First: I have been remiss. I have been on the road for months with out so much as a perfume scented kiss of a missive here in this space. Consider this a twine wrapped packet of heart kept moments that I have been saving for you. Long distance love is possible. It is happening. It is us. This Fall I fell off the wagon of weekly posts but never never out of love with you. And because you have sent your own love letters, tweets, gifts, concert tickets, hugs in living rooms, airports and on random street corners, I know that a lull in letters is no match for a love that endures. We squeal when we see each other. We shout. We do not take each other for granted, so here I am. Giddy for the young sprite in each of us.
In her genius work of magical historical fiction Free Enterprise Michelle Cliff says "Imagine having your own god." She is lifting up the practice of indigenous women of the Caribbean believing in themselves beyond genocide. Nurturing ancient turtles and carrying carved icons, their very own gods, specific and tangible with them. Eternal divine. Imagine having your own god. For me this is the magic and the mandate of believing in Black women as a sacred practice of reflection and love. Imagine. All praise. I believe in you. In me. In us.
Here are some of the family snapshots. In a rainy muddy park in Atlanta, QBG's huddle in a tent and share one spoonful of guacamole and about 17 chips like we are parable about abundance coming true. In the living room at Queer Stations ex-rapper, filmmaker, novelist and Yoruba Priestess Ifalade Tashia Asanti cries in the middle of the Re:Generate Resilience and Wellness Retreat that until this very moment she has not believed that she could rest, but that now she sees that she is followed by brilliant capable younger Black women who get it, who got it, who have it, who hold it in their hearts. In the bookstore where I grew up I tell Fiona Zedde, first Black Jamaican Queer Woman I ever knew "If you save your own life, half as much as you have saved mine, you will live forever." Helga Emde, Black German expatriate (once upon a time dance partner with Audre Lorde in 1987 Frankfurt) said she didn't know any young Black lesbians before me. "You are the future (actually pronounced Fewtcha)!" she exclaimed. In St. Croix, Dr. Gloria Joseph, QBG OG, partner to Audre Lorde, Black feminist pyschologist of mother-daughter relationships tells the 86 year old man selling avocados on the street that I was her granddaughter and that I'd better behave like I knew it. In Sisters Chapel at Spelman, Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon sermonizes that there is a way of singing trouble that means freedom and then decides to give me a double hug upon reading the stated occupation on my gorgeous new business cards: "Queer Black Troublemaker." On a mountain next to the beach in Malibu an elder hands me her amber heart. "When you get tired," she said, "remember me." A sister says "I am so grateful for your work I would donate my orgasms if I could." Doc Joseph hands me a yellow legal notepads with the very last words the great writer Audre Lorde wrote, while she was transitioning to become an ancestor. And there are four of them, a poem, simple: "I love you Gloria." Last written rites of the mother warrior genius. Loving Black women is an all the time, whole-life practice. It is first. It is last. Alpha-Omega in scope.
Our love is tangible. And we nurture our interdependence as if our lives depend on it, because they do. This week in Maryland during the Mobile Homecoming's "Ritual Proof Residency" organized by QBG Emeritus Dr. Elsa Barkley Brown (DMV QBGs you still have time to come to our major event tonight! Details here: http://www.mobilehomecoming.org/?page_id=16) QBG exemplar Renina Jarmon asked about defining moments in the work that Julia and I do. What are moments that we made decisions to take it out of the box, to transform instead of conforming, and what made those decisions possible? And then...I almost started crying. After a red eye flight, in front of graduate students collected from all over the humanities and I thought about you. And I thought about your daughters. I told them about how QBG songstress Rachael Derello walked to my porch where I was writing my dissertation the day of her ultrasound appointment, after her first time seeing her glowing, swimming, soon-to-be daughter and asked me. "Will you teach my daughter about Black feminism?" I remembered QBG Mai'a asking via formspring from Egypt "will you be a Black fairy feminist godmother to Aza?" QBG and future mayor of Durham (in my own mind) Afiya Carter's daughter Assata reading with me in the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Lending Library and saying "I think these books could help some people I know." And just yesterday, QBG award-winning novelist Zelda Lockhart wrote me on facebook to tell me that her daughter Alex, in her first year of middle school who tried on my PhD hat at my graduation cookout, and whose elementary school graduation I went to and cried like a baby...said matter of factly to her mother, "sign me up for something with Alexis afterschool." What is there to say in the face of the intergenerational god of my understanding, embodied and unfolding but yes? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I am a witness. Imagine. Having your own god. Who speaks in words and actions. Imagine.
So today, past the genocide celebration of Columbus is a holy day. A sacred day. Imagine. We believe in each other, reflected in self. We believe in our selves, reflected in each other. If you happen to see your god in the face of a sister, in a piece of glass, happen to touch the sun carved testament to truth, brush your own skin. Lift a word of praise for you. I believe in you. Divine. Dream come true. Way truth light. Imagine. Your own. God.
All love. All praise. All days. All ways.