School Of Our Lorde

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Dark Sciences: A People of Color Dream Retreat August 20-24th (Alma de Mujer, TX)


“Message Received” for Audre Lorde by Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind and The Revelry invite you to a love-filled people of color retreat on the magic, technology and practice of dreams!

Where?: Alma de Mujer retreat center (outside Austin, TX)

When?: August 20-24 2015

How Much?: $400  (Meals, Housing and all Programing included)

Scholarships Available!

Where do I register:  right here!

“We know that ancestors beforeandcomingandnotgone have dreamed us up (are still dreaming us up), and that the future is <— ∞ —>. We know that our dreamworlds are time-folding and -foiling, and available for our deepest extragalactic play.” -from “The Future is Dark” by Almah LaVon

“Black feminist dream work is a risk, a recurring articulation. It is happening right now. Are you awake?”  -from “Daughter Dreams” by Alexis Pauline Gumbs


“Science” for Queen Nanny by Alexis Pauline Gumbs

This is a gathering of our dreams, for our dreams, about our dreams.

This is for Queen Nanny of the Maroons the great scientist of ancestral connection and supernatural presence.

This is for Harriet Tubman who dreamt all night and sometimes in the middle of the day for our freedom.

This for Anna Julia Cooper who the grown folks woke up out of her sleep when she was a child asking about whether we would be free.

This is for Bayard Rustin who strategized and organized for how we could all say, show be our dreams together out in public on the Washington Mall.

This is for Yuri Kochiyama, who dreamed long and across many liberation movements.

This is for Audre Lorde who made poetry out of nightmares and curricula out of dreams.

This is for Gloria Anzaldúa who trusted the walk between worlds.

This is for Joseph Beam who dared himself to dream.

This is for all of us, breathing in the dreams of our ancestors.

sonia dream

“To Love” for Sonia Sanchez by Alexis Pauline Gumbs

This is the first convening of a queer-black-feminist imagined collective dreaming house for people of color.

Because our dreams are crucial and priceless, not only as fodder for 5 year plans at institutions that wake up to forget us, but also as what they are—unpredictable multi-layered prophecies and warnings that love the moon more than the sun, that cherish darkness over light.  Like us.

We are inviting the black power of our dreams to guide the way forward and backwards into the depth of love we need in order to enter an ethical relationship with the planet and each other.

We are welcoming our dreams as both individual well-springs of self-reflection, divine connection and growth AND as a collective resource for community and planetary transformation.

None of us has the whole dream.   All of us nurture priceless pieces of a transformed and transforming reality and so we are here together with the potential to puzzle it out and to develop the part of our existence that moves beyond individuality back into communion.

We are dreaming you up right now.  We have been dreaming each other always.


Your dream conveners!! Alexis and Almah!
Photo by Kimmie Ramnine

We are inviting you to enter this collective dream space which is:

  1. the opening gathering for a long-term collective process of valuing, honoring, archiving, sharing and listening our/each other’s dreams

  2. a ritual educational skill-share where we honor the dreaming practices of our ancestors and deepen our capacity to be present to our own and each other’s dreams

  3. a sacred space for queer affirming people of color to trust our intuition and be ourselves

There are 21 spots for this experience. Register here and offer your $75 deposit here: 

*Scholarship requests for tuition meals and housing are guaranteed AFTER your $75 deposit is received.

Feel free to email with questions!

If you want to donate to the scholarship fund to help other dreamers attend this once in a lifetime sacred space find out how here:


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It Will Not Always Be This Way: Prophecy Poem or Impermanence After Phillis


“Frontispiece Remastered” Collage by Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Last night after laying our bodies in the street in protest, while advocating and praying for our comrades who had been arrested, while grieving and grieving the loss of black lives, the audacity of state violence, while remembering the police murder of Fred Hampton and honoring the resilience of our beautiful communities, 5 black women gathered in the name of Phillis Wheatley.  230 years ago today Phillis Wheatley/Peters the first Black person to publish a collection of poems in the United States, witness to the American Revolution, acquaintance of a Queen and a President, died free, cold and poor somewhere in Boston.

