I am like this ant-hill of human beings, continuing to invest in materials that do not affirm my being out of habit and convenience. Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a poet, independent scholar, and activist. Alexis Pauline Gumbs: It was an intense embrace of “what looks like crazy. then the river run right I remember the part where we are eternal and allow it to hold me here and now. My time travel will be through my mother’s photographs as usual. and absently sketched generate light like a helmet Joy moves through us. She finds it incompatible with her own existence. I think about the future we deserve and who that future is asking us to be. there is plenty to eat Soft spot of memory. Her work in this lifetime is to facilitate infinite, unstoppable ancestral love in practice. I am remembering this moment when I was about the size of my father’s lungs. 

After Audre Lorde’s “Thanks to Jesse Jackson”, say it like bridge i’ve always had a tumultuous relationship with food, specifically, i have had periods of home-cooked deliciousness and many more periods of brightly packaged poison. She is coeditor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines and the Founder and Director of Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind, an educational program based in Durham, North Carolina. The Yoruba scriptures teach about how generations of stars release all known elements into the universe, emitting the dust that becomes planets. Could we be interested in, sometimes even delighted by changes as serious as the changes we are going through collectively right now? The concluding volume in a poetic trilogy, Alexis Pauline Gumbs's Dub: Finding Ceremony takes inspiration from theorist Sylvia Wynter, dub poetry, and ocean life to offer a catalog of possible methods for remembering, healing, listening, and living otherwise. By Alysia Harris | April 21, 2020. As a Black feminist of indigenous ancestry, Thanksgiving is a day of mourning for how it came to be that we live right now in a society that answers the possibility of love with violence again and again. :). What do we look like when we feel the world moving around us. To receive love from every direction, in every form. a veggie fuel rocket engine must crack
be How your impact moves through air. And yet. In her poem “Father Son and Holy Ghost” Audre Lorde writes about why she has not yet gone to her father’s grave. The prayers they breathe into our crowns perpetually. At Guernica, Lisa Factora-Borchers interviews Alexis Pauline Gumbs about her latest collection of poetry, Dub: Finding Ceremony (Duke University Press). 

After Audre Lorde’s “Peace on Earth”, a star fell last night Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a queer Black feminist love evangelist who lives in Durham, North Carolina. think out loud reshaping My father passed away the October my first single-authored book came out. It still feels like this. who whisper into me. Of the love that’s there behind all of it. And it is not what I paint on my chest that matters. As a severely nearsighted person, like my Dad and also like Audre Lorde, I want to be present to possibility beyond an ableist narrative of vision as progress. *Love and gratitude to Mama for this photograph, to Daddy for this moment and to Daniel Alexander Jones for sparking my interest in binary star systems and also modeling so gracefully the transfer and redistribution of light. By each of you the moment you forget to pretend these poems are not yours. thank you so much. How much you mean to life around you and beyond you. Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs identifies herself in many ways. In our creative projects we may be in the woods, unclear about where we are even going. She is coeditor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines and the founder and director of Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind, an educational program based in Durham, North Carolina. Every day. But what I have is my face. on autopilot, and where did it land It is taking me a long time to learn this. Ignore the currents and chase currency. My father, who would make up songs and speak in funny voices. Path through the tangled places. The part mama combed between my afro-puffs, portal where dreams come to earth. What I see in my own face in this picture is the discomfort of feeling a boundary between myself and the rest of creation when I remember a moment not too long before this picture when I didn’t experience a boundary at all. We make time into units of productivity. Though words distinguishing the proper use of property have been with me from the very beginning I am learning to read another way. who guide beside me. We get close enough to receive light, to offer light. Of course the blood pumping valve, central metronome of my breathing is a muscle. Skies full. You beautiful being full of air, on a planet made of salt. Each day to let even more love come through. It is easy for me to know the truth of that when I look at the young people in my life. What I see in the photograph is comfort and familiarity. Two distinguishable stars become a different cosmic event as the gas burns out, as the core elements fuse. This is our love. One of the blessings of these four years of grief since my father’s death is that in fact our relationship continues to grow and change daily. For the past 21 days I have been limiting my salt intake, clearing a path for more ancestral love to come through, helping myself release whatever deposits have collected from uncried tears and holding it together. But I deserve to float. Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ transportative poetry calls attention to dreams, families, sustenance and persistence. This is why a new book by National Humanities Center Fellow Alexis Pauline Gumbs called Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals caught … Ever referenced, never fully held. a falling star is not a bomb, what atmospheric freeze Oceans of it. And more importantly, I can finally see that all relationships are already cosmic. Mama caught this photo of my dad breathing a blessing right into the top of my head. who fly through me. In this picture, a still image of my father and I reacting to our personal experience of climate change, heat, erosion on the scale of a moment, my Nana seems to be interested in and amused by our tensed and twisted faces. But the work of keeping, holding close, my memories, my father, my mother’s portrait practice feels like it lives not in these image but somewhere between my hands and my heart. This year the time travel will not be visiting a childhood neighborhood or eating familiar foods inconsistent with my current dietary practices. Somehow i missed this and only just saw it now doing a random search for something else :) The sacred unseen. Who among us has so much faith that in the face of attack they open their chest? Dirty, divine and evergreen. This is a picture of our family trip to Dunn’s River Falls during my very first trip to Jamaica for my great grandmother Sarah’s funeral. “Sista Docta” Alexis Pauline Gumbs is well-versed in the intersections of harm. Binary star systems orbit each other, offer light to each other and then something happens. Or how everything that made us reminds us that it will reclaim us. This is part of what I am learning through loss. A significant percentage of the food I eat is grown by people who I am growing with spiritually and intellectually in this lifetime. Our superpower is being here, despite everything, as everything. After Audre Lorde’s “Depreciation”. May our words, fresh with presence align our spirits and feed the moment. Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a poet, activist, and educator based in Durham, North Carolina. The coming fall. growing hot and irresistible A Poet, a Nebula, and the State of California. and nowhere to hide. Sun rise. Of disintegrating into all this desire to have and hold and touch and preserve the unpreservable. On the hospital smock that my father had to wear in the hospital on the day (after the all night) that I was born it says “never sold.” This is because the smock is not for sale, it is for hospital use. then vehicles that transport gas But looking back at this picture I imagine that whatever my Dad is saying to me to me in this moment is a message for right now, when I am in the mode of darkness, not a clear path but a mysterious part of the journey that ultimately has the most gifts, (pagan appropriation and capitalist harnessing of generosity aside). But you can see it in the picture, the way joy spreads, the way our connection to each other’s joy teaches us that joy, like any energy, is not individually held but already shared. 24 comments. Over at the City Lights blog: Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, the founder of BrokenBeautiful Press, talks about Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, founded circa 1980 by Audre Lorde, Barbara Smith, "and other Black feminists after a meeting of African American and African Caribbean women in Boston. Or how we move through and beyond these bodies. Share. Again. For Roberto Tijerina After Audre Lorde’s “Thanks to Jesse Jackson” say it like bridge spell it like splinter these are the times when words need carpenters think out loud reshaping into places to sit and meet and walk and not fall through write it like rice growing hot and irresistible undercover in the watched pot of revolution spell it like cauldron these are the years when we eat our words when the boil-over of desire is the table we build by sharing train our tongues to be trans send ground tap rhythm of meaning generate … Thanksgiving is literally the commemoration of a time when in the name of their so-called freedom a group of people ignored the consequences of the illness they carried with genocidal results. Alexis Pauline Gumbs. Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a poet, independent scholar, and activist. who breathe with me. https://www.akpress.org/undrowned.html#pubday #praisethelorde. Literally. In capitalism we are not supposed to know what actually supports us. how would our whole selves shift? Share. There is some good news I would love to celebrate with him. who radiate across me. I come back to our collectively favorite Nikki Giovanni proclamation: “Black love is Black wealth.” And now I can hear through the love of my father (who by they way bought us Nikki Giovanni’s poetry for children) the deeper meaning in the words “you deserve to float.” Not as capitalist entitlement, but as a return to the ocean, the sun and the galaxies beyond. But that feeling of longing and reaching, of loving and becoming, I wonder if even this whole universe is but an index for that uncontainable energy. For 10 days you will wake up to Sista Docta Alexis Pauline Gumbs opening up your sky reading you a poem and offering you some nourishing reflections and questions from her unpublished series of "sky study" meditation poems. wake tongue may we wake with attention to all that nourishes. Stability? It is often beautifully blurred which is part of the gift of remembering I am not separate from life. Sista Docta Alexis Pauline Gumbs. I want you to know how much I love you. Which may be why until today I was