Wednesday, December 13, 2006

one long umbilical breath

i took one long umbilical breath and threaded the needle black thread sung through needle head like cat's lip. i never though the first morning one of my cylndrical scalp fingers would kiss her sisters and brothers and sisters goodbye and slip away like emancipated DNA a cardinal would fly back from the edge of florida and oracle the next ten months. i never thought a shower loosening effect would work a pores voodoo and lasso a surprise twinge at the nape of the neck loose hairs on fingers and a half smile half cry whirling exhale. like any undernurtured mother i wanted to hold closes and closer.

my mother would squeeze my nostrils shut and tell me to blow, girl blow. instinctively i would blow out my mouth and she should shred my ear drums. no girl out of your nose. couldn't couldn't could not just could not! but mucus lined nostrils remind me of the unhealth closeness i felt to this splinter of hair that decided to take an amistad leap.

so as water rushed from the peppermint crevices i took a lethargic sprint around the apartment leaving peppermint suds and microscopic shards of black thread in each room.

one long umbilical breath.

and perched before a sheer canary curtain and a cardinal slipping a note under my screened bathroom window i licked a thin piece of black thread and tried to reattach baby girl hair to the nape of my neck. i counted my belly eggs to see if she would fit gulped incensed air and blinked 1,2,3 and pushed the teeny twirl of black thread through the needle head, through the needle head to bring baby girl hair back to me.

the cardinal knows a bles and whitles desyncopated grunts through perched beak, i don't know if that cardinal ever left for orlandos balmy bosooms or if her nestled in the leaves composting inthe back yard and waited for a perrermint morning to spring and she would come to me tell me how it is time to coount by bell eggs and say farewell to one caritin offspring, even just one even for a moment.

a drop of shower fell right out of my eye corner and shimmied down a centimeter of thread and right onto the needle eye. solid. and i took one umbilical breath and watched the postmas gazing through canary curtain watching peppermint suds slide down unclothed backside and wondered if the cardinal was done with the bathroom message.

Artist Biography

Ebony began her journey as an artist, activist, and educator twenty-eight years ago in the Bayou City, Houston, TX. Born to Dr. Betty Sims and Harry Hicks, Ebony was encouraged to pursue a myriad of creative outlets including dance, theater, writing, and community activism. Organizations such as Girl Scouts, Girls in Action, and Young Professionals of Houston encouraged Ebony to join a cadre of activists and artists near and far and to dedicate her life to uplifting and empowering individuals and communities. Ebonys mission is to empower individuals to pursue creative expression, social change, and the divine spirit through the arts.

Ebony matriculated through the English department at Texas A & M University as an Undergraduate Research Fellow. As an undergrad, Ebony etched out a reputation as a choreographer, poet, and performer in plays such as Our Town and the Fade To Black Dance Ensemble.

Ebony worked with the world-famous Ensemble Theater as a choreographer where she choreographed The Not-So-Brave Prince, The Velveteen Rabbit, To Be Young Gifted and Black, and The Wiz. She also served as a writer-in-residence with Texas Southern Universitys Project Graduation and Project Row Houses Summer Arts Program in Houston's 3rd Ward.

Ebony earned a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from American University in Washington, DC. As a grad student Ebony performed in The Vagina Monologues, co-founded MoonSong Performance Ensemble, and directed For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf. She served as a writer-in-residence for DC Writers Corps, and Montgomery Community Colleges Young Writers Workshop. Ebonys graduate school experience culminated in the completion of a poetry thesis entitled, jigaboo princess.

Ebony has studied with Willie Perdomo, Saul Williams, Ruth Forman, Henry Taylor, Ishmael Reed, Myra Sklarew, Lenard Moore, and a host of dynamite artists, activist, and teachers. She has been awarded fellowships by Atlantic Center of the Arts, Voices of Our Nations, and Soul Mountain Retreat Center.

Ebony is a Visiting English Instructor at North Carolina Central University and an Adjunct English Instructor at Louisburg College. She continues to serve the community as a volunteer with SpiritHouse and UBUNTU and in the wake of recent events has joined a cadre of arts activists to educate and help to eradicate violence against women. Her first poetry chapbook, the sweet smell of juju funk, was published by her grassroots literary press, bettys daughter, April 2006.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

jazzy pump-your-fist women. wrap themselves in guaze and disappear behind philosophical hyperbolic musings of what if but rarely what it be when it be.

thinking women. materialize and dissect feathered fettered walls. soonah will be done with the whiteness of the world. and see with timbuktuu brain waves and digable planets and rootwork ligaments.

find with fallable tongue
the skin that archives
embryo sky
i mean
goddess could give to you, but what
you gone do with it

Monday, December 11, 2006

So it is better to Write, Artistic Response Team, Activate!


and love, and prevail, and dance, and commune, and insist on change!

Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Time: 7 PM-9 PMLocation: The Center for Doc. Studies
1317 W. Pettigrew Street,
Durham, North Carolina, 27705

Join UBUNTU as we engage in discussion and creative expression about the literal and metaphorical importance of midwifery and its relationship to "birthing" communities rid of sexual violence.

For more info email
Performance and say what, workshops!

I Be Who I Be: Media Poetry and Re-Imagining Identity

IBeWhoIBe: Media, Poetry, and Re-Imagining Identity
by Ebony Golden

(see for copies of the love note journal "i be who i be")


This workshop is designed to debunk and recreate ideas and popular notions of identity that work to warp the minds and self-esteem of young brothas and sistas. This workshop is necessary because the constant barage of negative press, media, and art constructed to confuse and tear down our children is doing just that.

This workshop is necessary because it empowers young brothas and sistas to write and construct (a la Bearden, a la hip hop, a la Lucille Clifton, a la my aunties lemon pound cake) a self-portrait that builds them up and builds us up in the process.

Read my poem entitled Self-Portrait: July, 2005
Discuss the self-image of the speaker in the poemShow several popular images from magazines
Have the participants create a cut-and-paste list poem based onthe responses
Have the students paste their poem on poster board
Have the students rip out/ and paste pictures that represent who they orwhat they want to be and what they want their communities to be
Have students write 8-word poems to describe who they be or who they want to be

Open Mic Arts Installation
Find a space where we can post our collages and do a impromptu poetry reading

Take Away Activity
Give each participant a journal (i can make these) and pen to continue writing a love letter to themselves and other stuff too.
Performances, say what!

So(u)ld Out

So(u)ld Out: Hip Hop, the Academe, and the Objectification of Black Identity(ies)Or/ my hip-hop ain’t no Petri dish for neo-millennium, high-tech, ultra-cool racists

What is So(u)ld Out ?So(u)ld Out is a freestyle flyer performance/installation conceived by poet, teacher and performance artist ebony noelle golden, that critiques the Academe’s current, fetishistic/voyeuristic, interest in hip-hop culture. This piece seeks to question the intentions, motivations, and zest for “majority” institutions to host panels, seminar courses, conferences, “hip-hop weeks”, interdisciplinary degree options and other suspect reductive measures as viable attempts at earnest engagement with hip-hop culture.

So(u)ld Out argues that this new found interest in hip-hop culture is not-so-new but instead harkens to the days when African bodies “performed” (i. e. cooning, shucking and jiving, dancing the juba,) on auction blocks, in fields, side-shows, and circuses to prove their value. So(u)ld Out wonders how the western “university” model, which is inherently racist in structure and application, implemented throughout the academe and wonders how glimpses into certain performances of Blackness are used as a type of coding, objectification, and framework in which oppression, violence, and silence is honed and re-enacted on Black bodies and communities.Ten years ago white academia dismissed the social, cultural, political, and artistic significance of the hip-hop movement, why are they so interested now?

C.R. E. A. M (cash rules everything around me)White male money and white male hands currently pull hip-hop’s strings and slowly silence the revolutionary voices of future Real Roxannes, Queen Latifas, Bahamadias, and MC Lytes. The objectification of black identity(ies) and expressions must be reclaimed now. So(u)ld Out believes the neo-millennium auction block should not only be dismantled but should also be burned to dust!

What You Can Do!So what do I need to make some art?Bring a pen, paper, and some of your favorite revolutionary hip hop lyrics and let’s make a statement, for real for real! I should say, we have not been invited but just like hip-hop began on the streets and in spaces where black people were traditionally silenced we are staking claim and making noise where we need to.

p.s. see to order some brown and tan SOLD SOUL stickers for free(dom).

