Black & Kinky Amongst Brown Waves


when this month began…
September 19, 2017, 8:58 pm
Filed under: family, love, relationships, travel

when your sister/friend decides to not only marry a person, but a small island nation as well, you need to be there to witness and support the re/union. here are the 34 (easy!) steps that one might take to do just that…

1. get on a plane to SC to meet your sweetheart/ travel companion.

2. the next day, go with said sweetheart/ travel companion to the airport and fly to Haiti via Atlanta. 

3. look with wonder at the miracle of flight and the privilege to take a holiday… 

4. but try not to take yourselves too seriously.

5. walk through the Port au Prince airport with determination, but next time don’t be so determined that you walk past your brother-in-love waiting for you inside. 

6. start falling in love with the brightly painted taxis with too many people in them.

7. they sure are colorful.

8. look with wonder at the hills and all of the houses on those hills.

9. always more hills and more houses.

10. stand on the roof of your posh hotel to enjoy the view.

11.always more more hills and more more houses.

13. enjoy some of the street art in Petionville.

14. try to understand how so many things can be balanced in baskets and sold from one’s head.

15. enjoy the strong coffee…

16. and the ingenious to go cup.

17. find a green space to sit and marvel at the city. find out what the local equivalent of a dandelion looks and smells like.

19. drink fresh cherry juice at a local fast food chain. love it with all your heart.

20. make you way up the hill from Petionville to Kenscoff. marvel at how the drive up reminds you of the roads leading up to your grandparents’ house in Mavis Bank, Jamaica. be excited about your sister/friend’s celebration… photo by ada

21. but not too excited, because you have to put your fashion face to good use. photo by ada

photo by ada

23. make new friends and celebrate, despite the rain, and because of all the yummy tastes and musical sounds

24. the day after the beautiful reception, marvel at how the painted signs remind you of Ghana, so many miles away.

25.  enjoy more public art

26. drive with your new friend Isaac to la plague public (the public beach) because you can’t conceive of visiting an island and not enjoying the beach.

27.  see one of the many markets along the way.

28. enjoy your first glimpse of the sea.

29. notice that the lady in front only has one foot on the taxi and her cell phone in her hand. strive to be as cool and unbothered as her.

30. take stock that this is the first of the seven seas that you plan to visit together.

31. enjoy the rocky paradise.

32. juggle rocks like a champ.

33. love the Haitian flag a little bit more.

photo by isaac

34. give thanks for your sister/friend of 28 years that made this adventure possible. congratulations to the Philippe family. to love, because of love, and with love. Always and in all ways.

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The power of yes
September 13, 2017, 1:36 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


YPT staff and Producer Farah Lawal Harris and Emcee Rayceen Pendarvis

as an artist that lives in community with other artists, i often have the opportunity to collaborate with or contribute to amazing happenings. monday night was no exception! the 4th iteration of Silence is Violence, Young Playwright’s Theater’s (YPT’s) social justice programming, was moving and necessary and beautiful. the theme was lgbtq+ you. using the writing prompts devised by YPT, i contributed two poems to the curated event.  you can read one of them below. my poems were included in a larger theatrical piece performed by a groups of artists including SMYAL youth. hooray for art making!

 

​Dear United States of America
© 2017 by margaux delotte-bennett

dear unites states of america,

you are drunk, girl!

the power and privilege have gone to your heard
your babies are dead and dying
those in your presence keep crying out for you
to get it together!

hold some of your power in check
do a little something to protect your neck and
your sanity

vanity has made you believe
that you are light years ahead of the rest
but your quality of life is repressed at best

you are running on reputation
alone
it has been a while since you have shown anyone
something to envy
from your politics to your schools
from the travesty you call your “rule of law”

black bodies stacked like tinder
sawed down and splintered
as you laugh
at some inside joke
putrid and raw

so many not included
in your justice for all

Wake up!

Stop being so inept!

Have you forgotten what it means
to be part of a global community?
it seems that you never knew
just eschewed any responsibility of focusing on anyone
that is not you

these sobering times

make me wish that you were too

***********
here are some fun pics of other contributors to Monday night’s amazing showcase…

Xemiyulu Manibusan reading poetry


j. scales on bass!


Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi singing


Asha Santee on percussion


SMYAL performance ensemble


how the event made me feel…



just sit with it…
August 25, 2017, 8:29 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

UBW SLI 1
photo by Tanya Williams

i’ve always wanted to be an alum of the Urban Bush Women‘s Summer Leadership Institute (UBW SLI).  it may sound funny, but i know so many amazing alums and i just wanted to be great like them. well, one needs to be a participant before one can be an alumni…

in january of 2016 i added attending the UBW SLI to my “major intentions and goals” list, but a fall, ruptured patella tendon and reconstructive surgery put the 10 day dancing intensive out of reach. but this year, was my year! i told anyone that would listen that i planned to spend 10 days dancing and dismantling racism. due to a long standing partnership between UBW and the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB), the 2017 members of the UBW SLI went through 3 days of PISAB’s undoing racism training before working collaboratively to make art for our culminating performance. a sharing rooted in the research we were asked to do prior to our time together. our critical text was Raoul Peck documentary and companion book, I Am Not Your Negro, along with a host of books, articles and videos that i will continue to reference for the foreseeable future. a beautifully edited video of our UBW SLI culminating performance can be found here.

