I commit my work to the Tablets of Destiny—poems laser-etched onto suede leather–A compulsion in response to the anxieties of mortality—I hope to compose 108 scrolls in service to an unknown something. Chris Udemezue and RAGGA NYC catalyzed this project for the upcoming show “All the threatened and delicious things joining one another”, opening to the public 5/3/17.
A word / A work incarnates into several through translation. By which device will I communicate my power?
In many ways, I think of this piece as an investigation of ancestry. Inspired by my father’s relationship to hunting, which has provided me with physical nutrition and raw materials. Seared leather subtly connotes the curses’ emergence from violence. Because the text is seared, not ink, material has to be destroyed through incineration in order for the text-art to exist. I like to think of my relationship to language being mimetic of this, which is why illegibility is a primary concern in the conception of the piece // a curse literally written in flame.
In early 2017, RAGGA NYC, a platform founded by Christopher Udemezue, received a residency at The New Museum through the Department of Education & Public Engagement’s R&D Season: Body. RAGGA connects a community of queer Caribbean artists working across a wide range of disciplines—including visual art, fashion, and poetry—to explore how race, sexuality, gender, heritage, and history inform their work and their lives. The New Museum commissioned “Celestogram // Astrolabe I – IV”—drafts of the “Tablets of Destiny”—in service of the group show “All the threatened and delicious things joining one another” (5/3/17 – 6/25/17), curated by Sara O’Keefe.
“Poetry forms a foundation for the residency. Shanekia McIntosh presents a new poem in the exhibition recounting her grandmother’s hair-braiding and tales of Queen Nanny, weaving together their stories. Joey De Jesus’s handwritten poems form rich cosmologies through words and shape. Jahmal B. Golden’s printed poem “Memoir” testifies to spiritual and personal transformations, and is flanked on the right and left by photographs of vibrantly colored hands performing rituals tied to self-excavation. Maya Monès’s poem and audio piece “Ciencias Sociales” (Social Sciences) explores Afro-Latinx identity through a recovery of unspoken family history, a process of working to become closer to her roots.”
IMAGES: “Celestogram // Astrolabes (I – IV)”
*redacted until 7/17*
~ A practice in polyphony & holding multiple truths ~
~ Joey De Jesus (4/29/17)
Regarding Apogee Journal:
Toward the end of 2016, Apogee Journal launched #NoDAPL #StillHere: Native and Anti-Colonial Craft Against Dispossession. The folio was an incredible undertaking, centering the work of indigenous poets, writers, photographers, videographers and visual artists. The curation of the folio resulted in Sarah Clark enlisting her incisive excellence to Apogee‘s staff. In her letter from the editor, she writes, “The indigenous resistance sparked by #NoDAPL issued our refusal to continue abiding by the dominant imperial narrative. No longer willing to stand by and allow non-Natives to treat phrases like “this is Indian land” or “stolen land” as metaphorical. No longer willing to be told our sacred sites have no real value, dismissed because they do not fit in with the dominant culture’s idea of what is worth preserving – with what is holy. We rejected the belief that our problems begin and end with racist mascots and demeaning Halloween costumes. With #NoDAPL, we announced to the world that we will no longer be silenced.”
Since I’ve last updated, Apogee Journal has also launched its eighth issue. Issue 08 features an incredible excerpt of Sueyeun Juliette Lee’s Relinquish the Sky, and poetry by Cortney Charleston, Wendy Chin-Tanner, Kemi Alabi and Gary Copeland Lilley among may others. This issue includes nonfiction from Rigoberto González and Justine el-Khazen, fiction from Jean Ho and Robert Lopez, visual art from Jennifer Chan, Dominique White, and Lawrence Lek. Cover art by E. Jane.
2 poems in Southern Humanities Review:
My poems “FDR Drive” and “abandonment before the salt pan (& the sandstorm)” appear in the newest issue of Southern Humanities Review vol. 50 No 3&4. Several years ago, I composed “FDR Drive”, annotating observations while driving up the highway. I began “abandonment before the salt pan (& the sandstorm)” while riding shotgun along the Trans-Kalahari Highway. The images in the poem draw from observations of the Namibian interior.
The Poetry Project New Year’s Day Marathon:
Aeliana Nicole took this photo of me barely keeping it together New Year’s Day; I was so catastrophically hungover…standing was truly a miracle. I have to thank the Poetry Project for including me in their programming again this year.
Fuck U Betsy
B and I have decide to start a band: materia, we’re doomy stoners. We’ve practiced once, but who cares, we’re performing at ALPHAVILLE: 140 Wilson Ave, Brooklyn. 2/15 8:00pm. COME THRU!
I had the honor of reading with Truck Darling at Dominique Lévy in celebration of Karin Schneider’s “Situational Diagram”. I encourage any who missed the event but might be interested in hearing the reading to click here. The reading has been archived by PennSound.
Thank you WILDNESS for the 2016 Pushcart Nomination.
I’m honored to be in such great company.
~photos from my RAGGA NYC profile~
My ancestry exists
as a pantheon of whispers;
therefore, the wind
is my ancestry. Far off
sounds in my memory—
ni de aquí, ni de allá
—500 years of colonial rule,
enough generational distance
to be distant now. I work
hard. I work harder. Never
enough. For the product
of colonialism to be present
in the skin, is a thing I think
abt sometimes. I outlive each day
storm-fit and unsouling
myself. Loss. Lostness. Lost & list
-ening. Enemy, animate
my background—the noise
-scape of each triggered thought,
each iteration against oppression
a bone carved into the likeness
of my face—a pedagogy
of my own design—a murmur
to which I must return.
& Thaz it.