Black & Kinky Amongst Brown Waves


when the women march
January 23, 2017, 2:25 am
Filed under: DC life, women


responding to this election…
November 21, 2016, 8:31 pm
Filed under: DC life, media, performance

on November 9th i felt like i woke up in a new country…

but not because so much had changed. in this ‘new country’ a man who in no way represents my interests will now be my face out in the world. madness.

i started this poem a day before the election and in the wake of the results a call to artists was made by Quique Avilez, one of my poetry godfathers.  on Sunday there was a community showcase of music and poetry by artists and activists at GALA Hispanic Theatre.  it was an honor to share the stage with my dear friend Ruth Young as we offered some Postcards from Trumplandia in the form of poetry, a list of no longer improbable things (2016 edition) and two short plays. a performance is a great motivator to finish a piece.  enjoy.

me-at-gala

what the pundits won’t tell you
© 2016 by margaux delotte-bennett

election day ballots are not the proper place for dreams
the paper and screens
already contain what is and what is possible
the options for this day
pining for those not there
will not make them appear
or make those that are there
go away

dreams dwell in the streets
in heartbeats
eyes wild and wide
jaws jabbering jive
about
it is what it is and yeah

new visions reside
down halls of justice
inhabited by who the ballots decide
blackened circles saying yes it is your time

but I still have a say in how and who represents me
my interests
my vision
my rights and responsibilities

when I don’t like what is
I make it known
with my feet, my voice, my pen, a stone
a poem reminding me that
elections have never been
where it all goes down

but what is that sounds?

it is a troubling wind kicked up and surrounding
these foreboding times

there is a precipice on which we stand
divided

some have already decided
to throw up their hands
but we must remember to
resist

resist

resist

it’s what these times demand

me-and-ruth

Reunited and it feels so good!
Me, Walker/ Wally and Ruth in the lobby of GALA Hispanic Theatre.

me-wally-ruth



african musings…
June 13, 2014, 5:57 pm
Filed under: DC life, performance, travel, women

things have been a little quiet here on my blog… but actually quite active in my personal life.  I frequently think about posting here, but carving out the time to do so is often a challenge.

even so, my creative life has been very rich these days and here are some of the highlights:

in January i went to Ghana with a rag tag group of beautiful folks and i’m still processing the trip.  the poem and pictures shared at the bottom of this email are from that adventure.  i am currently reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’ Americanah and it helped me to finally finish this morning the poem that i started months ago…

my theater group, Wild Women Theatre, created a new piece for the 2014 Capital Fringe Festival and we are in the midst of a robust rehearsal process.  Letters To and From Me opens July 12th, 2014! We are also doing a fundraiser for the show and details for that campaign can be found here. I created the video, so make sure you check it out.

I completed the 30 poems in 30 days challenge in April, but I have not had the time to type up all that new poetry. It might need to wait until after our successful Fringe Festival run, but we shall see.

i hope that you are taking time and making space for your creative endeavors!

****************

Afreeka

© 2014 by margaux delotte-bennett

not unlike the sun blanched
vulture picked
remains of a Serengeti kill
there are parts of Ghana that look as ravaged
reminiscent of hollowed ribcages
upturned towards the sun
like fingers whittled from bone
praying silently for mercy

there are areas that puzzle the mind
remind the heart that there was once vitality here
but now
the eye only feasts on
scarred urban landscapes
bushes blooming with plastic bag flowers
struggle laden survival
etched on proud faces

even out on the plains
life is never taken passively
it must be tracked
stolen
bargained
so that the pack
can continue to flourish

colonialism produced excellent hunters and marksmen
the greener pastures of Africa
skinned for their bounty of gems
minerals
strong flesh
limitless cultural nourishment for the body and spirit

independence fought for and
pushed onto
handicapped nation states
power drunk politicians
laughing their way to the world bank
singular and plural

The land near to Accra’s beaches is dying.
Erosion due to structural neglect
waterways choked by raw sewage
saving landscapes is less important than
saving lives

but art is still produced
clothing designed
wood carved
children dancing in the dust
as goats wander past the
skins of their kin
laid out in clusters
being dried for
export quality drums

cast iron tubs filled with scotch bonnet peppers
weaving through Accra’s traffic
causes one to ponder if
peppers plentiful in Ghana
also made their way to the Caribbean
in the trans atlantic trade in flesh?

were seeds tucked into braids?
were peppers simply brought onboard
to spice the shipmates’ gruel?
is spice the reason we venture from home
in our longing
and in our lust?

questions and screams that are silenced
turn to stones in the mouth
weighing down
bashing the language of horror into
yes miss
no master
haloo, haloo, Halloo!

do not come here for rest.
do not come here for relaxation.
do not come here for service.
do not come here for peace.

Ghana is not here to give you anything.

She has given and given and given through the ages
and now wants to know
what is it
you bring

Ghana cultural performanceGhana fishing boatsGhana bananas



In Her Honor: ECAC and Maria Gomez
April 10, 2014, 7:22 pm
Filed under: DC life, family, women

 

MGomez group ernest quimby photo

 

I had the honor of meeting, interviewing and writing a poem about Mrs. Maria Gomez, the founder, president and CEO of Mary’s Center in DC.  To learn more about their great work, please click here.

