Sunday, December 02, 2007

Asanas for Megan Williams
i am trying to think about the intentional process of invisibility around the violence acted against Megan Williams. i am still trying to wrap my brain and my heart around this case and what our collective responses could be.

i am trying to think about how trauma stifles my ability to respond to acts of violence in my community and around the world. is it that my trauma stops me from acting when i see other black women traumatized? what do we do next? is it these historical traumas that some how shift my body back to a time when i could not say anything, or bear the same trauma my sista experienced, or worse? is choosing not to act against our historical or contemporary trauma a mechanism for keeping our safe, in some way?

i am trying to think about how i can take back my body from trauma. what does an embodied resistance look like? perhaps, it looks like a body, full of light, harnessing her strength, and refusing to be frozen by trauma. perhaps, it is a body who refuses to have her tongue tied by fear. maybe embodied resistance is a heart that refuses to stop beating, that refuses to have the love pressed out of it.

embodied resistance, could be black women free from heart disease, diabetes, womb disease, mental disease. embodied resistance could be black women freeing their bodies from food, cultural pressures, drugs, alcohol, social pressures... as i write this i am sure embodied resistance is all of these acts and more.

i am trying to think about how to process this trauma against our sista megan williams in an intimate, real, transformative way. i am looking to find a way for individuals to actively participate in a healing movement for Megan Williams no matter whereever they are. here is a call to action for anyone interested in sharing healing evergy with our sista. you don't have to march, protest, write a letter. you don't have to leave your dorm room, you warm living room, you can even do it on the train, at a stop light, on the bus.

i am asking for everyone who reads this post to dedicate one minute of yogic practice, meditation, or breath work to Megan Williams. if you are not a yoga person to do one or two stretches for her. if you are advanced do a head stand or full lotus position for her. take a moment or two out of your day to breath deeply, complete some fire breaths, or kemetic breaths for Megan Williams.

as you are doing this, think about her healing, send out some well wishes for her, her family and our collective healing.

our collective action will shift the energy around this case. we will not be immobilized by trauma.

our embodied resistance is movement is breath meditation is the quest for our collective health and well-being

here is a poem for encouragement

i am a daughter of ntozake
of june of audre of nikki
of sonia of gwendolyn of jayne
of asha of lucille of rhodessa of anna
of ruth of elizabeth of toi of marilyn
of nina of cassandra of ella of fannie
of rosa of nayo of bernice of anjail of aretha
of toni of sapphire of ai of betty of pearl of bertha
of of of of of ofoofffffof fofofff

our collective heat is a back bend that strenghthens our walk
our collective heat is a visualization that wraps us in warmth
our collective heat is a moon salutation that greets the night
our collective heat is slow and concentrated breath deep in the diaphragm
our collective heat is heat is heat supple and pulsing and balancing the universe


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Calling Black Women for Ethnographic Performance Process

Calling Black Women for Ethnographic Performance Process

Greetings people,

It is that time. I have been in a bit of hibernation while I was cooking up a way to get you involved with a so fresh and so necessary improvisational, sista-circle, healing, performance opportunity.

I am Ebony Golden currently living in Manhattan and attending NYU. I call a few places home, most recently Durham, NC. While living in Durham I had the opportunity to study with and make trouble with some of the flyest sistas around. We made art with the people and shared it with the people. We healed ourselves everyday!

I would not be here at NYU right now if it wasn't for them. I am dedicating this process and this year at NYU to them: Mama Nia, Mama Asantewa, Mama Nayo, Mama Nana, Mama Jaki, Mama-Dr. Ahmad, Mama Pearl, Mama Dimples, Mama Theresa, Sista Kim Arrington, Sista Zachari, Sista Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Sista Jurina, Sista Alisha Gaines, Sista Serena, Sista Kriti, Sista Kai, Sista Shirlette, Sista Emily, Sista Kriti, Sista Kia/Mercedes, Sista Liz, Sista Amaris, Sista Namira, Sista Raina, Sista DeLana, Sista Nikki, Sista Alfreda, Sista Vikki, Sista Michelle, Sista Afyia, Sista Zelda, Sista Dannette, Sista Inga, Sista SimaFlower, Sista Paulette, Sista Manju

This process is in your honor along with my sistas from DC, TX, and in other spaces. You hold me up, thank you.

