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 (http://alexispauline.chipin.com/praise-the-lorde-st-croix-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)

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