Category Archives: Senescence

2007: This.

moi
2007 treated me well.

It was a year of sassy transitions, of living and dying, of being, wiping tears, sitting still and enjoying silence. Hands on her hips swivel dance skirt dusting Oya gave me exactly what I wanted, needed, could imagine, hope for, feared, craved.

***

Many in my orbit have had relatives and loved ones transition into a new state. Two friends of mine also went cosmic fishing. Then there were my cats. But as death delivered, so did my sister-in-law: a boy I like to call Pie. And who doesn’t like pie?

***

Travel was big for me this year. Every month I was somewhere running my mouth, conducting business, holding court, and afterward laying about giggling enjoying food, drink and love, often to a chorus of disagreeable beds and fickle weather. Started my 41st year strolling along the beautiful canals in Amsterdam, and ended it in Accra sipping warm palm wine spiked with Guinness from a calabash on the side of a road near the Mapong Akuapem Mountains. You aint been nowhere till you been to a place where black folks are the majority. Where even the television got nothing but a bunch of beautiful, brown faces. For the most part, anyways. Where I winked at more men in nine days than I have in my entire life in the US. Where one becomes acutely aware of the effects of the colonialized mind. Where I saw myself clearly in the metadata. It’s better to travel, trust me. Your inside parts will thank you.

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Did a lot of work with the BGLA this year. Developed the collection, added more items, worked with two interns to help process many elements of the collection, and gave plenty a presentation about it. I am humbled by this work. It taught me the value of storytelling.

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On the publishing tip, birthed two and promoted three VEP books: The Damaged Good, Carry the Word (with RedBone Press), and Conjuring Black Funk. My first solo book, Funny, is now out of print. Hilarious, right?

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Immersed in three major writing projects now, a book of essays, poems and fiction; a biography; and an anthology co-edited with the marvelous Cheryl Clarke. Stay turned.

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Attended many pride events – Philly, Washington DC, Atlanta, New York. Gave talks in St. Louis, Atlanta, Amsterdam, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Toledo. Enjoyed myself. Did damn good. Stepped up my game considerably. You should bring me to your town. I give great talk. But you gotta pay a Negro.

***

Spent time in Toledo and Kansas with family this year. Wonderful. Several times throughout the festivities at my family reunion in Kansas City, my 90-year-old grandmother, who struggles with Alzheimer’s, would stroke my goatee and tell me, “ooo, I betcha the girls just LOVE this, don’t they?” I just nodded.

***

In other news…

Emotionally aware of how I feel to about everything, which can be distracting.
Mentally I’m becoming conscious what I create on the daily. A very good thing, indeed. Now, if I could just make better decisions.

Also, kinder to myself. I made a lot of great decisions this year. Now, if I could monitor my thoughts more closely.

Physically got fatter which sort of gives me a butt. Kinda.

***

And I think I finally got it. Glimpsed it. Took my boat out on the water and rowed toward this thing of mine, alone, trembling.in.this.place.here. My own thing, this, this, this. And she feels good and expansive, quiet.

***

My Lovers, Third Eyes, Compasses, Cautionary Tales, Ace Boon Coons, Oxpeckers: Carla, Marvin, Mingus, Heru, Niki, Jafari, Phillip, Samiya, Artis, Lisa, Andre, and Larry. This blissful year was in struggle, recognition, and acceptance of what I truly want and need. After many hard lessons, it was a time to return to splendor, of healing with knives and laughter, not to mention, lots of writing, therapy, and love. Turns out that there are only two things that this here boything wants and needs and desires: unconditional love of self and others, and peace of mind. All else has become irrelevant to me. Whatever drained me I let go.

***

Other lessons:
Fear-based love always implodes.
Choices are always available.
I don’t mind a little chaos.
Not into pain like I used to be.
No longer moved to put a wall between us.
I like you better when we share face time.
I tuck pain away in my stomach, hard things to digest.
My muscular memory is a function of my fabulous mind.
My joy comes from creating, not necessarily from the thing created.

***

Have a great year. I plan to.

Under/In You – Bjork’s “Oceania”

oceanaiOne breath away from mother Oceania
Your nimble feet make prints in my sands
You have done good for yourselves
Since you left my wet embrace
And crawled ashore
Every boy, is a snake is a lily
Every pearl is a lynx, is a girl
Sweet like harmony made into flesh
You dance by my side
Children sublime
You show me continents
I see islands
You count the centuries
I blink my eyes
Hawks and sparrows race in my waters
Stingrays are floating
Across the sky
Little ones, my sons and my daughters
Your sweat is salty
I am why
I am why
I am why
Your sweat is salty
I am why
I am why
I am why

cataract

me1.
Darrell taught me
it is better to know
than not to know
what you want
and what you don’t.

in/side and out.

with/out saddles
horses like me run wild
through 20th Century madness
used because we carry the word
slaughtered for glue.

fine.

2.
eating your way
through shit
only guarantees
a raw tongue
and ass,
not nuptials.

fine.

3.
he held my belly.
tickled it.
ashamed, but too tired
to suck it in, belly opted
for sunshine
this time.

fine.

All About Life & Death: A Brief, Baised Bibliography

Skulls

Nothing gets me drooling like a bibliography. I loves reading them, yes I do, Porgy, just as much as I like writing them. Here are a few books for your eyes and hearts, flavored with a little owner’s history and love.

Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman, by Malidoma Patrice Some

In my top five of all time. Some’s autobiography examines, in wonderful detail, his abduction by Jesuit priests as a child only to return to his village over a decade later to face alienation unless he agrees to participate in a series of potentially dangerous initiation rituals he would have received as a teenager. Of Water and Spirit captures aspects of his initiation ritual that are simply remarkable. I turn to these stories occasionally to luxuriate in their magic and possibility. If you like a good yarn, this book will make you tremble with delight. If you love nature, there is something amazing waiting in these pages. Spirit, family, and community are key factors in this story. Best feature: Some doesn’t miss a thing: Some’s book (among his many) liberates the colonized mind. Crucial. Continue reading

Death Poem

moon treeWatching for you.
Murders and accidents
Surprise and consequence
Flatlined headlines
No one escapes you.

But I like it.
I do.

I wait
On my back rocking,
Hands pressing knees
Down, down into my chest

Waiting to be
Remaindered like a book.

Eyes look ask plead
Water released.
Ignored as you sweep the floor
Clean of my mother’s carcass.

I gush.
But I like the way you
Keep it cold.

Snap necks.
Flatten eyelids.
Punch lungs.
Clog arteries.
It tickles.

You could say
I’m a fan,
A cheerleader
Clothed in a varsity cassock
Two skulls for pompoms.

I’m always impressed with your victories
And hate it when people
Cheat you.

My Eyes Need to Find You Today

Because my heart already
Knows and loves you.
Has wandered through
Your insecurities,
Enjoyed the squeaking
Of their unreasonable protests.
Has not forgotten a thing.

So let’s be honest:
Neither one of us
Wants this thing here.
We wanted it there.
Somewhere it had no ticket
To go yet without Gatorade.

Now we can.

This is truly what’s risked in living bare,
Truth-speaking to strangers called Me.
Our virus a memory suppressed,
Screaming for attention
Replicating in pretty idols that collapse easily
Because they are not really here.

I cried in my therapist’s office today
Over a yellow plaid shirt that confessed my poverty,
And a strong belief in being unlovable.
Shaking.
Wounds in my stomach throb,
Curl under and wait for instructions.
Bruised, they are not hopeful or ready to move.
But I am, so they will.