The following excerpt is from the new work “I AM AN EMOTIONAL CREATURE: The Secret Life of Girls around the World”, which debuted in book form (Villard/Random House) on February 9.
I AM AN EMOTIONAL CREATURE
I love being a girl. I can feel what you’re feeling as you’re feeling it inside the feeling before. I am an emotional creature. Things do not come to me as intellectual theories or hard-shaped ideas. They pulse through my organs and legs and burn up my ears. I know when your girlfriend’s really pissed off even though she appears to give you what you want. I know when a storm is coming. I can feel the invisible stirrings in the air. I can tell you he won’t call back. It’s a vibe I share.
I am an emotional creature. I love that I do not take things lightly. Everything is intense to me. The way I walk in the street. The way my mother wakes me up. The way I hear bad news. The way it’s unbearable when I lose.
I am an emotional creature. I am connected to everything and everyone. I was born like that. Don’t you dare say all negative that it’s a teenage thing or it’s only only because I’m a girl. These feelings make me better. They make me ready. They make me present. They make me strong.
I am an emotional creature. There is a particular way of knowing. It’s like the older women somehow forgot. I rejoice that it’s still in my body.
I know when the coconut’s about to fall. I know that we’ve pushed the earth too far. I know my father isn’t coming back. That no one’s prepared for the fire. I know that lipstick means more than show. I know that boys feel super-insecure and so-called terrorists are made, not born. I know that one kiss can take away all my decision-making ability and sometimes, you know, it should.
This is not extreme. It’s a girl thing. What we would all be if the big door inside us flew open. Don’t tell me not to cry. To calm it down Not to be so extreme To be reasonable. I am an emotional creature. It’s how the earth got made. How the wind continues to pollinate. You don’t tell the Atlantic ocean to behave.
I am an emotional creature. Why would you want to shut me down or turn me off? I am your remaining memory. I am connecting you to your source. Nothing’s been diluted. Nothing’s leaked out. I can take you back.
I love that I can feel the inside of the feelings in you, even if it stops my life even if it hurts too much or takes me off track even if it breaks my heart. It makes me responsible. I am an emotional I am an emotional, devotional, incandotional, creature. And I love, hear me, love love love being a girl.
Eve Ensler, a playwright and activist, is the founder of V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls. In conjunction with I AM AN EMOTIONAL CREATURE, V-Day has developed a targeted pilot program, V-Girls, to engage young women in our “empowerment philanthropy” model, providing them with a platform to amplify their voices.
Knowing the history of opposition to Marineland, as well as the history of opposition to animal captivity, is an important focus of this campaign.
28 years ago today the MOVE Collective house was bombed by the Philadelphia Police Dept murdering 11, including 5 children.
In the history of the MOVE Collective, predominately known as a radical black liberationist collective, was a long history of protest against vivisection, dog breeding and animal captivity - including campaigns against the Philadelphia Zoo in the early 1970’s.
Their critique of captivity was broad and the tactics they were using to protest against it were way before their time.
Today we remember the MOVE collective, recognize their place in the history of opposing animal captivity, and recognize ourselves that the struggle to free other animals from captivity are never isolated struggles - they are a part of a broader struggle to live freely and to respect all life.
Free the Move 9! Free Mumia!
“All living beings, things that move, are equally important, whether they are human beings, dogs, birds, fish, trees, ants, weeds, rivers, wind or rain. To stay healthy and strong, life must have clean air, clear water and pure food. If deprived of these things, life will cycle to the next level, or as the system says, ‘die’.” - John Africa (MOVE).
Would be wild if they taught us about the MOVE collective in school. The CIA/FBI gave the Pennsylvania Police force a BOMB so they could blow up the living quarters of this radical revolutionary collective*. A young Mumia Abu Jamal covered this story, and it was his close interest and publishing of this controversial story which put him on the map as a critical journalist… FREE MUMIA. RIP MOVE.
*There were young children in the home who were bombed by the United States Government.
