Monday, August 23, 2010

Eternal Summer Haikus

created by the participants at the Eternal Summer Studio at Alternate ROOTS 2010

(photo by Sed Miles)

See grandma ain’t gone

The crickets sing her church sings

Be still, hear her.


I create because

Knowing life more intensely

Takes paint and brushes.

-Jessica Solomon

eternal struggle

blows like a hurricane wind

through creation’s soul

-A. Assaf

Made not certainly

A Summer Source discovered

Eternal Other

Eternally something sighs

Much to much abundance lies

In the summer’s light

-Jackson Kroopf

My eternal core

Dances for endless summers

Dignity in space


Eternal Wonder

Magnificence Undefined

Blooming Forever

Maybe hood ‘bundnace

Is the hydrant on full blast.


eternal spirit

guiding me, supporting me

move me with your light


trees and rocks, rivers

waterfalls…is anything

really eternal

this sweet summer seems

eternal as echoing

wind chimes and sunlight

perspective growing

eternal something knowing

means never going

eternal something

latches onto my soul and

grows inside the heart


eternal summer

sitting quietly waiting

it is breaking, breath

eternal something

wraps itself around my skin

it’s time to begin


when the world smiles

when we laugh

all is healed

-Ebony Noelle Golden

Make Summer soul free

Tap that bundance now y’all and

Love eternally

-Julia Roxanne Wallace

A new life forming

Past shaded future visions

What will be will be

The potential of life

The coming together of love

Forever starts today

Love goes on and on

Thru the life shared between us

As a new child boarn.

-Chris Youngston

When it is this hot

Let the tears flow down more more

It will cool your face

My name is Vzwhyahy

Such it in breathe it out woosh!

More more suck it in

-Marquetta Dupree

eternal endings

fall to the earth to become

eternal seedling

sweatstinging the eyes

mango mash and moonlight swim

eternal summer


abundance is all

leafy greens, vibrant colors

and smiling bellies

forever spinning

stories of struggle and grace

lifting as we climb

eternal darkness

vibrates on another plane

pregnant with spirit


Learning to listen

Growing in compassion this

Eternal summer

Powerful rivers

Ancient, towering rocks this

Eternal summer

Hope that carries change

Working for peace justice this

Eternal summer


Eternal Summer

Fire exchanged through solid hugs

Rhythms, yearning peace

Eternal September: Jewelle Gomez and the Cost of Silence

(Jewelle Gomez and her Nana, photo by Ann Chapman)

Reconnect with the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Potluck Series on September 2nd at 6pm at the Inspiration Station. We will be discussing Jewelle Gomez's "Because Silence is Costly" and discussing what it means for us to speak up intergenerationally and in community.

You can download the reading here: "Because Silence is Costly"

Bring a dish and a friend if you can and your brilliant eternal mind.



Sunday, August 22, 2010

water sign woman: lucille clifton rebirth broadcast #9

water sign woman: lucille clifton rebirth broadcast #9 from Alexis Gumbs on Vimeo.

remember what you know.

to see all of the Rebirth Broadcasts to go

and to find out more about the upcoming activities of the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survival School visit

Thursday, August 19, 2010

School's In (Beware)

School's In (Beware) from Alexis Gumbs on Vimeo.


Dedicated to the man who didn’t want to let me into the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library

all beware the bright black girl
she who papercuts her heart
she who favor sliced to art
she who sells her soul to need
she who speaks and dares to read
look out, she approaches now
all beware the bright black girl

look how she approaches now
hair untaught, her hands unfurled
laugh uncaught like this her world
dare she look me in my eye
dare she tell me who I am
devil test my waning strength
look how she approaches now

devil test my waning strength
in my age I cannot bear
fertile rage the brazen heir
what god offers such a flame
Lorde, who justifies her claim
save me from her growing name
lest she sense my waning strength

save me from her growing name
build with me a wall of forms
pierce her skin with darted norms
someone rapture her away
someone capture her today
maintain my shame, at least delay
save me from her growing name

