I’m diaper-deep in solidarity breast-feeding at the moment so unable to attend the tribute to Jayne Cortez in London tomorrow (check the fittingly impressive line-up below). I was lucky enough to meet, listen to and dialogue with the Firespitter on a few occasions and in 2011 I took part in an Inscribe workshop which Jayne faciliated. One of the tasks she set us was to write about the subject of “freedom” – the poem that she urged me to complete is below:
In answering a poetic task set by sister Cortez he recounts
his admiration for brother Malcolm and sister Nawaal.
In contemplating the true essence of freedom he asks himself
how free can we truly be? Can we be so true to self that we
forget self? Forget who we are supposed to be, and just be? Free.
Naked when all others are clothed? Sit, while others stand?
Stand, while others sit? Dancing to the beat of our heart. So
fucking free to scream, to shout, without consequence, without
conscience? To cry, and not know, not care, why. Laughing for
the beauty, for the futility of it all. Om…………………………………
He meditates on Malcolm…olm. Om. Omowale el Haaj Malik el
Shabaaz. Yes, being once already dead one can truly live without
fear of death. He renounces his name and gender. He/she
becomes they. Then they want for nothing. They leave the
washing up to eat from the earth, from out of the bins. They
ponder barefoot under great acacias in northern forests, roam
bare-chested across southern plains, making love, as and when.
They wonder about the question: is this freedom or has the ego
just exchanged itself for self indulgence? To be free like el Sadaawi
causes consternation. At eighty years young maybe they too will
be on the front lines but to be free from all worry for family is
perhaps to be too free? Troubled by unreconciled urges, the
nagging pang of revolution, faith, duty and surrounded by non-
believers they return to change nappies and dig vegetables, home.
taken from forthcoming collection Ad-liberation, published Sept 2013
details of A Tribute to Jayne Cortez below: