Rinse Restricted; Files Only

Roach, Christell Victoria (Spring 2019)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/sn009z615?locale=en


Rinse, is a chapbook of lyric poems writing from the “wake,” written in a Bluesed-state, a non-geographic space conjured by place. Christina Sharpe says in her book, In the Wake (2016), “wakes are ‘the track left on the water’s surface by a ship; the disturbance caused by a body swimming, or one that is moved, in water; the air currents behind a body in flight; a region of disturbed flow; in the line of sight of (an observed object); and (something) in the line of recoil of (a gun)’; finally, wake means being awake and, also, consciousness” (Sharpe, 21). Katherine McKittrick says in her book Demonic Grounds (2008), that “the displacement of difference, geographic domination, transatlantic slavery, and the black Atlantic Ocean differently contribute to mapping out the real and imaginative geographies of Black women; they are understood here as social processes that make geography a racial-sexual terrain [emphasis added]. Hence, Black women’s lives and experiences become especially visible through these concepts and moments because they clarify that Blackness is integral to the production of space” (McKitrick xiv).

I realize that, when the geography of a Black woman's identity meets a given place, a story is enacted upon the space of her body like bruises, blue. My work is bluesing from the body and spirit, a space-creation process. History is filled with silences, but bluesing permits me to conjure voice in spite of. Some ways of seeing call for new words; some call for trust: of the speaker’s native tongue. Rinse is a cluster of calls and responses. In this chapbook, I explore the Blues as the matter of Blackness: from form and feel to metaphor and metonym. Like a baptismal, each poem stirs histories as they rinse place and the body with ocean water. I reckon with my South, my country, by washing everything with my tongue. As a daughter of Overtown, Miami, a city bulldozed for a freeway, I sort through all sorts of wreckage internally and externally to write from a distance I’ve felt all my life: from the wake of Overtown, Zora’s Florida, Caribbean exodus.

Table of Contents

On the End of Mango Season, and Still Falling Fruit ------------------- 2

The Women Leave You with Children --------------------------------- 4

A Box of Old Tongues ------------------------------------------------- 5

Royal Palm ------------------------------------------------------------ 6

Cutler Bay ------------------------------------------------------------ 7

Native Skin ----------------------------------------------------------- 10

Conjure Woman ------------------------------------------------------ 11

The Eucharist -------------------------------------------------------- 14

Beneath a Child of Sun ---------------------------------------------- 15

Caribbean Street----------------------------------------------------- 16

Bruised -------------------------------------------------------------- 17

The Birthing Suite --------------------------------------------------- 19

Mama ---------------------------------------------------------------- 21

Passage -------------------------------------------------------------- 22

Rinse ---------------------------------------------------------------- 23

The Blue Line ------------------------------------------------------- 26

Sunshowers --------------------------------------------------------- 27

My God on 9th Street ----------------------------------------------- 28

The Ward Rooming House ------------------------------------------ 29

The Hull ------------------------------------------------------------ 30

Up Close ------------------------------------------------------------ 31

The Evidence of Things Unsaid ------------------------------------- 32

Geography ---------------------------------------------------------- 33

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