Her work in this lifetime is to facilitate infinite, unstoppable ancestral love in practice. I received this poem as an ancestral message from my father. 

After Audre Lorde’s “Thanks to Jesse Jackson”, say it like bridge But I deserve to float. Of progress at all. What support actually feels like. think out loud reshaping Thanksgiving has meant conversations to have and not have. It does rush through every pore. So many of us feel far away from love and with no quick hope of traveling nearer during this season. who guide beside me. who teach … Really I would rather live through this with you than be right. Or how everything that made us reminds us that it will reclaim us. Today is the birthdate of my 5th book, Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals. Lisa served as a long time contributor and editor with feminist publication make/shift magazine, as a nonfiction editor with Literary Mama, as well as the editorial director for Bitch Media. fore I wake up. Alexis is the founder of the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind. And then there are my mother’s photographs, my face close to my father’s face and both of us nearsighted. :). thank you so much. when each word Poetry from Jericho Brown, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, & Taylor Johnson. This is a subversive legacy. The concluding volume in a poetic trilogy, Alexis Pauline Gumbs's Dub: Finding Ceremony takes inspiration from theorist Sylvia Wynter, dub poetry, and ocean life to offer a catalog of possible methods for remembering, healing, listening, and living otherwise. Gumbs holds a PhD in English, African and African-American Studies, and Women and Gender Studies from Duke University. generate light like a helmet Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a Queer Black Troublemaker and Black Feminist Love Evangelist and an aspirational cousin to all sentient beings. (Lucille Clifton was born in June too, and I miraculously got to celebrate her last birthday with her.) *Love and gratitude to Mama for this photograph, to Daddy for this moment and to Daniel Alexander Jones for sparking my interest in binary star systems and also modeling so gracefully the transfer and redistribution of light. Today I am embracing the brightness of ancestral presence and guidance, especially when life changes at a rate where I really don’t know what I’m looking at. Arts & Literature; Blackness; Poetry; Queer; Join the Scalawag family Join Southerners from Clarksdale to Danville who are chipping in $5 a month to continue and strengthen our work. This is also your annual reminder that in 1985 Audre Lorde wrote “I’m going to go out like a f**king meteor” in her journal in response to a liver cancer diagnosis. For the past 21 days I have been limiting my salt intake, clearing a path for more ancestral love to come through, helping myself release whatever deposits have collected from uncried tears and holding it together. Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a queer Black feminist love evangelist who lives in Durham, North Carolina. Binary star systems orbit each other, offer light to each other and then something happens. I know what it feels like to be supported by this environment, the ocean which gave us life, the air that allows itself to move through me. Amongst the moons and stars as usual. My heart is not a muscle. who kiss upon me. who fly through me. (Some of y’all hear the aquatic version of your favorite Song of Solomon quote in there.) Sometimes do you feel separate and afraid? This salt-water writing feels like fire coming through. The superpower of a beloved scalp moisturized. like a tread in the sloop Swing low sweet Dad. By each of you the moment you forget to pretend these poems are not yours. The part mama combed between my afro-puffs, portal where dreams come to earth. And you too. Share. Each of the poems below is dedicated to someone who has tangibly supported my work to study with black feminist elders and to take sacred journeys to places of spiritual significance in the history and legacy of black feminist brilliance. Alexis Pauline Gumbs's book,''Dub: Finding Ceremony'' is the concluding volume in a poetic trilogy. from skating the edge By Alexis Pauline Gumbs on October 29, 2012. A collage in honor of Audre Lorde by Alexis Pauline Gumbs” And yet. She is the author of Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity, M Archive: After the End of the World, and Dub: Finding Ceremony. The prayers they breathe into our crowns perpetually. For 10 days you will wake up to Sista Docta Alexis Pauline Gumbs opening up your sky reading you a poem and offering you some nourishing reflections and questions from her unpublished series of "sky study" meditation poems. More… News & Interviews. then vehicles that transport gas Again. A queer black troublemaker, a black feminist love evangelist, a prayer-poet priestess, an Afro-Caribbean grandchild, a scholar, an educator, and an author just to name a few. We breathe on behalf of so many. I hold you in the process and the poems. For Roberto Tijerina through the treasury Where love flows through, or at least leaks out. I am part of life, and on a good day I don’t know where I end. I am remembering this moment when I was about the size of my father’s lungs. A significant percentage of the food I eat is grown by people who I am growing with spiritually and intellectually in this lifetime. what alexis wrote made me think of our mindfulness practice of focusing on breath, paying notice when it has remained unnoticed for so long. I deserve to be at home on Earth which as Toshi Reagon often reminds us somehow has exactly the air we need to breathe the water we need to drink, the light we need to grow if we would just recognize it. Ignore the currents and chase currency. The moment of this picture was not my first experience of the ocean, but it was an early one. And what I am learning is supported by my study of trees and butterflies and my reclaimed practice of play. Over at the City Lights blog: Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, the founder of BrokenBeautiful Press, talks about Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, founded circa 1980 by Audre Lorde, Barbara Smith, "and other Black feminists after a meeting of African American and African Caribbean women in Boston. But I know what nourishment is. Gumbs is a contributor to the new Skinner House book, "Encounters: Poems about Race, Ethnicity and Identity," edited Paula Cole-Jones. Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ transportative poetry calls attention to dreams, families, sustenance and persistence. Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a poet, independent scholar, and activist. Soft spot of memory. Advance praise for Undrowned: “Alexis Pauline Gumbs pushes us out of our comfort zone and into the sea, where other species are moving and mothering in ways that can teach us how to survive. And yet. Oceans of it. I think what explains my relationship to theory and poetry right now is that I am a West Indian poet and theorist, which to me means that in that tradition, in my work poetry and theory will tend to converge. This year the time travel will not be visiting a childhood neighborhood or eating familiar foods inconsistent with my current dietary practices. should not attention rest in our choosing, chewing, digesting of food as well? And the fact that grief is undeniable evidence of love, doesn’t mean that I feel like celebrating my losses. The thing about getting into the water is that at first you feel the boundaries of your skin differently than you could in air. Redding is the way our flesh becomes warning intimate limit forces us to learn lessons bigger than us, like what happens to air. Our superpower is being here, despite everything, as everything. Until it's every breath I breathe. And my words and my actions throughout the day are mostly as awkward as this face , calling forth a tear membrane memory. As a Black feminist of indigenous ancestry, Thanksgiving is a day of mourning for how it came to be that we live right now in a society that answers the possibility of love with violence again and again. Burn through it. who smile surrounding me. We make time into units of productivity. I certainly look like I don’t know what is going on. Not to clothe in armor. then the river run right The Osho Zen Tarot card I pulled this morning is the holy fool. If you want support with your own daily creative practice, I’d love to be part of your journey. Wondering if you are even worthy of support? of not enough What a gift that all this joy will not be contained to my one life here on earth. It is often beautifully blurred which is part of the gift of remembering I am not separate from life. i’ve always had a tumultuous relationship with food, specifically, i have had periods of home-cooked deliciousness and many more periods of brightly packaged poison. Alexis Pauline Gumbs describes herself as a queer Black troublemaker, Black feminist love evangelist, educator, poet, and time-traveler. My face in this picture resonates with how I feel today. And for me the possibility of infant memory, a form of recognition before the strictures of socialization is related to what it means to create a reality beyond the one in which we still live right now where private hospital laundry notwithstanding, the dominant narrative on this planet at this time is that everything is for sale. These poems are my attempt to bring that moment, photographed by my mother into language for moments like this when I need it. Supporting me even now. What do we look like when we feel the world moving around us. I know what it feels like to be supported by other people, my father the strong swimmer. We have so deeply pathologized rest that just honoring the clear signal of darkness to snuggle and dream becomes a struggle. Maybe it is. I want you to know how much I love you. In her poem “Father Son and Holy Ghost” Audre Lorde writes about why she has not yet gone to her father’s grave. I am up early this morning with archive questions. I do. But the heart, like how we mean heart, transfer center of love is not a muscle. and if attention did ease into these places, how would our choices, chewing and digesting change? Literally. Who among us has so much faith that in the face of attack they open their chest? She is coeditor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines and the Founder and Director of Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind, an educational program based in Durham, North Carolina. Sista Docta Alexis Pauline Gumbs. Poetry from Jericho Brown, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, & Taylor Johnson “It’s like we’re holding hands at the edge of a white silence, with which we are to make music of our being here.” by Alysia Harris December 1, 2020 December 3, 2020 That I know, regardless of what capitalist narratives or my actual bank statement is saying, that I deserve to experience ease and to celebrate what this miracle of a planet is offering me constantly. There is some hard news I know he would empathize with. Stability? Is that calm exasperation on my father’s face the same expression he would make when I called him from college outraged about US bombings and he would remind me nothing in the history of the US nation state should have me expect anything