Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Intimacy of Praise: Cheryll Y. Greene

for Cheryll

for an adolescent eternity
which might have been a year
my dream
was to be editor
of Essence Magazine

to write in the spirit
of glamour and buffed brownness
to cushion the impossible success
such that soft would not mean empty

i remember sitting on a train
maybe fifteen years old afterschool
and releasing that plan
into tight puffs of change
airborne as the radioactivity of not knowing

and when i let drop that image
of myself
in a suit
holding always glossy pages
and breathed in the possibility that
anything might be waiting
that words had their own story
and black shapes to space looped
a miracle always yet untold

i was having one of the moany
scattering faith moments
that might have made me ready
might have let me deserve
might have helped me want
to know you one day

Cheryll Y. Greene, along with comrade Alexis DeVeaux, was the architect of a intervention into the politics of Essence Magazine that used the fashion magazine as a platform to publish incisive and revolutionary work about the black diaspora between 1979-1985 . Cheryll Green is also the former managing editor of SOULS the Journal of the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University and is currently a visionary editor and artist blessing the world with her crucial cuts and her expansive spirit.

This is one of a series of collages and poems Alexis Pauline Gumbs did as part of the Listening Project. Click here to see the full series.

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