afraid to say what I know. Gumbs holds a PhD in English, African and African-American Studies, and Women and Gender Studies from Duke University. This is my prayer. who love in me. I study him, right here in my own face. Another form of writing, near a wall that will not stop being a wall. May we eat only truth, trust in the rocket fuel of our dreams. Of progress at all. So many of us feel far away from love and with no quick hope of traveling nearer during this season. called father        float       foundation. I come by my workaholism naturally. Alexis Pauline Gumbs describes herself as a queer Black troublemaker, Black feminist love evangelist, educator, poet, and time-traveler. The concluding volume in a poetic trilogy, Alexis Pauline Gumbs's Dub: Finding Ceremony takes inspiration from theorist Sylvia Wynter, dub poetry, and ocean life to offer a catalog of possible methods for remembering, healing, listening, and living otherwise. Alexis Pauline Gumbs. That when a loved one dies, what was an earthly relationship becomes a cosmic relationship. This love. Each of the poems below is dedicated to someone who has tangibly supported my work to study with black feminist elders and to take sacred journeys to places of spiritual significance in the history and legacy of black feminist brilliance. It's the concluding volume in a trilogy that began with Spill, and continued with M-Archive. I wonder at this early moment he thought about the limits of his life, his strength, his ability to hold and protect. But I struggle to give that grace to myself. as I drove myself I deserve to be at home on Earth which as Toshi Reagon often reminds us somehow has exactly the air we need to breathe the water we need to drink, the light we need to grow if we would just recognize it. And also I imagine that I am the sun, I am the sand that confronts us. Change and more change beyond that. The moment of this picture was not my first experience of the ocean, but it was an early one. Salt on my face. It is love. How open do I have to be that love can flow through with the power to heal, with the power to transform someone who really thinks they are my enemy into an ally? What I see in my face is the innocence of not knowing how the pendulum swings and the joy of my father’s silliness. Wearing a VERY similar outfit to me in this picture and also reaching. The portal of every pore cleared. My stardust daughterhood has always been here. what alexis wrote made me think of our mindfulness practice of focusing on breath, paying notice when it has remained unnoticed for so long. You were meant to receive all the love. Even now, as I reach for my father through these photographs I have the opportunity to look at what I am really reaching for. I am in form the energy of he who now lives formless throughout the galaxy. Like a waterfall, breaking even through stone, joy comes through. Career. What support actually feels like. This poem imagines what might we have seen in each other’s faces during my second month of breathing. Alexis Pauline Gumbs: I thought about a few different ways to answer this question and you know what? A rushing towards, a leaning down inspiring a solar smile from the girl with the computer in her hands. But to surrender this great portal of my heart. Pout of a girl who knows that she is loved. I know what it feels like to be supported by this environment, the ocean which gave us life, the air that allows itself to move through me. Today. Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a poet, independent scholar, and activist. The work that I do in the world, the spirit work of black feminist love, is supported financially and spiritually by a community of people known and unknown to me who make themselves fellow travelers in my journey by so many shapes of saying yes. into places to sit and meet This is a subversive legacy. Yes. Of course they deserve to breathe easy and to know that life-supporting love is their divine gift to receive, not a scarce exception they have to learn. You deserve to float. It is a dance comprised by a group of people holding hands. Until it's every breath I breathe. And for me the possibility of infant memory, a form of recognition before the strictures of socialization is related to what it means to create a reality beyond the one in which we still live right now where private hospital laundry notwithstanding, the dominant narrative on this planet at this time is that everything is for sale. By Alexis Pauline Gumbs | Dec 31 2020. I am grateful for the rhythm of these poems for reaching back. Today I woke up at 2am to start Audre Lorde’s ascension day with sacred observation of the Leonids meteor shower on Saponi lands tended by enslaved African geniuses. I love you. Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a poet, independent scholar, and activist. And the fact that grief is undeniable evidence of love, doesn’t mean that I feel like celebrating my losses. heaven drop Supporting me even now. Tags . She is the author of Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity, M Archive: After the End of the World, and Dub: Finding Ceremony. send ground tap rhythm of meaning In those moments, I am teaching myself to remember the moment of this image my mother made. The mythological and biblical figures I didn’t notice at first the photo are my grandfather and my cousin already in the water. Thank you for showin love. But the heart, like how we mean heart, transfer center of love is not a muscle. Joy Harjo “The heart is the smaller cousin of the sun. In this time when many of us are feeling the grief of not being able to share joy in person with the loved ones