Alexis Pauline Gumbs's book,''Dub: Finding Ceremony'' is the concluding volume in a poetic trilogy. spell it like cauldron, these are the years 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 good news I would love to celebrate with him. Climate & Energy. I want you to know how much I love you. 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. Maybe it is. Today I can say what I must have known all along, the power of the care bears, beaming love out of their chests, is not an act of force. Alexis Pauline Gumbs. My father’s joy is here with me right now because it was never only his, just like it will never be singularly mine, it always belongs to all of us. of not enough Thank you for being with us! But looking back at this picture I imagine that whatever my Dad is saying to me to me in this moment is a message for right now, when I am in the mode of darkness, not a clear path but a mysterious part of the journey that ultimately has the most gifts, (pagan appropriation and capitalist harnessing of generosity aside). What would it take to see the planet beyond our own mythology of need? In capitalism we are not supposed to know what actually supports us. And if this is what it means to love you, I welcome it all. The superpower of a beloved scalp moisturized. It is taking me a long time to learn this. 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. This is why a new book by National Humanities Center Fellow Alexis Pauline Gumbs called Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals caught … Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ transportative poetry calls attention to dreams, families, sustenance and persistence. These poems are my attempt to bring that moment, photographed by my mother into language for moments like this when I need it. Alexis Pauline Gumbs. who teach … Alexis Pauline Gumbs is an American writer, independent scholar, poet, activist and educator based in Durham, North Carolina. And openness is a form of strength. Amongst the moons and stars as usual. when the boil-over of desire undercover in the watched pot of revolution a self-contained compost toilet Or how we hold in this form for a moment, destined to disintegrate into our component elemental origin futures. And it is not what I paint on my chest that matters. Today is the birthdate of my 5th book, Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals. Burn through it. how would our whole selves shift? You deserve to float. She studied and got her PhD from Duke University in English, African-American Studies, and Women and Gender Studies. 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. what alexis wrote made me think of our mindfulness practice of focusing on breath, paying notice when it has remained unnoticed for so long. Where love flows through, or at least leaks out. Is it death or birth. At the peak of the Leonids meteor shower. By Alexis Pauline Gumbs on October 29, 2012. How do we actually face change? May everything that is not love fall away. Articles. who designate exactly me. I remember the part where we are eternal and allow it to hold me here and now. We have so deeply pathologized rest that just honoring the clear signal of darkness to snuggle and dream becomes a struggle. Really I would rather live through this with you than be right. Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a Queer Black Troublemaker and Black Feminist Love Evangelist and an aspirational cousin to all sentient beings. All around it are muscles, practices, stents. I think about the future we deserve and who that future is asking us to be. For Roberto Tijerina After Audre Lorde’s “Thanks to Jesse Jackson” say it like bridge spell it like splinter these are the times when words need carpenters think out loud reshaping into places to sit and meet and walk and not fall through write it like rice growing hot and irresistible undercover in the watched pot of revolution spell it like cauldron these are the years when we eat our words when the boil-over of desire is the table we build by sharing train our tongues to be trans send ground tap rhythm of meaning generate … It is often beautifully blurred which is part of the gift of remembering I am not separate from life. This poem, the first of a series based on photos of me and my father together, mostly taken by my mother Pauline McKenzie is part of my acknowledgement that I am participating in the elevation of his spirit daily and that he has always and still now make my elevation possible in this world and beyond. But from here I keep staring at you. My heart is not a muscle. who protect by me. It is every blessed breath. On the hospital smock that my father had to wear in the hospital on the day (after the all night) that I was born it says “never sold.” This is because the smock is not for sale, it is for hospital use. as I drove myself Somehow i missed this and only just saw it now doing a random search for something else :) Right now, I am clear that there were many times in his life, and especially as he faced death, when he thought about what structures would support his children after he was not longer embodied on earth. who guide beside me. What if we built our lives accordingly. This is my prayer. These two archangel ancestors especially, that supports me to move into a future so bright I can’t describe it. I enjoyed reading these three poems.Are there others available? Skies full. heaven drop After Audre Lorde’s “Thanks to Jesse Jackson”, say it like bridge And what I am learning is supported by my study of trees and butterflies and my reclaimed practice of play. Issue 29.2 features poetry by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, who is a Black feminist love evangelist of Afro-Caribbean ascendance who lives in Durham, North Carolina. Career. A significant percentage of the food I eat is grown by people who I am growing with spiritually and intellectually in this lifetime. That part of my journey that capitalism does not affirm and tries to pretend doesn’t even exist…a big clue that it must be important. This is the Stardust and Salt Daily Creative Practice Intensive. 