I’ve realized that the more anxious and helpless I feel about the horrific state of the world, the more hyperbolic my writing becomes. I feel compelled to stretch my imagination as far as it will go and even further still, but I usually end up with the same “colossal Black woman towers over the world” images, which I fear are still unsatisfactory, in light of the tired and tiring tropes around Black women’s supposed superhuman strength, or Black women’s diminished humanity in relation to just about anyone else. Maybe I have a childish desire to find or to be my own superhero, or to escape. It’s also likely that this influence comes from my obsession with an Ewe worldview which includes a giant snake holding up the entire universe with its coils as a perfectly reasonable thing to exist. It’s never just “either/or,” and there are several other things– including the aforementioned horrific state of the world– that contribute to my inclination to write this way, or to write at all.
We are all here with each other, with an immense amount of work to do.
“She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see.”
-from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
doesn’t she wear
the world well?”
-from “Ugly” by Warsan Shire
It went down much easier than I expected, except around my ribs where it stuck for a while.
I coughed up volcanic ash and black smoke for days. The fire swelled and spread fast across the floor of my stomach before settling in my thighs. I became the fire–
you who deserve are not prepared for my wrath–
I tucked some of the spilled over rays inside my cloth so that they could not fall where they shouldn’t, onto
born with some blame and some liquid gold coating the wisps in the middle of your heads.
The rest I poured over you and you all, honeyed light spilling between the spaces in my fingers and onto your heads, over your shoulders, pooling around your feet.
I was not satisfied, so I ate greed for dessert with a dusting of sugary after-rain clouds on top.
Then, I turned the sky untouched side up, and used it to wipe the corners of my mouth clean.
I trampled murder beneath my feet, and laid my head to rest on a bed of all our several tomorrows.
It went down much easier than I expected, and I have the sweet yellow stains of our future feasts to show for it.