Early in the year news was coming about a virus. What a time we are living through!
First, as news of the Coronavirus spread the phrase Prepare for Social Distancing was released by our health department, then the order to shelter in place due to a world wide Coronavirus. People in Italy were singing across alleys and balconies.
Then, yet another murder of a black man, George Floyd, on video.
The energy of the sixties returned with massive protests spreading world wide. People coming together despite Covid-19, wearing masks to demand social justice and new systems to replace corrupt ones that are entrenched with systemic racism.
Heartening and hopeful amid escalating frustration because of right wing infiltrators, white brotherhood groups and opportunistic looters, police reacting with military tactics, and reckless leaders encouraging violence.
But tune in to the ongoing daily masses who stand in the streets of every city world wide. WOW. How real. Finally we are speaking out en masse.
I stand in support of this movement as a long term feminist and political activist. My early life was built around protest, consciousness raising groups, and learning how sexism and racism work in our world.
It is time. George Floyd’s death is one in a long history of black male deaths. In my teenage years I started dating black men and realized they were endangered, and black women.
A black family saved me when I was seventeen. They gave me a home. Respite from my own anguished family. Their son was my first long term relationship. I was welcomed into their family with love. My first full size book of poetry, No Father Can Save Her, reflects this time in my life.
In the sixties I found the black rights movement, the feminist and lesbian movements. And I began to understand the concept of community. Eyes opened and enlightened I wanted the world to change.
Many of you know, I studied with Audre Lorde. I was inspired by strong women, lesbians, and black poets. They are my bedrock. My ground. To be in their presence and work through my fear, to find myself.
I encourage you to read Audre’s work (her essays and her biomythography), Pat Parker, Sonia Sanchez, June Jordan, belle hooks, Maya Angelou, Toni Cade Bambara, Alice Walker, Lucille Clifton, Judy Grahn, Toni Morrison…. The list goes on to current day writers like Claudia Rankin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jericho Brown, Danez Smith, Ross Gay, Ijeoma Oluo….
I ask every citizen to do your civic duty at whatever level possible: through your art, your activism, your wallet, your writing, your vote, and whatever your work is in the world. We must stand up change ourself and not accept the status quo.
Personally, I’m working on a memoir and making a shift to a new cache of writing, still very much in the poetry world, I am entering the realm of creative nonfiction, essays, and how to insert my very personal story of being a long term survivor.
So this epidemic is not a new scary thing, it is my everyday world. Protecting myself from infection and inflammation has been ongoing over thirty years. The long term survivors of the AIDS war have resilience to share.
I stand grateful that I am still here and part of this historic moment.
April & May were busy and productive in a major way, take a look:
For this year’s National Poetry Month, in April, my work was selected to be part of the Visible Poetry Project. Graphic artist Laura A. Ramírez (in Lisbon) selected my poem, “Weighted to What is Real” to create an animated film with sound design by Edgar Cortes Angarita, with voice by Molly Heller. It was published on Vimeo on April 27th.
“Through the Lens: At a Favorite Teahouse“ published in The Seattle Star on April 3.
“Four Gargoyles Reduced to Dust” published in The Seattle Star on April 21.
“Wise Woman Herbal Tradition Self-Care Quest,” a Crown Sonnet, published on MookyChick on April 27.
“Melon Rot” published in The Seattle Star on May 12.
“That Soft Middle Space“ published in The Decameron: stories from the pandemic on May 15.
“Before Sheltered In Place“ published in the Seattle Review of Books on May 24.
“The Night of the Stroke” published in Verse-Versal on June 1.
Scry of Lust 2, edited by Sumiko Saulson, created to support AIDSWalk San Francisco 2020! It is available as an ebook at Smashwords, and will come out in hard cover sold on Amazon. Please purchase to support this great cause! All sales will be donated up to July 19, 2020, sales after that date will roll over to AIDSWalk 2021. I read in their online reading on May 30th.
I’m pleased to have five poems published in Scry of Lust 2:
“Sex with HIV,” published in my book truth be bold—Serenading Love & Death in the Age of AIDS
“Abandonment to Pleasure,” published in my book No Father Can Save Her
“80s Disco Night,” previously published on Riverbabble
“Hard Fall” &