Perhaps all the dragons of our lives we fear are princes and princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants us to help. Rainer Maria Rilke
I have been chased by the most gruelling writers block these days. I remember when I was in my Junior year of High School there was a poetry slam conducted by the poetry class at my school. I was looking forward to presenting. Although, that was a year which was emblemmed with the awful ghost of uninspiring writers block as well. A friend of mine, I’m sure in a state of what seemed, to her, like innocuous utterances, said that she hoped people wouldn’t recite poems that everyone had already heard. I stopped dead in my tracks. Quickly realizing that there was no way I could read a poem, much less a collection of poems, which had already had their due premier into the world. I decided to uncover random bouts of jargon, disinterested prose from my journal and attempt framing, as best I could, them into presentable “pieces”. Needless to say, I walked away from the podium, feeling even more defeated and downtrodden, because I felt as though what I presented was from conception tired and lifeless creations. It is no wonder I felt as tired and bemused as the peices I had just delivered. I became a living reflection of what I had just presented, and even though the peices were spoken out loud for a reason, one I do not regret implimenting, I still feel as though this is telling…
I do have pieces I am proud of. One’s which transform the longer I have to sit with them, ones which squeal the longer I lavish their existence with my adoring eyes. You know, my baby’s. I do have pieces I am proud of, but somehow, I feel rather fraudulent when I know they do not reflect my current state of being, especially in the literary world. How can I present a peice which is so well worded, so well articulated of my enigmatic reality, or any reality for that matter, when I currently, can barely describe the color of a bowl of soup I had earlier that day? We go through bouts, I have noticed. Bouts of inspiration and bouts of debilitation. But how do we know if this bout is valid? Or better yet, worth speaking? And what does it mean when it feels solid and tangible, nothing like the translucent and malleable pieces which bespeak so many of those “legendary” works of art. The ones which are multifaceted and hold a breadth of experiences in it’s wake?
It is easy to find qualities within art which distinguish the intriguing from the banal. I have been lightly using this perspective as a focalpoint this year. It has been the backbone of alot of my perceptions on different types of art, informing my own interests and has been the pinnacle for critical analaysis which allows me to go deeper.
So, is this it?Is something boring because it doesn’t make us speculate the range of emotions or possibilities other peices offer, is this where it becomes worthy of disregard? This is what I’m hoping to understand, I’ll be looking into certain peices which I believe hold this charismatic quality of interest I am speaking of, and I’ll try to understand why and what features go to form a work of art of such “achievement” (Keats).
I’ll also try to find meaning in works of art which strike me indifferently, and I’ll try to find meaning whithin it. I’ll be drawing on my own peices, as well as others.
YES! I’m very proud to present a video that has been in the making since I first read Maurice Sendak’s classic Where the Wild Things Are. Eric Miller once again works his magic behind the camera as you see OTOWGANG
getting ready for a costume party that promises to be epic.
This is also the first in a 3 video series, each one a snap shot of KA.lil as he navigates his way from blind searching for something to discovery of self. All this happens Between Saturday and Sunday Morning.
Also the Record release for Between Saturday Night and Sunday Morning goes down at Barboza on June 12th tickets are $8 you con buy them here
“i know that we often expect things to be a hazy lounge
and we hope to be figurines
placed neatly beside one another
like cookies on parchment paper”
i have found that most things in life occur in unpredictable canons. we are forced to wrestle with a perspective that has long convinced us that it is not in our own best interest. and sometimes, we get back home scratching our heads. an aching which will only linger on so long as one lets it. so how do you halt the allowance? how does one, instead, follow the snicker of the drums as they caress the soft movement of time. for the movement of time is anything but soft. we hollow ourselves out in order to make room for new experiences, for new rights of passage.
i hope that when you feel like you are about to hurt someone. that you let them hurt you first, and then you walk away, limping, back arched over as if desperately trying to remain parallel to the stretch of the sky. i hope that you do what’s hardest, and when it finds you, to embrace it’s ambivalence. you are an enigma, and though you may not know it, embrace the title, and hollow yourself out whenever you find your phantom wings growing still.
i hope that it all makes sense in the long run, because i’m praying for my own redemption too. but this expose, please believe me is intended to be anything but morbid.
papa* up top wants me to sleep well tonight, of this i am sure.
