Hiwot Adilow

Mushiraye

 

I draw a wedding scene &

My mother spies the page or

I tell her about the aisle.

Either way, she catches it &

spits stop. Warns dreaming

of a knot will only tie me to

a war torn home. I look

at the drawing & find blood

on the page, a ring around

the bride’s eye. I decide

to keep my finger bare

like my legs were once,

un-bristled, hinged tight.

 

Rigid, whiskey lipped,

gripped like a bottle’s neck

full of violence I cannot slip

into love. Verily, I am

my father’s daughter until

one day I bleed My mother’s

way—quick crying war.

My body becomes a boat

fleeing a rabid shore.

My skin is spanned &

I dream the distance

safe.


On Leaving

 

I can ice my own eye and fly I learned it

from my mother her late night going

under one July’s drizzle  through osmosis

and a shared twin bed I learned the body’s

rattle after ravage after rape she left and

I was left the only lady of the house no other

neck but mine to adorn with his hands no

other back to back against the wall but me

 

 

Hiwot Adilow’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in Winter Tangerine Review, Nepantla, The Offing, and Duende Literary. She has been featured reading her work on CNN, NPR, and Wisconsin Public Television. Hiwot is a Callaloo Fellow and member of the First Wave Hip Hop and Urban Arts Learning Community at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was born and raised in Philly.

Kirwyn Sutherland

Chloe Wofford tells me a secret about fiction

 

Pecola Breedlove has a secret lodged in her stomach.

 

It is a seed.

 

Pecola spends her days trying to get the secret out her body.

 

She wants to see all the white she grew, in secret

 

Be lavish and blond

without her family having

to see her plead

 

It is death,

at least the pain of grief

 

Dreaming of skin she shouldn’t want to have

 

and if she happened to be a magician

her momma’s church hands would certainly exorcise

 

blue eyes

 

I mean try to leave her blind for God

 

In Jesus’ name

 

Pecola prayed, played, imagined whiteness as

hands creating patterns in air

 

Laughed at insane times,

covered her mouth to save

the whites of her teeth

from the black of her mother’s yell

 

She labored for change

 

Filled a rusty basin with bleach,

kept it at her bedside

 

Looked in the pool to see the face

she was too scared to want bad enough

 

When she was asked

she said the water was for cleaning

 

Scrubbing

 

Bringing a surface to life

 

Pecola prayed for courage

prayed for her blackness

to peel back its sin

 

and accept its baptism

 

It is death:

her body covered in wet sheets,

forever gathering the color it wanted

 


 

A Possession of the Lines by Sula Peace

 

The point is the sex

 

Sex is the experiment

 

How copulation is a sea I throw extra salt in to make the fish swim mutant

Swim slow mo

Everybody I take in is fresh air

 

The point is the new

 

New is the change in position, trapezoid, isosceles.

 

Making new shapes out of my bones, The point is I fuck

To give rise to a new animal.

 

Wet with velocity

Skin new DNA streaking.

 

The point is I walk the street with a trail of fingers calling me a line

not supposed to be.

I not supposed to be living like this.

with my genes sprawled across my hands like this

like in a snap I can evolve

 

into a being standing on the outside of what you call normal

 

The point is behavior

 

And what I got to do to squeeze inside the brain

Without going through the mouth.

 

Sex is the experiment
Different ways a wet tongue can be voice without sound

You thinking suck but I may be thinking

 

Gasp

Whistle

Smack

Savor

 

Me a polychrome

A slick of water with the swag of oil

But nobody wants to dive in to take

 

Just gawk at how free I talk

How unbound my hands be to

Sock or curve a buck 50 across a face

 

And still be present in a pew

 

The point is we all God’s chillun

 

Some, like me, catch the holy spirit of free will

 

And all the others grab their guns

To shoot the manifestation of freedom

 

What we here for?

