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2020 Womanifesto

in the doorway of Mommy's bedroom

with my legs open 

lookin between myself.

What lies within me frees me. 


Daddy taught me to seek


Unlike him tho I know

there are things I cannot know, 

and cannot say, 

and cannot understand. 

I can give em life tho. 

It’s my practice to give them life. 

It’s useless tryin to defend them. 

Imma live them.

Imma make my many deaths nourish the soil in which I root. 

These shared limbs hold me deep

beyond death and joy and pain and water and whim. 

Beneath the grit we wipe away again and again.

My soul nourishes the s(k)in I’m in. 

I hold myself  2

in the light of my love. 

I am my Messiah.

I am my own promised land. I can do all things by the light of the Source within. 

I am the ballad in the chest of an open sky. 1

I am the vindication of immeasurable dreams deferred.  

I am already full. I carry the weight of bein well, well. 2

I am Nana Buluku, self-fertilizing on holy ground. (It’s all holy ground.) 

I am a soul wrapped around a dream bearing a gift unto myself. 

I am the secret to joy. 

I am wholly holy. 

I am the cool. 

I paint, pierce, scar, mark, move, and adorn my body, remembering its oath to its soul. 

I’m claimin myself for myself. 

I do not fear myself.

I am open, I am strong, I am willing to see 

what lies within me frees me.

I am the living embodiment of Life itself. 

I am safe

guiding hands help me everyday.

I’m shapeshiftin,

I’m fire to the deaths I live.

I am the vindication of immeasurable dreams deferred.   

I am the bloom.        Maya’s bloom.         Audre’s Bloom.         Octavia’s Bloom.        Jill’s Bloom.        Erykah’s Bloom.        India’s bloom.        Ruby’s Bloom          Big Mama’s bloom.     GG’s bloom.      Titi’s bloom.   and Mommy’s bloom. 

May our many deaths nourish the soil in which we root. 

Our blood is the lesson,

“I welcome the wise to teach. 

Appreciator of my culture, 

thick not just from bone dense and eat. 

I have a rhythm in my ways 

and a practice in my seek.” 3


Yes, I am safe. 

I am not bound by the borders of this place. 

What I am when I’m not blackened?

What I am when I’m not wounded? 

What I am when I’m not bodied?

Here, in the powerful loving darkness

beckoning to myself. 

1. Aja Monet, Sawt al-Hurriya

2. Toni Cade Bambara, The Salt Eaters

3. Jill Scott, Womanifesto

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