Monday, October 8, 2012

Re: Why I Love Ratchetness

“If you use ratchet or ghetto in any other context other than positive, unfriend yourself right now….As someone who grew up in one room apartments, shared with other families sometimes in poor neighbourhoods, my experience of the ghetto is resourceful, persistent and so clean. Folks who are poor or have been poor know how expensive it is to be poor, how creative you have to be to survive. I am not sure how that fetishizes my experience by recognizing the value of the the work that poor communities of colour do to stay alive. I am not suggesting that we romanticize poverty, but that we give credit where credit is due”
— Kim Katrin Crosby

In response to my girl Phoenix Rose: "Ratchet comes with a new level of ugly"

I think too often black folks have a tendency to see alot of what we do to survive, to feel good, to feel wanted, to feel desirable, to love ourselves, to express ourselves and to be self-determining in a negative, judgmental way. I think this is especially true for a black woman or gender-non-conforming person's body. I think we are too quick to shame each other, especially for not embracing a middle/upper class or white aesthetic. When I see a black woman with a skittles wrapper in her hair and her weave looking like a rainbow fountain, I am aware of just how much rebellion that is against EVERYTHING that says that she has no right to express herself, or determine for herself what she deems to be beautiful. And then I see Sara from Sex in the City make door-knockers hot, and everybody an they mama rockin em, and all of the sudden vogue is doing a fashion shoot on ratchet hair styles and now it's haute couture. Among afrocentric or African-centered folk, I see people who rebel against a so-called 'eurocentric' ideal, only to impose another form of oppression on people by attempting to enforce a standard of aesthetic that does not speak to their everyday experience. 

If you look at many African proverbs, you will see that much of well-known African philosophy is centered around the rhythms of daily life. I understand that Africans in the forced diaspora have had to be extremely dynamic and creative in order to survive, and this means creating culture no matter where you happen to find yourself, much like a dandelion- most think of it as a weed- will do. Dandelions have hundreds of variations in order to adapt to environment, whether toxic or healthy, but it makes it no less a dandelion, just like if the culture stems from the hood it doesn't make it less of a culture. one must question the toxicity of the environment that the culture sprung, but saying that one is less of a person because of the adaptations that one has made in order to survive toxicity doesn't mitigate the toxins in the environment, it just stomps on the person that is attempting to survive or even flourish. 
As another example, take names. I think it is absolutely brilliant for a person to name their child something rhythmic, something melodic, something one can dance to. black folks name their children the most ridiculously beautiful names and get called ghetto or ratchet for it. Flks talking about they don't know what their name means. But folks don't know what Suzy or Ted or Rachael or James or Brad mean either, they just pick those names because they are acceptable. But really, what is morally wrong with La'Quisha, Ba'Jonya, or Beyonce? Cuz,, lets admit it, if Beyonce wasn't famous, her name would just be another ratchet name.
So I think it's important to discuss maybe, and I'm reading your comment now as I type.. what even makes ugly? Who has defined those values and those roles for us? And how much of what is 'ugly' is unmitigated trauma, or folks trying to survive in a system that deems every part of us unvaluable, unwanted, undesireable and unloved? We need terms that speak the truth to power about what the conditions of our environments are. How much ugly we have to survive in order to express ourselves. We need terms that fucking love on us. 
So I'm appropriating Ratchet. I stand by ratchet. we don't need another term that is used as a weapon of shame. we don't need another word that tells us we are not enough. If ratchet is hood, If ratchet is black, If ratchet is ghetto, If ratchet is woman, then I am ratchet. And i love me, so i must love ratchet.

Friday, October 5, 2012

why write?

for dear fucking life, by god!

I fucking hate destiny and shooting stars

Write the story that you were always afraid to tell. I swear to you that there is magic in it, and if you show yourself naked for me, I’ll be naked for you. It will be our covenant.

I am so scared of what I want the most. I swear to god looking in her eyes makes me stop breathing for a second. And I'm like, did she just see me, I mean like really see me?

I was having a discussion with a friend
about how much i've been fucked
how much i've fucked
and how little I have made love
been made love to
and how i want that so bad

that when she looks at me, i feel this sun rise
in the back of my throat
and my womb jumps,
not butterflies, womb-somersaults
and its just sweetness, her face is sweetness
her mouth, honey
and i ask myself if she just saw me,
and i don't know
it's just my imagination probably

but some part of me feels like its gonna die
i mean wither away and blow like dust in the wind
if nobody ever looks deeply at me
and is like i see you

this is so human of me,
so fucking human
and i don't like being human
i want to be a superhuman
but i want her to look at me with them eyes just like that
smile curved just like that
hands feeling the contours of my body just like that
mouth kissing mine just like that

and i don't know what to do
because she can't
she knows better
says what she should do is 
put her hands in her pocket and walk

i fucking hate precarious situations
always feel like i'm dangling on a spider's web
over a cliff
and why i always got to be the one
to be so damn complicated?
will any of this shit ever get easier?

just kiss me. 


Thursday, September 6, 2012


I'm tired of having to put on a vacant ass stare when I put my glamour on. Because, sometimes, i would like to both have minimal clothing and interact with people as humans, witty, beautiful, zany, a little risque humans the same damn time...