 

Pick each other apart till we all skeletons

Till we all the same dry, miserable,

Starters of fires we can’t put out

Till we all ash

 

Or

 

Is the point love


 

Monologue: I was talking to Macon Milkman Dead III

 

And it was weird talking to another piece of lineage ‘cause the suffix third or junior assumes a father standing over you and maybe it assumes love. That the father loved you enough to transfer whatever a name can represent on to your forehead but I could reach and my father was a ghost and then I could sleep and smell the thickness of rum rumbling through every room of I guess what was called my home but what is home?,  a couple of sticks flung together with architect’s glue

 

My dad was good enough, worked, was there, was a something the couch recognized as displacing it, never speech tho, never a song my mom could bang a tambourine to more like sorrow she could see through or grief she knew was coming every night with the afterbirth of bar on its tongue.

 

Then this is inheritance, then Gregor Mendel pimped me out to my Dad’s sperm before I had a voice, only to have me asking why my DAD was the nigga I had to come out of.  Why I had to be a poster on his Punnett Square, then I think my mother was gold, she was light, intense ahhhhh pouring down a chamber of my heart, How they get together?.  A stubborn man from the island of St. Vincent. A nervous woman from 57th and Dunlap, How they cross?.  How they land in a pot of they own juices to make me.  Was this the American Dream? Was I the American Dream?

 

And it was weird that Dead wasn’t saying nothing so I assumed I was a nightmare and that’s why they screamed through each other’s skin so much. And then one day my mother tried to beat the stay home in my Dad’s back and my little sister fell through the floor and I thought this was the point in History where my torso would bend and split me in two but they stayed and I took notes on how to stay in the center of violence and die Dead you know what I mean Dead just a word.

 

When I say die I really mean lay down and take whatever anybody wants to inflict on me. Then this is History laying down in a vessel with violence circling.  Food over vomit, body a tool, a car, an open hole to grow things in like cotton. Like blood, like a sharecropper’s hands gone rough then smooth then Dead resurrected Like when my Dad wakes up from a night of hard liquor to be a carpenter, to go to work to make the money I carry on my back. And I love him for it but do those two things gotta duality? The money and the nailed crosses bared. I gotta have them too then cause I am just a doppelganger without the island breeze to waver my jaw.

 

Dead, my mother, she disappeared in a hurried night yo God Toni Morrison couldn’t have wrote it better how she slipped through my eye without any tears falling. All the grief curled up in my Dad’s lap and coaxed a river of tears from him. I’m a dam nigga/Dam nigga you ain’t never care for her. You crying enough tears to make you a child and me the daddy. We got enough Ocean in our house for it to be a ship and you the middle passage I got to go through.

 

Dead this sound familiar? Sound like your genome raising up on your skin like goosebumps. My therapists asked if I ever considered his childhood. If I ever checked to see what made him an alcoholic. Nope I gotta image I got to kill. I gotta ghost to make out of all the Kirwyn’s that thought hard was an emotion.  I gotta drown them. I keep trying Dead but all the faces keep coming to the surface of the water as my father.

 

All the running I tried to do lead me back to the same house my mother died in. Ocean now a pool of green black standing water my dad now a small alleyway but still something I gotta bust through. I gotta bust through. Dead? Dead? You feel me?


Dennis Black

How the Hell…

 

How the hell did we get here? Trump is president-elect, the GOP has arguably the most power ever in the history of this country, and my personal favorite President-Elect Trump has appointed to him a special advisor who in the most recent interview has said “Darkness is good…Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power.”
One second while i take a step the fuck back. Trump, his administration, and his entire kkkrew represents the banality of evil, the epitome of hatred, and the ultimate indifference towards tolerance. Again how could we have possibly gotten here?

