18 December 2006

thoughts about consciousness

I've missed writing on my blog, and somehow the semester managed to escape me in the midst of craziness at UF - I've had the strangest semester - way too hectic and somehow not as productive as I would have liked... spent way too much time organizing, but it had to be done... and now it's over and the holidays are here... and with it some great news:

Five of my poems have just appeared in ProudFlesh: New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics, and Consciousness - in their issue on "Consciousness." So check out ProudFlesh for thoughts about consciousness - the editorial gives you a map of the issue. I'm still checkin it out myself - it just came out last night! and I wanted to share it right away...

sendin out positive wibes for da holidays... you are all in my thoughts... I'm headin home today, but I'll be checkin my blog and email - so if anyone feels so inclined - feel free to spark some discussion and share your thoughts on "consciousness."
peace & soul,

31 October 2006

what is the caribbean?

so it's been a long time... i've missed sharing on this space - conscious vibration - and i've been just so busy that time continuously escapes me as I rush to and fro deadlines, meetings, teaching, and simply being. I have so much to say that I will need hours to get it all out, so meanwhile as I re-group and gather my thoughts, I share this poem. I started writing it in Trinidad when I was there for Carnival - and it's been sitting in my journal waiting patiently for nourishment. I finally let it free for a Caribbean Multicultural Showcase a couple weeks ago. The first poem I've finished in a long time - so I hope it will give me the spark I need to continue my writing journey... and on this all hallows eve, I remember my ancestors through this poem and through my life... cause I'm still here...

What is the

Trinidad feels like home
a distant memory of this place I should remember
or maybe I do

somewhere in my blood,
someplace in these genes of memory.

Maybe I remember here – this place,
This space of my ancestors

I wonder what your life must have been like
Willabie Black, my great grandmother

What did you experience in these streets,
In these hills of Port of Spain?

All I have is this biography of you:
“born in Port of Spain, married, then migrated to The Bahamas - Mathew Town, Inagua to be exact, where my grandmother Mabel Sistella Charles was born, and when Mabel was 16, the family moved to Bain Town, New Providence for better opportunities.”

So what of these lines of descent
These migrations across the Caribbean

What made you move?
What made you stay?

All I have is this picture of you in my head
a photograph my mother carried of you,
tall, poised, proud, eyes full of wisdom,
stature full of strength,
mouth curved and hardened
from the experiences of your life
that I will never know
but I can wonder and imagine you
and wield you into an existence,
if only in my mind, if only on this page.

And then these words come to me, through this memory of you:
The stories, the words.
these gifts of our many languages
our spirits, our souls
of being, of living in these Caribbean spaces of here and there.
and what are we to make of these spaces?
how can we describe the similarities
of our islands, our cultures, our nation languages?

how can we make sense of our differences, our uniqueness,
And still be unified in our struggles for liberation?
As we re-map and re-define these, our Caribbean spaces,
how can we focus on the local, and at the same time,
open up to include these movements and migrations
within and outside
this region - is it our center? is it ours at all?

Where is here? Who draws our maps?
What is the Caribbean?

It is beyond geographic location
It is spatially expanding as Caribbean communities
maintain and re-produce our cultures at home and abroad.

It is historically connective tissue that has spread
and weaved its way around all these spaces
with similar histories and herstories – slavery, the middle passage, colonization.

It is a region of nations/places that share cultures, and people
with creolisation at the heart – the mixing and mingling of races and languages
that show strength, survival, and possibility for people of African, Asian, and Indian descent – stolen lives, stolen stories, still surviving, still living here and there…

It is complex and ever-changing.
It is an interplay of being – the past being ever present –
In these colonized and neo-colonized spaces of here and there,
Searching for a future that is ours and free.

30 August 2006

remembering hurricane katrina

It's been a year since the devastation in the Gulf Coast region, and the area is still suffering greatly. Many parts of New Orleans (especially the poorest neighborhoods that were predominantly black) are still empty and residents are still waiting for cleanup - one year later... some living in tents, in those shoddy FEMA trailers, and many others living across the U.S. trying to re-build their lives. Insurance companies are not paying. FEMA money has run out. People have been spread out across the United States with no way of getting back home. The city keeps promising to bring people back and rebuild - but very little progress has been made. And gentrification is underway in New Orleans. Spike Lee's documentary on HBO "When the Levees Broke" is bringing attention to these issues, but there is more to be done. What I really liked about the film is how he gives space for people to tell their own stories and express their frustrations. It is utterly sad. If you saw the documentary, what did you think? What kind of impact do you think Lee's documentary had on the public? The reviews I read of the film were for the most part positive, but some blasted Spike Lee for the length and the demonizing of the government. (As if the Bush Admin doesn't deserve it?) Also, I've been checking out the 'anniversary' stories on the BBC, MSNBC, and on alternative news sites which are bringing some of the problems back into the public eye. I've noticed overall that people are outraged at what happened and that people are still suffering - but I wonder how long will these stories will stay in the news? And the news stories about race (or that touch on race) turn into sadness about the loss of culture for New Orleans rather than any real discussion of the socio-economic inequities that existed pre-Katrina for many years. I don't watch T.V. so I'm not sure of how the networks and major news channels have covered the anniversary, so please share your thoughts on any interesting coverage. I was checking out this excellent site for current information about recovery efforts http://www.katrinaaction.org/, and they have a list of action items which I wanted to share:

1) Visit www.katrinaaction.org to connect with information, find local organizations and learn about Actions which impact housing, health, jobs, and many other issues. Some actions will only take 30 seconds of your time.

2) Put pressure on your state and federal officials to act now. You can email to comments@whitehouse.gov and call Congress at (202) 224-3121. You can also send emails to your Representatives including FEMA by visiting KatrinaAction.org

3) Make sure that news media tell the real story of Katrina and its aftermath and continue to do fair stories and reports. Call your local news, radio talk shows, and write letters to the editor. Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)has an online kit with contact information for media outlets and sample letters at http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=119

4) Got five minutes a week? Become KIN by joining the Katrina Information Network. KIN folk commit to five minutes a week to send emails to their network and to policymakers to keep these issues on the public agenda.

Join the fight at www.katrinaaction.org
Real relief. A just recovery. And nothing less.

some of these take only a few minutes to do... If you know if any other actions thangs, feel free to share and we can spread da word... thoughts, reactions, ideas???

catchin da wibe,

15 August 2006

what happened to july?

so I got back from my trip home, and somehow the entire month of july escaped me in the midst of work, work, and more work... I had some crazy deadlines, but the good news is - I met them :) I finished the written materials for my qualifying exams - dissertation prospectus, introduction, a chapter, and bibliography - and my oral exam is on the 21st of August... just days away... suffice to say, life has been hectic... and I also taught for the past six weeks - dreaded college writing 2 but that's over now and it was actually fine. Being back in da'ville has been challenging - I'm missin' home fa real. But I returned with a renewed sense of urgency - to get shit done - an' dat is kinda what I did... July brought me stress and success - perhaps the universe does work in three's - cause I met my major deadline, found out that I won a fellowship I applied for, and five of my poems got accepted for publication - so all in all, summer madness has brought to bear worthwhile and fulfilling fruit...

And even though I got all this stuff done, I still look back on July and wondered what happened to it? where did it go? an' august threatens to slip away just as fast. As soon as I cover its pages of seconds, minutes, hours, and days, the weeks rush through my fingertips as my calendar becomes dated, my notes no longer make sense, and all my promises are broken... perhaps these are not so much promises, but rather they are all these unspoken notes written in memory during showers, dreams, and car rides, notes that promise I will do this and that, call so an' so who I haven't talked to in ages, mediate, exercise, spend time wit' me, listen to that album I've been dying to hear, file old notes and bills, and oh yes, while I'm doin all this, somehow get my work done to... cause isn't that why I 'm here - to get dat paper... an' in the midst of writing, thinking, and sorting out all the shit in my head to make it sound like what I want to write about for the next two years, nothing makes sense anymore, but it comes together - ready to be seen and heard... I finished something and it felt so good... I wanted to scream from the ocean's edges, tell my spirit guides, my ancestors, that I think I can actually do this. I was beginning to doubt myself and the stress started to get to me... which is why I had to check out, so all I did for weeks was write, think, reflect, write some more, take mental health days, and take care of me... an' while home had so many blessings, it also came with difficult and painful memories - most I try to escape but they catch me unguarded and ill prepared to feel all that again... I hope for days when it won't be so hard, when they will only tug at me ever so slightly and I can smile through them...

so what in the hell does this have to do with july? this is where it went - lost between my work as a phd student and my life as I search for well being and reconnecting to my spiritual truth; july 2006 - trapped forever between my 30th birthday and my tenuous august 1st deadline - with my mother's birthday among the ashes and my journey to discover her again and again.

an' now we in august, i look forward, wishing for more positive three's an' wibes.
I have no insightful reports and riveting debates to start right now - all I have is this and these words that probably only make sense to me and my lost july...


