Today is Audre Lorde’s birthday! A high holy holiday in the universe. Look how many people are wearing geles and celebratory African garb this weekend. I’m sure she appreciates it! This is also the last poem that I am sharing from our Daughter Dreams Intensive, which could mean it’s my favorite. We wrote it after working with Audre Lorde’s poem “From the House of Yemanja” where she writes about mothering and dreaming and existing beyond binaries. It’s one of my favorite poems (you’ll catch me saying that about all her poems) and it’s a poem that theorists have often returned to in order to theorize Audre Lorde’s ideas about mothering, identity and diaspora. It talks about not being the daughter her mother wanted, it talks about the different ways mothers feed and frighten and fail their daughters and it invokes the mother of the orisha, the ocean, all life.
Our poem came out of our work to embrace the complexity of who we are, a wholeness of contradictions and healing. There is not resolution but there is the ongoing (forever) complexity of our co-evolution, our continued dreaming. We celebrate the eternity of the Lorde and the multiplicity of you.
P.S. It’s also my grandfather Jeremiah Gumbs’s birthday today. He’s the person who inspired my love of poetry and therefore the one who led me to the Lorde!
P.S. Sign up for M/otherlands: Audre Lorde and Daughtering in Diaspora here!
I Am (Forever)
by the participants in the Daughter Dreams Intensive
“I am the sun and moon and forever hungry
for her eyes.”
-Audre Lorde “From the House of Yemanja”
I am soft and moon and forever reflecting.
I am unapologetic and myself and forever seeking freedom.
I am yes and yes and forever in balance.
I am sad and grateful and forever sacred.
I am tears and heart and forever movement.
I am honey and tears and forever medicine.
I am dangerous and full of silk and forever loved.
I am other and more than and forever expansive.
I am compassion and truth and forever desire.
I am Taurus sun and Taurus moon and forever Gemini rising.
I am tarot and oracle and forever conjuring.
I am word and fire and forever troublemaking.
I am god and goddess little girl and a devil’s advocate and forever loved to eternity.
I am raven and loving beautiful things and forever shapeshifting.
I am me, ever transforming and them, ever transmitting and forever everything that magic can contain.
I am filled and fulfilled and I am forever with space/time/energy enough for more love.
I am the water and the vessel and forever sailing across boundary lines.
I am cosmic and flowing and forever feeling.
I am love and love and forever everywhere.
I am the universe and the universe is forever me.
I am dance and song and forever spirit.
I am music and rhythm and forever heartbeat.
I am the hum, and the open mouth, and forever a room full of singing.
This intensive is part of the M is for M/othering Ourselves Webinar Series, leading up to the release of M Archive: After the End of the World by Alexis Pauline Gumbs on March 9th 2018. This webinar series offers a deep dive into the key concepts of Audre Lorde’s work as a queer regenerative resource.