First it requires us to revisit the very formation of the United States It begins with the middle passage, coterminous with the the genocide of the indigenous peoples of this land; it were these conditions that forged the ethical backbone of U.S civil society. The extermination and torture of over a sixty million people over the course of  centuries paved the way for a Trump presidency. It was the trillions of dollars in free labor via chattel slavery that positioned the United States as empire. Think about chattel slavery as the ultimate tax break for white folks. The conditions of chattel slavery financed the first industrial naval fleet in the world, positioning the United States as a critical player in the Allied victory of World War I. The war brought on the “Roaring 20’s” and subsequently brought on the Great Depression. Before we know it the country is in another World War which determines international relations and global power dynamics for the next century.
Aided by the mutant beast of capitalism, the United States becomes a global warring empire from 1945- Present. Just as important to note, is that the United States, since its inception in 1776 has been at war with at least one foreign country 93% of the time.  Chattel slavery financed a war machine and now neoliberal capitalism (self-interest veiled by good intention) dominates the modern power relation between nation, corporation and people.

 

  Second, Hillary was a piss poor candidate and should have never received the nomination. I challenge anyone reading this to afterwards google search the leaked emails from Hillary herself where she explicitly calls for her campaign to invest energy in a Trump nomination in the primaries. Hillary did this, more than any single voter or media outlet could have. Hell, she worked with the media , a former CNN correspondent , Donna Brazile, who was also a moderator for the first Democratic debate in the primaries, was recently fired when more emails came out of the woodworks that detailed the incident where she sent Hillary debate questions before the debate, to give her the leg up on Bernie Sanders.

You simply don’t just get a Trump presidency out of nowhere,

…61 million registered voters thought Trump was not only qualified to be in command of 15,000 nuclear warheads, but also took an effort that approximately 50% of the registered voters in this country did not do, and that was vote. Despite all of his comments rooted in racism, sexism, and classism, he still managed to win the hearts and minds of 61.2 million U.S citizens. That’s because the hearts and minds of a solid quarter of this country’s population is equally racist, sexist, and classist. Even if they’re among the group being oppressed and discriminated against.  The exit polls of this election has determined that at least 53% of white women voted for Trump. This is not meant to be a pissing contest of who’s more to blame for this rise in fascism, but it is completely embarrassing for a competitively financed candidate to lose their own demographic. What would we say about Obama if he lost the Black male vote to Mitt Romney? Hillary seemingly offered no change, no inspiration, no way to fire up the base that could have and  would have led her to victory.

Facism did not win, Hillary lost,

in presidential elections there is a general strategy to win midwest states most often referred to as the Rust Belt. In the last 100 days until the election Donald visited key swing states almost 3 to 4 times than Hillary. In a post election interview, President Obama also mentioned that Hillary didn’t work hard enough. Whereas Obama visited 87 counties in Iowa, Hillary visited less than 40.

The most important distinction that cultivated this reinvigorated atmosphere which propelled Trump and the GOP to victory is the rise of the Movement for Black Lives  and the backlash, whether silent or vocal  it received. In a July 2016 poll, it reported that approximately 60% of respondents disapproved of Black Lives Matter and the Movement for Black Lives. This country has structurally and ethically remained the same since it’s inception and at the very least 61 million folks want it to stay that way . The birth of the 13th and 14th amendment marked the death of chattel slavery but prompted the afterlife of slavery through the prison industrial complex, sub-prime mortgage lending, crack, heroin, privatization of water systems and school districts, all are intricately tied to the legacy of chattel slavery and the domination of Black folks living along the margins.

 

With everything aside, it would almost seem like a common sense choice to choose anyone, not Trump to be president. Well that’s what kind of happened, but didn’t. Currently,

as of November 22nd Hillary has 62.5 votes to Trump’s 61.2 million.

Currently Hillary holds a 1.3 million vote lead. I’m not the only one that has been saying it, but Hillary and her campaign team developed and deployed the most piss poor political campaign that I’ve ever seen. This is considering the resources she can muster and bring to bear. From 2000 to 2008 she practically controlled the democratic party and from 2008 to early 2016 she controlled the party through the former Democratic Party Chair, Debbie Weisserman Shultz. Never have I heard or seen of a campaign, where the only coherent statement coming out is that you’re not as awful as the next. I bullshit you not there are leaked emails that have Hillary herself agreeing with staff to indirectly support a Donald Trump nomination by Republicans because he seemed to be a “weak outlier”. This country has always held the potential to elect Trump, but it  literally took the help of the Democratic Party to make this nightmare a reality.