Our conversation, blessed by the literary and historical expertise of Dr. Tara Bynum, ranged from the possibility of “ordinary” Black life in a context where just being a live and Black is framed as not just extraordinary but abnormal, to speculations of the layered and syncretic spiritual cosmologies present in Wheatley’s work and her correspondence with her friend Obour Tanner, to Morissonian (as in Toni) reflections on the normalcy of evil, to raw honesty about slave-funded academic institutions that continue to enslave black scholars, to just wondering where our friends are and if they are okay.

Inspired by Wheatley’s invocation of the sacred nine in her poetry, we mused a while and generated resources of laughter, love, epic realness, star-knowledge, movement, history, tragedy, song and hymns to share with each other as a reminder that the institutions that harm us are not our only sources of power, we are resources for each other.   Finally we created this poem together out of our outrage at this moment and our faith that our lives and our world can be different.  This is a prophecy poem offering on the date of Phillis Wheatley’s ascension.  May all of our ancestors receive it and join us in transforming life on earth.

Prophecy Poem (impermanence after Phillis)

by the participants in Bright Black Broadcast #3: Phillis Wheatley

black bodies disappearing into death, state-sanctioned choke-holds.

it will not always be this way

the impossibility of breathing.

it will not always be this way.

I listen to my ancestors when they say

it will not always be this way

to steady my steps I have to pray

it will not always be this way

it cannot always be this way

it will not always be this way

it will not always be this way,

i will continue to say

it will not always be this way,

as I smile remembering what’s gone is for yesterday

liberation is possible – perhaps not today.

it will not always be this way

hasten the change, no more lives should pay.

it will not always be this way.

y’all must got me f—d up

it will not always be this way


you must not know who taught me to pray

it will not always be this way

trickster teacher chaos clay

it will not always be this way

i’m gonna be here anyway

it will not always be this way

it will not always be this way

there is more than one way

gather the children and tell them

it will not always be this way

remind each other that

it will not always be this way

name your babies

it will not always be this way

the ancestors promise

it will not always be this way

baptize in the name of

it will not always be this way

we make joy

because it will not always be this way

i was born to love and play

It will not always be this way

we will dance into the black light of a brand new day,

it will not always be this way


If you want your own limited edition print of the “Frontispiece Remastered” collage of Phillis Wheatley you can get on with your next $35 donation to Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind.   Be sure to include “Wheatley Print” and your current address with your donation:  

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the vessel: freedom dimensions (after and with Benjamin Banneker)


Last night was the first Brilliance Remastered Bright Black Broadcast and it was miraculous.   Guided by the brilliance of Benjamin Banneker, and some of his enduring texts we engaged the rhetoric of our integrity, the equations of our freedom, the core beliefs that inform our problem solving, the locations of the planets and the trajectories of our own orbits in relationship to creativity, freedom, institutions, work, family and everything else.   At the end of our time together we created our own three part group poem in response to Benjamin Banneker’s “A Mathematical Problem in Verse” a beautiful poem about some drunk people who have plenty of confidence and specificity (take that respectability politics!) as a way of reflecting on the dimensions of our freedom.

the vessel

by the participants in Bright Black Broadcast #1: Benjamin Banneker

(after Benjamin Banneker’s “A Mathematical Problem in Verse”)

i. the diametrical proportions of freedom

seven answers for every one question

three loves for every one life

one breath for every thousand years

one thousand heartbeats for every one connection

one circle for one change

one thousand stars for every one night sky

ii. the depth of freedom

deep enough to fill sound

deep enough to dance in technicolor

deep enough to invite the whole family and community in

deep enough to get baptized  in every single day

deep enough to hold our energy

iii. freedom capacity

it can hold my imperfections

it can hold our pain

it can hold our hands

it can hold our dreams

it can hold the past and the future at the same time

it can hold heart

it can hold space

it can hold light

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uh huh: enduring affirmations from the Spill Webinar participants