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. Each day to let even more love come through. This set of poems is inspired by Toni Morrison, June Jordan, Marlene Nourbese Philip and many more.” Alexis Pauline Gumbs: I thought about a few different ways to answer this question and you know what? Author Alexis Pauline Gumbs Posted on March 17, 2017 May 8, 2017 Categories Poetry. your mouth as if you’re saying something funny, behind you concrete wall and splitting trees, you left me on the ground gone to chill in the sky, cause swingsets swing us only but so high, the laughing man will wither fade away, the smiling girl will cry and say not yet, the laughing man will do his best to stay, the curve of life is sure the swing is set. Joy is contagious seems like a strange thing to say during a pandemic. 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. What all of us who have survived the death of loved one must know. What we learn to call loss even though we know the first law of thermodynamics. Joy on the other hand can’t wait. I'm going to go out like a fucking meteor!” -Audre Lorde. I am ready to unlearn my life as an earned achievement and to accept it as a gift. What attention would we give our food, where would we pause to eat, who would we eat near if food was to our bodies what breath is to our spirits? The sacred unseen. My father, who would make up songs and speak in funny voices. through the treasury The through line, the grounding place to return to the present reality, the passage way for being. I don’t know exactly why my mom decided to take a series of portraits of me and my dad in the dark near these trees during our first joint birthday party, I’ll ask. But the work of keeping, holding close, my memories, my father, my mother’s portrait practice feels like it lives not in these image but somewhere between my hands and my heart. It is not predicated on my excellence as a seeing being. The healing blessing component of the dance ceremony seeks to harness the cosmic power of the meteor and the storm, spinning participants in a circle counter-clockwise. What I see in my own face in this picture is the discomfort of feeling a boundary between myself and the rest of creation when I remember a moment not too long before this picture when I didn’t experience a boundary at all. Our superpower is presence, the presence of multitudes in our every breath. God? 24 comments. And is it not?”. 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. 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. 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. 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. And I practice surrendering to that inarticulate memory. Who among us has so much faith that in the face of attack they open their chest? But I know what nourishment is. I’m celebrating you, and I’d love it even more if you would freely celebrate yourself today. What do you need to release? The thing about getting into the water is that at first you feel the boundaries of your skin differently than you could in air. And my words and my actions throughout the day are mostly as awkward as this face , calling forth a tear membrane memory. And so we poison the water and the air. Thank you for showin love. 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. At Guernica, Lisa Factora-Borchers interviews Alexis Pauline Gumbs about her latest collection of poetry, Dub: Finding Ceremony (Duke University Press). Another form of writing, near a wall that will not stop being a wall. But what I have is my face. Which may be why until today I was afraid to say what I know. I want to affirm that my joy, my future, my success is not limited by what I can see from here. who rise under me. When I look at this picture right now, missing my father and reaching to find him beyond embodied form, missing my Nana who I see over video chat and cannot touch for who knows how long, I feel so bound. on autopilot, and where did it land What if food was to daily practice what breath is to meditation? Gumbs holds a PhD in English, African and African-American Studies, and Women and Gender Studies from Duke University. 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. and the heirloom seed-bomb airlift Supporting me even now. Ignore the currents and chase currency. Alexis Pauline Gumbs reads her poem, "Mixed Use." 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. Stability? Welcome loved ones, to another day of holding close, of longing and reaching. i’m happy i will be falling asleep to such a moment. Like a waterfall, breaking even through stone, joy comes through. And also I imagine that I am the sun, I am the sand that confronts us. The smock itself has been present for many moments like this, where someone covers over their regular clothes to be ready to greet the newest among us, a just-born infant. Not to close and fortify. Product details. — Image: detail from “Message received. Though words distinguishing the proper use of property have been with me from the very beginning I am learning to read another way. And the fact that grief is undeniable evidence of love, doesn’t mean that I feel like celebrating my losses. In this poem I receive instead of resisting my father’s wish that I have all good things and grace and ease in life. The work that I do in the world, the spirit work of black feminist love, is supported financially and spiritually by a community of people known and unknown to me who make themselves fellow travelers in my journey by so many shapes of saying yes. My birthday (in June) is the day after my father’s and for many years we had joint birthday parties. 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. The prayers they breathe into our crowns perpetually. Twitter Feed. My father passed away the October my first single-authored book came out. I am so grateful to have this archive of pictures to engage. It's the concluding volume in a trilogy that began with Spill, and continued with M-Archive. I certainly look like I don’t know what is going on. Of the love that’s there behind all of it. And you too. 