Today was another tough day of carrying the pain of our continued inhumanity toward one another: Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, Myanmar…and so many other ongoing tragedies. I find it hard to find words – to know what to offer here on Feminism and Religion. Some days it seems necessary to go on with our work as planned; la lucha is every day and we keep at it. But other days, keeping on as planned just seems absurd. I think these are precisely the days that Audre Lorde had in mind when she wrote that poetry is not a luxury.
For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. (Sister Outsider, 36)
My friend Edyka is someone who is helping to form “the quality of the light within,” inspiring our hope and moving us toward action. In her poetry, which she often performs as spoken word, she shares about specific human experience, including her own, in the context of its interrelatedness to the human community as a whole. Her words have a way of capturing the individual and the communal, the personal and the systemic, all in pursuit of our collective healing and well-being. Her words call us to new life and inspire us to continue our part in the work of birthing a new world.
I present to you, Edyka Chilome, sharing one of my favorite of her pieces:
Consider yourself introduced. And if you ever have the opportunity to see her in person, you should take it, she is a powerful presence and a beautiful human. Also, you should feel free to introduce yourself; she is a friend of FAR and has contributed here before. You can read more of her poetry in her book, She Speaks Poetry, but for now, I leave you with these two short poems.
Labor pains growing strong
the winds sings a new song
be sure it won’t be long
till we see a new day
a new world
a new clay
for the cosmos plants the seed
the earth paves the way
– edyka chilomé (posted on her Facebook page)
And from She Speaks Poetry, “If I Go Missing”
Remember. We will find home
again. It will exist in the depths
of compassion again
in the euphoria of love
we will built it with courage
again and again. We will rest
in the roots of our intentions
If we dare survive this war
We must remember to choose
love again and again
Xochitl Alvizo, loves all things feminist, womanist, and mujerista. She often finds herself on the boundary of different social and cultural contexts, and works hard to develop her voice and to hear and encourage the voice of others. Her work is inspired by the conviction that all people are inextricably connected and what we do, down to the smallest thing, matters; it makes a difference for good or for ill. She teaches in the area of Women and Religion, and the Philosophy of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality, at California State University, Northridge.