Sunday, March 30, 2008

your job would not exist w/o me (against analysis)

"talking back" and INKHEAD on the F train to Jay St. (a poem sorta)

"talking back" and INKHEAD on the F train to Jay St. (a poem sorta)


maybe all the poems i have ever written are dedicated to anna julia cooper


there are children in bed-stuy who need poetry

not the poems i write for them

but the poems they craft through

silences, out bursts or purple bubblegum

they speak place like this...

and they speak truth like this...

and they speak right like this...

their poems are slightly tilted and behind the beat

on purpose

they play a phonograph

only laminated floors and

windowless walls understand


what you mean?

their resistance is not slogans on placards

or ph.d’s or worksheets or

coloring inside the line


they are not fond of translation


and can smell bullshit creeping up from miles away

they got highly developed sensory capabilities


"the path to conocimiento" to transforming consciousness-is neither linear nor easy"


bell hooks writes about "talking back"

as INKHEAD tags himself over industrial bodies

and i manuver my way back to brooklyn for

poems and awakenings

my teachers rock the flyest sneakers/ with t-shirts to match

know who is really home

and who aint really ready yet


please note: quote from gloria anzaldua found in

anna julia cooper, visionary black feminist by vivian may

writing and listening ....always

control f.r.e.a.q. ( somewhat a poem but maybe not)

control f.r.e.a.q.

for alice coltrance/ e. badu/ and q-tip

after TRACE on a Saturday Nite

(because all poems are found poems)


this is your brain



"...transition with a real slow fade..."


this is a jazz poem

because linear though just

like linear movement is boring


this is a jazz poem because

assata speaks across the oceans to me

her glance and foot steps reminding

me to "embrace myself"

and "love my body"


this poem is a jazz poem because jazz

is a recipe for spring time sex

before the skin is scented

summer sweat or stretched by a lovers moan


jazz is a recipe

like this

2. limes

4 large chunnks of pineapple

4 small cubes of ginger


sipped against the sun


this poem is a jazz poem

because jazz is funk’s mama

and hip hop’s grandmama

and is the illegitimate daughter of the blues


this poem is a jazz poem

not a stump speech or a letter

or an essay or protest novel

or a semi-autobiographic creative non-fiction narrative

or an elegy or an abstract surrealist experimental formalist literary work




i told yall

this is a jazz poem because

three nites ago the chill broke

like my first boyfirends gold chain

this is a jazz poem cause jazz is rebirth

like an orange moon squatting low over central park wanting lullabye


"and if you think about turning back i got the shotgun for yo back"


this is a jazz poem

cause "lawd knows i’m tryin"

and slipping

and sinning

and singing

and running

and resting

and running

again the record skips and i dip to find the right key


this poem is a jazz poem

because the head nod is an ancestral gesture of communal

affliation and no you ain’t supposed to get the beat

Thursday, March 27, 2008

variations on the same riff

you knew
when you placed that light inside me
when you licked this gold mine like you knew x marked the spot
when you stole my eyes
when you said rest here and waited three seasons
for peace to dwell in my pulse
when you measured my laughs in teaspoons of rain and breath
when you wrapped my hair in your skin
and carved an ankh on my lips
and softened the span of my hips
and charmed my neck roll
and said rest here and waited for the tides to subside in my step

you knew you knew
your face would be infinitely written on any future-brotha
your thumb print could never be washed from the inside of my left thigh
your scent would mingle in my every folicle
you knew
i would pass someone in a city you never visit and look twice and think its you
although you never visit

you knew
i would say hello hello twice like that
and wait for the sax in your voice to be revealed

hello hello

you knew how much i believe in god

and that even if i carved myself into some distant unthinkable corner of this earth
even if i went underground cause of some extraordinary revolutionary shit i got hooked up with

even if i forgot my own name cause my memory decided to swim away from me

i would never forget you

Monday, March 17, 2008

Nu Work on EryKah Badu

Greetings family,

This week I have a large task. I will be writing about body, sex, humor and the poetics of awareness/space in the work of Erykah Badu.

