Trees of Reverie Readathon: Bookish Challenge #3

Existentialism

The wretched of the Earth are killing — rage — ending — racism
like Greek Tragedies
from a mouthful of forevers, Lucy asks ‘Ain’t I a woman?’

Black women and their
feminism: the bones, the breaking, the balm
scars / stars

she’s crossing the mangrove, seeking the will to change
says ‘men (masculinity) and love are fantasy;
the dragon can’t dance’

says ‘I’m all about love — new visions — the other side,
but where we stand, class matters’

 

photo of a large number of books spread out on a black velveteen cloak
16 books used in the creation of this time’s spine poem — click the photo to check out poems by other participants in the October 2015 Trees of Reverie Readathon.

The books:

  • Existentialism by Robert Solomon
  • The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
  • Killing Rage: Ending Racism by bell hooks
  • Greek Tragedies by David Grene and Richmond Lattimore (eds.)
  • Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine von Radics
  • Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid
  • Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks
  • The Bones, the Breaking, the Balm by Dominique Christina
  • Scars/Stars by Walidah Imarisha
  • Crossing the Mangrove by Maryse Condé
  • The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love by bell hooks
  • Fantasy by Jacqueline Furby and Claire Hines
  • The Dragon Can’t Dance by Earl Lovelace
  • All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks
  • The Other Side by Julia Alvarez
  • Where We Stand: Class Matters by bell hooks

There’s an alternate view of the books on my Instagram, and you can listen to me reading the poem on Soundcloud.

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Tarot Cards, Feelings, Prayers, and a Poem

My birthday was on Tuesday of this week, and I spent a lot of time thinking about astrology and symbolism last week. With the sun conjoining Mars in my sign last Sunday, and a new moon on my birthday, this is an auspicious time for setting intentions. I thought about my life and my hopes and dreams and created a list of focus areas on Sunday, and then picked 5 to carry forward into the year to come.

I’ve also been using tarot cards as a tool for focus and intentionality for a couple of months now. On Sunday night, before bed, I meditate for a few minutes to calm myself and then draw 3 tarot cards. I write the cards down in a journal I keep for that purpose, and journal a little about what they mean to me. The next day, I read my horoscope on Chani Nicholas’s site, see where it connects to the cards I drew, and make a note in my planner of where to focus my energy and emotion for the week.

Many people see this kind of thing as incompatible with logic or religion: on one hand, there is little scientific support for horoscopes or tarot (though meditation is beneficial), and on the other, many mainstream religions call this witchcraft or idolatry. I am Jewish and agnostic, but for me the practice is not a wrong one. It is a tool for being intentional — and it also brings me comfort. I’ve been both scared and awed by the idea that there isn’t a guiding power in the universe, but lately that’s been much more scary. How do we reconcile the hardship of life if it means that incidents like Wednesday’s terrorist shooting in South Carolina are truly nothing more than random? Continue reading “Tarot Cards, Feelings, Prayers, and a Poem”

Poem: Happy Birthday

Here’s a bit of silliness I wrote up as part of my National Poetry Writing Month effort:

Happy Birthday

hi
I, uh
I just really wanted
to say hi to you today
and tell you that I
I really like your shirt
I mean, as you know
the Ninja Turtles are my favourite

and I know they’re your favourite
because you told me so
when we first met
and I really wanted to let you know
that I see you wearing that shirt
and even if no one else knows it
I know you really like the Ninja Turtles

and I know it’s your birthday tomorrow
so I brought you a card—
they didn’t have Ninja Turtles cards
at any of the stores I went to
so I drew one myself
I hope it’s okay—
also, I got you a cupcake
it’s got a picture on top
it’s supposed to be Michelangelo
I hope that’s okay
my mom would only let me get one

but what I really wanted to say is
I like you
no, I mean I like you
like, I like-like you
and I was hoping you might
like-like me back
but
I mean
if you don’t
it’s okay
I just wanted to check

 

uh
happy birthday?

 

© Tessara Dudley, 2015

Writing from the Core Day 9

Saturday was hard, y’all. There was a stabbing on the train near my house, a murder-suicide in a nearby town, and an extra-judicial murder of a teenage boy by police officers in Missouri. I took Sunday off to decompress from my anxiety and sorrow, but I did get some writing done last night.

Yesterday’s prompts was: What are you hiding from? What are you protecting?

I wrote about my fear of being trapped. Here’s an excerpt:

I feel most uncomfortable with touch when I have the perception that I am trapped, or I might be unable to stop someone from hurting me. I mostly need to be in complete control of how others engage with my body, and will disengage if I start feeling the itchy, prickling sensation on the back of my neck that arises when I am unsure I can get away.

Avoiding touch is a way for me to make sure I am always able to move away from someone who might hurt me as soon as possible. I have been in situations where I felt like I couldn’t move away from someone without provoking violence, and ones where I was packed in among others during rush hour on the train, and ones where someone was over or on top of me. I have been trapped, and I fear being trapped again; controlling how and when I am touched is one way to minimise the chances of it happening again.

I might go back and add more, but I am going to continue on and work on the writing for today. (It’s supposed to get really hot today, so I’m going to spend as much time inside as possible, which means more time for writing.)

Today’s prompt is: If you could change one thing, what would it be? If you could change everything, would you?

How’s that for loaded? My first instinct is to say yes, but I think the real answer depends on what comes out in the writing…

 

Think of your biggest regret. If you could go back and change it, would you? If you did, would you be who you are today? Are you okay with the possibility you’d be a totally different person?

Previous posts here.