[Poetry Friday] Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Her Ode to Black Feminist Fugitivity

poetry friday

Fats here.

In her Note, Alexis Pauline Gumbs writes,

“This space, which is a temporary space, which we must leave, for the sake of future travelers and our own necks, is a sacred dedicated space. Libation for the named and the nameless. This is for black women who made and broke narrative. The quiet, the quarrelling, the queer. This is where. This is what. This is how.”

The poem I am sharing today is taken from Gumbs’s poetry collection entitled Spill: Scenes from Black Feminist Fugitivity. I randomly picked the book from our new non-fiction shelves several weeks ago. I love how Gumbs’s words just roll off my tongue. There is rhythm. There is beat. Powerful imagery and emotion are evoked by each line.

Linda at A Word Edgewise is hosting Poetry Friday round-up this week!


 

the ground shakes with us
the gathering women
grows rich grows brown grows deep
the gathered hands women
grown brown grown women
the sure determined feet
the ground grows everything we eat
the graceful stomping women heading home
ungrateful women populating poems
the ground has everything it needs
we have never been alone

the sky sings for us
the rainmaking women the rage-taking women
the blood
the sky so open so nose wide open
can’t refuse the shape of our lungs
can’t bear to remain above
the sky sees the shoulders that shrug off hate
and celebrate and hung
the sky slows the rhythm by falling out
and down and done and drug
the sky begins to know itself
we breathe it in as love

the water waits for us
the wide-eyed women the walking women the worst
the water washes the war wrung women
the wailers the whistle the first
the water waists of the undrowned women
the hope floats women the strong
the water knows us
the whole-note women
the half-step harmony song

the fire frees us
the fast-ass women the fall-in-love women the freaks
the fire is full of the all-out women
the walk-out women the sweet
the fire is finding the love-lost women
the worth-it women the ones
fire is blazing the brash blues women
the black-eyed women
the wiry women with guns
the firs is becoming the sun

our work here is not done

  1. Fats, that is an anthem I can sing. I love the list of women, and how some lines move so fast, you feel like you’re falling down a rabbit hole, like this one: “the fast-ass women the fall-in-love women the freaks”.

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  2. You can feel the rhythm in your soul, rolling and building like thunder though every line, driving forward, like women themselves, breaking through the barriers placed in front of them. A brilliant, brilliant piece.

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  3. Wow. I was reading it aloud…and had to slow as meaning broke over me. I love these women and who they are on this page and all around us. Thank you.

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  4. Thanks for introducing a new poet, and sharing this “shout out loud” poem, Fats. The first thing I thought of is #resist!

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  5. Wow! There is so much to love and appreciate and learn from this poem. Thank you for introducing me to another poet that speaks with power and grace.

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  6. My favorite parts are her hyphenated women — wide-eyed, whole-note, worth-it women. May I find a way to live like that!

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  7. Powerful, moving poem Fats, and “our work here is not done,” how true, thanks for sharing!

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