The Marvelous Crumb

Follow Joy. Find Belonging.

An imperfect beginning, but a beginning

Protest Faces

We are born wise. We are born complete. – Quote from my Licorice Mint Tea this week.

Three beginnings shape my world this week.
Each glistening with that special radiance a new thing always brings — trepidation, joy, uncertainty, excitement.

Like crossing a threshold

Around the world we marched.

In Oakland we inched.
Streets packed like a citywide game of sardines.
Standing together peacefully for hours in silence, in song, in proclamation, and joy.
“Pussy power,” “My pussy grabs back,” and more and more, said the glittering vaginas we held overhead.

I was comfortable — delighted even — moving along
in my pink raincoat and purple leggings
with my white friends
wondering, “where are my people of color?”
This peppering of black and brown is not representative

“The biggest march in history,” some reports said. “One in every 100 Americans was there.”

But not for Black Lives Matter

And where was I on those nights when my people screeched from years of violence and hate?

Listening to the helicopters overhead from the safety of my purple couch?
Finding sanctuary dancing to Jeremih one street from protests.
Was it all too much to bear?
Was I comfortably detached?

And why?
And what, with this beginning, do we do?

In church the next day
drug by an exuberance to be with
Mother and child danced in the aisle.
Over and over her voice raised higher than the others.

“Take me Jesus, Take Me Jesus, Take All of Me or Nothing!”

And I heard
We heal it all or nothing.
Pull one thread and let all the textures of our suffering be unraveled and exposed.

 I am not Christian.
Sometimes,  I’m a half breed.

But I belonged in that room.

Tears rolling
Feet stepping.
Hands clapping and raising.
Singing songs never before heard but somewhere known.

Dredging the unincorporated pieces of my own lineage.
This is the language, embedded in me by some percentage of Blackness, of how I find divine.

And now my work. My work.
This heavy door, formidable, with peeling blue paint.

Dropped with certainty from a knowing sky
It beckons the strength of arms used for handstands
To be pressed and stepped through

I am scared.
I am eager.

And so I inch, we inch.

Knowing not where we’re going, but away from what has been

6 Comments

  1. Ah, Kelsey. You always make me think. Ponder, really. Where was Black Lives Matter? Were they not invited to join? For me Black Lives Matter, and now also Standing Rock are the crucial movements of our times — the leaders, so to speak.

    • Kelsey

      January 26, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      Women of color weren’t included in the planning. “So if you want to move women forward, you have to ask: ‘What is holding you back? What is hurting you? I care about you.’ There is nothing more unifying than reaching out to people and saying, ‘What do you need?'” -Ijeoma Oluo

      And this, regarding perceptions of the march:

      “It was wonderful to know that so many people were taking to the streets and were speaking out, but if you are a person of color who has been fighting for black lives and brown lives, if you are a water protector who has been hosed down in Standing Rock, you have been begging people to stand next to you for so long. So, it can be hard to look at it and not wonder how many lives could be saved if we had even a tenth of these many people showing up at a Black Lives Matter march to push for police accountability and to push for reform. And that becomes hard because you can’t bring people back from the beyond the grave.”

      You can read more here: http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2017/01/24/women-of-color-march

      Personally, I noticed this as well. I was not sure why the crowd was so White in Oakland.

      Thanks for asking Pwl!

  2. Although, I do want to add that I saw signs saying Black Lives Matter on the march.

    • Kelsey

      January 26, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      That’s awesome! My favorite was: “So are all you white women going to come to the next Black Lives Matter March?”

  3. Wonderful! You say it so very well, Kelsey the writer, Kelsey the activist, Kelsey the wise friend.

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