Sunday, August 28, 2011

Poet (Gratitude Poem #20)


For Roberto Tijerina

After Audre Lordes’s “Thanks to Jesse Jackson”

say it like bridge

spell it like splinter

these are the times

when words need carpenters

think out loud reshaping

into places to sit and meet

and walk and not fall through

write it like rice

growing hot and irresistible

undercover in the watched pot of revolution

spell it like cauldron

these are the years

when we eat our words

when the boil-over of desire

is the table we build by sharing

train our tongues to be trans

send ground to the rhythm of meaning

generate light like a helmet

in the mines

like a tread in the sloop

in the loop down of question

this is it

now stalagmite of babel

dark room of reason

inverse of towerful

the time when each word

wake tongue

catch fire to ear

clean throat back to pink

when each word

sears like prophecy on our hearts

this is the moment

we all become



Roberto Tijerina is truly a rockstar who needs no introduction..but since bragging on people in my community is one of my very favorite activities, you should know that Roberto is one of the most amazingly loved organizers I know. He is a beacon, leader, expert and transformer of the practice of translation in the radical intersectional social justice world. Roberto is a person who challenges movements with a depth of understanding about access, privilege and what it takes to center the range of people most impacted by the most virulent forms of oppression in our times in a room, in a conversation, at an event, in a publication, on a website. Everywhere, everywhere.

This is why I wanted to create a poem in conversation with on of Audre Lorde's last poems which was written after a speech by Jesse Jackson that celebrates and emphasizes that the majority of the people in the world are and will be people of color and that majority language of the planet is not English.

Roberto is a person who celebrates and who is celebrated. In our community he is the most positively understood definition of what it is to be a celebrity. And I know for sure that Audre Lorde is somewhere and right here celebrating the fact that Roberto exists and is doing his powerful work, and building infrastructures for aligned work at the impactful scale and in the wholistic way that he does it!

And on a more personal note Roberto, you are a person who I fall in love with everytime I see you..which is altogether not often enough. Thank you so much for supporting me to travel across water and time.

Thank you all for supporting me to travel backwards in hurricane history and forward to love aka Audre Lorde aka Gloria Joseph with a deeper sense of home than I ever knew was possible!!!! Look at this!:

all love all the time,


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