Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Full (Gratitude Poem #30)


For Ms. Helga

After Audre Lorde’s “Kitchen Linoleum”

The moon
who is watching
and the crystal
who is waiting
will shake off their whiteness
evolve past transparency
will monthly
towards your joy.

Ms. Helga Emde is a healer and counselor who works with children who are survivors of abuse at the Women's Coalition of St. Croix.  The Women's Coalition of St. Croix has existed for more than 30 years and was founded by women who after an inspiring talk by Audre Lorde at the University of St. Croix (at the time the College of St. Croix) began to share their experiences of domestic violence and sexual assault.  According to Dr. Gloria Joseph, one member of the community stood and said, what should we do with all of this energy and all of these stories?  And Audre Lorde responded Get a pencil and a piece of paper and write your names and information down so you can meet again.  The women did meet again and ultimately founded this organization which has had a long lasting impact on St. Croix and which also provided an amazingly aligned workplace for Ms. Helga, who actually organized Audre Lorde's first poetry reading in Frankfurt Germany in 1987, when she moved to St. Croix from Frankfurt 10 years ago.

Ms. Helga claims not to know many young lesbians.  "You are the future my dear!" she exclaimed the first day I met her.   I know that it was no small thing for Ms. Helga who had never met me before to open up the home she and Dr. Joseph share to a strange young visitor with early morning yoga, dance and ocean rituals for 2 weeks.  I am so grateful for Ms. Helga's hospitality.   I learned so much from watching her gather her crystals to be energized by the full moon, helping to put up storm shutters in anticipation of tropical storm Maria at meeting her enthusiastic colleagues at the Women's Coalition in the midst of their transition out of a burned down building.  It is an honor to affirm Ms. Helga and her healing.

P.S.  You can read more about Ms. Helga in her own (translated) words in the anthology Showing Our Colors: Afro-German Women Speak Out.

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