Monday, July 23, 2007

I just got back from the RedBone Press retreat. Well, I got back yesterday, but I'm slowly returning to Austin in the process.

What an amazing, amazing gathering of people. Historic, really. And I am so humbled, deeply humbled, that I got to be there. The Mother of the House of RedBone, Lisa C. Moore brought together an amazing ensemble: Jafari Sinclaire Allen, Phillip Alexander, Samiya Bashir, Sharon Bridgforth, Eunice Corbin, Ernest Hardy, Reginald Harris, Omi Osun Olomo/Joni L Jones, G. Winston James, Curu Necos-Bloice, Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Sheree Ross, and Marvin K. White.

It was just absolutely Infiniphonic.

Not to mention the reading that ALLGO put together on Friday night at the Victory Grille. It was the first time all RedBone authors were together, reading at the same place with a few additional guests (Reggie Harris and G. Winston James), and a wonderful house party (with house music) by DJ Phillip Alexander.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sekou passed this morning. May his journey be peace-filled and light filled. We will miss him. We will miss you Brother Sekou.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Earlier today, this morning, I had received mis-information regarding Sekou Sundiata. He's still alive and well. And I've edited my previous blog entry to reflect this shift in information. I'm sending him light for his healing. He's currently in a coma (says one source), but fighting for life.

Now, what's so interesting about this to me is not just Sekou's battle for life, but that so many of us in these circles where this information was circulating were feeling so powerfully affected by the idea of his passing. I hope, pray that he will make it and be okay, to continue to share with us in all his wonder. It's truly an emotional rollercoaster to think of loss...and then possibly not.

So, corrections standing. As of Tuesday evening, July 17, 2007.

Sekou Sundiata is fighting for his life.

For Sekou Sundiata...Because your magic moves me.

What is terrorism?
My grandfather was lynched.
Black people have lived under terrorism.
There's such a thing known as "vibe"/
You know in your body when the vibe isn't right.
After 9/11...
Now wait a minute here.
Emotions are running high.
What did you mean by that?
What is hope? That is my question.
And what exactly is happening tomorrow?
There is the state and the dream.
The 51st dream state.
I went to down to the site after 9/11.
People were calling.
Nobody wants to talk about it.
Imagine me as a black man driving through North Carolina.

Terrorism is the 51st dream state.
I went to find my grandfather.
We are black.
Now wait for a vibe.
Hope is the question.
And what exactly is the state?
And what exactly is the dream?
I went down, me a black man
We don't talk about the lynching.
People. People were...
Nobody wants to talk.
Everybody's craving conversation.
What do we mean?
9/11 was for me...
I remember my grandfather.
Driving to North Carolina, as a black man.

Everybody's nobody.
Back in the day, we imagined.
There is a story nobody will talk about.
My question for you is, what do you remember?
After 9/11, I remember my grandfather.
A black man was lynched.
There is such a thing as terrorism.
I drove through North Carolina.
I was dreaming.
It is important to dream.
What is hope?
That is a dangerous question.
Let's have dinner and talk about it.
The state, I mean.
You dig? Keep digging.
You feel?
Now, don't forget to imagine. Don't forget to dream.

Griot. Griot.Griot. Axe Brother Sekou.

Friday, July 13, 2007

It's Friday the 13th - one of my favorite days actually. One becaues it's Friday and two because 13 is an awesomely powerful number.

But anyway, I just wanted to share some things that had come my way. There's a film, distributed by Ethnoscope Film & Video, titled Muxe. In the words of the reviewer, "Among the Zapotec Indians of Oaxaca, Mexico, boy babies who are born in a certain position, or little boys who prefer to play with girls, are raised as women, and are known as Muxes (pronounced "Mooshays"). n the town of Juchitán, in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Muxes have an important role to play in the life of the community." There's more, of course, but this is a rough intro.

The review also cites Paris is Burning, which interestingly enough we watched on the bus on the way to the Cave Canem reading in Pittsburgh. And which is a film that I love and still find incredibly relevant. And for awhile, I considered riffing off of the theory on that film and connecting to the real fires in Paris in 2005 - when Paris was being burned down by folks tired of being sick and tired. But, that is a paper that will have to wait for someone else to write it. If it hasn't been written yet (though like Nina Simone's Mississippi Goddamn I could swear I've heard the rest of the story).

Next week, RedBone Press is having an author retreat, thanks to the generous Lisa C Moore and other folks who are going to make this happen. I'm so excited to meet everyone face to face and then to spend FOUR DAYS with folks, including partners and friends, having a film festival, cooking, eating and talking about our work. This is going to be transformative and amazing and I can't wait. We're having a reading Friday night at the Victory Grill here in Austin, thanks to ALLGO.

I'm off to work on a grant. Wish me luck.


Saturday, July 07, 2007

Last night I went to Cafe Libro to hear Vicki Grise. She was reading from The Panza Monologues. It was awesome - and actually the first time I was hearing her read from that work. Here's an excerpt so you get a flava:

Panza Brujeria

In times like these, I think it's important that we look to the teachings of our ancestors and my grandmother taught me that as a people we had enough power that we could curse someone just by the way we look at them. So I want to start a campaign, a campaign to give George W. Bush and all other evil politicos ojo. Can you imagine the power? What if all of us, people of consciencia, brown, black, yellow, white - queer and straight - all came together to give George W. Bush ojo. I think he'd die. That would be my...

Panza Brujeria

Vicki put the moves on, too. So she was acting it out and just was great. Power to the Panza.

I'm on Day 53 of my Written on the Body word project. I'm also gearing up to do another series of interviews and transcriptions for the oral history project. But, yes, I did just get back from Cave Canem. Patricia Smith posted a photo on the Poetry Foundation site, and I've also pasted it below. Aren't people just so (in the words of Toi Dericotte) Beautiful?

I think there's other great news, too. Oh yes - RedBone Press just came out with a Black LGBT bibliography titled Carry the Word, featuring interviews and a list of books guessed it:Black LGBT authors. It's awesome. Professors and librarians everywhere are going to be psyched. As well as book fiends like me.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Here's a video from the night that Cave Canem folks headed down to Hill House in Pittsburgh to hear a reading with Carl Phillips, Toi Dericotte, Cornelius Eady and Yusef Komanyakaa. The video is courtesy of Amanda Johnston.

p.s. the dialogue you hear on the bus ride is from Paris is Burning. When one of the Pendarvis brothas is talking about Roy Rogers and a plate of hmm

Monday, July 02, 2007

I am exhausted. It's a deluge kind of exhaustion - when you've had a lot of good thing that you feel flooded with emotion, experiences, memories...exhausted. I got back to NYC from Cave Canem - just last night. I took the train with Myronn and Jane through Philly and then up here. I'm in NYC for a minute and then I head back to Austin.

Cave Canem was a memorable experience. I met 58 amazing artists (I already knew one of the other people), and was floored by the kindness of strangers, and the joy of shared freedom and just the brilliance of this group of writers. I even found the other poet-fiction writers in what felt like a very subversive moment (I almost felt like a traitor to poetry!)

Patricia Smith, one of the Cave Canem faculty posted lines from everybody on her blog space at the Poetry Foundation. So, if you're curious about peoples' work, this is where you would find it.

I also got seven new amazing words for the Written Body project. From seven fantastic poets. How much fun is that?

Anyway, I'm off to take a nap. Peace.