Trump quintessentially reflects white masculinity and the greater part of the U.S citizenry. While it is easy to compare Trump to Adolf Hitler, Trump kept Hitler’s autobiography, Mein Kampf on his night stand, he pulls from Adolfs charismatic leader playbook, as he mimics a famous phrase of Hitler  “Make Germany Great Again”, although reminiscent of Hitler, Trump finds his pedigree in the U.S white nationalist before him. He is Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and George Washington. Trump and his ilk have always existed, but never in our generation has there ever been a president so uniquely unqualified.

This isn’t to say that I’d prefer a Hillary presidency, it is more of a question that you have to answer for yourself. Do you want to see the collapse of this country, or do you want to see the country repair itself?

Do you uphold the legitimacy of the constitution,or do you undermine it at every corner and turn possible? The future of this empire is foggy and  one thing is for certain; Trump is not an anomaly, he is a product of U.S civil society and a direct reflection of the public’s intolerance to tolerance.

Siaara Freeman

Top Five Black Women Protagonist – Film

5. Ok, im just going to go ahead and use this first slot, to cheat and add like five names. Wait…

I promise you will get it. I promise it is worth it. I promise im not the person you ask their favorite color and they look you square and the eye and say I like them all equally, I swear to you, I am more trust worthy than that. When I say I need this space for this five, I mean it is indeed an obligation.

THE COLOR PURPLE.

Do I need to say more, like are you not, reminiscing to yourself right now?

Ok well, lets do it together anyway—

 

We got so may fam. I heard it pisses God off if you walk past black women and don’t thank God. Lets say thanks for:

 

Sofia– because ALL MY LIFE I HAD TO FIGHT , is the forever anthem, and it is hardly up for debate.

Shug Avery – because every scene she is in, the best and worst parts of me feel like a night full of lightning bugs outside a juke joint and its pretty much euphoria. Her and Celie’s kiss is the first on screen queer person of color relationship I have ever seen and my god was it layered and complex? When she sings her way back to her father, my heart stops and declares war on anything that is not in favor of this. Honestly, im thinking about naming an entire chapbook Shug Avery Piss.

Celie – I mean, come one. Her story is one of the most blantant conversation on black womanhood and it’s sacrafices, it’s trauma, it’s joy, its creation and creation. Celie was told what we all are told (black girls) in so form of the other which is, you sholl is ugly, and she prove they shole was a lie. A big white lie.

Nettie – when she started putting words on items to teach Celie to read, home-girl changed the game and my spirit. She is education. If there was ever a patron saint of black girl education it was Nettie.

Squeak- Look, I might get beef for this, but I liked Squeak to, despite her shit with Sofia homegirl had heart and held it down while Sofia wasn’t able. I respect that,, I think she deserves a seat at the table.

 

 

4. Look, im doing it again, for the same reason stated above. Its TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOD, not to. Fuck you if you think, I can not include them all. I must. It would not be justice if I did not. SO EVERYONE IN SET IT OFF

 

And in the spirit of Shug and her queerness, my next experience (and what an experience it was) was f***ing Cleo.

CLEO. C L E O  who in my opinion had one of the single most horrifying deaths of pure urban honor in history. I cry for Ricky, but I too cry for Cleo. Hell I might cry harder.

 

And then of course Stony. STONY. (yes I do intend on capitalizing each of their  WHOLE names at some point— this sh*t is important)  STONEY, I mean she was the leader of the pack. She was the urban assatta. They killed her brother fam, Stoney did what I have secretly dreamed of doing, saying fuck it. Plus, she made it. How do you know drop to your knees for a black girl who escaped?