I am currently facilitating a performance project for Black women as a part of my Master's Thesis in Performance Studies based on black women's processes of healing from trauma, particularly historical and generational trauma. So how are your healing practices different from your mother's? How are they similar?

I am dedicated to my healing, the healing of the women in my family and extended family, and the world. This is a process we are creating everywhere, let's continue to tap in together and see what shifts.

This process that will have a few opportunities for performance, live and virtual, but mostly i am interested in articulating a poetics of womanist performance process and methodology that can be reproduced by us every where to heal ourselves and this world.

I need you to tell our story. A small group of sistas who are not afraid to undertake this work with me, whether they understand exactly where it is headed or not. Sistas who enjoy movement, music, writing, photography, people, good food, performing, making a fuss about us (black women), and who are not afraid to say we (black women) matter anywhere in this world.

1. 5-6 sistas to perform several times next semester
2. videographer/ photographer/ editor
3. choreographer
4. producer
5. stage manager
6. 'zine designer
7. web designer

1. voice recorders, tapes
2. gift cards (Target would be excellent)
3. performance space
4. video recorders, tapes, dvd
5. money, frequent flyer miles, train tickets, gas cards!!!


Your stories. Some of you are far away from me right now. But I would love to interview you about you and your healing process. Let's set up some time for phone interviews. I will be in TEXAS in December and NC in January so we can get together.

Every one is invited to NYC in May 08 to see a pivotal step in this journey. Can't wait.

oh and check out some of these sites to get an idea of what sistas are doing to inspire me:,,,,,,,

Email me if you are interested!
Ebony Golden, MFA
Betty's Daughter Arts Collaborative, Director

Thursday, August 02, 2007

in the midst~~~~for fly ass me'shell ndegeocello

1.the grain of your voice rubbed against vinyl is prayeris a ridge (like a ridge in your bottom lip) where i oil up and tancause blackness is just a beginning and the edge is where i jump to life say i am the offspring of an obsolete machineso i guess me'shell i ain't got nothing to prove me standing here in all my black woman self all dripping with spirit and legacy and rips that healed and ripped and healed and warm hands say i aint got nothing to prove say capitalism is the new religion of the massesso i guess me'shell jesus gotta come back and set this shit straight cause we need a shift to let our people go we need a movement we can breathe through say perchance blindness is but dark thought overcome by the lightand the light is a burgeoning entity that sends eyelashes to the tops of cheeks it shocks the back of the throat as it rolls up the spine it doubletimes doubletimed breath my sweet jesus my jesus i heard that you could save me light travels the blood to the ankles and freezes freezes the walk the thought and the pulse

5.the star beneath your eye is a mantra is an unforgotten sutra an all night orgasmlike this audible memoir speaking all voices but just yours an evangalestic waltz in the higher chakras metronomic sonic swosh the star beneath your eye is a space where marriage can be savior and a whore a whore a whoreawhoreawhoreawhorenever got to open her p*s(y script

a black girl soon to swirl around in her mamas belly writes me'shell a love note and places it in her mamas dreams she does not know other girl babies are writing too together the me'shell love notes make a b.i.b.l.e. read it as a sonogram of your destiny script script

dear me'shell thank you for teaching me that obama and hillary aint as fly as shirley (chilsom that is) and that my skin is written in a rich musical register and that tears open a space for self-construction and that a bass guitar can ask a question as loud as a protest and that thewomanistheonlyavenueofdeliverance and that harriet (tubman that is) was wise to walk her children to canada

truly delivered,
ebony your silence you ask how can i be a guided missile meticulous in my craft a reserve of seeping energy a seducer of liberation a bringer of light a choir of hearts clapping hallelujahs in warm air

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Cleromancy for June Jordan

Note: Cleromancy is a divination that uses 6 six-sided dice to invoke a poet or a poem. Out of millions of well chosen words, I chose these 36 to raise up the life of June Jordan for a limited edition Cleromancy set to be handcrafted at

