godbody I

 

godbody I

my body is

my soulhome

a soft place to land for broken men

for my sister who share the weaving of dna and trauma

a place where i’m fine could not be more of a lie

as my body finds its balance

when i can listen to this godbody

we slowly, slowly heal

i sink into the comfort of care

i am thousands of years of –

yes baby lay your troubles down

i am a millennia of soothing words and open arms

let your troubles flow through me

my water smooths the hardness into sand

move with me flow with me

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White Hands

Content Warning:

This piece includes description and discussion of sexual violence and abuse, which includes racialized sexualized violence (sexual violence + racism) and ongoing trauma. This is deeply personal and something I have chosen to not speak about until recently. 

I still tremble,

Feeling your  hands stroke

The softness of my inner thigh

Colonizing my young, brown body

For your own

 

I still tremble,

The memory of undressing, coxing

Your bright eyes taunt me

– you don’t want to end up alone –

I still tremble at the familiarity of

the words you spoke

Your white mouth hot with rage

I shut my eyes

 

I still tremble,

When i remember the way you stole from me

My deepest love

Reserved for myself, my ancestors dreams

 

Letting these white hands trace the lines of my skin

Skin that holds the stories of my ancestors

Hands that hold us down

With the kind of violence that comes disguised as love

 

Love that is dangerous

– An exotic obsession –

Love that tells me i can’t come inside, your mother is home

Love that tells me I will never be an equal cause

 

We – brown skin, hair that catches in your fingers –  

are built for

– Fucking –

Not loving

– Owning –

Not holding

 

I still tremble when a white man moves too close –

His existence a threat and a memory

I still feel your hot breath:

– be quiet –

I still feel your strong hands:

– be still –

I still feel your body move in me:

– you n****r bitches love it –

 

September 9th 2018

OPACITY

i feel like i am drowning

swallowed by whiteness

fragmented

alienated by sameness

 

multicultural *

 

*stands for _______

 

assimilation

polite smiles

and working twice as hard

for half of what [they got]

 

Canada*

 

*stands for ________

 

stolen

h o m e

forgotten

[a better life]

 

i am tired

of white women asking me to explain

Why we feel this pain

of white women touching my skin & my sister’s hair

stop girl – you gonna hurt yourself before that hand gets to this body

 

i am tired

of our men

making h o m e s in our hearts

only to set them on fire

for becky with the good hair

 

their healing and our heartbreak

are touched by desire – not for our love – but the

O p a c i t y of [whiteness]

 

i am tired of skin bleaching

and hair relaxers

more common that shades beyond ivory &

mayo

 

i am tired of shame

and hiding our magic

i am tired of my brothers & sisters dying

i am tired of my relative safety

that my proximity to whiteness equals proximity to safety

and not knowing what to do –

and how to shed this shame

trade it in for action

not reaction

 

mixed *

 

*code for _______

 

“you’re pretty for a..”

“don’t tan too much”

existing outside the lines

“but what. are. you?”

of love crossing lines

 

May 5th 2018

skin

 

S K I N

tracing fingertips along

lines made of our ancestors dreams

 

S K I N

tastes sweet like peaches

in hot summers

 

S K I N

smells of oceans salt

sounds like i love you, whispered

 

S K I N to S K I N

i let you envelop me

i drink in sweat//memories

2018

h o m e

I dream of loving you

So deeply, clearly

Falling into each other like melting

Clouds on my tongue

I taste [h o m e] in you

 

I turn the words in my mouth, looking for the right way to

say i don’t know where i __________

And you pull the words [h o m e] right from my lips

 

I step back in to the soft glow of longing

I sink deep into you, while i wait

While we wait

For [h o m e]

On Grief

May 3 2018

it washed over me like a wave

only a child when I felt something bloom inside me

lacking the joy and colour of childhood

it was hard and empty in its birth

 

this seed of grief grew

it sprouted the first time a man laid his hands on me

it pushed through the surface by the tenth – or twentieth –

time fists made contact with my skin

 

its tender leaves blossomed and flourished within me

as i starved my body

and closed my heart

it grew – unruly – constricting the little bit of myself i had left

 

the rest of my faith died with a woman who fed me life

6:34am: i knew before i called

this grief would consume me

no longer a seed, it is rooted deeply in me

 

i made my home in these roots

laid my life at the base

let the poison seep in my bones

and travel through my blood

 

