tz: well. how do you explain loving some men who write & some men who play music & some men who are simply loveable, when yr work for almost three years has been entirely woman-centered?
i can do a lot of things. we all can. women haveta. i waz not able to establish the kind of environment i thot my work needed when i read with men all the time. you haveta remember there’s an enormous ignorance abt women’s realities in society. we ourselves suffer from a frightening lack of clarity abt who we are. my work attempts to ferret out what i know & touch in a woman’s body. if i really am committed to pulling the so-called personal outta the realm of non-art. that’s why i have dreams & recipes, great descriptions of kitchens & handiwork in sassafrass, cypress, & indigo. that’s why in for colored girls…i discuss the simple reality of going home at nite, of washing one’s body, looking out the window with a woman’s eyes. we must learn our common symbols, preen them and share them with the world. the readings usedta…the collective recognition of certain realities that are female can still be hampered, diverted, diluted by masculine presence. yes. i segregated my work & took it to women. much like i wd take fresh water to people stranded in mojave desert. i wdnt take a camera crew to observe me. i wdnt ask the people who had never known thirst to come watch thirsty people drink…
tz: i thot you said all art forms contributed to yr development?
i didn’t say it yet. i thot abt saying that what dianne mcintyre’s sounds-in-motion dance company does with cecil taylor’s music gives me the right to put the axis of the poem off balance & hold. i wanted to say i learn abt lyricism from david murray’s saxophone & romare beardens collages. i wanted to insist i’ve learned abt beauty from carmen delavallade’s dancing & albert ayler’s music.
tz: yes, but what do you believe a poem shd do?
quite simple a poem shd fill you up with something/ cd make you swoon, stop in yr tracks, change yr mind, or make it up. a poem shd happen to you like cold water or a kiss.
tz: one more thing. what is it like to be you?
good. good. sometimes more trouble than i like to handle cuz i didnt take care of myself the way i cd have had i known i waz worth loving. but then i have a bunch of raucous memories i have survived to giggle abt/ that has to be awright. i am becoming less afraid of who this “zaki” is.
sarahogutu said: Can I get a quote from one of your poems tattooed on me?? I wanted to get the line "You are obligated to continue creating, says God." A lot of lines from that poem are my pulse right now.
The commodification of art turns artists into corporations with little to no awareness of the power of love, the gift of being a vessel, of producing culture. When what you love protects you and what you protect loves you. To be more than slogan or spectacle or tool, how to honor the gifts we all have and not diminish the light it gives by exploiting the glow it inspires. I want to see a shifting. I want to see the old ways not working anymore that we may treat each other better and demand more beauty, more love. To nurture creativity and not enslave it. If we can imagine it, it is possible. Decolonize your imagination.
conversing with the cosmos
"We are the grand daughters of the witches you could not torch."
how I cut through life like a diamond in a sack of glass, with no regrets. -Ai
madre e figlia @yearofempress
I dare you to come to East New York, Brooklyn for some poetry. It is a sincere dare. I will be sharing poems for FREE on September 15th, 2014. All are welcome. For more info visit: www.beatbrooklyn.com/aja #BeatFestival
there’s an inner world i am falling so absolutely in love with. #saturnreturn
to be a traveling woman, free and thinking, living as true protest. to be.
My sorta heaven. In the corner of the secret bookstore in New York City. Where I go to fall in love.
They call us now
Before they drop the bombs.
The phone rings
and someone who knows my first name
calls and says in perfect Arabic
“This is David.”
And in my stupor of sonic booms and glass shattering symphonies
still smashing around in my head
I think “Do I know any Davids in Gaza?”
They call us now to say
You have 58 seconds from the end of this message.
Your house is next.
They think of it as some kind of
war time courtesy.
It doesn’t matter that
there is nowhere to run to.
It means nothing that the borders are closed
and your papers are worthless
and mark you only for a life sentence
in this prison by the sea
and the alleyways are narrow
and there are more human lives
packed one against the other
more than any other place on earth
We aren’t trying to kill you.
It doesn’t matter that
you can’t call us back to tell us
the people we claim to want aren’t in your house
that there’s no one here
except you and your children
who were cheering for Argentina
sharing the last loaf of bread for this week
counting candles left in case the power goes out.
It doesn’t matter that you have children.
You live in the wrong place
and now is your chance to run
It doesn’t matter
that 58 seconds isn’t long enough
to find your wedding album
or your son’s favorite blanket
or your daughter’s almost completed college application
or your shoes
or to gather everyone in the house.
It doesn’t matter what you had planned.
It doesn’t matter who you are
Prove you’re human.
Prove you stand on two legs.
- Running Orders, by Lena Khalaf Tuffaha
Sonia Sanchez & Pops. it is because of the paths they paved that i am able to do what i love. to be and exist as i feel. they laid the foundation for us. so many of our elders are being called home this year. honor them by loving and living in gratitude. we have work to do. there is still so much to be done. give thanks.