Die 1 Die 2 Die 3 Die 4 Die 5 Die 6

my name to save we blurred
own is editors us are with
quietly poetry who trouble ones tears
explosive 4 look publish been did
here the at this waiting not
wings people me now fight die

Order yours soon! Only six will be made!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

haiku for sekou

lids dream bright pavement
now now now now now now now
grow push through ever

Friday, July 20, 2007

for sekou:

raised by jack-o-lanterns and parking tickets
dandelion eyelashes part the onyx birthstone

in weary time
sour soupy mouths form easy o’s like lake huron
lumbering towards the universal sound
the land of rocking chairs

when poets die
let their henna circle my body seven times and become a new mole

crimson neither stopwatch
nor discount metronome

when poets dielet them be carried through the streets on the lips of harmonics and

Kim Arrington is a singer/song writer/playwrite/poet and all around fly sista. google her and be inspired.
please send your sekou poems to me and i will post them where ever i can.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

for sekou, now!
for sekou sundiata

i know what is means to have miles davis in your skin
to speak like a weeping willow
to resist citizenship
to chew gum like a gourmet meal
i know how to harness a dream
right behind my belly button
and hold it there til it sprouts wings
bears fruit
blows across an ocean like a liberated spore
you asked me the question
is the american dream a dream or a program
and at that moment i knew you were a blessing in my wounds
a libretto for the revolution epic
a hinge for me to hold onto in times of extended prayer
i know why i love my daddy's black taffy laugh
and his eyes like an anthology of sunsets
and his one purple nail that speaks slow around his chin
a chin that drinks the moonlight
i know now sekou you drink the moonlight
let it fill your vaselined cheeks articulate your tongue reawaken your tonsils
you asked me
what is a dream with out education
you asked me what is a dream with out education
youaskedmewhatisadreamwithouteducation liberation resistance love light
youasked me me me mmeeeeeee
maybe its gospel without mahalia
or hip hop without rakim
or jazz without john
or new orleans without the mississippi
or my grandma without the love of her life
or me without poetry
you asked me
what is a dream without education
i say it aint it aint it aint a dream with out the technology of technicolor

may the spirits walk you gently down
and raise a song in your honor
may elegba grant you safe passage
asheooooo asheooooooooo ashe

Sunday, July 15, 2007

in the name of the most high ~~~~~i sing

there is a way to articulate hallelujah
prayer sweated over hot rocks
spirit piercing alien vernaculars
multiplied throats hurling truth
truth hurling multiplied bodies

-ebony noelle golden

Monday, July 02, 2007

Radical Love Letters

If love is a radical force, then let your love flow.
Here are three radical love letter formats. To publish your own email a pdf or a jpg or both to

Letter to a (Newark) Jail

This is a love letter that I wrote for the four black lesbians in Newark, New Jersey who are serving jail time for defending themselves from a homophobic attacker. As a queer black woman from New Jersey who was raised to stand up for herself, I know that they could be me.
Use this as an example in your classroom/workshop/support group. For a pdf of this letter click here

If you'd like to send your letter directly to these sistas, please follow the instructions from FIERCE below:
You can also check out for more upcoming info.

At the moment we are receiving mail at Human Rights Watch for the four women, until they have a permanent address in prison. Their names are Terrain Dandridge, Patreese Johnson, Venice Brown, and Renata Hill.

Please address all letters: Newark 4
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor
New York, NY 10118-3299

We have also started an email group to put community members in touch with one another and to send updates.
Please accept our invitation, or ask to join.

Hi, everyone. I hope we can start a letter-writing campaign to
Governor Spitzer. Here's a template we can use, but it will be much
more powerful if we all send different letters, so please add to or
change this letter to express your own feelings about this case.

*** If you want to e-mail the governor, you should do that here:

*** If you'd rather call the office of the governor, here's the
number: (518) 474-8390

*** Or you might want to print your letter and mail it to:

The Honorable Eliot Spitzer
Governor of New York
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Spitzer:

In the summer of 2006, seven young women from New Jersey, Venice
Brown, Khamysha Coates, Terrain Dandridge, Lania Daniels, Renata
Hill, Patreese Johnson, and Chenese Loyal, were spending some of
their leisure time in New York City's West Village when Dwayne
Buckle, a man selling DVDs on the street, sexually propositioned
Patreese Johnson. Refusing to take no for an answer, he followed the
young women down the street, insulting them and yelling threats. He
spat in Renata's face and threw his lit cigarette at her, then he
yanked another's hair, pulling her towards him, and then he began
strangling Renata. A fight broke out, during which Patreese Johnson,
4 feet 11 inches tall and 95 pounds, produced a small knife from her
bag to stop Buckle from choking her friend.