maintain my shame, at least delay
what her face must signify
she whose people sing and fly
painting life into their season
please encase me in my reason
(shit!) protect me from her
i was waiting for this day


protect me from her freedom
hungry ghosts trail behind her
high day song squeals deep inside her
look how savage lust provides her with
everything she needs
oh please protect me from her freedom

everything she reads
feeds needs unspoken
breeds youth unbroken
white god you joking do not let her look at me
uncouth truth watch her bleed out
everything we need

oh beware the black bright girl
impervious to hate and death
inhaling like this her first breath
multitudes astride her hair
avert your gazes if you dare

or see
how her walk will swift unsuit you
lightning in her eyes seduce you
til there’s nothing else you can do

-Alexis Pauline Gumbs 2009

Sunday, August 08, 2010

In the Mirror: Lucille Clifton Rebirth Broadcast #7

In the Mirror: Lucille Clifton Rebirth Broadcast #7 from Alexis Gumbs on Vimeo.

Pronounce the shape of an unsafe life. Look at yourself in the mirror.

and don't forget, this is the last week to sign up for the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survival School.

see earlier Rebirth Broadcasts here:

Thursday, August 05, 2010

A Legible Legacy: Candice Boyce

from the mobilehomecoming project

I knew her first through the curve of her signature, the pressure of her type-written words, the persistence of her mimeographed hand. Candice Boyce, the signature announcing and insisting on the existence of a publication like none I had ever seen before, the Salsa Soul Third World Women's Gayzette. As I sat in the upstairs room of the Lesbian Herstory Archive imagining what it must have been like to create an affirming and magical social world for lesbians of color in the 1970's and 80's it was Candice's signature that I traced over with my fingers, with gratitude. It was Candice's name that I saw behind my eyelids when I closed them to breathe: "thank you, for leaving a record."

Without the work Candice did, I never would have known about the Salsa Soul Sisters. And because of Candice's textual vigilance when I sat in a room with Harriet Alston and Carolyn Gray and heard them talk about Salsa Soul, I felt as if I already knew them, as if meeting them was coming home. Without Candice we may have never had the conversation and the context to create the MobileHomeComing Project.

Maybe Candice knew we were coming, those younger quirky queer world creating women who would need to know that we were not the first to make the world over in our own images, to build affirming space, and craft our own rituals, because according to Harriet she was diligent with her camera, one of these people with a visionary talent for remembering the future, and therefore documenting the present. Every click of her camera said we were here. This happened. Never again will anyone be able to say lesbian women of color who love themselves and love each other did not exist.

By the time we started seeking out and celebrating Salsa Soul members, Candice was already very sick. We learned about her past adventures through Harriet and Carolyn and Imani Rashid, we also learned about her deteriorating condition every time we asked her chosen sisters how she was doing. Which means I have never said in person what must be said:

Thank you Candice for living your purpose. Thank you Candice for creating a record. Thank you Candice, for your legible legacy and for teaching us what it means to live, forever.


Alexis Pauline Gumbs for Julia Roxanne Wallace and the MobileHomeComing Project

For Each Other: the Salsa Soul Sisters from Alexis Gumbs on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

This Bridge Called My Baby: Legacies of Radical Mothering

This Bridge Called My Baby: Legacies of Radical Mothering

"We can learn to mother ourselves." Audre Lorde, 1983

All mothers have the potential to be revolutionary. Some mothers stand on the shoreline, are born and reborn here, inside the flux of time and space, overcoming the traumatic repetition of oppression. Our very existence is disobedience to the powers that be.
At times, in moments, we as mothers choose to stand in a zone of claimed risk and fierce transformation, the frontline. In infinite ways, both practiced and yet to be imagined, we put our bodies between the violent repetition of the norm and the future we already deserve, exactly because our children deserve it too. We make this choice for many reasons and in different contexts, but at the core we have this in common: we refuse to obey. We refuse to give into fear. We insist on joy no matter what and by every means necessary and possible.
In this anthology we are exploring how we are informed by and participating with those mothers, especially radical women of color, who have sought for decades, if not centuries, to create relationships to each other, transformative relationships to feminism and a transnational anti-imperialist literary, cultural and everyday practice.

