Launched on Nov. 17th 2013 on the 21st anniversary of Audre Lorde’s transition from an embodied warrior healer to an ancestral force, this is a weekly series of videos documenting and sharing my process of clarifying survival through a re-immersion in the words of Audre Lorde.
Current Video: Week #10: “Love Poem”
This week’s poem “Love Poem” is dedicated to the awesome participants and cosponsor’s of mobilehomecoming.org/ ’s The Fullness: A Day Long Institute on Erotic Power inspired by Audre Lorde’s “Uses of the Erotic/Power of the Erotic.” This poem was part of Audre Lorde’s process of being unapologetic about her desire and we offered it in oracle form to the institute participants who challenged themselves and each other to unapologetically express their desire in their personal, political and spiritual lives! This is your assignment too. What are you ready to claim unapologetically?
To check out the ongoing work of the 25 organizations that helped to cosponsor the institute visit this page:mobilehomecoming.tumblr.com/post/75045307614/the-fullness-ongoing-resources-for-ecstatic-wellness
Week #9 “Sisters in Arms”
This week’s poem “Sisters in Arms” has been helping me think about solidarity with the sisters I met in Cuba now that I am back in the United States. The double meaning in the title refers to warrior sisters working together and also to the embrace or intimacy that we can offer each other and ourselves to heal each other and support our revolutionary journeys. Who are the sisters you want to embrace and stand up with this week?
Week #8: “Diaspora”
This week’s poem is Diaspora and it celebrates and serves as meditation for my upcoming trip to Cuba! I am excited to be following in the footsteps of Audre Lorde who went to Cuba with a group of Black women writers in January 1985! To find out more about the trip and to support Witness for Peace (the sponsoring organization) check out my website: alexispauline.com/apgblog/cause-view/alexis-and-audre-in-cuba
I strongly believe in transnational connections between people of color living in different countries. That I know of this is the first people of color specific delegation to Cuba that Witness for Peace has sponsored, but with your support I know it will be the beginning of a meaningful and transformative practice of solidarity. How are you relating across water, wires, borders and boundaries? What type of country is “afraid” of you?
Week #7 “Legacy-Hers”
This week’s poem “Legacy-Hers” is from her last collection of poems. In it she meditates on her critical and changing relationship to her mother’s legacy. This poem helped me to finish a long overdue essay on Audre Lorde’s legacy and send it to Gloria Joseph for an exciting book project that she is working on. It also helped me to face the end of the year and to prepare to honor the legacy of those who have transitioned this year. Your assignment is to write/think/talk with others about whose legacy makes space for you. What are the legacies that challenge you, affirm you and keep you critical?
Week #6 “Mentor” (for Cheryll Greene)
This week’s poem “Mentor” is dedicated to my beloved mentor Cheryll Greene who passed away this Thursday on the eve of her 70th birthday. I am so grateful for the generosity and wisdom that Cheryll brought into my life. I am one of many people who have benefitted from her loving act of choosing the correct word at the correct moment whether it was as a poet, a trusted advisor or a revolutionary editor. The poem “Mentor” is crucial to our collective survival because it reminds us that the youth of our mentors comes through the mouthful of sun, the heat of energy exchange, the urgency with which we remember them. Anyone mentored by me will know the name, the wit, the incisive excellence of Cheryll Greene.
Week #5 “Call” (Aido Hwedo is coming)
This week’s poem, “Call,” is one of my recent favorites. I read it as a ritual calling on the multiple names for the spirit of Black feminine transformative warrior energy. Early this year Black Women’s Blueprint did a powerful performance based on this poem during their annual event and I was reminded of how energizing and clarifying these words are. This week’s video also answers a call made by Dr. Gloria Joseph to think about Winnie Mandela and to lift up her name as we lift Nelson Mandela’s legacy up during this time of transition. This is one of several poems where Audre Lorde lifts the warrior name of Winnie Mandela and I also offer a distilled version of the poem with all of the powerful W words leading up to her name in this poem.