Last week’s Brilliance Remastered Webinar (the Spill Intensive) was miraculous.   We investigated our long-held narratives, decisions we had outgrown, and systems of oppression we had internalized and addressed them on intellectual, creative, and on the deep level of what Audre Lorde calls the “non-european consciousness” (sometimes also known as the subconscious).  We also found enduring affirmations, core sources of inspiration and boundless power in our spiritual and community-activated practices and beliefs.  I am so excited about the intellectual lives these brave visionaries are living and I am honored beyond words to be part of what sustains their work!   Really I don’t want this intensive to be over, but the praise dance of what it felt like is staying with me always!  This last collective poem of the Spill Intensive outflow includes the realness we are taking with us into the future and the ancestral chorus says uh huh!!!

uh huh

enduring affirmations from the Spill Webinar Participants

daily practicing of heart attunement

(uh huh)  (uh huh)  (uh huh)

listening to what love demands

(be still)  (be still)  (and know)

my heart is open and speaking

(yes) (yes) (yes)

gardenias in the hands of my grandma

(alright) (uh huh) (enough)

our boundless creative life force

(uh huh) (amen) (ashe)

i am enough. we are enough

(amen) (ashe) (say that!)

sistering is on purpose!

(mmhmm) (uh huh) (oh yeah)

directed by desire!

(amen) (ashe) (all the way)

water and wishes everywhere

(uh huh) (that’s right) (that’s right)

dancing the freedom into being

(mmhmm) (uh huh)  (ooowee)

soul stirring songs in my heart

(uh huh)  (that’s right) (amen)

full belly breathing

(uh huh) (uh huh) (at last)

when we laugh we laugh all over

(oh yes) (oh yes) (oh yes)

alive all the way through my cheekbones

(YASS!) (uh huh) (that’s right)

Fannie Lou’s courage in my mouth

(uh huh) (amen) (amen)

joy in my hair follicles, bliss in my pinky toe

(that’s right) (that’s right) (uh huh)

letting this animal body loves what it loves

(mmhmm)  (uh huh)  (all day)

remembering that we are stardust and using that magic moment by moment

(again) (again) (again)

conspiring with the ancestors to let the writing flow

(amen)  (ashe)  (do that!)

the embers of houses built on fear burned to the ground

(yup) (yup) (yup)

miracles and magic in the mundane

(uh huh) (alright) (okay)

love is the ultimate lifeforce

(amen) (uh huh) (ashe)

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How I Got Ovah: Future Memoirs by the Spill Webinar Participants

Screen shot 2014-09-02 at 10.04.22 AMLast night the Spill Webinar participants, shared dreams, got embodied, mapped strategic decisions (and others) and stomped three times hard enough to unshackle somebody.  This poem is made up of the titles of memoirs that we will be able to write based on the changes we are making in our lives right now.   Brilliance Remastered. Forthcoming 🙂

How I Got Ovah

Future Memoirs of the Spill Webinar Participants

(with gratitude to Carolyn Rodgers, Melvin Dixon, Essex Hemphill, Joseph Beamand more!)

How I Turned Excellence Into Excess

How I Said Yes When the Universe Asked Me to Dance

How I Got My Life in the Life

How I Stopped Proving My Genius to White People (co-authored with Phillis Wheatley)

How I Started an Organization to Save My Own Life and Yours

How I Made Family Through Radical Intellectual Conversation

How I Made a House a Queer Home

How I Let the Ancestors Dance Forever

How I Brought Mindfulness to Writing

How I Created Space for Intergenerational Healing

How I Let a Love Blossoming Through Tumblr Change My Life

How I Learned to Sing Like Fannie Lou Hamer

How I Learned to Be the Value of My Time

How I Became Present for the Broadness of My Vision

How I Got Ovah

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Turning Paper Into Food: Alchemy from the Brilliance Remastered Spill Webinar Participants

Screen shot 2014-10-22 at 6.39.59 AMLast night Brilliance Remastered‘s Spill Webinar for sustainable strategies to build an intellectual life that exceeds the boundaries of the academic industrial complex continued. We worked with our dreams (as in intentions) and our dreams (as in the layered picture show that happens while we are asleep) as resources informing each other.  We looked at what is at stake ancestrally in the way we structure our intellectual lives.  We claimed our power as alchemists to turn what we have into what we need by bringing our transformative questions to the table.   This is the poem that we created together to describe the changes we are here to see through to reality.