22 June 2006

stories from home

I'm having a fabulous time at home in Nassau... I've been here for over a week - catchin up wit' all my peeps. I had a great weekend to bring in my birthday :) chile please, I turn 30! It's kinda trippy but also cool... I feel ready for growth, change, and movement. My b-day weekend was off da chain - went to Junkanoo in June on Sat'day afternoon, and den me, Jheaneale, and all ma gals went out on Sat night an' we had a blast - I haven't had that much fun in years :) in fact, we had too much fun... then on Sun (feelin a little hung'ish) my stepmum Lyn and her boyfriend Norman took me out to dinner at Nobu in Atlantis - it was quite fancy :) and finally on my actually b-day, Vanessa and I went for stew fish, and Tania took me out on her boat - me, Jheaneale, Candace, Marc, and crew - it was kinda stormy but still beautiful... so I got to do all my favourite t'ings for my b-day... I'm still recovering from all dat fun :) an' tryin to get some work done, but still enjoying myself and enjoying my friends - who are my family... It continues to amaze me how we create families in our lives, and I am so grateful for all of the people in my life who support me and love me. I feel very blessed...

will write more of my journeys soon...

23 May 2006

summer healing

Summer has always been a rejuvenating time for me - not only because I go home but also because of the energy of summer. This summer will be a little crazy for me since I'm doing my exams in August and trying to get lots of work done, but I am still feeling that energy and renewal. I've been working on being positive about my broken bone, I've taken a more active role in my heaing, and I think it's actually working... Also, I am about to go home on June 14th, and I can't wait to see and feel the ocean - she has always been good for me. And as we say in the Bahamas, da sea is cure e'rryt'ing plus some bush medicine an' I'll be heal. I'm also going to hit up the Bahamas Archives while I'm home and even do some interviews for my dissertation. And of course chill with my peeps and spend quality time with my friends/fam :)

So in the spirit of sharing this healing vibration, I am really happy to announce that three of poems have just been published in an online journal called Julie Mango!

Here is a link directly to the page with my poems: Julie Mango

I am a little anxious about these pieces because two are about my mother, and these three poems are my first pieces out in the world - even though I have others accepted for publication in collections and journals which should be out soon - these are da first ones :)

let me know what you think and share some of your own healing vibration...

08 May 2006

thoughts on may day and immigration

So this semester has been kinda hectic - not anymore than usual I suppose (except for the broken foot) but somehow I am always crazy busy :) I'm working on that :)

But seriously, I have much to be thankful for - my first journal article has been published in SAIL: Studies in American Indian Literatures (Spring 2006). I also have several poems being published in different places, and you'all will be da first to know when dey come out. I have been quite fortunate in traveling and presenting my work at conferences. And finally, I am done with coursework and working on my exams and dissertation. I feel blessed and ready for the challenges ahead.

Meanwhile, this world seems crazier and crazier... This immigration debate in the U.S. is bloody scary, but the protests on May Day "A Day without Immigrants" brought some hope and fortitude in the struggle against the current anti-immigration sentiment in this country (if you haven't seen the film A Day without Mexicans, check it out). And I actually thought it might create some change and bring awareness to the ignorance around us, but then I realised the control in this country is simply deep. I was listening to NPR to what I thought was a decent editorial on the protests - this syndicated collumnist spoke about the racism in the U.S. and the need for awareness, but then he proceded to berate the protestors saying that instead of doing such "theatrics" that they should go to their representatives and participate in the electoral process to create change. He basically implied that protests and marching would do nothing but rather "they" should vote. I couldn't believe my ears - I wondered if this guy really understood what the hell he was sayin - not only is he missing the point, but he is also dissing organizing and non-violent civil disobedience as a weapon of change (does he know about the struggles against colonial rule across the world or the struggle for civil rights in the United States?). What I found most disturbing about this commentary is the ease in which he could dismiss this major movement, and I saw this kind of reaction throughout the media coverage.

What does this mean for organizing, marching, protests, and civil disobedience? Do we think that "A Day without Immigrants" will have an impact on the bill that is being written right now in the U.S. Senate - which is supposed to have a plan for undocumented workers in the U.S. and a guest worker program? How much will this fuel the growing anti-immigration attitude that is promoting hatred and violence? And finally, for those of us who are immigrants, on visas, and resident aliens, what kind of power do we really have in this country - we can't vote and we have no one "representing" us - so what do we do?

On a related topic, the janitors and groundskeepers at University of Miami who have been on strike since February have reached a settlement agreement with UNICCO. This certainly shows us some hope for union work and the power of organizing... but meanwhile, it still seems that protests, marches, and such "theatrics" are not taken seriously and if/when covered by national media these movements are made a mockery and spectacle.

so there is my rant... thoughts, ideas, reflections???

peace & soul,

13 April 2006

first thoughts

my first blog...
my first stab at doing something with my writing that is public, that is so instant...
it feels kinda strange, but will be good for my writing and my activism... these two are intertwinned for me - and in the words of Audre Lorde - my favourite poet - "Poetry is Not a Luxury" and "It is better to speak knowing that we were never meant to survive."

Thus, this blog means a space for consciousness, speaking, writing, liberation, radical feminism, activism, education, praxis, and learning... I hope to share this space with my friends and partners in this conscious vibration...

peace & soul,