Black & Kinky Amongst Brown Waves


napowrimo, 3 of 30
April 4, 2017, 11:01 pm
Filed under: women

i’m always surprised to see how a poem changes between my journal and the computer screen…  editing is essential work that i have always resisted, but is happens. words are arranged and rearranged.

 

voices and choices
(c) 2017 by margaux delotte-bennett 

my words weren’t always
welcomed here
in the playground
rough and tumble
plucked luck

“performance poetry is for boys!”

but i just saw her spit fire
while she kicked up sand
little miss over there
held your heart
in her hand

their words
a gateway
a map i studied in the dark

there is no finished
nor arrived
no fluke or lark

we she poets must sit
and start
thrive to make bridges
pathways
marks

there will always be someone
who needs the permission
our voices and choices wield
need the sanctuary our poetics
shield

who will stand on my shoulders
while i sit on theirs?

no mere play
this is work
this is essential
this is our air



so sally seems
February 28, 2017, 10:48 pm
Filed under: women

trying to get a post up before the end of this short month where we celebrate black history and presidents and groundhogs…

there have been a series of recent articles on Sally Hemings; this one and this one give some great food for thought. both articles helped to inspire the piece below as i pondered agency and history and memory…  last year I also participated in a wonderful project that used Sally Hemings as the catalyst for art making.  More on that project can be found here and there is a lovely zine that can be purchased through the link.

sending you peace…

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so Sally seems…
© 2017 by margaux delotte-bennett

can you be mistress
and property?

possess your sex
when you don’t possess
your life?

can your “relationship”
be elicit
when it sustains
orders your steps
forces knees to part
without consent?

can his-story ever be righted
when written
with blood filled pen across pale skin?

can sin become sacred
when historians
re-imagine the condition
you’re in?

so Sally seems
in distorted dreams…



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


happy 2016!
January 1, 2016, 7:44 pm
Filed under: self reflection, women

i woke up on this first day of the year wanting to taste freedom; i guess i was craving independence.  i decided that i needed to make my first pot of soup joumou/ pumpkin soup; a dish that celebrates Haitian Independence, celebrated each January 1st.  you can learn all about it and find the recipe here (i made the veggie version, delicious!).  but i must confess that i’m also a little troubled that the food that was denied before independence became a symbolic stable post independence.  i want liberation to taste new, not just like what you denied me before… there is probably a lot about the folklore that i don’t understand, but these are the questions that danced on my tongue along with the scotch bonnet pepper. i hope that this first day of 2016 brings you the taste of freedom, independence and liberation that you crave, in big and small ways.

to see myself by danielle boodoo-fortune
(to see myself by danielle boodoo-fortune’)

my mermaid year
© 2015 by margaux delotte-bennett

“I must be a mermaid… I have no fear of depths, and a great fear of shallow living.” – Anais Nin

this must be my mermaid year

a fantasy widely known
intermittently believed
linking land and sea

I too
stand at the crossroads
intimately knowing how salt water
uniquely kisses my flesh
puts my pieces back together
smoothed over and misted
like beach glass

though 40 does not seem
particularly
eventful

no crashing waves of responsibilities
just steady waters
cooling trade winds
feeling rooted and settled
and here

but yet and still
I no longer want to be
out in the depths
unanchored
unmoored
bobbing up and around
under blinding skies

I have a siren song that yearns to be sung
just under my skin
in the depth of my womb
shimmering like the water’s surface

a song not of destruction
or misfortune
guiding ships
off of cliffs

but no less drawing in
a calling too
capturing attention
eyes and ears
both feasting

my treasures are blindingly precious
picked with a beachcomber’s
patience and precision
watchful steps
always scanning
ever hopeful

so much has been thrown overboard
no longer of service
or use

so much has been carried away
on the sea breeze
in the stormy gale force winds
forever caught in the ebb and flow

I find myself in this moment
heart bare and vulnerable
flippers flexed and shell adorned
ready
for the next voyage

out at sea

Sea Snail Mermaid by Renee Nault
(sea snail mermaid by renee nault)



this weekend reminded me…
September 24, 2014, 12:37 am
Filed under: relationships, women

i was honored to participate in a beautiful wedding this past weekend and i am reading the divine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood by rebecca wells.  spending time laughing and reconnecting with some amazing women reminded me of what i know to be true about friendship…

gathered in her name
© 2014 by margaux delotte-bennett

I have known the friendship of women

blood clot thick with devotion
sticky sweet and crusted over with care
a molded and sweaty mess of protection
runny nosed undivided attention

these are, “no time for pretty ribbons and lace” unions
companionship rites that query, “where do you need me to stash the body?”
Serious assertions of, “I can pee on them if you want me to “ love
led by legions
standing on feet rooted
beyond this space
way before and eons past this time

the friendship of women seldom comes easy
but what for the female bodied ever does?

there are sticks and pointed stones
broken hearts and howling moans
and tears
always a waterfall of tears
in euphoria and despair
and all that lies betwixt and between

some navigate this terrain with their kin
while others, like me, strike out to discovers sisterhood
in the star shine and shadows
because of and against the odds

I have seen women save lives
with a well placed hand on a heaving chest

women putting out fires
in boarded up houses
at dangerous intersections
in alleys splattered with blood

women sowing peace
with a pot of this
a pan of that
and don’t forget
a measured pinch and a squeeze

the woman
who truly knows the friendship of women
has steps ordered
and often checked
for their right direction
and their unapologetic audacity
to carry on.



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