My talented singer-songwriter friend Heather Taylor recently invited me to collaborate with her on one of her songs. Jesse Hamm of Acoustic Asheville filmed this video of her performing “Up on a Mountain” with my poem “Collar of Wasps” in the middle.
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.
One of six poems examining the intersection of seeds and language and how both are transported, evolved, devolved and lost through migration.
Vintage image from a packet of dill seeds.
Hey hey! I’ve been working on a collection of poems about animals, which will debut at this year’s Asheville Zine Fest. The Literary Circus will have a table at the Saturday, June 30 event. More info here.
And a peek at my project in process here:
I 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.
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
If you live in Asheville and missed the debut of Sleeping on Rooftops at The ReHappening in March, here’s one more chance to see the show! We’ll be at REVOLVE on Wednesday, May 9, 7 p.m. The show also includes a solo set by musician Sally Ann Morgan.
Sleeping on Rooftops + Sally Ann Morgan (solo set)
Wednesday, May 9, doors at 6:30 p.m. / show at 7 p.m.
Sleeping on Rooftops, a collaborative work of spoken word, dance and experimental cello music, follows the model of the hero’s journey, as explained by mythologist Joseph Campbell. The story is of a young woman who ventures into the world for the first time. The piece was inspired by the collaborations of Black Mountain College artists M.C. Richards, Merce Cunningham and John Cage, and their collective foray into the source of creativity, and it debuted at the 2018 ReHappening.
Performed by: Alli Marshall (spoken word), Sharon Cooper and Coco Palmer Dolce (dance), and Melissa Hyman (cello).
Tickets are available here.
COLLAR OF WASPS
I could have been a droning “caller of wasps” perhaps?
I just invented that job, I like the sound of it. — Neko Case
The frantic rush of the morning and all
its tasks got to be too much. I had
to send myself out to the rain. And because
the mud portends the spring I went in deep Continue reading