Tuesday, December 31, 2013

thinking about artists and identity politics

(in the wake of the Ani DiFranco fiasco starring Buddy Wakefield, Toshi Reagon and Saul Williams)

ultimately, the product of real artists is our heart and soul.  it hurts when people don't like our work.  it's akin to hearing, 'I don't like you.'  the journey of the artist whose product revolves around identity politics is even harder. we know that the system we challenge is filled with people who don't like us and we are okay ~ even proud of ~ of that.  but, the product we bring to market is also wrapped up in hope. truly, the audiences we have worked so hard to earn demand that our hearts and souls to be stronger ~ wiser ~ smarter.  because we have stood up and said no to a system to which so many of us are still bound.  

our audiences are not like our close friends and family who pardon our frail humanity. those dear ones who know us to be good people even though we fart precisely at three o'clock every morning.  and when we deliver a truly faulty product, they will come at us.  

this is the time for us to rise to the occasion of our higher selves.  this is the time we peel back our rib cages and expose our hearts to their knives.  say, 'see? I am broken also. help me.' and then allow them to put down their knives and stitch the aorta back. for too often, our hearts have grown weary of placing plastic bandages on something that has grown rigid and brittle in the light of market share.  

this is the time we invite them in and allow them to help us become again to them what they have hoped we have tried to remain all along.  this is the time of a true and meaningful repentance. the time for action. the time to to put the match to hope's kindling and let them relight all of us.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Calling In | From One To Another One

Toshi Reagon responded to the kerfuffle about Ani DiFranco's messy venue selection here.

I am often "the one" and understand that it comes 
with a heavy load of responsibility. regardless 
of your choices, there will be questions, 
assertions, assumptions and name calling 
mixed together with a liberal smattering of self-righteous 

"see? it's /not\ okay." sometimes, the choices 
"the one" are asked to make are difficult 

and painful. too often, the task of "the one" is 
to solder together odd bits and pieces into what might look 
like a hybrid gramophone/ boombox/ ipod hybrid 
so it mimics a flawless rendition of multiple voices 

in time and space. sometimes those voices have 
to be sampled, remixed and accompanied 
live. this is a deep and awkward labor. 

sometimes, the one has to choose the terms of engagement
the way a recovering alcoholic enters a bar. 
if the alcoholic is spiritually fit, they can withstand 
with ease and grace the temptations 
to be drawn back into their illness.  what I hear you saying is ~ 

you see yourself as spiritually fit ~ you are an equal partner in the venture. 
your place is one where you have the ability to co-create the experience, 
direct the programming, define stated objectives, intend 
outcomes ... with equality in revenue sharing. 

if this is the case, if you seek not to improve your position within 
patriarchal White Supremacy and are using this event to dismantle 
it, then I applaud and admire you. 

I will watch closely to learn how you do this. your brand is
unlike your mother's ~ which has always stayed close 
to an indisputable mission to dismantle White Supremacy and patriarchy.

it may just be that you have grown large enough 
to think about being able to walk in her shoes. and I trust 
in her good role-modeling to see you through 
this swamp of thoughtless entitled female White supremacist 

behavior. so, my sister, I am watching carefully 
to see how you do this tender dangerous work.
I have much to learn about the way 
"one" has always been asked to create 
change. and achieves it single-handedly.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Report From Nottoway Plantation

(site of Ani DiFranco’s "Righteous Retreat in The Big Easy)

them ghosts gonna 
respect no privacy or tenderness.
hobble they tires like runaways.
cut strings like ham.
sing the stillborn song. holler down 

holy hell.  them ghosts gonna
sprinkle glass in they food.
rub fingernails on they larynx.
bite out they tongues. 
break they fingers.  suck marrow 
out they phalanges n metatarsals. 
put brambles on they eyeballs. 

suffocate they. them ghosts gonna
rub on they like they was rubbed on.
play thorns on they eardrums.
yank they pubic hairs out.
brand they tastebuds.
salt paper cuts.
watch they young sold far.
push say please up they nose into they brain.
chop down they money tree.
confetti they money times 

five generations. them ghosts never forget.

just say no.  sign the petition.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Few Words For Roxanne Jones

without Mother Shaming

Here is an article from Roxanne Jones. She is a founding editor of ESPN The Magazine and a former vice president at ESPN. She is a national lecturer on sports, entertainment and women's topics and a recipient of the 2010 Woman of the Year award from Women in Sports and Events.

Mother Teaches Son To Get A "Sexual Consent" By Text

I could go there.  But, I won't.  Instead, I'll say a little piece of my piece.  Then, I'll go back to the actually incredibly hard and rewarding work of raising a boy to become a good man.

1) A woman can say no at the very last second. Really, she can say no even after she texted yes. 

2) Perhaps sons should be taught to say no to girls who are drunk. Sons should not be taught tricks to get around date rape. If you can't get any from a sober girl, you probably have some inner work to do. 

3) The right kind of preparation for boys is teaching boys that it is not the girl's responsibility to "not get raped." It is the boy's responsibility not to rape. See #2 

4) No court of law would accept this tactic. See #1. 

5) Sending a "confirmation of consent" text to a girl you intend to have no further relationship is creepy at best and abusive at worst. Don't have sex with people you do not plan to have a continued relationship. 

6) If you think your boy is going to be "the all conquering hero," then teach him the dynamics of consensual polyamory.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Love Supreme - following bliss.

So, The Win thinks A Love Supreme is his lucky math song.  So, he shared this idea with his teacher at the Afro American Music Institute, Howard Alexander.  After two lessons, this is the result.


