Monday, August 23, 2010

ocean in the desert: the quirkiness of faith

"they say to the feel things woman
that little she dreams is possible,
that there is only so much
joy to go around, only so much

the woman
who feels everything sits in her
new house retaining the secret
the desert knew when it walked
up from the ocean..."

-"water sign woman" by lucille clifton

water sign woman: lucille clifton rebirth broadcast #9 from Alexis Gumbs on Vimeo.

Shore am having one of those "feels everything" types of mornings. Especially since "" erased the love-filled post I just wrote to you. :( But I have faith. I believe in the ocean, while I am standing in the desert. And in dry times I am grateful to have you and your audacity to wake me up.

This morning I am thinking about how our faith is truly miraculous. Everything is possible because we believe in each other. Everything. This past week here in Durham the "feel everything" combination of the first day of the Juneteenth Freedom Academy, the opening poetry intensive of the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survival School to end child sexual abuse and the exuberant

Queer Black Sunday School in honor of Laila A. has made me very aware of the duality of being alive.

Here (even) in the desert, we are surrounded by the memory and prophecy of the ocean, reminded by salt that we are also longer than what we are told we lack.

In ShapeShifter School we meditated on the assertion by Generation Five that child sexual abuse is what teaches us domination...and to be afraid and silent in the face of injustice. If a society will accept child sexual abuse in our own homes, in our own families and remain afraid or unequipped to stop it in its tracks, then it is no wonder that we accept other cycles of violence, war, the prison industrial complex, police violence, environmental injustice, capitalism in general etc. etc. BUT according to Gen 5 this also means that if WE CAN transform this deeply imbedded violence, our early memories, our intimate communities...if we can learn how to hold each other accountable and speak even when we are deeply afraid...then nothing can stop us...and we will become brave in the face of all injustices. We will no longer accept war, and oil spills, and other forms of nonsense. To me...this is the meaning of ocean in the desert, the true implication of the bleak landscape of trauma and oppression is actually the depth of our power. Remember the ocean and what we have survived. Remember all our ancestors just one breath away with infinite wisdom.

What is your desert? Where is the ocean in it?

Remember what you know.

With infinite love,


p.s. please continue to bring your music, videos and pictures over from the NING site

p.p.s. and also let us know if you will be coming to ATL for the QUEERKY BLACK PRIDE INTERVENTION :) at

p.p.p.s. and mamaz check out this AMAZING call for submissions (i'm biased) for the anthology This Bridge Called My Baby!

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