Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Our Changing Food Web   Leave a comment

Door of No Return, Ghana A Taste of Plastic.  This is my newest essay in Orion Magazine…A Taste of Plastic. I am thankful for their support of my work and to be part of magazine that thinks ahead to a time of wellness without trivializing the gravity of were we are. I felt hope, which had been lost in the wake of Michael Brown and Eric Garner’s as I read about infrastructure changes that are possible and beautiful. Tiny windmills on  buildings that look like white wings feels like real hope not band-aids when we need a tourniquet.

 

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Waning   Leave a comment

my father always said the best way to get over one woman is to find another, until you find the one you can’t get over.

            I did that. serial monogamy without enough reflection time/navel gazing. he was right. also

he was wrong.

the best way to get over a woman is to accept that you will never,

her moon pulls you, both tide and tidal

              wave when you see them there, throngs, moonlighting in your memories, on half lit nights of your heart when both you and they are shadow

drink them, water rushing in and out of the drama of you, crashing crushing waves

they will recede,

                they are your salt line

Posted June 7, 2015 by Jourdan Keith in Uncategorized

I CAN’T BREATHE   1 comment

Laying on the ground last night, I looked up at the star above Macy’s, a replica of the invisible. We could see no stars except that one above us in the Seattle sky.

Tears streamed onto the wet asphalt, as we lay in the intersection, chanting I can’t breathe, until we stopped.

I write about intersections. Laying face up with a hundred or so people at the intersection of 4th and Pine, I felt a crushing, I felt it again, but it was not in my chest, though I thought, about Eric Garner’s last moments, imagined others, the crushing was in my heart/mind. Is that the same as spirit? I can’t breathe. Saying those words over and over again, imagining, knowing it did not matter…does not matter to the system that crushes us was not a new feeling. It was the feeling I had last week…even before Ferguson. I had it when I read about a “victory” for the Environmental Justice movement.

The image of the Chevron refinery in Richmond, CA triggered a despair that I have not been able to overcome. It took me back to Sunday visits to my Aunt D.’s house across the street from the Arco refinery in Philadelphia. The image clutched my chest and my childhood in its’ acrid grimy fist and my tears and sobbing began before I could suck it back in and make it stop. I had to make it stop. I was on deadline. I was writing something that I thought would “save the world.” I am a child of the generation that was taught we could do that. It was not a grand idea. It was possible. I was raised to believe it was possible. So, I have worked for it these days of my life. But, in the moment that I saw that photo, it stopped being possible. My mind/spirit was crushed like a windpipe. I thought of my cousin who has 4th stage cancer , her sister who died of lung cancer just two years ago, before she turned 50, their brother who died with his head in refrigerator trying to get a cool breath because he could not afford a new asthma inhaler,  their father, Cherokee, who died of heart disease which is related to the air we breathe.

It was the “victory” that accompanied the image that devastated my belief in “saving the world.” Money was the victory. A portion of the money collected from the polluter. Although it was acknowledged to be “woefully” little, it was a victory. Can money bring back the dead? Can it dry the tears of my 92 year old aunt or her 94 year old sister who watched her children die when they were in their 30’s and 40’s?

Violence has more than one fist. Brutality is cumulative. I know everyday that my life is shortened by the pain I feel because of racism. They call it stress. They can measure it as stress. Quantify the result of too much cortisol. The constant fight or flight, we live with. HANDS UP, DON’T SHOOT.  On a cold day, keep your hands out of your pockets.

I can’t breathe. I surface like the Orcas, trying to get a breath. Like my cousin, trying to get a breath. I can’t breathe, my spirit is suffocating. A pregnant Orca from the endangered Southern Resident pod was found dead. Only 77 non-human beings on the endangered species list of these Southern “Killer” Whales.

I see the connection. We are dying in plain sight. We are being killed by corruption. We know our lives matter. We have families. They are threatened by extinction. I can’t breathe. I ask R U An Endangered Species?™ Find Out.

 

Homophobia’s Hidden Carbon Count   Leave a comment

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/8189

The Orion magazine magazine article is my most recent act of using storytelling for social change. it is part of my work as the lead artist for Urban Wilderness Project, the organization I founded. As an environmental educator and social justice activist, I see the connections between seeming disparate issues. It is also because I live my life in this margin.

Using techniques from Theatre of the Oppressed to magnify our community conversation on April 9, 2009 at the Pritchard Beach Bathhouse in Seattle I launched my first Does Homophobia Have a Carbon Count interactive arts action! With high school students that I engaged in storytelling and Mimi Allen, a fellow poet/activist I created a living theater exploring the connection between homophobic harassment and carbon emissions.

Posted November 24, 2014 by Jourdan Keith in Uncategorized

My Queering the Museum Digital Storytelling Project   Leave a comment

I use stories to create social change. I use stories as shields as bulwarks as life vests. I come from the Griot tradition of storytelling and the tradition of witness. These acts of telling are the necessary beginnings to social change.

The African-American community holds onto homophobia, as though it were a communion wafer. As though homophobic cruelty makes you sanctified.

“God is Love and Love is for everyone” ~ Pastor Gwen Hall

Posted November 24, 2014 by Jourdan Keith in Uncategorized

AT RISK   Leave a comment

Orion Magazine has a news department called Lay of the Land. I am thrilled to be a part of it! My essay, ” At Risk” appears in the new issue! Protecting people and our habitat gives us much to do!

“The “at-risk” label is different for youth than it is for salmon.”

Posted January 23, 2014 by Jourdan Keith in Uncategorized

Human Estuaries: Your Body is a Body of Water   Leave a comment

When we stop defining ourselves as other than nature, we will change our priorities and protect ourselves. Check out my article and stay tuned for the next community conversation hosted by Urban Wilderness Project!

Your Body is a Body of Water by Jourdan Keith — YES! Magazine

Nov 14, 2012 … A storyteller asks what you’d do if you knew your body was part of the water web.

You are a body of water.
If you knew this, would you protect yourself?
The water in your body is part of the water cycle and connected to every other body of water.
If you knew this, would you want to protect all the bodies of water on the planet?

I would ask my father this, if he were still alive, if his internal environment had not been polluted by the tributaries of toxins that flowed into his six-foot frame.

Standing in his hospital room, he handed me a note the doctor gave him, a small piece of white paper with the risk factors for his cancer. It was a checklist: saccharin in the products he used because he was a diabetic, asbestos in his childhood home and workplace, the cigarettes he’d quit smoking decades earlier, and the chlorinated tap water he drank for over 40 years. Looking up at him I said, “Well, you didn’t miss a beat.”

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/its-your-body/your-body-of-water/

Posted April 16, 2013 by Jourdan Keith in Uncategorized