There is something to be said for trusting your child to find the right teachers who facilitate and encourage them to follow their bliss.  These days, I spend a lot of time reminding myself that I have raised a child who knows what he is doing. This I think is the hardest part of home educating.

Please like and share! Support quality musical education! If you shop Amazon, you can donate to the Afro American Music Institute by clicking the following link.  http://smile.amazon.com/ch/25-1689025http://smile.amazon.com/ch/25-1689025

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Experiment #2 - Untitled Text

I've done another experiment. I don't care for it as much as the first one.  I think I am trying to push too much.  Or rather, I'm the kid who was given the whole big box of crayons...
with some oil paints...
and some glue...
and some tissue paper.
When I was much better off with two pencils.

The poem was written in the graphics program.  I think lets you view my best attempt at standard text.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Process - Unlisted Second Steel Performance #3

There is something really fun about looking at different stages of work. Almost like watching a live birth, it's kind of painful, embarrassing and a tad messy.  

But, I'm really glad that the folks at Unlisted: a performance series value the evolving process of art making.  Almost like a parent who has sat through endless rehearsals; cheerfully endured practice at home; and is still moved by the end product.

Here are the first notes which were written during a production meeting. 

The link has the text of the first draft. (As does a previous blog entry.)

Here is the performance (No text. I'll put up video later.)  Below is the final text.  (It will be used as a voice over in my documentation video.  coming later)

The Dirt Only Speaks The Truth In Tongues

there are stories in the dirt.  
everything which has ever drawn 
breath whispers its echoing aches 
and ecstasy back to the dirt... 
the more you break your fingernails. 
sift and dig,  my eyelashes 
spell the words, “I  a m  s t i l l  h e r e.”    

on ribs nsibidi rising on smoke tendrils, 
adrinka blackened grill marked gourds, 
heiroglyph harpists playing cedar plank salmon songs,
curl charred silk mazes between your Maize biting teeth
pattering patois chickens with crimson coal applied like kohl 
to the inside of my eyelids in your fire pits
and backyard barbecues I spell, 
w h y  c a n ' t  you  s e e  me?”

the dirt only speaks the truth in tongues 
that were once in the mouths of others.
to those who see alkali smells 
with river silt scorched mouths. 
it has been speaking… open wide. 

I will pack your orifices with mud and rue laced 
salt. and light golden
seal them shut. 
dry and harden, it will. 
know my keloid lovely memories

these hard imagined futures
like itching amputated limbs ~ now. remember. now. 
goose bump spiculum burn ~ now. feel me. now
tympanic buzz ~ now. remember. now. 
I carry you. can cast you down or out.

dirt grows stories. what we know 
is that nothing stays
the same.  our ancestors 
tell our children their history must be scraped 
from under their parent’s fingernails
lest they become infected 
by scratching off their present
like chickens fattened, baffled, tagged.

Monday, October 21, 2013

New Experiments / Return to Origin

This year has been an amazing journey.  Artistically, it has ben a return to my young aesthetic roots.  Only this time, technology is within reach.  My job is to dance on the learning curve.

So, I've been making poems which look like what my journal used to look like before I stopped writing on paper.

Experiment #1

Monday, September 23, 2013

Notes From Project Meeting: Unlisted:Second Steel

I will be participating in Unlisted: Second Steel on September 28th.  My team's site is in The Hill District.  We will be asking:


Here are some notes from our first full production meeting.

/~/ Beginning /~/

there are stories in the dirt.  everything which has ever drawn 
breath whispers its echoing aches and ecstasy back to the dirt... 
the more I  break my fingernails. sift and dig, 
my eyelashes spell the words, 

"W h e r e  a r e  y o u?    
in crimson coals applied like kohl 
to the inside of my eyelids
W h y  c a n ' t  I  s e e  y o u?"

maybe nsibidi, adrinka, heiroglyphs,
the dirt only speaks the truth
to those who see the smell alkali with river silt scorched mouths. 
it has been speaking… in tongues that were once in the mouths of others.

open wide. I will pack your orifices with mud and rue laced salt. 
light golden
seal them shut. dry and harden, it will. the memory
keloid lovely. like me a hard imagined future memory

~ an amputated limb itching ~ now. remember. now. 
now. feel me. now. remember. I carried you.
dirt grows stories. What we know is that nothing stays

the same.  our ancestors tell our children their history
must be scraped from under their parent’s fingernails
lest they become infected by scratching off the present.

Monday, August 26, 2013

She Diva Died. & Come Again? 

be/he/me (myth) retro/speculative
 multi-medi(v)a motherhood art. 

After 10 years of relative quiet and minimal artistic activity, I'm returning to the Pittsburgh arts scene as both a presenter and performer.  This multi-media performance incorporates text, sound, image and movement to portray the battle between the artist and the mother.  The show particularly examines identity as it relates to raising a Black man.

In 2002, Springer stepped off the Pittsburgh arts community stage to raise my son. Christiane Leach and had been running a non-profit arts organization, Sun Crumbs which produced over 50 programs annually.  This is a taste of more great programming to come.

My CD 1999 CD, "In The Image Of Angels" has sold over 800 copies and is available for free download at www.soundcloud.com/christina_springer. You'll also find teasers and outtakes for "She Diva Died & Come Again."

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


on the day Mandela did not die,
a lawyer declares pavement
to be a weapon. the soles of my father's 
leather church shoes scratch 
yesterday's head. mine shakes.

& gone. all gone. is sense.

Monday, June 24, 2013

this is

robbing. the dead 
are patient. 80 
years. new view. time
to check out.