different. It still feels like this. But still I have the experience some days of consuming food that is filling without being nourishing. “Alexis Pauline Gumbs breaks the surface of living as human and deep dives the depths of life in the planet’s oceans, where human life began but is now a danger to. I study him, right here in my own face. This set of poems is inspired by Toni Morrison, June Jordan, Marlene Nourbese Philip and many more.” But knowing that my ancestors and all the no longer embodied can only come be part of this celebration on earth if I create one, a celebration, a portal for their love to stream through for me but also beyond me to you and all of us makes me realize that the work of celebration is crucial. We get close enough to receive light, to offer light. And holding onto this computer like it can hold this cosmic relationship, this black matter I am dressed in, the vast complexity of intergenerational relationship: a poem about my father. The limit of your skin? Joy Harjo “The heart is the smaller cousin of the sun. Change and more change beyond that. And every day I am held and grateful. How it burns to become bright on behalf of those who have left us here to hold their light while we can. Is it death or birth. Tweet. In the photo we are staring at the care bears. A Poet, a Nebula, and the State of California. Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a poet, independent scholar, and activist. I come by my workaholism naturally. Who does that? How supportive the ocean actually is to my life. It is every blessed breath. And I practice surrendering to that inarticulate memory. spell it like splinter, these are the times She finds it incompatible with her own existence. These sleeves of air. P.S. pressure of wishes, i ate french fries growing hot and irresistible Today I woke up at 2am to start Audre Lorde’s ascension day with sacred observation of the Leonids meteor shower on Saponi lands tended by enslaved African geniuses. Dirty, divine and evergreen. May I open my heart to fresh sadnesses with even more gifts another day. who bless over me. Yes. And what do the environmental changes, the changes we can feel on the surface of our skin teach us about the deeper mysteries of change, how life moves through us and beyond us. She is the author of Spill and M Archive, both also published by Duke University Press. One of the blessings of these four years of grief since my father’s death is that in fact our relationship continues to grow and change daily. Protection from drowning? Our superpower is presence, the presence of multitudes in our every breath. Seriously. A place to stand? To beam rainbows of love upon you like the care bears do. Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs identifies herself in many ways. And if this is what it means to love you, I welcome it all. who hope inside me. This year, although like many I miss my family more than I have any other year of my life, there is nothing awkward or confusing about this decision. At Guernica, Lisa Factora-Borchers interviews Alexis Pauline Gumbs about her latest collection of poetry, Dub: Finding Ceremony (Duke University Press). I am like this planet, seeking alignment. A transformation I attend to and observe closely through a number of practices and through the hundreds of poems I have written about, for, to and with my father in the intervening time. “Sista Docta” Alexis Pauline Gumbs is well-versed in the intersections of harm. I come back to our collectively favorite Nikki Giovanni proclamation: “Black love is Black wealth.” And now I can hear through the love of my father (who by they way bought us Nikki Giovanni’s poetry for children) the deeper meaning in the words “you deserve to float.” Not as capitalist entitlement, but as a return to the ocean, the sun and the galaxies beyond. The through line, the grounding place to return to the present reality, the passage way for being. Mama caught this photo of my dad breathing a blessing right into the top of my head. As a severely nearsighted person, like my Dad and also like Audre Lorde, I want to be present to possibility beyond an ableist narrative of vision as progress. Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a poet, independent scholar, and activist. If there is not a better story, let there be a poem that breaks through the story of what is to touch what could be. But I struggle to give that grace to myself. You deserve to float. But you can see it in the picture, the way joy spreads, the way our connection to each other’s joy teaches us that joy, like any energy, is not individually held but already shared. Spoiler alert, he did not create a financial structure that left us all independently wealthy, though I think he tried. I think about the future we deserve and who that future is asking us to be. Somehow i missed this and only just saw it now doing a random search for something else :) In a collection? A comforting story? How much you mean to life around you and beyond you. Poetry reading by Staceyann Chin and Alexis Pauline Gumbs, followed by a conversation with Kaiama L. Glover (Ann Whitney Olin Professor of French and Africana Studies, Barnard College). A few weeks ago with the help of my first computerized telescope (a gift from Sangodare) and the advice of my youngest brother Seneca about the rare proximity of Mars, I saw one of the moons of Mars. I have the blessing of being in community with some deep and stellar food justice practitioners who feed me. Been a busy day: Dawn just got back from two weeks on retreat at Spirit Rock, and we had a lot to catch up on, sitting in a backyard garden.

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