My project is in no way comprehensive but seeks to articulate how she uses irony, hyperbole and humor in three musical performances/site over the span of her 11 year career.

The work looks at

Anne-not yet recorded on vinyl or pressed on CD but performed for the past few years

Booty-recorded on Mama’s Gun


Afro/ a freestyle skit

Here are some questions I am dealing with as I move forward

1. how do elements of humor such as hyperbole and irony articulate a poetics of awareness/space in e.badu’s music and performance?

2. how does badu perform such an articulation? gestures, choreography,"funk", voice, "southernity/southerness", "style", political invocation?

3. tracing the trajectory of her career, what are the marked shifts in her usage of humor especially as expressed in Anne, Booty, and Afro/ a freestyle skit? What do these sifts illustrate?

4. what is the role of e. badu’s sex/sexuality in her performance of humor? what is the role of humor in her performance of sex/sexuality?

5. what if anything is erykah badu saying about race/ womaness/ freedom/ space/ community/ blackness through her performance

6. how does e. badu incorporate blues/ funk/ and hip hop to articulate a poetics of space?

7. what is a poetics of space and how does a poetics of space help us think about humor in e. badu’s work? what kind of space am i talking about

creative space/ space as sexual autonomy "had two babies different dudes"/ space as artistic process (reference Garage Band, online street teams, buy your album straight from me campaign/ space as expanding or maturing intellect/ wisdom "this year i turn 36"/ space as expanding body-"my ass and legs have gotten thick"

so yes...i will be bombarding you with snippets of my project and random stuff about e. badu

i usually write poems to help facilitate my scholarly process, and all processes, so do please check those out as well.

here are some to get you started

Badu Haiku

in the rasp of your voice
in the twang of your scat
we find liberation

"cuz im cleva" i know neo soul aint so new
like shell toes like high tops like b-girls from the "dirty d"
you bend beats and stretch rhythms through millenia

if a priestess is she who carves rituals in our spirits
who clears our path with snippets of sage
who conjures a hymn to save us all
then a priestess you be

See EryKah perfrom @

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Thursday, March 13, 2008

sistas circle goes live!!! and you can be a part of it as well.

The Questionnaire

You thought you were too far away to participate in a performance process going on in NYC, well you were wrong.Calling all sistas who got something to say about blackness, womanness and artistic process. For more information visit

Please answer the questions below in any form you choose: a poem, letter, story, list, sketch, dance, meal, outfit or what ever!

Then send it to me at along with a bio and picture or yourself and what you created.

Please note if you want your ideas to be kept private, just let me know and I will honor your wishes

So here is the assignment:

As the Gumbo Yaya Sistre transition into thinking about our personal narratives of healing and spirituality, I would like to extend this process around awareness, identification, and literary production to all the sistas who come in contact with this email.

-please complete the questionnaire below


choose one of the following prompts and engage with it in your own way-

-a letter written to yourself as an infant

-a letter written to yourself as an elder

-an interview between you and a sista younger or older than you.


Please answer the following prompts-

-what does it mean to be a black woman to you? do you identify yourself as a black woman?

-what is black women’s art? is this important to identify? should art be universal?

-what does it mean to be an artist to you? do you identify yourself as an artist?

-what does womanism mean to you? do you identify yourself as womanist?

-if you could ask your mother one question about her journey as a black woman or artist, womanist, or spiritualist, what would you ask her?

-if you could ask your daughter or future daughter about her journey as a black woman or artist, womanst, or spiritualist, what would you ask her?

-is there anything that gets in the way of your process as a black woman artist womanist spiritualist?

-is there anything that supports your process as a black woman artist womanist spiritualist?

-what does an artistic process look like to/for you? do you have an artistic process?

-what comprises a womanist artistic process? is there such a process? should we (we being black women cultural producers) be concerned with this process?

Life and Peace,
Ebony Golden

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