holiness, spirituality, embodiment, care, abolition, transformative justice, grace

*edited to add- as this list might suggest, it's largely been the words of black women that have broadened my understanding of the world and healing of myself; to them i am indebted.

a lot of loose threads that have come together from reading about abolition, the ways carceral logics extend tendrils into all parts of our lives. more on

  • police state: https://www.are.na/jess-z/police-state-8san1jine1c

  • communal care: https://www.are.na/jess-z/communal-care

  • man / machines / nature: https://www.are.na/jess-z/hubris-man-machines-nature

stray thoughts that were equally profound:

  • angela davis: imagine justice outside of retributive justice, the impulse toward vengeance is a state impulse, we should imagine justice outside of hurting the person who harmed us

  • @goldwomyn on twitter: here's the thing about abolition - it begins at home, it is reflected in your relationships. in how you navigate conflicts. in how you maintain connections in your relationships. in how you show empathy and grace to those you love. it is the personal and then the political.

  • dr. thema bryant-davis: when trauma has shaped you, try not to confuse who you had to become with who you can be

  • @clementinemorrigan on instagram: shame and remorse are not the same thing. shame is a deep belief that there is something inherently wrong with me. shame stems from the overwhelming fear of loss of connection. it is a belief that i am ‘bad’ and the hope that i can become ‘good’ and therefore loveable. shame results in defensiveness, denial, or compliance. it does not help people to come into alignment with their integrity.

06.15.20 from bell hooks / teaching to transgress

"Traditional education deemphasizes the reality that professors are in the classroom to offer osmething of ourselves to the students. The erasure of the body encourages us to think that we are listening to neutral, objective facts, facts that ar enot particualar to who is sharing the information. We are invited to teach information as though it does not emerge from bodies.

Significantly, those of us who are trying to critique biases in the classroom have been compelled to return to the body to speak about ourselves as subjects in history. We are all subjects in history. We must return ourselves to a state of embodiment in order to deconstruct the way power has been traditionlaly orchestrated in the classroom, denying subjectivity to some groups and according it to others. By recognizing subjectivity and the limits of identity, we disrupt that objectification that is so neccessary in a culture of domination"

06.14.20 dan taeyoung + teaching

classes where you learn how to dance and move your body. classes where you learn how to facilitate a meeting, make working groups. spaces where you realize that nobody is in control / everyone has agency. classes where everyone is oriented in a circle, listening to each other.

oriented in the same direction, like a school of fish, trying to find something together. oriented outwards, as if we are exploring a city of thought and agree to meet back in a few hours, with photos and notes of things we’ve discovered.

06.10.20 dylan rodriguez / abolition as praxis of human being 

"In this sense, abolition is not merely a practice of negation— a collective attempt to eliminate institutionalized dominance over targeted peoples and populations— but also a radically imaginative, generative, and socially productive communal (and community-building) practice"

from joelle simay / flow in the light: 


  • can't get in touch with spirituality if not in touch with your body

  • spirits/alcohol/libations

  • ancestors always at your spine

  • the energy of water (shower, libations)

  • push to open, pull to close; similiar to how you open and close the body/torso

  • recognizing yourself san physical markers; can you explain yourself without the name, appearance, "drag"?

    • who are you before you're seen by others?

  • when we start counting, we start at 1, though we should be starting at 0

  • zero isn't nothing, it's the beginning

  • “my name is” / “i am called” / “they call me” --> what are they calling? upon the essense

  • zero - the body, the heart in womb state; synchronization, ground 0

  • numbers are odd, even, numbers are measured by their distance from 0, a baseline, a beginning

  • ground zero has rubble, there often will be things to excavate

  • discernment of self, fear you can't name (outside of realm of ground 0)

  • slow down to name fear, to slow down

  • ground zero came with you, your nervous system came with you


  • drums were the first technology outside of the body / quieting of the drums a form of us staying in our bodies

  • altars; a sacred space no one else has access to / a sense of reverence ((we all have altars))

  • 0 - who am i, without all the descriptors

  • 1/2 - what is the technology that pulls me out of myself (drums, altars)

