Friday, July 29, 2011

Gratitude Poem #4

Beautiful ones!!!

Daily gratitude is growing my soul! It is an honor to write a poem for Jeter a visionary example who has blessed my life ever since the start of the Mobile Homecoming Project and taught me that we can truly choose our family and watch them emerge! Thanks so much for supporting my dream trip home to Audre! And anyone else who wants to chip can jump on here:

For (Debra Renee) Jeter

After Audre Lorde’s “Syracuse Airport”

I hear

women from California

need no secrets

just clean drawers

to hold new knowing

I hear

the sun-ready intergalactic

among us know

what one and one makes

in the time of what looks like

too much


she who knows her joy

will find it every day

no matter who

is watching

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Saying (Gratitude Poem #3)

Goodness daily!
It is such an honor and pleasure to have an excuse write a poem of long due gratitude to an exemplar in my life, who saw a community organizing accountable writer in me when I was just a straight-haired-platform-shoe-wearing-confused-self-righteous teenage so and so. Kavi I adore you!!! Thanks so much for contributing to my dream trip to Audre.

Anyone else who wants to chip in can check out:


for Kavita Rajanna

After Audre Lorde's "Building"

Kavi has permission
to roam the earth
to charge the air
with the sit down
of revolution
is not often taken
for local
at home

Kavi gives permission
to the fly and fearful
the restless and the rest
to remember
it is not that serious
it is exactly serious enough
to sit down
stay home
and dig in
for the revolution

Kavi places deep roots
and billboard blasphemy
without permission
vein strung seriousness
free of vanity
is taken
with the local
lifelong levity
of being

Kavi on a mission
is a decolonial wheatpaste
and a heartfilled breakfast
and a reading suggestion
and the clarity of context
and a way worth walking behind
and a truth worth tracking
and is fiercely local
and is here
wherever here is
which is home.

Just saying.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sunlight (Gratitude Poem #2)


For Linda Thurston, Mumia Abu-Jamal and the hunger striking prisoners in California who included in their demands...sunlight.

After Audre Lorde’s “Production”

Sweet leaks out the droning walls

call it hard-knocks monastery

call it Ghandi split and shackled

call it honey in a bitter built hive

Call it hunger

low voiced and steady

call it straining the flow

sweet don’t stop in the brackish brace of bars

sting our stumbling

our slowness our sloth

sting our floral forgetting

honey breathe deep

something is blooming in the dark

slice through thick blink invisible

slice through wax paper apathy

sweet leaks out

brown face in every full crack of air



P.S. Linda:

Your vigilant invitation

for all our attention

to the CA Prisoners hunger strike

was activating heat

to the chlorophyll of change.

P.P.S. The gratitude poem series is my way of thanking the contributors to my dream trip of a lifetime to visit Gloria Joseph (whose beekeeping inspired the poem that inspired this poem) and to commune with the spirit of Audre Lorde!!! I am so excited! To contribute to this trip chip in at:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gratitude Poem #1

Greetings Family!

I am overjoyed to have been invited by brilliant Black Feminist Dr. Gloria Joseph to visit her in St. Croix and to commune with the spirit of my chosen ancestor Audre Lorde. I am inviting my whole community to contribute to my dream trip ( and I have committed to write a poem inspired by Audre Lorde's The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance for each contributor.

It is fitting and humbling that the very first person to contribute to my dream trip to visit Gloria Joseph in St. Croix is a person who started to read Audre Lorde the same time as me, back when we were teenagers looking. Someone who has known my poetry almost as long as I have, and who is also one of my favorite writers.

There is neither the first poem, nor the last poem by Alexis Pauline Gumbs for Elizabeth Rose Anderson. There is a special challenge in writing a poem for someone who for whom my poetry has no novelty anymore. :) So bullshit-free...this is for you WMCR:

For Elizabeth

After “Echoes” by Audre Lorde

There is a tinge of certainty

it comes from being heard

being known over time

it comes from not having to say

my scream is the same as my silence some days.

The grave is not still

it is choice

it is where our ancestors roll over

to hear a conversation that don’t stop

it is listening beyond escape

it is the decided irrelevance of distance.

So now in the time where future unravels

where promise tattoos

into long-held dreams coming true so fast

we heal doubt kill fear

rebirth those who said our blood was glitter

our truth was optional who said

it was our youth had fooled us into possible

There is a dirt root depth of voice

that comes from saying what

I do not need to say to you

who know and knew

we were always possible

we are proof

we are here

-Alexis Pauline Gumbs (July 26, 2011)