June 5, 2011 § 1 Comment
–the vol 3 of outlaw midwives is shaping up. yay! i am getting excited about the prospect of sitting on the floor and putting it together.
–we had a first installation show at water studio. i still have to get up the pics from the show on the tumblr blog. but the show was beautiful. deconstruction, chaos, rough, lyrical visually.
–the bridge called my baby: lex and china and i have been working hard core on this book especially in the past month. you guys! it is going to be an amazing anthology! working with lex and china is a dream. i am so blessed, each of us have come to this place on a very different journey, but here we are. sharing what we have learned along the way with each other. also the good thing about working with three people, is someone can be out for one stage of the project, and the work continues with the other two. this is useful since we all have multi faceted lives.
–i, more and more, want to publish a book of poetry. i feel like i need an editor or mentor or someone who understands poetry books to help me go through my work, edit, select, think through the process…know of anyone like that? let me know…
–and of course working on the memoir. going to kick that writing into high gear this week.
–cal and aza are going to the states in late june. most of my friends are going to europe for the summer. and soon it will be just me and a few stragglers (ha ha)…i dont want to go to the states. it just wouldnt be a space in which i could focus on my work/writing. i would spend that month running around like a chicken with my head cut off, this family, that family, these friends, must see, must see, exhausted. no one would be satisfied. everyone would want more. and i would be unhappy feeling like i was letting myself down in this crucial time when it comes to my writing/my art/my studies.
as much as sometimes i get homesick, i cant tell you what i am homesick for… because i dont really have a home.
but as much as i love cairo, i dont want to hang out here all summer either. so i am thinking maybe europe for a quick trip….
April 26, 2011 § 2 Comments
oh this tumblr for april poetry month is so beautiful. the poems. gawd.
April 17, 2011 § 2 Comments
tell me what is so confusing about a necklace of jasmine and red carnation
a pink barrette tangled in dreadlocks
a yellow tube of raisin lip gloss
the traces of mosquito blood on a dirty palm?
April 17, 2011 § Leave a comment
you in black space blue stars red metal singing, go
i ran, the spinning nucleus, forgiveness so desperate the hunger bit off my wings
navy blue boys in starched pants, the stench of the streets, blood dripping from their fingers, soldiers have to eat meat
i am still here, still spinning, still glancing across the sky, wondering about you rolling away like a dirty quarter i cant reach
April 17, 2011 § Leave a comment
it finally occurs to me the male ego is ridiculous this is why they run in packs
me, mama wolf running with kin nothing but sand where the cedars stood and stars cliche like me dreadlocked writing about seeds planted for freedom
the heart found shells she listens to in the middle of the city black sea salt black lost the black tongue teeth and gone
cause nothing saves you but your own paw
March 30, 2011 § 8 Comments
so for the third year in a row i will be doing april poetry month/a poem a day/napowrimo…
last year i did a series of narratives and characters that fit together.
the year before that i just did poems as they came to me.
this year i think i am going to focus on one theme for the month. have not chosen the theme yet though.
anyways i am excited to be writing poems again.
and if you have any suggestions for a theme, let me know…
March 30, 2011 § Leave a comment
call for submissions
focusing on pregnancy, birth, post partum, baby and breastfeeding
for and by: mothers, friends and allies of mothers, doulas, midwives, birthworkers, childbirth educators, childbirth advocates,
intention: to create a zine for pregnancy, birth, and the first year of motherhood centering the lives of working class, marginalized mothers and birthworkers.
submit: photos, drawings, visual art
poems, essays, fiction and non-fiction
tips, suggestions, lists of resources
check out the outlaw midwives manifesta and website: http://outlawmidwife.wordpress.com/
outlaw midwives: creating revolutionary communities of love
some suggestions for topics on which you can submit…but these are just suggestions…
suggestions for those trying to conceive. and for not conceiving. stories of conception, abortions and miscarriage.
what are the social, economic, legal consequences and limitations for marginalized mothers to make choices about how, when and where they will give birth.
tips for the first, second, third trimester. relationship with doctors, clinic, midwives, family, friends, etc.
how do our ideas of gender and sexuality influence how we view childbearing, midwifery, and parenting?