turning paper into food

by the participants in the Spill Webinar


how do we turn fear into love?

how do we turn worry into wishes?

how do we turn attention into attunement?

how do we turn hope into happiness?

how do we turn concern into courage?

how do we turn care into creativity?

how do we turn today into a portal?

how do we turn our bodies into magic?

how do we turn shame into a wholehearted embrace?

how do we turn walls into bridges?

how do we turn thought into action?

how do we turn caterpillars into butterflies?

how do we turn promises into pages?

how do we turn bravery into blessings?

how do we turn fixity into movement?

how do we turn jobs into journeys?

how do we turn one into we?

how do we turn the ocean into words?

how do we turn words into the ocean?

how do we turn markets into communities of accountability?

how do we turn gatekeepers into prophets?

how do we turn training into underground railroad stations?

how do we turn survival into a promise?

how do we turn proof into possibility?

how do we turn righting into writing?

how do we turn teaching into truth telling?

how do we turn interventions into invitations?

how do we turn novelty into knowing?

how do we turn talking into drumcall beating hearts?

how do we turn boxes into breathing?

how do we turn birth into being?

*note: if you be asking yourself these same questions…you must be a Brilliance Remastered kindred spirit.  Put yourself on the email list right here.

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My Best Idea Yet: Quirky Conceptions from the Spill Webinar Participants

Screen shot 2014-10-21 at 6.32.22 AMLast night was the first session of Brilliance Remastered’s newest and most experimental webinar intensive: SPILL.  We experimented with sinking in, visualizing what we are immersed in, releasing, remembering the ground, examining lit candles that have already burned out on altars to our fears and more!   The participants in the Spill webinar are going deep together and designing alternative intellectual projects and they are bringing along what Audre Lorde calls “the non-european consciousness” (some other people call it the subconscious mind) to transform everything.   All of the activities in the Spill Webinar are based on an oracle text of freedom scenes I wrote, drawn from Hortense Spillers’ asides in the crucial literary critical text Black, White and In Color.  Our closing group poem last night draws on the phrase “quirkiness of conception” from her introduction to her enduring book of essays.   What if you were having your best idea yet all day long?

quirkiness of conception

(excerpt from Spill by Alexis Pauline Gumbs)

the first time i thought of you, you were swimming, towards you, through me.  first time i thought i was drowning in a world that needed you in it or it would disappear. first time i knew you existed the rest of the history of the world popped like a bubble unready unworthy and my body wanted only future, only you.   the first time i felt you move we were deep underwater under something built to keep us under and i couldn’t see anything but i understood there was something above everything.  above everything despite everything i would find fresh air and breathe again.  above everything despite everything i would free you.  my best idea yet.

my best idea yet

by the participants in the Spill Webinar

waking up when i wake up, my best idea yet

letting happiness lead, my best idea yet

daring to hope, my best idea yet

curious my best idea yet

seeking spirit guidance, my best idea yet

believing in believing, my best idea yet

experimenting with being present, my best idea yet

loving this being, my best idea yet

appreciating being alive and in this body, my best idea yet

listening to my body, my best idea yet

full belly breathing, my best idea yet

being well, my best idea yet

sitting on the floor, my best idea yet

dancing, my best idea yet

praying before responding to emails about money, my best idea yet

listening to the whispers of ancestors, my best idea yet

choosing, my best idea yet

touching the water, my best idea yet

hugging my loved ones, my best idea yet

nurturing intimacy, my best idea yet

allowing myself to be understood or mysterious my best idea yet

honoring my brilliance and everyone else’s my best idea yet

surrendering to the creative processes, my best idea yet

writing what I want to write, my best idea yet

teaching who I want to teach, my best idea yet

learning, still, my best idea yet

cultivating my ability to stay if i want to, my best idea yet

leaving if I want to, my best idea yet

making time for pleasure, my best idea yet

going to sleep when I am tired, my best idea yet