"We don't want a space where kids feel that only adults can imagine ways to strengthen our communities and protect ourselves against the Architects of Despair," Sora said, "and we don't want adults to feel that either. We want to create a space where all of our imaginations help each other grow; but we realize that kids might get bored from sitting still the way that adults tend to do, so we set up the play room with toys and games." Regeneracion Childcare Collective 2007

Sometimes for radical mamas, our mothering in radical community makes visible the huge gulfs between communities, between parents and non-parents, in class and other privileges AND most importantly the wide gulf between what we say in activist communities and what we actually do. Radical mothering is the imperative to build bridges that allow us to relate across these very real barriers. For and by radical mother of color, but also inclusive of other working class, marginalized, low income, no income radical mothers.

"Parenting and being a role model to kids in your community is important because they will be the activists of tomorrow. And they will be our gardeners and mothers and bakers. They will question our generation, they'll write their own history, create new forms of art and media."
-Noemi Martinez 2009

We find the idea of the "bridge" useful because we believe that the radical practice of mothering is at once a practical and visionary relationship to the future IN the PRESENT, a bridge within time that can inspire us to relate to each other intentionally across generation and space. We also acknowledge the not-so-radical default bridge function of marginalized mother in society. How our children in particular get walked all over in terms of public policy that criminalizes our mothering and movement spaces that claim to be creating a transformed future without being fully accountable to parents or kids.

"I came into the Third World Women’s Caucus when it was well under way. The women there were discussing the caucus resolution to be presented to the general conference. There were Asian women, Latin women, Native Women and Afro-American women. The discussion when I came in was around the controversial issue of motherhood and how the wording of the resolution could best reflect the feelings of those present. It was especially heartening to hear other women affirm that not only should lesbian mothers be supported but that all third world women lesbians share in the responsibility for the care and nurturing of the children of individual lesbians of color...Another woman reminded us of the commitment we must take to each other when she said ‘All children (of lesbians) are ours." -Doc in Off Our Backs 1979

We see this book as a continuation of the accountability invoking movement midwifing work of the 1981 anthology This Bridge Called My Back in that it:
a. is the work of writers who see their writing as part of a mothering practice, as not career, but calling and who believe that their writing, and their every creative practice has a strategic role in transforming the possible world.
b. contextualizes contemporary radical mama practices in relationship to socialist and lesbian mothering practices experimented with and practiced in the 1970’s by writers including Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Adrienne Rich, Third World Lesbians conference, Salsa Soul Sisters, Sisterhood of Black Single Mothers
c. seeks to speak to those who participated in that earlier practice and who have been informed by it as a primary audience, and to connect those who have not have access to that work to it

We invite submissions including but not limited to the following possibilities:

*Manifestas, group poems, letters, mission statements from your crew of radical mamas or an amazing group from history
*Letters, poems, transcribed phone calls between radical mamas supporting each other
*Accounts of your experience as a radical mama
*Reflections on enacting radical mamacity at different ages
*Motivations for/obstacles in your practice of radical mothering
*Conversations with your kids
*Rants and rages via the eloquence of a mother-wronged
*Your experience of radical grandmothering
*Self-interviews, interviews with other mamis
*Birthing experiences
*Ending child sexual abuse
*Mothering as survivors (survival and mothering)
*Mothering with and without models
*Mothering and domination
*Mama to-do lists
*Mama/kid collaborations...
*Radical fathering
*Overcoming shame and silence in the practice of radical mothering
*Ambivilence, paradox, emotions, vulnerability
*Experiences of state violence/CPS
*Balancing daily survival
*Loss of children, not living with children, custody arrangements and issues
*Sharing your stories from where you live
*Everything we haven't thought of yet! Take a deep breath and WRITE!!!!

Please send submissions via email to
or via snail mail to
P.O. Box 4803 Baltimore Maryland 21211

by April 1, 2011.