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. The superpower of a beloved scalp moisturized. from skating the edge no more. Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a poet, independent scholar, and activist. To beam rainbows of love upon you like the care bears do. 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. What attention would we give our food, where would we pause to eat, who would we eat near if food was to our bodies what breath is to our spirits? The best offering I have to give my ancestors is my joy. "More about them: They made the radical and brave decision to publish writings only by … I think about nourishment, and exhaustion and dreams. Redding is a verb and an adjective for the heat and urgency of emergence alive and radiant with becoming. Especially our time, attention and physicality. That’s her handwriting on the one photo in the album from Thanksgiving 1987. You beautiful being full of air, on a planet made of salt. Am I looking out of the frame into this barely imaginable future? But we long for connection. Alexis Pauline Gumbs 2011, Extraordinary poems, inspiring thoughts in both poems and prose and the lovely photos too. This is the Stardust and Salt Daily Creative Practice Intensive. In the past I have been called “tone-deaf” (an ableist term) for finding gratitude and something to celebrate in the midst of terrible circumstances. Much respect back and forth…, Copyright © 2019 Buddhist Peace Fellowship. there is plenty to eat when each word Tweet. And the edges of the picture and the finitude of our embodiment, the fact that sun could burn us, that salt wears us away, that this is all that there is left to touch and neither my touching hands nor this well kept photo album will live forever…all of that is painful. And so I look myself in the eye and form the poem. In this poem I can hear my father telling me rather directly to get my Lucille Clifton on and CELEBRATE. Her work in this lifetime is to facilitate infinite, unstoppable ancestral love in practice. And so I celebrate my father, I celebrate myself as his daughter. “I am going to write fire until it comes out of my ears, my eyes, my noseholes--everywhere. Those moments when we forget to end or begin. She is the author of Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity and the co-editor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines. who breathe with me. And yet. 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 who laugh around me. I hold you in the process and the poems. Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a poet, independent scholar, and activist. Joy Harjo “The heart is the smaller cousin of the sun. Binary star systems orbit each other, offer light to each other and then something happens. Spoiler alert, he did not create a financial structure that left us all independently wealthy, though I think he tried. Wearing a VERY similar outfit to me in this picture and also reaching. Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a queer Black feminist love evangelist who lives in Durham, North Carolina. In 1992. growing hot and irresistible Thank you. Sometimes do you feel separate and afraid? This is a picture of our family trip to Dunn’s River Falls during my very first trip to Jamaica for my great grandmother Sarah’s funeral. It was always a hole. Our glimpses of eternity. Maybe it is. Books by Alexis Pauline Gumbs . Soft spot of memory. A Poet, a Nebula, and the State of California. clean throat back to pink Gumbs is a contributor to the new Skinner House book, "Encounters: Poems about Race, Ethnicity and Identity," edited Paula Cole-Jones. 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. 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. 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. almost out of gas, tires pattern bald In a collection? And yet. It still feels like this. But I struggle to give that grace to myself. You were meant to receive all the love. There is some hard news I know he would empathize with. Lionheart, you got here right on time to teach me what all this strength is for. Thanksgiving has meant conversations to have and not have. To be strong enough to open my heart to you. Yes. must crack be 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. Thank you Audre Lorde for your blessed example. But still I have the experience some days of consuming food that is filling without being nourishing. 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. In our creative projects we may be in the woods, unclear about where we are even going. 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. who whisper into me. But that feeling of longing and reaching, of loving and becoming, I wonder if even this whole universe is but an index for that uncontainable energy. who kiss upon me. The portal of every pore cleared. This is our love. And more importantly, I can finally see that all relationships are already cosmic. This morning all I see in this picture is my reaching hand. It grows toxic if I keep it around after it has already offered its gift. The limit of your skin? Of course the blood pumping valve, central metronome of my breathing is a muscle. It is this form of never and before and beyond that will allow me to actually allow myself to feel safe enough with you to be held and beheld without fear of what this world has taught you to steal, siphon off or misrepresent about me. In the photo we are staring at the care bears. and if attention did ease into these places, how would our choices, chewing and digesting change? This year the time travel will not be visiting a childhood neighborhood or eating familiar foods inconsistent with my current dietary practices. In these poems I think about language and how it feeds us. It is a completely clear no. Tags . Or how we move through and beyond these bodies. “Sista Docta” Alexis Pauline Gumbs is well-versed in the intersections of harm. *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. I received this poem as an ancestral message from my father. While with every new accomplishment I feel the longing for his witness, the sound of his voice in celebration, the hug, the words of pride and affirmation, I am grateful for the undeniable presence of his energy with me and in the world through those same moments. Or how everything that made us reminds us that it will reclaim us. I come by my workaholism naturally. I want you to know how much it means, where and how you move and breathe. For at least my whole adult life navigating Thanksgiving with family has been a series of difficult decisions. The prayer of your perfect … What I mean to say is I am exactly where I need to be. My relationship to my father continues to change, and it is tangled with the stories I am unlearning about lynching and what violence built here on sacred lands. in the loop down of question, the time when each word :). I am in form the energy of he who now lives formless throughout the galaxy. I do. 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. The part mama combed between my afro-puffs, portal where dreams come to earth. How your impact moves through air. generate light like a helmet Path through the tangled places. Her doctors gave her 6 months. These sleeves of air. Of course they deserve to breathe easy and to know that life-supporting love is their divine gift to receive, not a scarce exception they have to learn. Something bright happens. Those are the only words to the song “let it go.” For me, this is the solstice of the clear path. Glad you enjoy them, Karma Tenzing! send ground tap rhythm of meaning With open pores all over the surface of your life. Dad still in the throes of his Saturn return, that time when all the lessons you have been able to avoid in your life come at you in a form that you cannot ignore. Of course they deserve support. I am thinking about how I and we learn about the concept of father which is mythological and biblical and larger than life and quite a reach if we’re honest about all we project onto it. What do we look like when we feel the world moving around us. Until it's every breath I breathe. She finds it incompatible with her own existence. Alexis Pauline Gumbs: “I am a queer black troublemaker and a black feminist love evangelist in Durham, North Carolina. by alexis pauline gumbs. the downfall of drummed up debt worldwide 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). I know what it feels like to be supported by other people, my father the strong swimmer. I have the blessing of being in community with some deep and stellar food justice practitioners who feed me. By Alysia Harris | April 21, 2020. into places to sit and meet If I wait until everything is perfect to feel this joy…when will that be? It is a dance comprised by a group of people holding hands. 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 am remembering an older knowledge of who you are and who you can be. But what comes through. My poetry follows the tradition of the black feminist poets whom I research and study. Forgiveness? I am remembering this moment when I was about the size of my father’s lungs. I am up early this morning with archive questions. who fly through me. It is that cleansing. But the heart, like how we mean heart, transfer center of love is not a muscle. It does rush through every pore. What can we keep? What a blessing! Pout of a girl who knows that she is loved. astronomy ☰ Back to top. May we make ourselves into good food, nourishing energy and matter for the future our love implies. How it burns to become bright on behalf of those who have left us here to hold their light while we can. is the table we build by sharing, train our tongues to be trans Ever referenced, never fully held. Again. (Some of y’all hear the aquatic version of your favorite Song of Solomon quote in there.) Every sunrise I meet my father again. Every day. Such a natural response to all this sun and sand in my eyes. For Roberto Tijerina Change and more change beyond that. But I deserve to float. My heart was never a muscle. It teaches me something that even though the journey was prompted by a solemn occasion, the love that was my great grandmother’s legacy, her mothering impact on her own children but also many grandchildren, daughter’s in law, community members was not closed off when she was buried. What is the work of keeping? 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. 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. who open up between me . In the afternoon you will dive deeper with excerpts from her forthcoming Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons for Marine Mammals. A collage in honor of Audre Lorde by Alexis Pauline Gumbs” who love in me. Share. 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. If you want support with your own daily creative practice, I’d love to be part of your journey. So many of us feel far away from love and with no quick hope of traveling nearer during this season. Table of Contents Back to Top when we eat our words But to surrender this great portal of my heart. Who does that? We make time into units of productivity. If I can really be with the dark parts of myself, the underground, the shadowed aspects of my life and my journey I will learn so much more, love myself deeper, rest enough to grow in invisible ways. This is part of what I am learning through loss. The coming fall. Being a fool is this rainbowed open heart becomes warning intimate limit forces us to part! March 17, 2017 may 8, 2017 Categories poetry with M-Archive another. Truth, trust in the water is that at first the photo we Eternal. Ancestral love in practice who lives in Durham, North Carolina June too, and with! 'S book, ''Dub: Finding Ceremony '' is the concluding volume in a poetic.... Is supported by my study of trees and butterflies and my actions throughout the day are as! Everything is perfect to feel the boundaries of your journey can hear father... 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