Two male onlookers, one of whom had a knife, ran over to physically
deal with Buckle in order to help the women. Buckle, who ended up
hospitalized for five days with stomach and liver lacerations,
initially reported on at least two occasions that the men���not the
women���had attacked him. What's more, Patreese's knife was never
tested for DNA, the men who beat Buckle were never questioned by
police, and the whole incident was documented on surveillance video.
Yet the women ended up on trial for attempted murder, throughout
which the judge, Edward J. McLaughlin, ridiculed and expressed open
contempt for the women in front of the jury. As a result, four of the
women ended up being convicted and sentenced in June 2007 to jail
terms ranging from 3 1/2 to 11 years.

It is difficult to justify these women being brought to trial for
anything, much less murder, and almost impossible to credibly explain
the sentences brought down on them. This letter is to ask you to
consider clemency for these women, who have been in jail for over a
year despite having committed no crime. Thank you for your
consideration of this matter.


The Philosophical Love Letter: This letter was created by Marquetta Dupree about how a certain understanding of love can change the ways we experience life. What is love to you? How is love a social force that can respond to poverty, violence and pain? For a pdf of this letter click here
Love letter to the world:
This letter is by Diedra and states her love-learned vision for here relationship to the earth.
For a pdf of this letter click here

Sunday, July 01, 2007

(poem about how much I want you)

dedicated to and presented for the attendees of the SONG and QEJ "Building A Queer Left" Pre-Forum Meeting at the United States Social Forum
and the girl on the Atlanta-Hartsfield Jackson Airport Photo Mural

i can't lie to you
atlanta done laid me down
heat painted pavement to stay

taught me
that to be alien
was to be here
so to be queer
must be hip hop
(beat beaten but beaming still)

atlanta taught me
music could war
and if drop-kicked hope
landed and landed
in Bankhead
it would bounce

atlanta remains
a city brazen enough
to kill me and keep moving
but I would STILL tattoo OutKast lyrics on my grave

what I am trying to tell you is
love is a sin
that at best trains me up
in the everyday art of not being a slave

but this is how much i want you

i would cringe into asphalt
fuck the compromise of sidewalks
if it meant you could stand in the middle and sing

i would shelter
the highest pedestrian deathrate
if it made the craziest among us
more likely immortal

would drawl down secrets
melt your sneakers
and name every pathway after what I can't afford

if it meant you would
never forget me

i would be the place
spread open
for the queer and fly to multiply

because this is how much i want you
and you're here

welcome home.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Worldwide Initiative for Poetry (Bathroom Stalls)

The mission of the (Worldwide Initiative for Poetry) WIP is to bring poetry to unlikely places and people like bathroom stalls, drive-through lines, cops directing traffic, holy water receptacles, birthday cakes, ant hills, beach fronts and adults buried in sand, the toys of infants, etc.

Poetry does not belong only to the establishment, academy, or the hottest local venue. It belongs to the people.
As the first mission of the WIP, all lovers of poetry are encouraged to write a poem (new or classic) on toilet paper, on a bathroom stall, or leave a note with a poem written on it in your local bathroom areas. Poems can be written on toilet paper, hand towels, mirrors, floors, or doors.
For dispensable materials, any writing instrument is encouraged. For materials that are not removable, lipstick or an easily washed instrument is encouraged (if a note is note left or taped). This is out of respect for the sanitary workers (unless you plan to offer your cleaning services after a weeks time, which would be applauded by the WIP).
You must take a digital picture of your offering to the bathroom community of poetry and send it to All pictures will be posted on the blog
Please feel free to move beyond the limits of the bathroom to any locality. Just be sure to take pictures!
(reposted from Raina)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Improvising Poetry

*note: This is a jazz poem written by the participants of the Poetry by the People Community Writing Intensive in Durham NC (sponsored by Betty's Daughter Arts Collaborative, SpiritHouse and BrokenBeautiful Press). It was written after reading Gwendolyn Benett's "Song" by passing a sheet of paper around while feeling the spirit of centuries of black music. Get together with some friends or yourself and make your own jam of a poem towards remembering.

