A Report from the Front

In this case the front is last night's So Much I Want to Say: An Evening of Performances with Future Plan and Program Authors curated by Steffani Jemison at the Houston Museum of African American Culture. Future Plan and Program is a publishing project featuring book-length literary works by visual artists of color. Shockingly strong work. In this case these are words appropriated from said performances as a means of reviewing, participating, collecting, archiving, remembering, saying. Appropriation makes exchange out of property, maybe. In the best of cases. In the worst of cases, the property is just taken, stolen, removed.

(As an extension of that point, I feel a bit strange, uncomfortable posting these copied notes from the performances. I am guessing most of the artists have Google Alarms on your names and will stumble on this eventually. I copied down words from each of your pieces during the performances. In the process of copying, I surely made mistakes and desired those mistakes and I definitely added some new words and made different pieces than the ones you performed. I see this as a way of being in dialogue, exchange. It is a process based on taking though, so knowing taking has a history, all feedback is welcome and will be responded to.)


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Writers's block. The circumvolutions of stopped minds. You get the idea.


All the dead voices
make noise like feathers.
If you can't transcend, you might as well descend.You can start from anything.
The silence clamors in my ears.
Let's confront each other.
What if we gave thanks for our mercies.
Where did all the corpses come from?
These skeletons?
Words fail. Is that not so that even words fail at times?
I am not a historian.
We embraced.We were happy.
Let's just keep going. The things you put into your head are there forever.
However much we resist, we're barely contained.


(I/this feeling of awkward/us)


Don't worry about what others are doing. We are all doing the same thing in a different sequence.


Spiritual warrior or one who is warlike. This is not a real name. To become a freer name in the process. On the other hand, a title explains. We've reached a point where the images aren't enough⎯a title appears. The typeface is feminine⎯strong and confident in the middle of the frame.

(We have no way of getting to things anymore.)

In case you ever find yourself asking what the right thing is.

(Different is MLK without his voice. When his words become a title.)

Malcolm X thinks there are plenty of good people in America. Consider the today of the past. He is no longer a boy leaving the hood. The writing on the wall. They're not representative⎯they're instructive. I suggest giving up. Make yourself vulnerable. Be moved by the spirit of the show. Open yourself up to the opportunity of being used.


that looks like me
in the middle who
locked up line.
my siblings.
a baby a desert a wizard to
fit in the weather
he was raped.

(Pay attention to the tap dance. Or don't. Slideshows are the epitome of boringness.)

a common reaction that you have to do
you stamp your feet
this is cutthroat
i tell him "pancreatic ducts"
the tap dance,
more steps.

blue bonnets and a black man in a blonde wig.
until you're tired.
of the tap dance.

(Play with boringness.)

Out of the David Bowie the den.


1. From the performance of Two Poems By Michael "Truth" Graham & Khorey "Greatness" Smith
2. From the performance of Better then Than When Life Was Babble? By Harold Mende
(Acted by Autumn Knight and Michael Kahlil Taylor)
3. From the performance of The Discussant By Jina Valentine
4. From the performance of So Much I Want To Say By Ayanna Jolivet McCloud
5. From the performance of The Didactic Possibilities of Film Titles By Martine Syms
6. From the performance of Adventures in Babysitting By Jibade-Khalil Huffman