So I have been taking a poetry seminar course for the entire year. I am finishing up with my Spring Semester. To be honest, I was initially quite frustrated with my “progress” as I intended my work to flow in the most copious of amounts. Not quite so. Instead, it was frustration and agitation with my stagnant behavior when it came to putting pen to pad at the end of the day. Of course, I love journals. I have been writing in them since the 4th grade and still rejoice whenever I look over reflections of a life well blessed and easy lived. However, I feel as though producing junk can truly feel like junk when it’s just one cathartic entry after another. Where is the artistic zeal? The creative grit? Who knows. Probably somewhere in another galaxy which is allergic to me… See, the kind of metaphors I have been coming up with lately? (LOL). Well, anyway, I have been coming to my own DELIGHTFUL conclusions about the nature of progress, and how I have been (and understandably so) conditioned to think of prolificacy in the very narrow and stiflingly defined restraints of this wonderful capitalistic society I have inherited (thanks, Ma, Pa).
The fact that the tiny fibers of paper is tinged from the ink of a pen at all, when microscopically examined, is one of the most beautiful products known to man (well, a smart man at least). Not because of the lofty prose or the passion it thrusts into the universe, but because of the simple fact that a human being felt compelled to do so. Stained paper is gorgeous, and I forgot how much I appreciate this. I forgot how much simple calligraphy inspired me, had me elated with a watchful eye. There is something to be proud of within that. I am so proud of every last one of my “progressive” endeavors because sometimes simply SURVIVING is a progressive endeavor, emphasized by the angry outburst and outpouring of emotion onto your very confused and delighted journal page. Our journeys are unquantifiable, why should our art be? Embrace the ambiguity, for we must close the doors of perspective, only take in that which yields your intoxication with any one-sided claim (apologies to Rilke and the Doors). I am in constant process, always redefining and reexamining my preferences and regurgitations… But, I am here, and so are you. So let’s be here together, huh?
OH, OH, OH, the POINT of this post, almost forgot. So my Professor serendipitously proposed a poetry prompt entitled The Golden Shovel, if it sounds anything like Jesus’ tool which he so graciously handed to Lauryn Hill… It’s because it is. I have never felt more compelled and inspired to write and work and plead and serenade the confines this style requires me to work within.
Basically, you take any poem. Preferably a 20-30 word poem, unless you have patience and love a challenge… Weirdo. Why? Because you must use EVERY WORD of the poem and use it as your last line of an entirely NEW poem you will create, with regards to the small poem you have chosen. So the words must be appropriated by each new line sequentially. You must not skip words to convenience the conciseness of each new line. Yes, that means, when you have finished your poem (using every word of your inspirational piece) you will be able to read the ending word on every line and read the original poem… Cool? Confusing?
Well, I wrote a Golden Shovel I am quite proud of so you can see. By the way, if you haven’t already inferred, this Golden Shovel prompt was conceived in heaven, duh.
I have bolded the first three words from the original poem (which I have taken from the late Emily Dickinson), as well as the corresponding words which have been adopted into my first three lines… It’s just fantastic is what it is. The prompt I mean, pretension is not in my vocabularyryryryryry.
We never know how high we are (1176) by Emily Dickinson
We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise;
And then, if we are true to plan,
Our statures touch the skies—
The Heroism we recite
Would be a daily thing,
Did not ourselves the Cubits warp
For fear to be a King—
For haunted was Calgary. We
Were called to be greater than now, but never
Did we grow closer to the surroundings. However “know
Nothing” is what we were called to do, how
Does the sharp torture of crusading tyrants manage to reach a high
Higher than our predicament, did you peer to meet the we
And seek the me between the battered cries? Are
you capable of releasing a slow burn till
Once again the sweet echo of doomsday approaches for we
Have seen the brutal limping alien among us are
You approachable within the delicate bulging tumor? Called
To make a statement about what appears to be moderate behavior, to
Stamp a note upon your own tremblings. Does the purple pulsing monster rise
From deep within the buried trenches, unphased and dazzling? Or does she exhale and
Wale to whatever insomniac angels were still watching over her? Then
What do we make of it if
This dungeon lies we
Must attain victorious stories, if only for our unborn children. Are
Their unspoken wishes enough to make you do what you must do? True,
For whose to say we won’t wake up, tongue slack, peeling our crescented mouths open? To
Say “he who knows all knows best” is the most deliberate act of faith. Does one plan
To crumble underneath the unforeseen tumult? When do the warriors respond to our
Hearts most genuine squealing? Warrior, though you may not know it—- the stature
Is crafting itself out of fine wax; for the hierarchy. Clay; for the non-profit careerists who touch
Tongues with their hands, shaping our words to go with confidence so we may sleep well. The
Warriors are made of a cancerous kind. They were once poison, once pure. And the skies
Still smile when they arrive the
Fantastic aura they create; Heroism
Is more than a wondrous fairy-tail we
Hope to someday embody, we hope to recite
From self-storms farther gone than Keats had imagined would
That not be a day to remember? Be
It as it may a
New leaf, a new page turns over daily
Granting us redemption like the careful smile of a toddler a thing
We take for granted. Did
We decide to be so mature, were we not
Already? I beg ourselves
Of the same unkempt solitude only the
Child knows who know not of restraining Cubits.
