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This blog is out of use and out of date. I am now posting on mercedesorten.blogspot.com

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Back from Orlando...

Orlando, Florida. Whoa. It was quite possibly the strangest of places to visit, especially for over 25,000 feminists. Strip malls littered the supposedly once beautiful, wild, marshy landscape, leaving nothing but steaming cement and buildings that fogged up with the blasts of freezing air conditioning when it met the heat from outside. Orlando the city was one of the more disappointing places that I've traveled in the U.S., mostly because I felt so out of touch with nature--which is what I consider "the real" of any environment. Pavement everywhere with flashy buildings and lights are not my idea of a "real place." So, as a result my trip to Orlando felt largely unreal. Even air conditioned hotelfelt unreal.

Reniassance hotel pic

Oh, the irony.

Beautiful, the conference, thousands of wonderful, sharp-as-tacks feminists, and a whole lot of discourse was a bit surreal for me, too. I really enjoyed a lot of the conference, especially the key-note speakers Dr. Vanada Shiva, and Winona LaDuke.

Reniassance hotel pic 2
Where we listened to the keynote speakers

Some of the panels and workshops I went to were good, but a lot were "shameless pontification(s)"* by Ph.D smartie tarties who thought their ideas were king, er, queen. The best part of the entire conference, actually, was the play written by the poet Ntozake Shangé.** Actually, it was a theatrical performance that grabbed your heart and held onto it the entire time. It was directed by Bee Boyd. In short, I loved it because it was feminist, I loved it because of the women I had the opportunity and privilege of staying with. And oh, Disneyworld, conversely, was incredible, no doubt the "Happiest celebration on earth"!! I hope to scan pictures soon of Texas Emma and I running madly around the huge park in an indulgent search for cotton candy, candied apples, and other sweet thangs to satisfy our cravings and curb our ravenous appetites. Seriously, Texas Emma and I are very much alike, we are both "EATERS" and we both are very hyper and sugar driven. We proved this when we ran wildly around Dizzyworld searching for more sugar and riding as man rides as we could along the way. By far that was the highlight of trip. That and my new close friendship with Texas Emma. She's named after Jane Austen's character, what more can I say too describe her awesomeness?
Also, we both felt the performance by Shangé on a similar level. Here is an excerpt of Shangé's beautiful, lyrical work from the performance we saw (this poem was the most powerful of the performance, and, incidentally, made me cry:

With no immediate cause WITH NO IMMEDIATE CAUSE
by Ntosake Shange

every 3 minutes a woman is beaten
every five minutes a
woman is raped/every ten minutes
a lil girl is molested
yet I rode on the subway today
i sat next to an old man who
may have beaten his old wife
3 minutes ago or 3 days/30 years ago
he might have sodomized his
daughter but i sat there
cuz the young men on the train
might beat some young women
later in the day or tomorrow
i might not shut my door fast
enuf/push hard enuf...

...click for all of poem

...i bought the paper
looking for the announcement
the discovery/of the dismembered
woman's body/the
victims have not all been
identified/today they are
naked and dead/refuse to
testify/one girl out of 10's not
coherent/i took the coffee
& spit it up/i found an
announcement/not the woman's
bloated body in the river/floating
not the child bleeding in the
59th street corridor/not the baby
broken on the floor/
"there is some concern
that alleged battered women
might start to murder
their husbands & lovers with no
immediate cause"
i spit up i vomit i am screaming
we all have immediate cause
every 3 minutes
every 5 mintues
every 10 minutes
every day

...click for all of poem

have you hurt a woman today
did you beat a woman today
throw a child across a room
are the lil girl's panties
in yr pocket
did you hurt a woman today

i have to ask these obscene questions
the authorities require me to
immediate cause

every three minutes
every five minutes
every ten minutes
every day.

"With No Immediate Cause" ©1978 by Ntozake Shange
Reproduced here for educational purposes only.

Oh, so that's the end for now, folks.

* "shameless pontification" is a direct quote from Texas Emma. Used with covert permission.

**Ntozake Shange. One of the most influential contemporary African American poets, Shange is the author of the Obie Award-winning "for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf." As a School of Theatre and Dance Artist-in-Residence from 2002 to 2003, she created "Lavender Lizards and Lilac Landmines: Layla's Dream." The piece used Ms. Shange's identifying theatrical form: the choreopoem, which integrates poetry, movement, music and dance into an aesthetic whole. In vivid and powerful language and movement, the work reveals a woman's struggle between soul and spirit.
School of Theatre and Dance, University of Florida


  • At 3:58 PM, June 15, 2005, Blogger Jessie "Me" K. said…

    mercedes, its so nice to hear you again, i really missed you so, you are a wonderufl person, and i am so blessed to have you in my life. i hope you are having an amazing day, and i hope to see you tonight, i heart you :-)

  • At 4:35 PM, June 15, 2005, Blogger Andrew said…

    awesome. sounds like it was fun, excpet for the surreal out of nature bit. you should read "the geography of nowhere"

    or at least read about it.

  • At 11:17 AM, June 16, 2005, Blogger Carrie Lorraine said…

    From what i've heard from you, you had an awesome time... I really like that emma got you guys a town car because of that stupid prick of a bus driver. Awesome memories though!!!

  • At 3:52 PM, June 18, 2005, Blogger Alysha said…

    Wait's the name o' the play? I dig on the poem, but what's the play called? And have you read her "For Colored Girls . . . "?

  • At 6:49 PM, June 20, 2005, Blogger NRRT said…

    interesting poem. Very dark but painfully real.
    Glad you had a good time in FL. Sorry you found Orlando so unnatural. :(


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