I hold this grief tighter, closer

closer than joy

closer than love

closer than the living

Let the Water Carry You

It is almost a year ago that I traveled to New York City to the first annual conference held by Women of Colour in Solidarity (check them out/support their work, they are raddest people doing the real work). I had been on a journey to connect with my ethnic and cultural roots and this experience solidified that my ancestors were – and are – guiding me on a path of learning, growth and healing.

 

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with author and activist Lynn Gehl at the Racial Justice Symposium at Dalhousie University. Lynn spoke with my classmate and I about the memories our hearts hold. Gehl writes about decolonizing her spirit and identity in her book, Claiming Anishinaabe: Decolonizing the Human Spirit. I haven’t had a chance to read the book, but am excited to explore it this summer. Lynn spoke with us about the importance of connecting to our ancestral memories and the histories we hold in our heart. I left our brief conversation feeling shaken – in a beautiful way. I felt her words deep in my soul. There is an ancestral places of longing, belonging, remembering, searching, healing, loving, that exists in the bodies of people of colour. I have been discovering how deeply we hold these histories  which then manifest in physical bodies as well as our psyche.

 

Someone dear to me suggested I listen to a few episodes of  “How to Survive the End of the World”, a podcast hosted by Autumn Brown and adrienne maree brown. The first episode I listened to is about Black Panther, and it’s obviously amazing (so many spoilers!) The second episode I checked out is called “Let the Ancestors Speak”, the hosts discuss their writing processes and the role of their ancestors in guiding them through their practice. Y’all should really listen to the podcast but I want to talk about their discussion of the memories that water holds and the ways in which the ocean remembers our ancestors.

 

The oceans hold the ancestors who chose death over bondage, the oceans hold our ancestors who tried to find their way back home, our oceans hold all their pain and all their creation. This water carried us, this water sustains us, this water was changed by our passage, this water flows through us, carrying the stories of our ancestors. The stories whose multitudes and intensities can only be carried by water and blood-memory as pages would crumble beneath them and there are not enough words in the colonizer’s tongue to tell the stories of our ancestors. The ocean is as vast and as powerful as our ancestors. The ocean moves, the ancestors speak.

 

I am on dry land. Parched. Trapped. The water has stopped flowing through me. My soul lies dormant. This is the imaginary that comes to mind when I reflect on the times that I have not been open to the ancestors guidance. When I have chosen assimilation with the colonizer, when I use my eating disorder to cut myself off – emotionally, physically and spiritually.

 

A year ago, in New York, I was able to connect to my ancestors in ways I had not imagined possible. Surrounded by women of colour who share my visions for a just future informed by the wisdom of our ancestors, I heard their voices clearly.

 

I have struggled to deepen and build this connection, but as the seasons change, I am beginning to hear their whispers again. I long for the ocean and what it can teach me, and as I prepare to go ‘home’,  I imagine the stories of my ancestors carrying me, teaching me, and reminding me that we hold multitudes within us. If we are open to receive the wisdom of our ancestors, the ancestral memories that live within us can be revealed.

 

Links:

l o n g i n g

I feel a longing for home so deeply in my centre

It’s like fire burning through deep winter ice

I have not been

 

h o m e

 

I do not know – h o m e

 

I move desperately

reaching reaching

I move across oceans in my mind

never reaching the shores of –  

 

          so

 

I go back –

I stay a little later

work a little harder

move towards h o m e

melt my centre

 

and

 

                    hope

 

I am moving towards something

that tastes familiar

 

and

                                     sweet

 

my words drip out my mouth

not fully formed

rich with desire

 

                                                  longing

 

for something i can’t name

can’t yet touch

 

fear chills me

desire melts me

I am open and –  

 

                                                                        ready