UBW SLI 2
UBW Founding Artistic Director Jawole Willa Jo Zollar
photo by Tanya Williams

as the hours of daily dancing and creating as a community drew to an end, we were encouraged to just sit with our knowing and our feelings.  to allow the UBW SLI experience to take root and inspire us to continue to be embodied and activated anti-racist organizers.  here are a few of my preliminary reflections…

  1. this body of mine appreciates moving daily: though i left each day with new aches and pains, in the “dance for every body” class, i felt that my body was cared for, challenged and strengthened. i know that dancing/ moving daily is within me, so doing it for 10 days reinforced that knowing.
  2. earned physical fatigue is righteous: when i realized that even my sweat was sweating, i felt proud of what my body did and attempted to do. pushing one’s body as a way to identify and step beyond one’s “limits” is a practice that we were encouraged to engage. though i felt tired, i also felt joyful.
  3. mind over matter is no joke: we had a sequence of steps that started with a lean that lead into a fall that lead into a roll before ending crouched on all four limbs. when i thought, “i can’t do that because of my previous knee injury,” i wasn’t able to do it. when i let that thought go, i did it poorly, but i did it. what else am i stopping my matter from doing because of my mind?
  4. doing the hard work of understanding and undoing racism first makes the collaborative process run smoother: the learning facilitated by PISAB made the sharing of our assets/ skills/ muses/ techniques feel equitable and made us listen more intently. it also gave us the space to take more creative risks in service to our mission of anti-racist organizing.
  5. i am an urban bush woman: not a member of the dynamic award winning company, but a member of the beloved community that they have been intentionally building for the last 17 years through the SLI and the last 33 years through their dance making. my art and my life needs to be anti-racist, generative, embodied and honest. our world depends on it. my life requires it.

and here are a few short poems/ tiny love stories inspired by my time in the UBW SLI…

foot flexed & lifted
power & potential concentrated
walking on air

the necessary hard work
once embodied while examined
changes postures & perceptions

one can not know true joy
without the kiss of sorrow
lingering on lips forming truth

lock eyes, breathe & pause
as the cipher is entered
holding space for freedom

movement vocabulary firmly planted
in my strong ample limbs
no longer waiting to bloom

in the concrete jungle
black women constructed a container
for us all to dance free

UBW SLI 3
photo by Tanya Williams

-shared by a proud 2017 UBW SLI alum



July 8, 2017, 3:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

within these walls
(C) 2017 by margaux delotte-bennett

this house
my house
the house I live in
is owned by me
and the bank, of course,
because of a lack of generational wealth
but that is another
poem
for another
time

this house
my house
is a refuge
a resting place

in the house I live in
there have been gatherings
celebrations
lamentation and quite a few tears

in here
it is safe to unwind
in here you can just be
within these walls
in here
there is nothing to see
beyond displays of affection
without affectation

this house
my house
it calls to the traveler
sit
share your stories
unpack your heart
lay burdens to rest
as breath enters you again
no longer deflated
alone

this house
my house
the house I live in
is owned by me
it is the definition of a
home
you see



Sketches…
May 19, 2017, 7:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

there are poems that bounce around as sketches in my mind for years before they are ‘born’.  this is one of those poems that I have been meaning to write for years, but never did. recently eating a banana at the greyhound station in DC reminded me that this topic needed to be explored poetically…

untitled #05192017
(c) 2017 by margaux delotte-bennett

my brother doesn’t eat bananas
in public
because of racism
because of the constant policing
of black bodies
because that one time someone smiled
too broadly
in his direction the one time he did

think about all the potassium
he has had to forgo

think about all the shame he carries to this day
a grown man relegated like a child

we are so practiced in being the things they tell us we are
denying our humanity
our wants
suppressed
being the other
sorely needed
to ensure supremacy

now that is only
monkey business
I can see



Napowrimo, 30 of 30
May 6, 2017, 10:45 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I made it! 30 poems in 36 days! inspiration comes in many forms and carving out time and space for creation is important. I will be sharing some poetry at the end of this month at the 14th and V Busboys & Poets.

interpretation
(C) 2017 by margaux delotte-bennett

does it bother you that I watch you
tune into you while you work
not to analyze or assess
but to appreciate

I try not to stare
but you entice me
draw my eyes
and my attention
forcing me to note
wherever you are in the room

you flourish under our gaze
seem to bask in the light
black women can’t get enough of you
or so I’ve seen
noticed
felt and known
within my own skin

especially when you begin your craft
listening to interpret
and understand

eyes and face
mouth and hands
aligned and engaged
you take the stage
though small
but vital
as you bridge worlds
and ensure
understanding



napowripo, 29 of 30
May 2, 2017, 10:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

tonight’s poem was inspired by six word memoirs.  have you ever written one? they are pretty fun!

 

six by six
(c) 2017 by margaux delotte-bennett

loving you feels so very easy.

your heart hears me, without fail.

your laughter cleanses. your eyes caress.

i like the me you inspire.

home is found in your arms.

hands held open. ready for love.