Our assignment for this week with gratitude as always to Doc Joseph is to call the names of those ancestors, those living warriors, those family members, ourselves who carry that Black Transformative Warrior Energy with us! Look in the mirror, look at the ocean, look at the wind and remember!
Week #4: To A Girl Who Knew What Side Her Bread Was Buttered On
For a captioned version click here: http://www.amara.org/en/videos/b5nFFzYVwd0Q/info/resurrection-sunday-4-buttered-bread/
This week’s poem “To A Girl Who Knew What Side Her Bread Was Buttered On” is a fairy tale and a spurn to the romantic poets and their debate about maidens and gallant youths. The major message of this poem is to tend to our ancestors even in the face of arrogant distractions. This video is special because it is a collaboration by the participants in the Brilliance Remastered Guardian Dead Retreat on Ancestor Accountable Intellectual Practice. You are so blessed because along with hearing the poem you will get to see all of the participants embodying how they nourish their relationships with their ancestors. Your assignment is to think about (and share in the comments if you want) how you butter scones for your ancestors and what distractions seem to come your way. I am thankful for you and the ancestors who protect you!
Week #3: The Brown Menace
Click here for a captioned version: http://www.amara.org/en/videos/sLIuA9taqgGs/info/the-brown-menace-audre-lorde-resurrection-sunday-video-3/
This week’s poem is The Brown Menace or Poem to the Survival of Roaches from Lorde’s 1974 collection New York Head Shop and Museum. Cherrie Moraga referenced this as one of her favorite poems by Audre Lorde at the Sister Comrade event in Oakland some years back and I see it as one of her most confrontational and brave poems ever! The assignment for this week (in addition to celebrating the survival of those of us who face extermination) is to think about a person who DISGUSTS you. It could be a person that you know in your community or it could be a political figure (mine was Clarence Thomas for a long time) and look for the lesson, “the indestructible part of yourself” that you see in that person or in your reaction to them.
How do we become as resilient as roaches? We evolve in the face of what we don’t want to see about ourselves.
Week #2: Prologue
Click here for a captioned version: http://www.amara.org/en/videos/uoc8vi1Ho8lm/info/prologue-resurrection-sunday-video-2/
This week’s poem is Prologue, the last poem in Audre Lorde’s 1973 collection From a Land Where Other People Live. I love the vampire imagery in this poem, and I see it as a poem that makes space for all of the amazing black feminist vampire fiction that comes after it. For example Jewelle Gomez found the epigraph for her classic vampire novel The Gilda Stories in this poem.
Our assignment this week is to speak the truth that we are afraid to speak in our chosen communities. Sometimes we feel that we would rather die than speak a difficult truth. Audre Lorde invokes the vampire undead to speak the truth she needs to speak about internalized racism in the Black Arts Movement, what creativity, what characters will we invent to speak the truth that our presence demands?
Week 1: ”A Litany for Survival”
View here for subtitles:
This video engages Audre Lorde’s classic “A Litany for Survival” and the connection between birth and fear. Today as I think about the challenge of this poem I am also a BRAND NEW trained doula (blackmidwives.org). This poem…dedicated to those of us who face intergenerational oppression “learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk” offers us the opportunity to be courages…because we exist! Everything that we have created has been achieved despite the lingering presence of fear and in despite systemic forms of oppression that have sought to eradicate us. Guess what? This instant and this triumph…we can do anything!
Every week as part of my practice of resurrecting Audre Lorde in my life and in our communities I will be making an alphabetical oracle from the weekly survival poem which will consist of up to 26 new poems based on the sacred source text. If you would like to receive a custom poem as a blessing for your journey you can with a donation of your choice to Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind’s School of Our Lorde!
A Black Feminist Oracle Poem (aka alphabetical found poem from within this week’s poem) sent directly to your inbox!
A 30-minute one on one Oracle Reading Session with an interpretation of your Black Feminist Oracle Poem.