 

Frankie — SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON. FRANKIE is the reason this all popped off.  They played  Frankie and by they I mean white corporate and America and by that for woc I mean what tf else is new?? Frankie had zero to do with it, but by the end my girl was all if you want me involved, I’m involved. And like I have felt this. I have felt the need to say enough is enough. You wanna see a criminal you can prey on? Here. Frankie said : f**k you respectability poltics and she said it rather clearly fam, you heard her, it was the shots heard across the hood.

 

TT- oh sweet TT. TT IS THE KIND COUSIN THAT GREW UP IN THE HOOD, AND YOU LIKE BOO YOU AINT READY, BUT WAS STILL SO DOWN. I admit I cry for TT the hardest. TT wanted to be kind, really, she did. She lost her son, her mind then her life. She deserves to be remembered.

 

 

3. Foxxy Brown is the G.O.A.T. like, Pam Grier showed tf out, she really did. Sis hd razors in her afro, say what you will but that may be the most epic thing I can ever hope to do with my hair, so she deserves.

D E S E R V E S

 

2. Leave me alone if you don’t think Angela Davis played Tina Turner to the best of anyone’s ability. Like I can’t even look you in the face forreal if you will sit up and claim you did not cry while witnessing that performance. I’m not sure if I can comprehend that.

 

1. Eve, from Eves Bayou. Like watching that lil girl grow up, might only pull at my creole heart, but damned if Journee did not give all she had to that role, and that was a damn kid. I legitimately still search and pray for a book this good, a protagonist so young and yet so believable. Funny and honest and cruel and learning and joyous. He relationships with each family member strike me as some of the best portrayed human connections in film.

Visual Art

We at Wusgood know that art is not reserved to what we find hanging on museum walls. We celebrate creative visual works that highlight the ingenuity of black people – objects and works that look good and reflect some aspect of urban culture.


Tira Heard, founder of Totally Twisted Wearable Art, captures this same enthusiasm. Her handmade jewelry not only looks good on us, but also focuses on healing and uplifting people through visual, wearable art.

 

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GET TWISTED WITH TOTALLY TWISTED WEARABLE ART

KIOSK TO OPEN IN LAS VEGAS NOVEMBER 1, 2016

Cleveland, OHIO, October 12, 2016 (eReleases) – For women who want to increase self-esteem while still embracing their individuality, TOTALLY TWISTED offers socially conscious wearable art, soon to be available in Las Vegas, Nevada. Each piece of art is uniquely hand crafted using copper wire, precious gemstones, fresh water pearls, crystals and or glass beads. These items currently are available online and most recently on the Marketplace in the Knot magazine. As of November 1, 2016, Totally Twisted will branch out to Las Vegas Nevada in a kiosk at Summerlin Mall.

 

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The copper used to make most art pieces, not only is aesthetic but also has healing properties. Copper may help to ease headaches, arthritis, joint pain, and zinc deficiency. The gemstones used also have many different healing properties depending on which gem is used. Totally Twisted ensures that each art piece is one of a kind.

 

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Totally Twisted was founded in 2011 by Tira Heard as a way to use her gifts of creativity and design. Heard fuses her love of fashion and her passion for women’s empowerment into her designs which are meant to allow women to “embrace their individuality”. This is what sets Totally Twisted apart from other lines of jewelry. Heard is a member of an international arts organization called RAW Artists and has participated in RAW Cleveland and RAW Miami. Totally Twisted designs have been featured and sold in various boutiques and galleries around the world.

 

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In addition to the new kiosk opening on Las Vegas on November 1, 2016, you can also purchase Totally Twisted pieces at www.TotallyTwisted.cool , on Facebook at Totally Twisted or https://www.theknot.com/marketplace/totally-twisted-cleveland-oh-994303

 

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Contact:Tira Heard
Totally Twisted

216-256-5598
tiraheard@gmail.com

www.TotallyTwisted.cool