Visiting writer Akiera Xavina Charles reflects about another week as Groundation Grenada writer resident. She joins us as a recipient of the Gallatin Global Fellowship in Human Rights.

As pesky period cramps rolled in last week, I braced myself for the tidal wave of emotions that always follow it – grumpy face greeted by easily agitated body meets erratic mood swings, occasional sadness, tear drops and feelings of isolation.
I knew the worst was yet to come.
I then waited
and held my breath.

8…7 …6 .. uhhh … 5…4…3

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Surprisingly, I did not cry a lot as expected last week; I enjoyed my own company – just chilling alone and relaxing in Darbeau, Grenada.
Rather using most of my time getting angry
at folks’ Facebook posts,
enviously admiring others’ Instagram pictures,
as well as,
chatting on the cell to my mammy, boo-thang and friends,
apart of my soul ached
by this week-long moment of nothingness – frivol unproductiveness.

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Everyday I imagine myself doing …
something ground breaking like developing a new skill, writing a lot, reading an entire book in one day, discovering the magical serum that could finally grow my nappy 4C hair, finding a bomb ass Fulbright topic, collaborating with all those amazing young hippie Insta-famous artists, being the next Octavia Butler, learning how to swim, finally shaving my legs etc.

However, none of these things have happened yet – failure still looms all over my face.

But how can I be here, but not there?
My Black communities are in mourning; my POC queer community are still suffering. Please ancestors how can I be here?
Through my month long stay, I have learned
that Grenada is not a place of paradise.
I cried many nights hating upon my father’s sins and lies; despising
both old and young Grenada men – those who were taught to thrive and find
ownership over any woman’s “saltfish.”

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Brethren who have taught you to be this way?
Why do you whisper me “hello” when most “hellos” in my life have been laced in threats of rape, fucking me, hurting me, using me, wanting me, and hurting me again.

I don’t trust any of your “ hellos”
Black men you have failed me.
Grenadian men you have failed me.
Father you have failed me.

Is it ok to say I longer trust “the male centered opinion?” I no longer have patience to listen to those who cry endangerment unto the Black man.
Do you have patience?

Black man open your eyes, we are all grieving here.
Fuck the Hotep Niggas because I already disowned y’all ass.

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Because I am in search of a sisterhood …
I showed up with a smile on my face that day. Of course, this smile was conjured as I silently fought away period cramps and mood swings, but as soon as laughter filled the outside space of the Priory, I adopted a newly improved spunk. Excitement filled my face as I watch these women talk about how “saltfish” is remembered. In particular, after listening to songs like “Jab Jab Salt fish,” “Cukus Bag” and “In Yoh Panty,” we questioned which part of our bodies wanted to move the most and dabbled away with our pens and paper as why it moved or did not move. We shared in similar feelings of discomfort having to write about an intimate body part, yet through support and laughter we managed to have a good, productive gathering.

 


FullSizeRender (2)Akiera Xavina Charles
Groundation Grenada Writer-in-Residence

Hailing from the concrete jungle an ocean away in the overly gentrified, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, Akiera is a Grenadian born, mango-loving, queer woman.  As a 2015-2016 recipient of the Gallatin Global Fellowship in Human Rights, Akiera has been selected by her institution, New York University’s (NYU) Gallatin School of Individualized Study to take part in documenting the dreams, desires, and experiences of women loving women in Grenada. Her research delves into the realms of afro-futurism, magical realism and speculative fiction. Feel free to poke and prod her with questions about creative writing stuff, survival as a queer twenty-something year old, love, sex and any other random ‘destroy white supremacy’ tidbits.

Akiera Xavina Charles’ Writer Residency – Week 2 Blog Post