we have lost, or who we cannot be with because of the safety concerns brought on by a pandemic that never had to go this far and kill this many, it is important to me that we remember that joy is not limited by space or time. She is author of Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity and coeditor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines and the Founder and Director of Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind, an educational program based in Durham, North Carolina. I love you with my laughter and my tears. The through line, the grounding place to return to the present reality, the passage way for being. I am not dominating life by naming and distinguishing this and that. Now sing. I listened to “Let it Go pt.2” by the Beautiful Chorus this morning and allowed their ocean of repetition to unclench me. who sing as me. Seriously. Something bright happens. This unavoidable failure. Redding is the way our flesh becomes warning intimate limit forces us to learn lessons bigger than us, like what happens to air. But I know what nourishment is. who rise under me. A few weeks ago with the help of my first computerized telescope (a gift from Sangodare) and the advice of my youngest brother Seneca about the rare proximity of Mars, I saw one of the moons of Mars. Such a natural response to all this sun and sand in my eyes. Been a busy day: Dawn just got back from two weeks on retreat at Spirit Rock, and we had a lot to catch up on, sitting in a backyard garden. i have also always had the intention for the former to be my practice but my habit of 20 years is that of the latter. A queer black troublemaker, a black feminist love evangelist, a prayer-poet priestess, an Afro-Caribbean grandchild, a scholar, an educator, and an author just to name a few. You being less dense than salt water or soil. What attention would we give our food, where would we pause to eat, who would we eat near if food was to our bodies what breath is to our spirits? And holding onto this computer like it can hold this cosmic relationship, this black matter I am dressed in, the vast complexity of intergenerational relationship: a poem about my father. Especially coming from a family of hustlers. By Alexis Pauline Gumbs on October 29, 2012. In 1992. no more. Especially our time, attention and physicality. What faces do we make to brace for the brightness of sun, the razor sharp wind of sand. Maybe it is. your mouth as if you’re saying something funny, behind you concrete wall and splitting trees, you left me on the ground      gone          to chill in the sky, cause swingsets swing us only but so high, the laughing man will wither         fade away, the smiling girl will cry and say not yet, the laughing man will do his best to stay, the curve of life is sure the swing is set. It is this form of never and before and beyond that will allow me to actually allow myself to feel safe enough with you to be held and beheld without fear of what this world has taught you to steal, siphon off or misrepresent about me. What would it take to see the planet beyond our own mythology of need? Is it death or birth. I think what explains my relationship to theory and poetry right now is that I am a West Indian poet and theorist, which to me means that in that tradition, in my work poetry and theory will tend to converge. from skating the edge That’s her handwriting on the one photo in the album from Thanksgiving 1987. It teaches me something that even though the journey was prompted by a solemn occasion, the love that was my great grandmother’s legacy, her mothering impact on her own children but also many grandchildren, daughter’s in law, community members was not closed off when she was buried. Issue 29.2 features poetry by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, who is a Black feminist love evangelist of Afro-Caribbean ascendance who lives in Durham, North Carolina. But from here I keep staring at you. by alexis pauline gumbs. Sometimes do you feel separate and afraid? “I am going to write fire until it comes out of my ears, my eyes, my noseholes--everywhere. I wonder if you know how much you weigh. Alexis Pauline Gumbs reads her poem, "Mixed Use." who hope inside me. This year navigating Thanksgiving does not feel complicated at all. What can these two beings, the young father and the wise infant teach me now about the breathing that I do now that he breathes no more? A collage in honor of Audre Lorde by Alexis Pauline Gumbs” What a gift that all this joy will not be contained to my one life here on earth. in the mines in the loop down of question, the time when each word who designate exactly me. This picture is from the first one. Turn to her when you long to be reminded of how connected and resilient we all are. The superpower of a beloved scalp moisturized. This is the Stardust and Salt Daily Creative Practice Intensive. It is an act of vulnerability. Alexis Pauline Gumbs is an American writer, independent scholar, poet, activist and educator based in Durham, North Carolina. who kiss upon me. who laugh around me. This poem, the first of a series based on photos of me and my father together, mostly taken by my mother Pauline McKenzie is part of my acknowledgement that I am participating in the elevation of his spirit daily and that he has always and still now make my elevation possible in this world and beyond. I know what it feels like to be supported by other people, my father the strong swimmer. All around it are muscles, practices, stents. Alexis is the founder of the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind. 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