Poetry

Con*cep*tion

Prologue

We all strive for understanding and meaning. Yet too often, we arrive at understanding by a consensus of the few. Our definitions, numbered and lettered, give us form from which we build beliefs and systems.  One of the skillful means I appreciate about Chogyäm Trungpa, an influential Tibetan Buddhist monk who brought Buddhism to the West, was his ability to play with words to reveal the potential of any word to hold wisdom.

Each piece below engages in a narrative that invites you to reconsider the normative definition of a word or phrase and what is true in your experience.  Each may give you an opportunity to create and experience and witness one. Although all pieces below reflect some aspect of Black birth and mothering, they simultaneously engage with how we relate to our world.

Con*cep*tion

“House of RA,” sculpture by William Rhodes

We are all capable of conceiving. Some make worlds, others systems, still others ideology. All of this contributes to our (personal) Now and This Now (cultural) of the last 400+ years, which has deteriorated our humanity. Yet, co-arising in the ashes of the rubble of this society lie the seeds of the next iteration of human society. We are that Earth.  As we have moved through this layered pandemic time, Black bodies continue to watch the sitcom on repeat, except with the added burdens of the emotional overwhelm of first-sight-fright of majority others.  We listen as echoes of hope ring that this time will be different.  Perhaps.  And, instead of waiting, something arises in these Black bodies individually and collectively that speaks and moves across generations. Nothing exists spontaneously on its own; each influences each, and this period echoes times past when we have risen up across the Diaspora in the name of our liberation: the liberation of our voices, bodies, rights, and children. Whether we think up a new way of being or birth our Black lives, our stories hold the seeds for how to move through dark times. Remember who you are.

1.

(a) the process of becoming pregnant involving fertilization or implantation or both.1

X Chromosome:

It’s only a body. I can surrender to protecting that. I bleed, but you tell me to shovel, hammer, bolt, and secure your empire. You suck my breath through biodegradable barber-swirled straws. Get serviced before I collapse into innumerable graves. Unmarked. Mine:

Bow-legged.

5 teeth. Gap.

Obstructed veins, not arteries.

Decompressed lower vertebrae.

Negroid skull. Folded.

And the vultures swarm, vibrating my phone with psychological bars from 5AM to 6PM. Announced. After. Emails fill with requests: “Work with me.” “Share your feelings.” “We want to highlight your voice.” A few words on its dying breath, to amplify your platform, to donate to your cause. Your voice should not be louder than mine.

Squeeze that last bit out of the horse

Then let ‘em run free.

Now, as limp limbs crumble, decay back to the Eden, you crave it. Objectify out of love to feed your own intolerable itch to do something…except what should be done. Curfews, your excuse to hide. Play night.

I can’t hide underground with you

Or above—

Shielded.

It’s a body you’re after. A collection of bones fashioning the entertainment you drown yourself in. Sports, concerts, gatherings, clubs, bars cancelled…so you satiate, click bait, surf at nauseum on each new video death. Each headline an adrenaline rush.

Intoxication of the decay

To avert your gaze

From self.

I can surrender to protecting this body. There is more that is untouchable. As each Being burns and hangs, they dissolve into the soil beneath your feet. And they will all return: shake volcanoes to eruptions, swell seas to tsunamis, crack Earth and swallow your empire.

Whole.

(b) Beginning.

Womb:

Rest my head to remember—

The walls hold the echoes of your voice:

For nurturance

“Have you eaten?”

For blessings

“God’s grace”

For medicine

There was boiled bush

Shots of rum

For love

Presence…

Undivided.

In this world and in-between.

Rest my head to remember—

The Oceans that nearly drowned you

Pressed.

I can feel the rock of the boat and the plummet

The gargle of acids

Of water trickled to your lungs for a brief moment.

Rest my head to remember—

Your womb held two more when science said none.

One briefly held then surrendered.

And one for luck.

Generations of echoes

Circumambulate this orb

Pregnant with thought—

Let me have this One.

2.

(a) the capacity, function, or process of forming or understanding ideas or abstractions or their symbols

Goddess of Space and Sleep:

At the full moon and the new, eclipse after eclipse, SHE emerges from the ashes. Whole. SHE dances with the light. Smile twists the stars into constellations. Womb opens to the cosmos and molds the next generation: homo deus lux.

(b) a general idea

Modern Sucker:

grinning from ear to ear

at the potential

rubbing it to conception

laughing at the vessel

every ache and cry

you turn

deny

contradict.

 

grinning from ear to ear

at the potential

rubbing it to conception

 

carving the vessel

etching each edge with

definitions and lines

(c) a complex product or reflective thinking

Pregnant with Thought:

And then

She said it would be different Here.

Legs spread for her by some old familiar old

Darkness eclipsed

Saw realms beyond the veil

Child of the pandemic.

And then

She said just one photo.

Sumo-sized

Little man with violet eyes

Penis head snipped

Dead.