Mrs. Gomez was being recognized by the Emergence Community Arts Collective (ECAC) for her contribution to the community during their In Her Honor awards ceremony.  Each honoree was linked with a local poet to create a tribute in her honor.  I really enjoyed writing this piece and I hope you enjoy it too!

 

In Her Honor – Maria Gomez Tribute
© 2014 by margaux delotte-bennett

The world in which we live
is sometimes broken
people finding themselves needing to flee
to save their own lives
and those of their children

and as we run
we must decide what to take along
what is worth remembering
what must be forgotten
finely balancing what is and what shall be

Maria and her mother
came to this city in flight from their native Colombia
running from those that saw
rural literacy as a subversive act
choosing mothering as a solemn declaration
that there is still hope
deciding that dreams do not need to be buried
like husbands and fathers

Maria remembers her mother working
from 6am-10pm
hours that probably mirrored her own
when Mary’s Center was founded in 1988
in the small basement clinic
where the group of health workers
committed themselves to
“saving lives and strengthening communities,
one family at a time.”

and what does that really mean in a city
fighting a blooming crack epidemic
teenage mothers carrying the results of
rape and trauma in their wombs
veterans and asylum seeker coming in droves
with PTSD, HIV and simple desires
to just feel free

it means that Maria Gomez
nurse
public health proponent
nonprofit founder
mother
wife
had no choice but to stand in her power
in the midst of the muck
like her advocate mother
and her mother before that

wise woman who knew that
being a nurse (and not a doctor)
would allow her to conquer the world
because she would have more time
opportunity
and humility
with much less debt

it means that the care Maria provided
would go beyond
bandages and charts
because for her it was not
just about “doing”
but creating a holistically healthy environment
where healthcare, education and family support
are promoted and celebrated

and not just in the housing projects she frequented as a
visiting nurse with the DC Department of Health
or in the rent controlled apartments
dark and dank with aging clients
but in a community
of ‘nosy’ neighbors
and healing addicts
chosen brothers and sisters
to replace those she never had

collectively committed to looking back
into the painful past
and wrapping the keys to success
into the hands, hearts and minds
of their children

little ones living in a capital city
a new Columbia
where adults can’t read
generations of families still live in shelters and
the poor are blamed for their destiny

sadly, some of those that made it
find it too hard to lift as they climb

but not Mrs. Maria Gomez
thankfully she chose to follow her calling
and our city is happier and healthier
because she did.

MGomez solo teri gentry photo



poem of the week: common knowledge
October 1, 2013, 12:08 am
Filed under: DC life

the writing prompt was to make a list of 10 things you would love to say, but don’t have the nerve. We were then instructed to write a piece based on one or more of those sentences. here is my rant of the week…

 

common knowledge
© 2013 by margaux delotte-bennett

sadly
it is sometimes
easier to find
a black man
drunk
in the neighborhood park
outside of the government housing complex
at the cross town bus stop

than to find him
heading a household
leading a movement of any context
cause or stripe
standing up and speaking out
for what is right

has this life and this country
fooled him into doubting his role and
his worth?

has it so effectively kicked his ass
that he is resigned to sit on it
for the remainder of his days?

has the mathematics
that summed him up into
less and not equal to a man
been taken as a tautological truth?

there is so much that need to get done.

there is so much that he could be doing

instead of sitting around
punch drunk laughing
whino crying
bum fighting and
day after day
wasted dying

as I started this piece
I said sometimes
but even that
is way too much.



poem of the week: poised to perform
September 2, 2013, 2:43 pm
Filed under: DC life, performance

IMG_2887

poised to perform
© 2013 by margaux delotte-bennet
photograph by Beandrea July
artwork by Arijit Das

pulse and pause
the body is poised to perform

performance as body made public
the body performs a pulse

form made permanent with preparation and pause
preparatory forms parade past

using the pictured and poised body as a vehicle
a pathway to put vision into painted form

art in poignant vision made flesh
visible flesh made into playful art

pulse
pause
start.



poem of the week: in memorium
August 10, 2013, 1:04 pm
Filed under: DC life, self reflection

i attended a friend’s funeral recently. it was awful. i have been unsuccessfully trying to write this piece for the last month.  after a burst of inspiration i wanted to complete this poem last weekend, but i wasn’t sure where it was going or what it was trying to say. today it worked its way through me and here it is.

 

when she told me you were gone
© 2013 by margaux delotte-bennett

the sadness wasn’t so heavy at first
it had been a while since we connected
only seeing your silly faces on facebook
hearing updates from time to time
fleeting thoughts about
needing to get together
needing to reconnect
coming and going from the forefront of my mind

the sadness wasn’t so heavy at first
but it started to gain weight
as thoughts about all of the dreams
that would go unfulfilled
all the laughter that would
no longer be shared
all the “you know I love you” admissions
that would no longer reach these ears
in your distinct voice

the sadness wasn’t so heavy at first
but it eventually knocked me down
shook my understanding to the core
forces salty hot tears
and whys
and hows
to escape my face nestled in my hands

I can’t imagine what you had been thinking
or the pain you might have been in
or the ways in which this life
forced you to give out
give up
give in
and allow the sadness to
permanently paint a brushstroke
across your memory
while taking all of our breath away
ours
for a moment
yours
for an eternity

the sadness wasn’t so heavy at first
but it now sits
and simmers
and stares into the part of my heat
where you will forever reside