  • 1 - ocular / altars; body / touch

    • we are born with the same nervous system

    • senses

      • sound - hearing adapts / matures / sonic experiences / noise vs sound / what's on your frequency

      • touch - do you recognize the gentleness you experience yourself, treat yourself with, are you gentle, kind with yourself? gentleness in recognition of preciousness

      • taste - cooking, nourishing, medicine/health, cravings (lacking/needing), understanding herbs

        • snappeas have near identical genomes as the human body

        • we make alcohol/spirits from plants, we have spirit in us

        • hoodoo - working specifically w roots, plants

      • smell - works alongside taste / there are things that are bitter but good for you, deserts used to be vast oceans and camels have a sense of smell for the water

      • movement - when all your senses are online, your body responds to movement --> you're online

    • when you have understanding of self in body; altar is a mirroring act, how you understand yourself // you are your own walking altar / this is your reflection

    • you need to feel and move with fluidity

      • also: watching people dance


baby tries her hand at generative text, stumbles over livestream (i'm here at 46:24ish), contemplates god (i think i just want to talk about the vacuum of god and feelings of transcendence.. for better or for worse)! i participated in performajam, this art sprint livestream chaotic goodness hosted by itp-nyu adjacent journal, and it was so nerve-wracking but so inspiring-- i ventured into glitch for the first time, and was delighted by all of the creative projects, and how accessible collaborative work was on the platform.

i remixed a generative poetry project mars, mars, mars, by @acgillette on glitch

to mash up a bunch of works i'd been finding comfort in: a timeless piece about carly rae jepsen's infinite, totipotent love, a piece about the miracles of teaching, sober by lorde, ultralight beam by kanye, weekend by moses sumney x flume.


finally, there was a passage from octavia butler's “a few rules for predicting the future,” that moved me:

"Because, most of all, our tomorrow is the child of our today. Through thought and deed, we exert a great deal of influence over this child, even though we can’t control it absolutely. Best to think about it, though. Best to try to shape it into something good. Best to do that for any child.

How many combinations of unintended consequences and human reactions to them does it take to detour us into a future that seems to defy any obvious trend? Not many. That’s why predicting the future accurately is so difficult.

Some of the most mistaken predictions I’ve seen are of the straight-line variety–that’s the kind that ignores the inevitability of unintended consequences, ignores our often less-than-logical reactions to them, and says simply, “In the future, we will have more and more of whatever’s holding our attention right now.

If we’re in a period of prosperity, then in the future, prosperity it will be.

If we’re in a period of recession, we’re doomed to even greater distress.

Of course, predicting an impossible state of permanent prosperity may well be an act of fear and superstitious hope rather than an act of unimaginative, straight-line thinking. And predicting doom in difficult times may have more to do with the sorrow and depression of the moment than with any real insight into future possibilities. Superstition, depression and fear play major roles in our efforts at prediction."

exclaimed to my partner — the feelings prose and poetry give me are kinda like what i imagine the euphoria of working through math proofs to be, if i was good enough at math to be able to read proofs. “tommorow is the child of our today” -i always think about past me as a child for me to retroactively think tenderly of, but this idea of tomorrow's me as a child of present me, gives me strength. younger me's are my youngest cheerleaders, but perhaps also the oldest because they were there first. and, even if past mes were trapped and helpless, there is agency i presently hold to care for myself right now, and into the future. go to of-yesterday.glitch.me to remix the project (woohoo markov chaining) and check out some of the texts generated by these combination of texts, juxtaposed with images that characterized for me the period of time in which we were just transitioning into quarantine :

in the confessional, a shrine to words i never said:

no church but i have a chapel / no halo but feeling holy /

not a child of god but on of yesterday /

no god to fear but ourselves


this isn't the end times, not yet,

children revisiting their mother tongues,

bright, and beautiful, and endless,

like sunlight streaming through

the emergency exit


a joker tattoo on my left wrist,

a card always up my sleeve.

my hair is now the color of fiery sunsets,

angels dangle from my ears and neck.

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