We’re thinking this time about our relationship with violence, our tolerance and downright belief in the concept as ultimate and finite reality. And this primal resolution that a ceaseless watershed of carnage will ever be a thing of permanence in our lives is not only killing our bodies, it’s also killing our precious spirits; not to mention the glorious planet that sustains us. Even the tragic executions of school children in Connecticut, the horrifying event that took place on the 14th of December 2012 that Ray L Martin alludes to as he ponders the question of gun possession and public safety in the US – an event capable of hurling the globe into a simultaneity of trauma and weeping, does little to impact the tides of modern slavery, pandemics of violent conflict and genocide. Add to this, the more oblique forms of violence, (poverty for instance), and the dogmatic insistence of their perpetual nature “the poor will always be among us” that enables a culture of wounding and catalyses a murderous human climate. Accomplished and prolific poet Afaa Michael Weaver whose renaissance verse has been likened to that of Walt Whitman not only shares the eloquence of his artistic process as he answers our Femficatio Perspectives, but with breathtaking and tender vulnerability, he speaks of the violence that is childhood abuse and the transformational consciousness that allowed him to rise above the pain, healing to teach and share his considerable literary gifts. We are most honoured to present poetry from his unpublished collection and most grateful for his generosity and candour.
Also, some passionate and precise contemplations on motherhood from philosophy editor Malkia Charlee Nocry and the after-blues about a holiday perennial from Nikita Parik.
This one we dedicate to Langston Hughes, whose recent birthday reminds us of the versatile literary troubadour who helped us excavate the racial mountain with craftsmanship and wit, and also challenged class as a construct that engenders violence and diminishes the person-hood of all.
To Langston … to Life … Salut!
“On the day when the Negroes arrived for their rehearsals, just prior to the opening of the place, Sol gave them a lecture. “Fellows,” he said, addressing the band, “and Miss Lucas” to the blues-singling little coal-black dancer, “listen! Now I want to tell you about this place. This will not be no night club. Nor will it be a dance hall. This place is more like a church. It’s for the rebuilding of souls – and bodies. It’s for helping people. People who are wore out and tired, sick and bored, ennui-ed in other words, will come here or treatments, the kind of treatments, that Mr. Lesche and I have devised, which includes music, the best music, jazz, real primitive jazz out of Africa (you know, Harlem) to help ’em learn to move, to walk, to live in harmony with their times and themselves.” from the short story Rejuvenation Through Joy by Langston Hughes, b. 1st February 1902, d. 22nd May 1967.