Dec. 5 reading event

Culminating my year as the UNC Asheville Ramsey Library Community Author Award recipient, I will be giving a reading on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 6-7 p.m. Local musician Heather Taylor will accompany me. There will be snacks.

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Photo Adam Taylor

Much of the work I’ve been focused on for the past year has been around themes of women’s wisdom, the mythology and archetypes of femme-identifying people, and social justice. I’ll be sharing pieces from a collection about the Oracle of Delphi (and my contemporary interpretation of that phenomenon) as well as a new piece that seeks to weave the mythology of the Appalachian/Cherokee Wampus Cat with that of the 16th century Mayan jaguar goddess Ixchel. There will likely be an f-bomb or three.

More details here.

 

WITCHWOOD, part 2

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SKELETON KEY

You collect them. One was stolen from a neighborhood
house empty of all traces of its previous owners except
the crystal knob on the hallway door and the thin
iron key. Whoever bought the house wouldn’t care
about the lives lived in it before, or the echoes of footfall
or the way long shadows took on the shapes of those
who no longer sit at the tables or gaze out the windows. You Continue reading

The Eye of Hathor (video)

A performance from this year’s Asheville Percussion Festival. Soundscape by Bonnie Whiting, movement by Brandi Mizilca, words by me. It’s a poem about creative work and women’s work and the intersection of the two: the point at which an artist steps through fear to meet a challenge. (At least that’s what I think it’s about — but it’s totally open to interpretation.)

Video and audio by Joshua Messick, live soundboard audio mix by Steve Beatty and Edward Link at Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville, video editing by Asheville Rhythm.

Can a poem be a form of resistance?

Inanna-Sumerian-God-AnnunakiI don’t know the answer to the title of this post. Writing a poem in the face of injustice feels both pointless and like the strongest thing I can do. The story of Chikesia Clemons, who was assaulted at a Waffle House, by police, after requesting plasticware with a takeout order and having the audacity to protest an upcharge, enraged me. I know I’ve gone all kinds of sassy, snarky, uppity and uncalled for in the bank when things didn’t go my way. I’ve vented my ire at more than one undeserving customer services representative. But I’m white. I can behave badly and suffer the hangover of shame and move on. What of the black women who are my neighbors and coworkers and community? Where is the justice? How do we stand with them and for them?

This poem ripped through my guts, born of fire and fury.

THE DESCENT
For Chikesia Clemons

What goes unsaid
is that you were given a double-serving
of injustice. Twin lashes
for your duplicitous sins of being born
female and black. You,

the Queen of Heaven, sent into a life
of fun house mirrors that distorted
your every truth, reflected your image
back wrenched and marred
and nightmarish. Sorry Continue reading