To be Black in this world is to be intimate with a kind of living death. It’s an intimacy no one craves, and yet Black people know better than most that Audre Lorde speaks truth to power when she says “we were never meant to survive.”
I am safe nowhere, the Black women in my family of origin and family of choice are safe nowhere. It’s a fact we’ve known but one that feels all the more threatening in the wake of continuing violent injustice for Black women.
In my own myth, New York has been the cornerstone of what shaped me, finally allowing myself to be in my queerness. While the New York I inhabited and the one of Audre Lorde’s life looked radically different, Lorde’s relationships and the women she loves and lusts for each leave her fuller than before.
I’m still angry. Breonna Taylor’s murderers still walk free. Let’s be real, they’re probably running around without masks. Audre Lorde’s sense of restlessness and barely concealed fury are evident. But so, too, is her unwavering belief in our magic.
We are in the middle of a revolution. My Black woman’s anger is here to signal a necessary sea change. Understand that all of our freedoms are bound up in one another.
“I am going to write fire until it comes out my ears, my eyes, my noseholes — everywhere. Until it’s every breath I breathe. I’m going to go out like a fucking meteor!”
This is dedicated to those who are just trying to make it through every day. It’s been gratifying on an almost cellular level to find that the queen mother Audre Lorde can so frequently speak to the times and places in which we find ourselves. Her final book of poetry, “The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance,” is no exception.
One of the biggest lessons of Audre Lorde’s work is the strength of coalitional politics. I need a movement that can hold my anger. I need a movement that can hold my contradictions. I shouldn’t have to qualify my rage when speaking out about injustice.
I’m pairing Audre Lorde’s 1984 conversation with James Baldwin and arguably her best-known speech, “The Masters Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” in hopes of exploring how our power and freedom lie in embracing our differences as the source of our strength.
Introducing our new series: Year of Our (Audre) Lorde, a monthly analysis of works by queen mother Audre Lorde as they apply to our current political moment. First, how harnessing our erotic power can help us THRIVE!