Monthly Archives: December 2014

A Spell to Save Your Life: Honoring the 19th Anniversary of Toni Cade Bambara’s Ascension



Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind

(originally published in The Feminist Wire’s Forum on Toni Cade Bambara)

after Toni Cade Bambara

"Exhale" collage ©Alexis Pauline Gumbs Photograph of Toni Cade Bambara ©Susan Ross


eat salt
not that ocean drowning
snack to stop thinking about dying
unintentional salt

eat salt
on purpose

salt conductor of dreams
ancestor crystal portal
blood water preservation

clean it out
with your eyes


deep sight
practice living in the dark
and seeing what
the light don’t want
you to see

go on a mission
to rescue
the part of the universe
that will always be you
and unknowable


be well
want to be
well deep enough to drink from
bell ringing soul alarms
be buried mineral breakthrough


see birds
love gorillas
listen to dolphins
and do not swallow
what you know

breathe it out
the top of your head

knock on your chest
until you hear it

remember how to fly

*Listen to…

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Tipping Points


gravity-glue-7Many of us have been waiting for the tipping point. The point at which people’s discomfort for the way things are, becomes so unbearable that change is inevitable.   We’ve reached several significant tipping points in the last ten years. There’s been the Marriage Equality movement which picked up a fiery momentum and currently there are 37 states that have legalized same sex marriages. There’s been the Occupy movement, though the momentum died and it is unclear as to the exact vision of that movement, it sparked in peoples heart an awareness of the economic gap widening underneath our feet and galvanized a new generation of activists to practice the art of revolution.  There has been the legalization of Marijuana movement, which seeks to decriminalize the drug and has won outright victories in 2 states and legalized medical marijuana in 27 states. There have been a number of international uprising asking or justice, fairness and liberation.

And now there is Ferguson, the movement to address racial inequalities in the criminal system focusing on police sanctioned violence. I’ve never felt so outraged at the injustices and simultaneously proud of the movement.   I feel like the cultural tectonic plates of our time are moving, tearing down old facades and digging up ideas that no longer reflect or growing consciousness.   I know the old villains are still there, still have substantial power and destructive entitlement, are still doing horrific things but the people are speaking. The streets are being flooded with a new understanding. Micro-movements are growing, momentum is building all around us as time speeds up and change happens on a scale the world has never seen before.

I know this is a long game. I know the changes could not come fast enough for some and for othimages-8ers it feels like it is the end of days but in the short span of my life the trajectory of human ideas have taken a sharp left. Gay marriage will be legal in all states, marijuana will be decriminalized, the criminal systems will be reformed. These are things I have no doubt about as long as we keep fighting. And yes there are so many other tipping points needed. So many. But the ideas are out there carried on the wind like seeds. Everything we need to create justice, equality, liberation, and prosperity all ready exists.   Now we build our visions, create our movements and as those ideas harmonize with the zeitgeist, we wait for the scale to tip and for change to come.