author – activist – faculty – mom
So inspired to be in the Black Women Writing Twitter conversation today hosted by @BitchMedia and @SafyHallanFarah.
I posted a couple excerpts of this poem. Here it is in it’s entirety. I wrote it several years ago, before I had my daughter.
i resist the notion of biological clocks ticking
fillls my ears
like a race
my feet throb against asphalt
muscles burn beneath sweat slick skin
lungs gasping toward the deadline
my life this
frantic pressure to-do list
get over childhood shit find partner develop artistic career do couples counseling
cut hip hop/spoken word album slow down have more fun finish hip hop theater show
do def poetry finish MFA degree take care of health have more fun exercise more
spend more time with family finish first novel finish second novel slow down finish non-fiction book get day job make real money slow down have more fun
over winter break
i crank out three hundred pages of new novel
grad school peers gasp at extreme output
don’t understand I race against
how black women artists
oh, are you one of the dancers?
fight to keep up with
sorry, we already have a chick on the bill
male peers with wives
we liked your work a lot, but we just don’t think it has universal appeal…
male peers with girlfriends who dedicate themselves to their man’s career
we’d love to have you perform, but we can’t pay you
male peers with legions of female fans an army of free labor
I just love his work I have the biggest crush on him!
male favorites of women producers/presenters/directors/gatekeepers and
his show proudly sponsored by…
backed by male-run institutions
not now, but maybe we can book you during women’s history month
male peers get the hookup
do you have a really sexy poem?
baby mamas in the bleachers raise their kids
as they dash
do you have a really sexy poem? something to, you know, really get the audience going?
black and female and femme we run in a different lane
no cheerleading squad
no corporate sponsorship
stitch our own running clothes
childless already a lap behind
exhausted but steady
we finally fall out
with babies in arms
soft brown next generation
pressed against nursing breasts
watch our male peers
blood pounds in my ears like ticking
in praise of Vasudhara*
one pair of hands pressed against my ovaries
on pair on the keyboard
one pair clasped tight in prayer
calling on Elegba^
calling on Oshun^
calling on Yemaya^
calling on the ancestors
ori mi wagbo ti wa^^
for the (un)finished
*Vasudhara is a name for the Buddhist bodhisattva of abundance and fertility. She is considered to be the consort of Kuvera, the god of wealth.
Vasudhara is popular in Nepal, where she is a common household deity. She is usually represented with six arms. In the lower left hand she usually holds her characteristic symbol, the treasure vase. The hand above holds another distinguishing attribute, the ears of corn (Tib. ‘bru’I sne ma). The third left hand holds a book, the Prajnaparamita sutra.
The lower right hand is in the varada mudra of charity; the one above holds three precious wish-fulfilling jewels, while the upper hand makes a mudra of salutation. The right leg is pendent, and the foot is unsupported resting upon a vase.
^Elegba, Oshun & Yemaya are deities or Orisha, manifestations of God in the cosmology of the Yoruba of Nigeria. Elegba is the deity associated with the crossroads, chance, trickery, and destiny. Oshun is the deity associated with rivers, wealth, fertility, sexuality and creativity. Yemaya is the deity associated with motherhood, nurture and the ocean.
^^ori mi wagbo ti wa – a Yoruba incantation: I accept the divine destiny of my head [in Yoruba worldview, the soul is said to be in the head.]