Monday, March 26, 2012

cartwheel on the blacktop (Trayvon Martin 2.0)

cartwheel on the blacktop

by Alexis Pauline Gumbs

he has wings in his shoes.

Trayvon yawns and stretches in the crook of the tree. Slept til dark again. Shrugs. Stretches out his retractable shoe gliders and hangs a slow swinging backflip out of the branches. Into the world again. Blows a kiss at one leaf. Turns to face home.

a rainbow in his mouth.

Notices he is on tilt two-thousand. Off-balance more than the sway of waking up. Sugar low. Annoyed to have to hunt for convenience and its stores of chemical fructose. This is a manicured neighborhood. No fruit in these trees but him himself at twilight.

he has sweet tea time travel in a can

Sweetness reloading he blinks at the mission message in his eyelids. Find the little brother. Teach him about sugar. Teach him that he too can fly as nonchalant as hammock rope. Give him one swift hug and then return to the future to plug in his fingers. Banjo music a much better charge than this watered down fuel. Can’t wait to get home. He slept into dark. On this world of all worlds. Right during the time of the nightvision nearsightedness. Sigh. He might be late. His shoes brush the sidewalk.

his hooded sweatshirt forcefield threaded through with angel kevlar

Behind him the loud machine for the heavyfooted hunter slows down. He has been detected. Will his teenage camoflauge help him or hurt. He sighs. He is so young. Only four hundred years old. He shakes his head and looks back. Remember how they used guns. Remember how they never felt safe enough to breathe or whole enough to listen. Overslept. Over. He sends one telepathic message to the little brother waiting. Quickly embroiders it with sweetness. Love.

At the moment of the explosion the sweatshirt flickers hieroglyphics. Blue light math. He squeezes the can. Liquid sprays everywhere. Hands to the pavement. He wonders if the little brother will understand what he must do.

*this is a response to

**the title "Cartwheel on the Blacktop" comes from a poetic response in our intergenerational "The Way the World Begins Again" workshop on June Jordan's children's literature at the Split this Rock Festival in Washington, DC.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Active Being: Clarity from the Remastered Tools 101 Webinar Participants

Active Beings Speak the Truth!

Last night was our second session of the Remastered Tools 101 Webinar. The brilliance, clarity, faith and bravery of the participants continues to rev my heart!! By the way...if you want to sign up for the next Webinar series get details here. We talked about the difference between being used and being on purpose. Check out these insights about what we believe is required to embody what Lorde calls "active being":

“Interdependency…is the way to a freedom which allows the I to be, not in order to be used, but in order to be creative. This is a difference between the passive be and the active being.”

Audre Lorde “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House”

Actively being embodies a way of life and living, continuous conscious decision making. And that sometimes means you will fall short but recognize the "uh-oh" moments.

Active being is being okay with making mistakes, having compassion for yourself and others, not being perfectionist, sharing works-in-progress.

Active being means letting go.

Active being is hard when most of my days I’m on autopilot.

I cannot practice humility on auto pilot!

Active being is starting with creativity. Asking what should we do? instead of

looking around at traditional models and saying how do we most quickly reproduce that?

As a disabled person and a survivor, part of my active being is doing enough healing & rest & self care & self-awareness that when I step up into being and doing I can actually sustain it accountably.

Active being is growing roots such that your vision starts unfolding in all ten directions, but the road has become one.

Radical self care is the foundation of active being for me. When I take good care of me, I do good work. Such simple things like drinking enough water, cooking good meals, praying, putting on lotion.

Active being is listening to myself and listening to my community and physically putting my body where it needs to be

Active being is trusting my intuition.

Active being requires creating and seeking spaces which affirm us completely.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Survival is Not: A Group Poem by the Remastered Tools 101 Webinar Crew!

Last night was the first ever Remastered Tools 101 Webinar session for visionary under-represented graduate students and emerging community accountable scholars! It was an amazing cyber love-fest in the name of the Lorde across at least 6 time zones! How awesome to engage the context and challenge of Audre Lorde's "The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House" with such brilliant love filled computer screen beams! It was a faith-building and clarifying experience for me and I am filled with gratitude for the bravery and clarity of the participants!

Check out one version of the group poem that we made based on Audre Lorde's statement that "Survival is Not an Academic Skill."

Survival is Not

(when academics kill)

“Survival is not an academic skill.” -Audre Lorde “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House”

“Capitalism of the mind makes us all stupid.” Anna Torres’s advisor

Based on a group poem activity by the 2012 Remastered Tools 101 crew!

Survival is not the death of me.

Survival is not the death of you.

And I wish people would stop making it so complicated.

Love is not an academic skill.

Listening is not an academic skill.

Liberation is not an academic skill.

Compassion is not an academic skill.

Care is not an academic skill.

Comradeship is not an academic skill.

Courage is not an academic skill.

Mindfulness is not an academic skill.

Humility is not an academic skill.

Self-correction is not an academic skill.

Feminism is not an academic skill.

Speaking truth to power is not an academic skill.

Visibility is not an academic skill.

Affirming the beauty of others is not an academic skill.

Honoring one another and our visions are not academic skills.

Ethics are not academic skills.

Trust is not an academic skill.

Trusting intuitive power and hope are not academic skills.

Nurturing spirit is not an academic skill.

Being human is not an academic skill.

Being yourself is not an academic skill.

Creating family is not an academic skill.

What our grandmothers taught us

and what we learn through the body are not academic skills.

Dancing is not an academic skill.

Making love is not an academic skill.


Survival is not an optional skill.

Survival is not a game for pay.

Survival is not the illusion of safety.

Survival is not thinking we need to fit into boxes.

Survival is not becoming who you need me to be.

Survival is not holding our breath.

Survival is not made possible by overriding our bodies.

Survival is not possible without rest.

Survival is not scary when we know what we are living for.

Community is everything.