And then

She shook her—

To sound

Yet her breath gasped

Months of adolescence

Sterile white walls shining against her highlight.

Child of the institution.

And then

The world powers

Feuded—

Ration cards, sacks filled to the brim—once

And her eyes beamed

At the deflated balloon and noisemaker

Child of the war.

And then

She thought it was her last.

But she tottered in

Sworn pistol and blade

Greased, brown bag rolled

Shadow child.

(d) the sum of a person’s ideas and beliefs concerning something

Letter 1:

Beloved,

You are a miracle. I never thought I would be writing to you. We have hemmed and hawed about your entry to this World and I had so many doubts. I didn’t doubt the need of you, the powers you would bring into this World. I imagined a World that was desolate—one where I would have to continue the fight for you to be seen, treated justly, attended to wholly. I worried in angst of the intentionally infected hands that would pull you from my womb if I had to be in those sterilized walls. I reconsidered you because it wouldn’t have been fair. I may not last; this World wasn’t made to nurture me, this America.

I wanted you to be met with Joy, free of the endless worry I hold as my life flashes. I’m already staging “the talk” at 3…at 6…at 9…incrementally exposing the horrors of how they view you and how you need to continually view yourself. Perhaps your own will reflect you, but, as I have experienced, too many intersections lead to rejections.

I wanted it to be different for you. Maybe your Mama will tell you of joys—of endless travel, safety nets, and the worlds of white privilege. Maybe she will bubble with hope as I surrender to the fate of this Land.

“You Reap What You Sow,” sculpture by William Rhodes

You will be born with the same fiery purpose as I. You will be a revolutionary and pave a new path. You will follow-through and be quick to act like your Mama. I am handing you the baton. I ran track, a sprinter. I sprinted through life—it felt choiceless. Should you educate classically, school walls will no longer be propped by slave catchers. Racism will be an illness and you will be diagnosed at birth. You are freed of labels.

I’m sorry, Beloved. You will be the last of your kind.

And since, I have buried a pint of my blood, cut locs—both new and old growth, poetry and hybrid forms, great-grandmother’s rosary beads, grandmother’s bangles, coco head silver, birth certificates scattered…clone me…clone us. They will need more of us. And if you can, if the resources fall short, if you need a light in what seems like perpetual darkness, remember to cultivate these things:

Times of silence:

it allows your true essence to emerge

Mirror times:

to reflect who you want to see in the World

Interdependence:

you, your Ancestors, the elements, the Divine are One

Dreams:

when you sleep
and those that slip into waking

Ritual:

for waking, transition, birth, death…

Sound:

sharpen with prayer and song to rouse the heart

Oh Beloved, you need to know the seizing of Black Love and Rage. Know the medicine of your land. This is how we have been fed, how we have healed. Trust the ways that call to you with no name. Know the distractions of this World: concepts, theories, diagnosis, the legal system, manmade currency that breeds indebtedness, the making solid what is meant for movement. Challenge yourself to know complexities—do not settle for the baseness of other Lands; their primitive categories lock your complexities. Detach from that which keeps you from your Power. They all know how powerful you and I are. For hundreds of years, we have been hunted, caged, kept down—all the while we cared for their homes, land, and children. We’ve handled it all because we are strong—not super people, but strong. And we care for the other—a self-fulfilling fuel.

So, remember, you can dream, build empires, transmit new technology, birth the nations, heal the Land, and summon all the realms. We are of one thread.

Find me there.

3. the originating of something in the mind

Remembering:

Sankofa Quilt by William Rhodes

Demands insinuate that we have to ask permission of someone and the only Being we need permissions from is the Universe… All There Is. It is our inherent nature to care for each other; we have strayed. The benefit of this time, this Pause, is to re-Source: to pull the pendulum swing back to the abundance of the Land, our true Essence, the value of the Other, making do with what is, and creating without the reference point of centering whiteness.

Those who brought the wisdom traditions of this time cut them in pieces—in body, mind, and spirit. They left the latter in the upper chambers of the citadel and made everyone jump repeatedly to claim a glimpse of it.

All the while it was within us.

The beauty of this time is that time is the portal back to our innate Power. A Power unyielding and connected to the Source without any hoops to jump. We survive and thrive because we are.


Dr. Claudelle R. Glasgow (Dr. g) is a non-binary, queer, first-generation Afro-Carribean. Doc serves as licensed clinical psychologist, writer, spiritual creative, and public speaker.  In their creative offerings, Doc compels the engager to feel the inseparability of the composer and audience through arresting imagery, daring questioning, bold answers, and abstract glimpses of the mundane. In Dr. g’s healing work, they center BIPOC and are grounded in a radical existential-somatic approach. This practice works with the power of the here and now to heal across generations and utilizes skills that are somatic, creative, and trauma-informed.

You can continue to follow on IG: @garudagrin and @azu_shadow; Twitter: @fearlesscrg; or request Dr. g’s wisdom at www.claudelleglasgow.com.


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Notes