Your take on reproductive justice?
how do we resist the high infant and mortality rates?
what are the ways that community could support the childbearing year, mothers and families?
how have you navigated through the systems of welfare, protective child services, hospitals, etc?
reflect on the state of midwifery today. what do you see as the positives and negatives? how has legalization and licensing affected mothers and families access to care?
what would you want to tell a soon to be mother about pregnancy, birth, and early motherhood? or write a letter to your pre-mother or pre-pregnant self about what you should expect. what didnt you expect to happen/learn/experience in pregnancy, birth, the baby year? write a letter to you daughter and/or son about what you learned/want to pass on about pregnancy, birth, baby year.
what was your personal experience/story of birth? pregnancy, the baby year?
what did you learn/are you learning from the baby year?
what do you wish someone had told you about early motherhood and/or being a birth worker?
what do you wish you could have said to someone, but didnt?
what is your vision/ideal of how pregnancy, birth, baby year could be?
what family/traditional wisdom did you receive about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding? what practical tips do you have for working poor mothers?
breastfeeding vs. bottle. what are the social, biological and economic influences and consequences of the choice to breastfeed or bottle feed?
what to do with the placenta? placenta art, consumption, burials?
why did you become a birth worker? what has been the highlights of the experience? what have been the difficulties?
what does ‘outlaw midwife’ mean to you?
keep it simple
deadline may 15
send submissions to maiamedicine at gmail dot com
February 17, 2011 § 1 Comment
what i realized during the 18 days was that there was no one particular role i wanted or needed to play. what i felt compelled to do was understand the revolution. from as many sides as possible. and by understand, i mean experience, get close to, get underneath, witness, live, breathe it. and then be able to respond to what was happening in the moment it was happening.
which meant sometimes i was a protester with a scarf soaked in vinegar over my nose.
and sometimes i was a mama explaining to aza what was going on outside.
and sometimes i was a friend offering a drink and a smoke.
and sometimes i was a medic offering medicines and advice.
and sometimes i was a writer taking notes and hitting ‘publish’
and sometimes i was a photographer with a camera and a smile.
and sometimes i was a translator trying to relay impossible questions.
and sometimes i was the researcher/analyst reading about the history and the future of the region
and sometimes i was just tired or confused or overwhelmed or scared or cranky or insomniac.
but underneath it all, i kept hearing this little voice saying, just understand it. just be in it. so you can understand it. pay attention. pay attention. keep waking up.
we have to keep waking up again and again. its not a one time thing. to be fully awake is a constant re-awakening from that half-sleep state of mind that we lapse into like a habit. that state where we stop paying attention and instead get all lost in our heads in fantasies about the past and the future and the not here and not now. and then we catch ourselves and we wake back up.
this is the internal revolution, to wake back up fully. during an external revolution. and both of these revolutions, the personal and the political, are constantly being refreshed. we fall into half-sleep state. we fall into social complacency and oppressions. and then we revolt.
to fully awakenedness for a moment.
and then we just do what needs to be done.
January 27, 2011 § 7 Comments
outlaw midwives vol 2!
so here is the draft of outlaw midwives vol 2. uploaded onto scribd. 64 pages.
the upload to scribd was imperfect. there are about two-three pages that for some reason didnt upload. pretty random. (i think it is because in general the internet has been running slower since the protests began in cairo. the egyptian govt fucked with twitter as it is, since that and fb is where a lot of the organizing is happening for the protests) so i am going to upload it again, but until then, enjoy this.
I love volume 2 of outlaw midwives. I love it because it is full of personal stories from the frontlines of birth work and mothering. As I printed out the articles and sat on the floor with glue stick and scissors, stapler and paper, I could hear the air crackle around me as the electric heater burnt slowly. These pages are pointing to a path of liberation and magic. To a place where justice = love.
These stories run the gamut, from supporting women’s access to abortion to discovering that breastfeeding can be painful and exhausting. From questioning who homebirth is really for, to mamas discussing marginal identities in the natural birth community. There are visions for what midwifery could be, should be, and what it should never have become. Stories about death. And yes, stories about birth. Most of all, these are stories, our stories, that we need.
So please enjoy, pass along, and support outlaw midwives by any means necessary.
cover art –soraya jean louis
bird blues baby—soraya jean louis
love, sister—soraya jean louis
outlaw midiwives and outlaws—ash johnsdottir
black women birthing resistance—cara page and tamika middleton
evidence-based medicine—gloria lemay
my secondary post-partum hemorrhage experience—rebecca j. haines-saah phd
love and lost, for julie—brooke benoit
homebirth and no home—da midwife
on birth and choice—pamela hines powell
abortion in florida—randi james
i wonder what would happen if midwives…—carla hartley
what they don’t tell you about breastfeeding—aaminah al-naksibendi
stepping out—mai’a, aaminah al-naksibendi, amy gow, Patrice nichole byers, china
body pirate: how my body was taken hostage by a nursing toddler—laurel ripple carpenter
the c-section—alexis gumbs
a hard rains a-gonna fall—ash johnsdottir
also in this zine you will find call for submissions for the bridge called my baby anthology and for outlaw midwives vol 3.
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.