top nav spacer
You Are Here: Home » Art » Nourishing Poems from Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Nourishing Poems from Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Nourishing Poems from Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs

What if food was to daily practice what breath is to meditation?
 

Hello everyone — sorry today’s post is so late! Been a busy day: Dawn just got back from two weeks on retreat at Spirit Rock, and we had a lot to catch up on, sitting in a backyard garden. :)

To send you off to sleep dreaming of the earth and liberation (or welcome you awake, if you read this in the morning), I’m deeply glad to share poems from the incredible activist, organizer, poet, teacher, culture-maker, and “community accountable scholar” (her own lovely phrase), Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs. Thank you for being with us!

~ Katie for Turning Wheel Media

 

3 Poems and the Rocket Fuel of Dreams

What if food was to daily practice what breath is to meditation?  The through line, the grounding place to return to the present reality, the passage way for being.  Maybe it is.  What attention would we give our food, where would we pause to eat, who would we eat near if food was to our bodies what breath is to our spirits?

And is it not?

I have the blessing of being in community with some deep and stellar food justice practitioners who feed me.  Literally.  A significant percentage of the food I eat is grown by people who I am growing with spiritually and intellectually in this lifetime.  What a blessing!

But still I have the experience some days of consuming food that is filling without being nourishing.  I am like this planet, seeking alignment.   I am like this ant-hill of human beings, continuing to invest in materials that do not affirm my being out of habit and convenience.

But I know what nourishment is.  The work that I do in the world, the spirit work of black feminist love, is supported financially and spiritually by a community of people known and unknown to me who make themselves fellow travelers in my journey by so many shapes of saying yes. Each of the poems below is dedicated to someone who has tangibly supported my work to study with black feminist elders and to take sacred journeys to places of spiritual significance in the history and legacy of black feminist brilliance.   It matters to me that one poem is dedicated to someone who I know personally and have worked in community with and two are dedicated to strangers who have supported my work without knowing me personally.   Just like about a third of my food comes from loved ones who I know and the majority comes from people who are offering their energy from far away in such an intimately relevant way.

In these poems I think about language and how it feeds us.  I think about nourishment, and exhaustion and dreams.   I think about the future we deserve and who that future is asking us to be.

May we eat only truth, trust in the rocket fuel of our dreams. May our words, fresh with presence align our spirits and feed the moment.   May everything that is not love fall away.    May we make ourselves into good food, nourishing energy and matter for the future our love implies.

Love,
Alexis

 

Poet

For Roberto Tijerina


After Audre Lorde’s “Thanks to Jesse Jackson”



say it like bridge
spell it like splinter

these are the times
when words need carpenters
think out loud reshaping
into places to sit and meet
and walk and not fall through

write it like rice
growing hot and irresistible
undercover in the watched pot of revolution
spell it like cauldron

these are the years
when we eat our words
when the boil-over of desire
is the table we build by sharing

train our tongues to be trans
send ground tap rhythm of meaning
generate light like a helmet
in the mines
like a tread in the sloop
in the loop down of question

this is it

the time when each word
wake tongue
catch fire to ear
clean throat back to pink
when each word
sear like prophecy on our hearts

this is the moment
we all become
poets.

 

Flight

For Romham Gallacher
After Audre Lorde’s “Depreciation”



First the banks
then the river run right
through the treasury
then vehicles that transport gas
don’t have gas to run
no more.

Between the corporate credit computer crash
the downfall of drummed up debt worldwide
and the heirloom seed-bomb airlift
there is plenty to eat
and nowhere to hide.

 

Land

For Chanelle Gallant


After Audre Lorde’s “Peace on Earth”

a star fell last night
as I drove myself
almost out of gas

tires pattern bald
from skating the edge
of not enough
on autopilot

and where did it land
heaven drop
pressure of wishes

did you see it

i ate french fries
and absently sketched
a veggie fuel rocket engine
a self-contained compost toilet
an ethical escape

and told myself
a falling star is not a bomb

what atmospheric freeze
must crack
be
fore I wake up.
Alexis Pauline Gumbs 2011

Comments (5)

  • Karma Tenzing Wangchuk

    Extraordinary poems, inspiring thoughts in both poems and prose and the lovely photos too. thank you so much

  • Katie Loncke

    Glad you enjoy them, Karma Tenzing! Thank you for showin love.

  • aneeta

    “What if food was to daily practice what breath is to meditation? The through line, the grounding place to return to the present reality, the passage way for being. Maybe it is. What attention would we give our food, where would we pause to eat, who would we eat near if food was to our bodies what breath is to our spirits?
    And is it not?”

    i’ve always had a tumultuous relationship with food, specifically, i have had periods of home-cooked deliciousness and many more periods of brightly packaged poison. i have also always had the intention for the former to be my practice but my habit of 20 years is that of the latter. what alexis wrote made me think of our mindfulness practice of focusing on breath, paying notice when it has remained unnoticed for so long. meditation is to learn how to pay attention to what homes us in every moment and the way alexis framed this reminded me that food is just as deep and intimately connected to how we’ve come to be in this world. should not attention rest in our choosing, chewing, digesting of food as well? and if attention did ease into these places, how would our choices, chewing and digesting change? how would our whole selves shift?

    when something is imagined in ways that i had not yet seen, it seeps through me far and wide. i’m happy i will be falling asleep to such a moment.

    may we wake with attention to all that nourishes.

    thank you!

  • Ann Whitus

    I enjoyed reading these three poems.Are there others available? In a collection?

  • romham gallacher

    Somehow i missed this and only just saw it now doing a random search for something else :)
    And wow i just want to extend so many thank yous for sharing these powerful thoughts dreams intentions realities words, for the heart and energy that went into laying them out, and for opening up the process to many different kinds of community. i’m so glad the retreat was/is so filling, and you continue on.
    Much respect back and forth…

Leave a Comment

© 2012 Buddhist Peace Fellowship

Scroll to top