Sunday, December 10, 2006

for mama haryette, one mo gin

fricaseed mumbo jumbo. hottentot galore. you screwing around a rabbit hole.
i'm sneeking around the back door. you can wade this quagmire if you choose,
but imma grow morrison- wings. blue newspaper shavings stuccoed to the heart chakra. someone call a police escort me to a hospital called mercy mercy me, things aint what they used to be no no. and imma fly, oh lord imma fly. screaming brand new, but "i" just sanitize the old shit.

freedom is a medicine bag
of ground ancestor-bone
palm wine soaked leaves
and a sand that soft-shoes
our back talk
our sankofa walk
yes, our sankofa walk
more haibun for harryette

polyrhythms tricked out. oops i tripped on your post-soul era train. keep on moving don't stop, no. will the real mix master please stand up? tip your cups to your live hommies. cause, it ain't only bout the benjamins babies. the poet craves a menajetua. all up in some libraries, and stacks of dusty coletrane lps. and searching the ghost tracks of the orisha. can the drummer get wicked?

and as she licks beneath disjointed hips. search her eyes' search and go. mediterranean lungs kick out curry, walk the boulevard home. walk the boulevard home. like skin that promenades towards oeuvre. boom, bap. boom bap.

water is a beginning
fire an intermediary
air an unkown variable
and we are all chosen to nose-dive in no particular order

Saturday, December 09, 2006

haibun for harryette #3

pop pop goes the weasel weasel. pop pop goes the weasel the weasel. pop pop goes the weasel weasel. pop goes the weasel cause the weasel goes pop. are we all so reactionary? hammered and jumping knees. ping! ping! ting. ting. ting aling aling. dance and then swing. like puckered lips and lemon nipples. i hope not. oh how i hope there are more reasons to piss than drinking too much water. bu ya kaa bu ya kaa.

i do not hunt the farmer's market's most brilliant garlic and stew poems becuase my mother stews. i do not stand on the jagged heels because my mother stands. i do not sleep in the hollow breath of a nightmare because my mother sleeps. bu ya kaa bu ya kaa. is it egotistical to believe we are planets, netted and atmosphered unto ourselves? unto ourselves? yea, that's a philosophical ballet the universe knows not to commission.

i am a bowl of stars minty appendages willow and wanton and birthing multiple babies with out spilling a teaspoon of
milky way

Friday, December 08, 2006

Haibun for Harryette

Recycle. Rework. Repeat. Remix. Rewind. Rethink. Wait. The dial tone is taking a bubble bath and the future air will come back to carpool the babies. When the pepper gals gone speak? Ain’t no twang like texas flipping off tendril tongues. Wait. Rebuff. Reform. Recollage. Rewrite. Rethink. Reconcile infinite newness. Wait, there is no more to see he(a)re.

recyclopedia scratch
encyclopedia snatch
decyclopedia catch
we all fall down
Haibun for Harryette: Upon Writing a REview of REcyclopedia

I wonder if she knows what they say about women like her. Who demand we read. And read like red sunshine. I wonder how many times she's dressed in her nakedness, like old woman wrinkles, and told an underexercised poet that poems are not communion wafers. Or grape juice makeshift bodylight. I am sure she knows, and has prayed through midnight fingertips for emmenient lexicon. For a holy whole(y) holistically our own, tongue.

or maybe not
i can't presume so
fireflies know the difference

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Possibility of Poetry Revealed in Evie Shockley’s a half-red sea
By: Ebony Noelle Golden, MFA

arriving, you staggered, no, tightroped
your way to the mic. your hollow apology
rang with the purity of a spoon tapped
against plastic. reading, your words poured
like oatmeal, clumped and milky, over your
red lips. what could (be) wrong (with) you?

why you wanna treat me so bad

from double bop for ntozake shange
-Evie Shockley

In a half-red sea, Cave Canem graduate and Rutgers University Professor Evie Shockley quilts a brave and unapologetic tapestry of poems that summon fortitude, light, and the resilience of human spirit. Shockley’s second collection, published by Carolina Wrenn Press, mirrors Haryette Mullen’s complexity, Nikki Giovanni’s wit and sarcasm, and the elegant attention to detail unearthed in Marilyn Nelson’s formalist compositions. Shockley’s collection gifts such gems as protect yourself, the last temptation: a 21st-century bop odyssey, and, you remind me that undoubtedly situate her within a dynamic and diverse sisterhood of Africana women poets who insistently redefine and erase the stoic boundaries of Euro-centered canonical tradition.
Readers enter a half-red sea with the gracefully crafted possibilities of poetry, upon her death for literary trailblazer and revolutionary sonneteer Gwendolyn Brooks. Shockley offers,
“i will brook no evil, for
thou art not gone, gwen,
and poems made of tears
evaporate. when the drops
dry, scrape gray lines of salt
and dreams from brown faces.”

This poem exhibits Shockley’s keen usage of enjambment, subtle manipulation of internal rhyme and music which leaps from each line like breath between lovers.
a half-red sea sends readers on a journey that spans three thematically-balanced sections titled passage, rafts, and pull. Together, these sections travel historical, musical, and mythological landscapes that nudge, urge and demand the readers’ to be enlivened by ethereal figures as Billie Holiday, Phillis Wheately, and Frederick Douglass. In you can say that again, billie Shockley writes,
“southern women serve strife keep lines of pride open
trees are not taller than these broad vessels femmes who
bear fully armored knights clinking from the womb but
a night in whining ardor means black woman compelled how
strange brown vassal on a bed of green needles ingests the
fruit of georgia let that gestate but be-gets no child of the south”

This excerpt best illustrates Shockley’s handling of punctuation(less) lines in the tradition of Lucille Clifton and Ntozake Shange, as well as others. This practice is quite daring because it often is accompanied by awkward line breaks, ineffective pauses, and unnatural stanzaic configurations. Shockley, however, handles this not-so-conventional convention with delicacy and poise.
While several poems in a half-red sea are a joy to read and re-read, the ballad of anita hill quickly surfaced as a daily mantra among poems located in the section titled rafts. Arranged in three sections, Shockley weaves a landscape where “winter fell/ heavy and wet, quiet out of season,”. Sections two and three of the ballad recall swooning images of sexual violence practiced on the bodies of Africana women. This poem serves as a call to action for women, regardless of ethnic and cultural heritage, to stand and fight sexual assault even when she may be accused of being a
destroyer of black manhood, and so much more.”

the ballad of anita hill features biting imagery, scathing critique minus the didactic lamentation, and an unobtrusive rhyme scheme that whispers the wisdom of Audre Lorde whose body of work reminds us that “our silence will not save us”.
Poems should have individual identities and poetry collections should function as living harmonious communities purposeful and intentioned. In a half-red sea Shockley conjures poems that perform these duties and so much more.

Author’s Biography
Ebony Noelle Golden, MFA, is a poet, performer, and educator currently teaching African American Literature, Composition and Creative Writing at North Carolina Central University and Louisburg College as a Visiting Instructor. She has self-published a chap book of poems titled the sweet smell of juju funk and is currently editing mama's hieroglyphics to be released next year. In the near future, Ebony plans to undergo doctoral studies in Performance and stage her multimedia choreopoem, What Aunt Sarah Says to Siffronia When Sweet Thing is Moon-Watching and Peaches is Dancing to the Wind. Ebony can be contacted via email at or


The Creative Writing Program is proud to announce that Dr. Anjail Rashida Ahmad, poet and

director of Creative Writing @ A&T is one of two North Carolina artists to win summer

residencies in the Headlands Center for the Arts 2007 Headlands Residency Program in

Sausalito, California. Headlands is a highly competitive arts program open to artist of various

disciplines from around the globe. This two month, expense paid residency, sponsored by the

North Carolina Arts Council, will allow Dr. Ahmad to develop new work for later publication and

exhibition."Headland's reputation for creative exploration is world renowned, influencing

communities from Bangkok to Berlin, Stockholm and New York. The cross-pollination of ideas

that is at the core of what we do attracts emerging talents and highly influential artists alike."

Calendar of Events

  • June 1- Official Launch of Betty's Daughter Arts Collaborative
  • May 10, 7 pm, Gumbo YaYa @ Roses and Bread Women's Poetry Reading, Performance/Body Insallation, Brecht Forum NYC
  • May 10, all day, Experimental Theatre Final Performances NYU
  • May 7-8, all day, Gumbo YaYa, MA Symposium NYU
  • April 23, 6 pm Gumbo YaYa, -ism Gala NYU
  • March 26, 7 pm, Gumbo Yaya/ or this is why we speak in tongues, Tisch School of the Arts, Forum Series
  • Feb. 7, Brecht Forum, 730, moderating NO! film screening
  • Jan. 4, Common Ground Theatre, 8 pm, performance art night---Holding Space (a love poem for Meghan Williams)
  • Dec. 12, Ripple in Brooklyn, 8 pm, sharing poetic vibes for a jazz/blues show
  • Oct 27, Duke University, 9:45 am, Women Engage Hip-Hop Panel
  • Sept 14, PS @ Tisch, How Much Can the Body Hold
  • Sept 19, Righetous AIM, NC A & T
  • August 31-Sept 2, 75TH Highlander Anniversary
  • Anti-prison Industrial complex performance, Durham, NC
  • April 30 Shout Out, Carrboro, NC
  • April 24 Fingernails Across Chalkboard Reading, Washington, DC
  • April 14 Poetry Month Reading, Durham, NC
  • 3/31 Ringing Ear Reading, Chapel Hill, NC
  • Wednesday 3/21 - 7 pm Miller Morgan Auditorium, Performative Healing and the Work of Ntozake Shange, Lecture

Blog Archive