(I know I know, She doth ask for so much)

But enuf about what I'm tired of. What I want is so much more juicy, and yummy.

next post. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Association (I exist-- *Sexual Assault Trigger warning)

every inch of my body has been divided; a claim staked into it, judged, quartered, weighed, and thrown away on one level or another.

When I was growing up, the girls were called meat; the boys would see me and say,
'that's so-and-so's meat'

When I had sex one time, I heard around the block that I had a pretty pussy
actually I heard it from my mother's boyfriend's
my Uncle, so-to-speak,
at least that's what we called him,

I sucked dick for the first time
I think when I was about six or seven
he was a teen,
he said it was me or my brother
so i said me

The details aren't important
but they are
and there are things that have happened
things that i've done
that i may never say

The details aren't important:

because we think this shit is normal. because almost every woman i know got these stories, stories we might pull up occasionally in deep discussion, with the whiff of a scent, the flash of a screen, watching Colored Girls With Rainbows. because nobody seems to give a damn. because it should be a subliminal poetic line. because none of it is supposed to be a big deal. because we are supposed to be ashamed to say it. because we are all supposed to be over it. because the fact is, we'd rather villanize the symptoms than deal with the cause. Because, i'm supposed to act like it wasn't me in that room, I'm suppose to act like it was somebody else, it was one of you, but it wasn't one of me, but also because it was all of us. I'm supposed to be stronger than tears.  I'm supposed to be anonymous.

anonymous body,
anonymous face, mouth,
anonymous ass, pussy,
anonymous breasts, budding,

and also because the rites of passage in the hood means, subjectively:

killing that little girl inside
strangling her of any hope
of joy, just laughing bitterness
shards of glass as small as sand
stuck always just under the surface of
your skin
and you never grieve
because that's just the way things are
that's what happens to little black girls
so they can become women
at nine
at ten
and nobody gives a damn
because that The Way Things Are Supposed To Be. and why
are you stuck in the past?

but they are:

because the details make the life, weave the reality, shape the world, make a difference, bring you together or leave you stuck mired in shame for never having had any
body show you how this thing
called life, called love, called self-worth works. and black girl lost is a slur, meaning: you can be pitied, pimped, desired but never loved, tolerated but never seen. But the details
mean you exist, mean you are important, mean you are alive, and your story has meaning
that your experience on this earth means something to somebody, somewhere, even if its just yourself,
even if its only yourself,
and the details give you permission to feel because
a bitch got a reason
and feelings don't come from nowhere so they are not irrational even if untimely, unseemly and embarrassing. unravel and trace the roots to the origin, mend. repeat.

HOW DO WE honor our ancestors,
and honor their experiences

WITHOUT honoring the living culmination of experiences
that we are, without honoring our scars, our joy, our pain, our beauty?

More importantly why?
Is it bcause we are scared to say that we
are all carrying so much
because we are afraid to look, to be
a certain way
because then we will be shunned?

I have been shunned for my ugly, my unseemly, my bad girl.
But anyway, it feels like the pop, the pulling apart of all of your joints, and lying there in a pool of your own
weakness, unable to move until you mend
and then when you do, at least a bit,
wearing a scarlet letter of 'fuck y'all' bitterness
so that you are never tender,
exposed again.

I don't have the answer
besides to be yourself
and do you.
be myself and do me.
and maybe we will knit ourselves back together
in love
maybe that is what i will have faith in
the weaving
or maybe i'll never completely have it all together;
who knows?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

lost my ankh: re: abortion (from Yona's workshop)

I've been on a journey
from fundamentalist damnnearquiverfullchristian complete with pro-life bumperstickers slapped on the back of a rusty buick
to mother of five
on my back
on a doctor's table
listening to the whir of a vacuum between my
right in the center of me, right at the core of me

afterwards, trying to make some sense of this life of mine I'm trying to piece together, I pull a piece of copper from the ratty nest my children had made of it and formed it into an ankh

trying to ground myself in some sort of meaning, save myself from this existential crisis, pull on
my ancestors for some hope.

Another, thinner strand of copper
I'm stringing citrine, tears and garnet
wrapping and asking whatever was greater than me, "what
does all this even mean anyway?"

It's a heavy piece of jewelry, unraveling from carrying
and touching
trying to remind myself
that I exist
and there was
some beauty in me anyway or else how could have made
something worth keeping?

These questions about loving myself make me cry.

Friday, July 20, 2012

...and more rambles....

so he would just sit there
weighing on my right shoulder
smacking in my ear on a plum or whatever
swear to god he was my good angel
righteousness oozing from between his gripped teeth
he gripped me, vise-words
his holiness choked me

i liked fantasy too much
i was not a phoenix
just a handful of ashes trying to 
be something more than
a handful of ashes trying to be
and he would remind me
scatter me with every word
between smacking

i wished to god words broke bones
sometimes. then i could point and show you why
i hurt and why a fury of bile

rises when i try to speak and leaves me breathless 
choking on the earthquake
quivering in my throat.