Whispering a melody that should be foriegn
daddy drives to Birmingham in my sleep
drives like good news
drives like good lovin
drives like the day his baby girl
made freedom a proper noun like Miles or
Mingus or Coletrane Da Duh Da Duh 2,3,4
Beat Beat, beat to the rhythum
Hit the High Hat
Beat, Beat, beat to the rhythum
Don't stop the drive
The drive taking me to the "A train"
But enjoy the ride
Enjoy the ride.

Singing a melody I thought I had never heard
Before today
Before today
when waking up is explosion
when waking explodes/ a whisper how is that?
red quick silences
how is an explosion? a subway riff ripped
out of trumpet to awakeness

Selah, listen to the silence
it makes you wait, almost to the point of madness
Tap, tap, tap, that rim,
Selah, wait for that beat of realization
To realize a song sung liberate
Quick! Embrace the beat!
Quick Be about you beat!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Deja Vu: Lovenotes to Strangers

Every poem is a lovenote sent on faith. So here we go again. Use this space to write a love note meant for someone you may never know.

"wishful thinking" or "what i'm waiting to find in our email boxes"
(with Mendi and Keith in mind)

dedicated to the black women at Duke and North Carolina Central Universities and you

1. you wake up each day
as new as anyone
there is no reason to assume
you would be supernaturally strong.
there is no reason to test your strength
through daily disrespect and neglect.
you don't need to be strong.
everyone supports you.

2. if you say ouch
we believe that you are hurt.
we wait to hear how we can help
to mend your pain.

3. you have chosen to be at a school,
at a workplace, in a community
that knows that you are priceless
that would never sacrifice your spirit
that knows it needs your brilliance to be whole

4. your very skin
is sacred
and everything beyond it
is a miracle that we revere

5. we mourn any violence that
has ever been enacted against you.
we will do what it takes
to make sure that it doesn't happen again.
to anyone.

6. when you speak
we listen.
we are so glad that you
are here, of all places.

7. other women
even strangers
reach out to you
when you seem afraid
and they stay
until peace comes

8. the sun
reminds everyone
how much they love you.

9. people are interested
in what you are wearing
because it tells them
what paintings to make.

10. everyone has always told you
you can stay a child
until you are ready to move on

11. if you run across the street
naked at midnight
no one will think
you are asking
for anything.

12. you do so many things
because it feels good to move.
you have nothing to prove
to anyone.

13. white people cannot harm you.
they do not want to.
they do not do it by accident.

14. your smile makes people
glad to be alive

15. your body is not
a symbol of anything

16. everyone respects your work
and makes sure you are safe
while doing it

17. at any moment
you might relive
the joy of being embraced

18. no one will lie to you,
scream at you
or demand anything.

19. when you change your mind,
people will remember to change theirs.

20. your children are safe
no one will use them against you.

21. the university is a place where you
are reflected and embraced.
anyone who forgets how miraculous you are
need only open their eyes.

22. the universe conspires
to lift you

23. on the news everynight
people who look like you and
the people you love
are applauded
for their contribution to society.

24. the place where knowledge is
has no walls.

25. you are rewarded for the work you do
to keep it all together.

26. every song i've
ever heard on the radio
is in praise
of you.

27. the way you speak
is exactly right
for wherever you happen
to be.

28. there is no continent anywhere
where life counts as nothing.

29. there is no innocence that needs your guilt
to prove it.

30. there is no house
in your neighborhood
where you still hear screams
every time you go

31. no news camera waits
to amplify your pain.

32. nobody wonders
whether you will make it.
everybody believes in you

33. when you have a child
no one finds it tragic.
no map records it as an instance of blight.

34. no one hopes you will give up
on your neighborhood
so they can buy it up cheap.

35. everyone asks you your name.
no one calls you out of it.

36. someone is thinking highly of you
right now.

