Reclaiming Yes!!!

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Radical feminist, artist, and media activist Alexis Pauline Gumbs calls herself, “the cybernetic dream of a one room black reconstruction schoolteacher.” She spreads knowledge, healing, and empowerment through web-based projects like MobileHomeComing, a traveling “intergenerational community documentation and education project” that challenges our culture’s heteronormativity, and BrokenBeautifulPress, which “lifts up black feminist practices throughout history and transformative community models in the present.” Gumbs was named an Utne Reader Visionary in 2009. Keep up with her at Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind.

Last night was the first session of the Beyond the Feel-Good Webinar on Sustainable Erotics of Community Accountable Scholarship.  And oh my goodness did we go beyond!  The Brilliance Remastered process never ceases to amaze and reawaken me!

As Audre Lorde says in her essay Uses of the Erotic: Power of the Erotic, “We have been raised to fear the yes within ourselves…”  Not
at all coincidentally when we are out of touch with that YES within
ourselves we are also more easily manipulated, bamboozled and led astray
by the external maybes of capitalism, especially within the academic
marketplace.   Our first step as a community in touch with our
collective erotic power, our passionate purposefulness and our deep love
for our communities is to reclaim YES and affirm YES in each other. 
Here is our group poem. Feel free to read along (best articulated
through grunts and screams).

Reclaiming Yes

YES!!! to acting on the impulse inside

YES!!! to defining the erotic as strength

YES!!!to claiming what we know deepest inside us as KNOWLEDGE

YES!!! brilliance remastered means brilliance unchained visible everywhere NOW!

YES!!! to our deepest desires

YES!!! to our power

YES!!! to being love

YES!!! to being me and not caring

YES!!! to being embodied in our classrooms and not being ashamed of that eros

YES!!! i tell my story. a black girl story without apology

YES!!! YESSSS to not apologizing!

YES!!! to facing fears

YES!!! to living in the moment and embracing all it brings

YES!!! to feeling even if it hurts

YESSS!!! to feeling

YES!!! i will create

YES!!! i will write. i am an author.

YES!!! my body knows and share its magic in my dance

YES!!! music and poetry, I will write and sing, play and work and dream a new world with you

YES!!! i will find the language to write within my community and not simply at my community

YES!!! to flying free and teaching others to soar

YES!!! to knowing that i don’t know if y’all don’t know

YES!!! to creating together!

YES!!! to blurring and even better erasing boundaries

YES!!! to you in me and me in you and US!

YES!!! to learning and teaching!

YES!!!! i don’t know if y’all don’t know!!!

YES!!! to the communities to which we are called!

YES!!! to creating community wherever we are

YES!!! to love that circulates!

YES!!! to risking to love without guarantee or compromise

YES!!! i will love me even when I am pushed not to

YES!!! i love her even when its dangerous

YES!!! i will love the work even when it is difficult!

YES!!! i will embody my faith, even in the face of institutional judgment

YES!!! to knowing we were never meant to survive BUT thrive we must!

YES!!! love is life force and I am meant to LIVE!

YES!!! to growing

YES!!! to conflict

and YES!!! to being angry

YES!!! to kicking ass 

YES!!! to entering the room as a full being and when the door is too small for that, to break it down

YES!!! to bleeding….a cleanse

and bless the blood that has already been shed! YES!!!

YES!!! to new soil not stained in blood

YES!!! to imagining

YES!!! to exploding the closed circulation of capitalism with love that circulates

YES!!! to open not closed economies, yes to there being ENOUGH for everyone

YES!!! To knowing that there is NO ZERO SUM GAME, you are not required to die so I might live

YES!!! to loving and being loved 


YES!! to FAITH in YES!


Images: Audre Lorde, Meridel Lesueur, and Adrienne Rich, 1980, by K. Kendall, licensed under Creative Commons. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, photo by Sed Miles.

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