Rather of infinite stars which warp
into nothingness for
of blinding our eyes. How fragrant is it to
Be lonely. The strange smell of your vanishing skin to be.
Beside her bed-still said, Queen. My mind hummed, a
Thoughtful torrent arrived; it was recognition of her inner King—-
somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff not my poems or a dance i gave up in the street but somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff
like a kleptomaniac workin hard & forgettin while stealin this is mine/this aint yr stuff/ now why don’t you put me back & let me hang out in my own self
somebody almost walked off wit alla my stuff & didn’t care enuf to send a note home sayin i was late for my solo conversation or two sizes to small for my own tacky skirts
what can anybody do wit somethin of no value on a open market/ did you getta dime for my things/ hey man/ where are you goin wid alla my stuff/ to ohh & ahh abt/ daddy/ i gotta mainline number from my own shit/ now wontcha put me back/ & let me play this duet/ wit silver ring in my nose/ honest to god/
somebody almost run off wit alla my stuff/ & i didnt bring anythin but the kick & sway of it the perfect ass for my man & none of it is theirs this is mine/ ntozake ‘her own things’/ that’s my name now give me my stuff/ i see ya hidin my laugh/ & how i s it wif my legs open sometimes/ to give me some sunlight/ & there goes my love my toes my chewed up finger nails/ niggah/ wif the curls in yr hair/ mr. louisiana hot link/
i want my stuff back/ my rhytums & my voice/ open my mouth/ & let me talk ya outta/ throwin my shit in the sewar/ this is some delicate leg & whimsical kiss/ i gotta have to give to my choice/ without you runnin off wit alla my shit/ now you cant have me less i give me away/ & i waz doin all that/ til ya run off on a good thing/
who is this you left me wit/ some simple bitch widda bad attitude/ i wants my things/ i want my arm wit the hot iron scar/ & my leg wit the flea bite/ i want my calloused feet & quik language back in my mouth/ fried plantains/ pineapple pear juice/ sun-ra & joseph & jules/ i want my own things/ how i lived them/ & give me my memories/ how i waz when i waz there/ you cant have them or do nothin wit them/
stealin my shit from me/ dont make it yrs/ makes it stolen/ somebody almost run off wit alla my stuff/ & i waz standin there/ lookin at myself/ the whole time & it waznt a spirit took my stuff/ waz a man whose ego walked round like Rodan’s shadow/ waz a man faster n my innocence/
waz a lover/ i made too much room for/ almost run off wit alla my stuff/ & i didnt know i’d give it up so quik/ & the one runnin wit it/ don’t know he got it/ & i’m shoutin this is mine/ & he dont know he got it/ my stuff is the anonymous ripped off treasure of the year/
did you know somebody almost got away wit me/ me in a plastic bag under their arm/ me danglin on a string of personal carelessness/ i’m spattered wit mud & city rain/ & no i didnt get a chance to take a douche/ hey man/ this is not your perogative/ i gotta have me in my pocket/ to get round like a good woman shd/ & make the poem in the pot or the chicken in the dance/
what i got to do/ i gotta get my stuff to do it to/ why dont ya find yr own things/ & leave this package of me for my destiny/ what ya got to get from me/ i’ll give it to ya/ yeh/ i’ll give it to ya/ round 5:00 in the winter/ when the sky is blue-red/ & Dew City is gettin pressed/ if it’s really my stuff/ ya gotta give it to me/ if ya really want it/ i’m the only one/ can handle it
-ntozake shange. “For coloured girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf”