Monday, July 27, 2009

From Scratch

"Juegas Todos los Dias" Pablo Neruda, 1924
Leroi Jones, 1966
Bid the Vassal Soar: Interpretive Essays on the Life and Poetry of Phillis Wheatley and George Moses Horton, M. A. Richmond, 1974
"Power" Audre Lorde 1976
"Butch on the Streets, 1981" Donna Allegra, 1981
Natural Birth, Toi Derricotte, 1983
A Daughter's Geography, Ntozake Shange, 1983
Joseph Beam interviews Audre Lorde on Grenada, 1983
Joseph Beam interview Sonia Sanchez (on Grenada and other things) 1984
"Brother to Brother" Joseph Beam(multiple drafts circa 1984)
A Burst of Light
, Audre Lorde 1984
"Candy Calls Star to Her" Cheryl Clarke, 1989
"Making Ourselves from Scratch" Joseph Beam 1991
"My Mother's Daughter" Ira Jefferies 1992
"Her Thighs" Dorothy Allison, 1992
"Walt Whitman: A Model Femme" Christine Cassidy, 1992
"Praisesong for the Poet" Kate Rushin 1992
"The Ethical Vegetarian" Alexis DeVeaux, 1992
"I Lost it At the Movies" Jewelle Gomez, 1994
"The Crimson Snake" Honor Moore, 1994
"Estelle" Shay Youngblood, 1995
Two or Three Things I Know for Sure, Dorothy Allison, 1995
"The Birthday Presence" Donna Allegra, 1996
Ma-ka Diasporic Juks: Contemporary Writings by Queers of African Descent, Debbie Douglas, Courtnay McFarlane, Makeda Silvera and Douglas Stewart eds, 1997
esp "A House of Difference: Audre Lorde's Legacy to Lesbian and Gay Writers" by Cheryl Clarke
In Praise of our Teachers,
ed Gloria Wade-Gayles, 2003
The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, ed. Nikky Finney, 2007
Bareed Mista3jil: True Stories, 2009
Sofrito pa Ti #1, Noemi Martinez, 2009
Citrus Dreams,
Noemi Martinez, 2009
Hurricane Season (multi-media performance), Climbing Poetree, now

"Y'all look like a big old birthday cake right now!" Naima from Climbing Poetree

Last night at my kitchen table I learned that a friend and comrade is having a baby!!!!!! I was so giddy with excitement I couldn't be still, properly keep serving and arranging food or arrive at anything articulate to say. What do you say in the face of the fact that life starts again. People are born. It seems like a totally unlikely thing to happen and yet it is happening all the time. No number or quality of cheerleading moves can accurately express the joy I feel at the fact that a number of the amazing, brilliant world-changing women of color I know are mothers and are becoming mothers. It truly makes me more hopefully than a truckload of Obamas.

And maybe that's the place that I'm at this week. I don't feel like I have anything particularly smart to say...I am just caught in the light of celebration. As I sat in the Manuscript Reading Room at the Schomburg Center in Harlem I was affirmed by the knowledge that the love between Audre Lorde and Joseph Beam, Joseph Beam and Barbara Smith, Ella Baker and the young women in SNCC, Cheryl Clarke and the everyday creativity of black women, Cheryl Clarke and Assata Shakur's right to freedom, Essex Hemphill and Joseph Beam, Toni Cade Bambara and the name "Joseph Fairchild Beam," Steven Fullwood and Toni Cade Bambara, Toni Cade Bambara and everyone that Cheryll Greene smiles with, Sdiane Bogus and Akasha Hull polaroids, Jacqui Alexander and sisterhood and persistance as an occasion to show up for, Audre Lorde and the project of black women learning to love each other, Joseph Beam and the radical act of the eighties, EXISTS. River transfusion. The light beam connecting spirit made evident in paper, living.

I do not come from nowhere. I come from this. So maybe it isn't so likely that people would be born. Even at 110 pounds with a full head of hair in the shrine of the Puerto Rican librarian.

:) happy birthday.

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