South.
We will use these collective stories to build strategy and action towards responding to and transforming our birth experiences. We seek to sustain our physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental well being and safety, and to honor the sacredness of our birthing traditions.
Over the span of the project we hope to gather stories within 5 Southern states (Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia & Mississippi) from doulas/midwives/ob-gyn’s/reproductive justice, healing and health justice advocates and organizers who are speaking to medical birthing incidences of abuse that highlight the subsequent targeting of Black women’s bodies.
Our work will provide a historical context for Black women’s birth experiences in the South; emboldening Black women to view their individual birth stories within a larger narrative, and to remove the guilt, anger, and shame resulting from traumatic birth experiences. We want to honor all birth experiences of all Black bodies and genders and have chosen to focus on Black women bodies first to understand the medical industry’s initial entry point on our birthing traditions for the last 100 years. By uplifting the impact and consequences of these historical practices we will then be able to draw a link to contemporary Black birthing experiences including l/b/g/t/i/q parents and people with developmental, physical, emotional and environmental disabilities.
The narratives will culminate into the cultural project and tour in Summer 2011 seeking to build cultural awareness and organizing response and strategy to incidences of violence and abuse by the birthing industry. Through this cultural project, we will build political education, critical analysis and action against state by state legislation targeting Black birth workers and birthing traditions in the South.
December 4, 2010 § Leave a comment
i swear i am coming back to the blog soon. i have been posting at the tumblr. which is more random, mish mash, thoughts, pictures, quotes, etc.
there are a series of posts coming up soon for gmm. i have them sketched out. discussions/explorations on mamahood, climate change, poverty, third world, birth, death, presence, movement, art making, community. i am waiting for the dirt to settle and the water to be clear (remember the sun).
it is december. i finally turned on the heater in my bedroom. last night i went to a party on a houseboat on the nile. the fog was heavy and the lights on the water looked like van gogh print.
looking forward to audio recordings of my poems. more photos. magazines. book reviews. all in good time.