37. being around you
makes people want to be
their kindest, most generous selves.

38. there is no law anywhere
that depends on your silence.

39. nobody bases their privilege
on their ability to desecrate you.

40. everyone will believe anything you say
because they have been telling you the truth
all along.

41. school is a place, like every other place.
no one here is out to get you.

42. worldwide, girls who look like you
are known for having great ideas.

43. 3 in 3 women will fall in love with themselves
during their lifetime.

44. every minute in North Carolina
a woman embraces
another woman.

45. you know 8 people
who will help you move
to a new place
if you need to.

46. when you speak loudly
everyone is happy
because they wondered
what you were thinking about.

47. people give you gifts
and truly expect nothing
in return.

48. no one thinks you are

49. everyone believes
that you should have all
the resources that you need,
because by being yourself
you make the world so much

50. any creases on your face
are from laughter.

51. no one, anywhere, is locked in a cage.

52. you are completely used to knowing what you want.
following your dream is as easy as walking.

53. you are more than enough.

54. everyone is waiting
to see what great thing
you'll do next.

55. every institution wants to know
what you think, so they can find out
what they should really be doing,
or shut down.

56. strangers send you love letters
thanking you
for speaking your mind.

57. you wake up
as anyone.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Poetry by the People-A Community Writing Intensive

Community Writing Intensive
Durham, NC
May 8-10, 2007

Dear Lovers of the Word,
You are cordially invited to write and discuss poetry in and with the
Durham community. You will be surrounded by people who love poetry
and believe in its transformative power. Here's what you can

Daily Schedule
1:00 ~ 3:00 Silent Writing/ Manuscript Conferences
3:00 ~ 4:00 Late Lunch/ Early Dinner
4:15 ~ 5:15 Community Sharing/ Open Mic
5:30 ~ 6:30 Poetry Exercises
6:30 ~ 8:30 Workshop/ Critique
8:30 ~ 9:00 Wrap - Up

This year betty's daughter arts collaborative, broken beautiful press,
and SpiritHouse-NC have graciously decided to sponsor Poetry By the
People, so you don't have to. There is no charge for attendance, just
come with poems, an open heart, and a love for community art.

For poets who are not in the Durham-Raleigh-Chapel-Hill area, two very
modest travel scholarships are available.
1. The Betty Ann Sims, Ed.D. Artist/Scholar Travel Scholarship is
available to any poet who can demonstrate how expressive art will
impact future or current scholarly projects.
2. The Talya Pierce Travel Scholarship for Emerging Poets is awarded
to a woman of color who is beginning to explore the field of poetry.
The recipient of this award must not hold any publications or academic
degrees in creative writing.

Please submit a five-page manuscript, a cover letter that explains the
role of poetry in creating community, and your contact information to by May 6.

Contact Person
Ebony Noelle Golden, MFA
Director of betty's daughter arts collaborative

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Spelling Lesson

for this and every survivor

is a four-letter word
an instruction after catching fire
a movement behind stop
a command we must memorize
and tell ourselves
if we would be safe

is what we do to the kids
at school, at practice, at auntie's
training for a next that will keep them (running)
warning that they will not be at home anywhere
treason required by our other jobs

is what the dj plays
what the hypeman says
the entrance of the beat(ing)
stretching our skin like a place to call
drowning our knees like a new heartbeat

and today
is what my stomach does
is a frame for the rain
is the shape of the blood
that would seek to be the last word
as if we weren't students as well

but we know how to spell

so when i see D-R-O-P
dropped open in front of me
like it was new(s)
all i do is add you
all of bright breaking you
all of impossibly speaking
light leaking

and the next word is yours


love always,

p.s. the next word is really yours. make a poem about the word proud and post it as a comment

Friday, March 23, 2007

Letters to Freedom

Inspired by SpiritHouse and the upcoming Day of Truthtelling in Durham
it is time to write letters to FREEDOM! Haven't you been meaning to keep in touch? What did freedom look like last time you all met up? Where have you been hoping to see freedom? Have y'all freedom fighters been fighting freedom? If so, kiss and make up (what freedom means to you)!

(please post your letters as comments on

p.s. Send some love to a young woman whose smile looks like freedom to me