Your Body Is War

Januz Miralles - Bleaq
Art by Januz Miralles – Bleaq

because you have spent
enough time carving a wound
as big as a star, and when it’s ready
you flesh it out – its colors blindfolded,
and you hold it in your hands
and you sing a forgotten song for it
until it is ripe & raw & ready to explode

The first of a series of poems, titled Your Body Is War, was published by Hermeneutics Chaos Journal. You can read the full version here.

And while you’re there, see also: The Old Tree, which also ties in with the body:

Sometimes you think of this
as fabric, because you see the skin
fold and unfold, dry and burn,
the softness emaciated as if it was nothing.

The Poetics of the Human Body

Gray1120I had the wonderful pleasure of talking to Africa in Dialogue‘s Gaamangwe Mogami, about The Poetry of the Human Body. In it, I inquire about the psychology of the human body, the origin stories we were never taught, the body’s resilience in the face of trauma, the perseverance of the immigrant, and much more. Here are the things that unquiet my thoughts and populate my poetry. Read the rest of the interview here.

Where I Leave You

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Remembering this: the sadness of a straight line, or lines that mean things against my body. What I draw in my abdomen, what I learn to be the thing that separates us. The love in a circumference, holding your face in my palms when I know it is the last time I will see you, and your face suddenly becoming a map of my worlds.

Read the rest of the poem, part of POEMS AGAINST BORDERS, via The Missing Slate.

In the Lion’s Den

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I recently had the pleasure of talking to the very talented Lisa Grove for Poetry LA. Among the different poems we talk about, we find ourselves a bit lost in the midst of In the Lion’s Den, a persona poem narrated in first person voice. This poem was inspired by the biblical story of Daniel who, one evening, after having defied his king, finds himself thrown in the black mouth of the cave that housed three lions. The story continues to say that Daniel was found well and alive in the morning, with no explanation about how he survived (we are to understand that it is a miracle, and it is, but still, a night with three lions must bring out very animalistic fears in man). Hence the poem was born.

Many thanks to the host, Lisa Grove, and to the entire team at Poetry LA.

 

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The Book of Exodus

THE IDEA BEHIND THE PROJECT

The Book of Exodus is a project that attempts to document and capture the migratory stories of the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea, by tracing their movements as a sense of cultural, spiritual, and intellectual shifting.

A lot of things happen to human beings when they are uprooted & moved to a different place; the journey could be atrocious, places inhospitable, cultures & languages foreign altogether. This project attempts to capture these stories and format them in a fluid and versatile way, so they can be remembered forever.

Stories will be shaped into essays, short non-fiction pieces, poetry, videos, visual arts and other multi-media.

This project, ultimately, is also a way to pay homage to the strength & perseverance of the nomadic people of Ethiopia & Eritrea.

I want to hear the stories of your parents and grandparents.

Movement is part of who we are as nomadic people. You move to find a new life, to escape an old one, you move for opportunity, for your dreams, for your family, for yourself.

Did you have to move in the shadows? Were you told to hide? What did you have when you first came? How many questions did you ask yourself, how many did you ask your God? Did your mentality shift? Your culture, your grief, your joy, your faith? Was there a shift in you that remained undocumented?

These are the questions we want to ask. Yours are the stories we want to record. Please help us. We need your voices to be loud and clear. We need to immortalize the strength and perseverance of the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Send us your story.

You can choose to share your story however you want it; it can be a paragraph, three pages, one line of email, anything. If you’d like us to follow up, please say so in the email. If not, make sure to include your name, months/years of movement (if available), and the names of the people you’re writing about. If you choose to send your stories anonymously, you may do so.

You can also  call our line to record your stories, whether they are told from friends or family members, or from yourself.

Call us at (323) 510-8275.

The audio recordings do not have to be in English, but all stories emailed must be in English. If you want to submit a story and can’t do it in English, please let us know  and we can help!


CURRENT STAGE

The project is currently in the planning phase, which means we are still collecting names and stories. Please don’t forget to send us yours!