P / P Introspective: Loving vs. The Law

Written By: Jordannah Elizabeth

lovings

On June 12, 1967  The United States Supreme Court deemed it unconstitutional to prohibit interracial marriage in the United States of America.

While leading a graduate level writing course on self identity in Black women in Baltimore, MD, one of my attendees confessed that in her personal understanding, and after living in Mississippi for several years, Baltimore was in many ways more racist than Mississippi. She expressed that White and Black people were very comfortable around each other there, and there wasn’t an underlying tension that she experienced in Baltimore.

I was not surprised to hear this. I personally found the racial segregation in the city to be profound. I moved around often as a teenager and young woman and spent extensive time in cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, which seemed to be utopias even as the white artist and technology class continued to overwhelm the comfort of people of color in those cities, no one ever blinked an eye, questioned or combated my involvement in interracial relationships until I moved to Baltimore. There, I was treated as if I had been brainwashed or was under a deep generational curse for bonding with people intimately who were outside of my race. Continue reading

P / P Poetry: “Theme 4 Inglish” (Da B-Mix)

Written By: Slangston Hughes

Photo credit: Pen Station

I’ve written this before, and I’ll write it again: I don’t know much, but I hope to understand one or two things before my life is complete. One thing I hope I understand is poetry. I hope writers like the Baltimore based poet, Slangston Hughes finds solace in the fact that there are people who still connect with poetry and still support it for the sake of the art form. We at Publik / Private believe it is a necessary form of art and communication, so we’re pleased to share a piece from Hughes.  -je

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Slangston Hughes is a National Slam Champion based out of Baltimore, Maryland. He’s a decorated performer winning many competitions and awards across the country. Hughes also gives back to the community as the Director of Youth Poetry at Dew More Baltimore and lead coach of the world champion Baltimore City Youth Poetry Team. Slangston Hughes was the first ever Word War grand slam champion in 2008 (Baltimore) and the 2010 Baltimore Crown Awards “Poet of the Year” recipient. His work has been published in the Poets ‘ America anthology via the Kratz Creative Writing Center. Slangston published his first collaborative literary work “Writers’ Alchemy with prosaist Devlon E. Waddell as part of E.M.B.O.D.Y. In addition Slangston is the founder of Speak Out: Slammageddon. Slangston was also a member of the Slammageddon Baltimore slam team that won the 2016 National Poetry Slam.

The Baltimore release of his book, “Slanguage Arts & Griot Glimpses (Black Jesus Edition): Poems 2002 – 2017” will officially be released at Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse in Baltimore City on Saturday, May 13th. Support independent writers:

“Theme 4 Inglish”(Da B-Mix)

“I Gotta Write”

“I gotta write, I have to write, these lines are my life”

“Go home
and write a page tonight
and let that page come out of you
then, it will be true”

so this is me right?
this is me write

what you see is what you get
stand on stages and let therapeutic phrases operate like mirrors
facing the faces of the people
you think this is entertainment
and I’m just up here regurgitating
out my soul for kicks
and that what I spit is simply for snaps and oohs
pounds and cd sales

cause sometimes, sometimes
it’s hard to tell if their looking at the poet or the performer
the artist or the human
using pain like notes to music
and they say that the blues is the best way
to turn
hurt into harmony

so follow me, yea “follow me
into a solo that you can picture like a photo”
that I took of myself Continue reading

P / P Quote: When Justice is Denied

Written By: Jordannah Elizabeth

I met playwright and activist, Sheila Gaskins for the first time last weekend. I only knew her through social media and from a couple of letters she wrote me via email when I was working to combat racism at a local publication in Baltimore by demanding a Black editor be hired at an all white paper. Shelia sent a letter of support and told me a simple and popular little saying that always makes me think of her when I become exasperated with my socio political circumstances. She told me, “Be the change you want to see.”

When I finally ran into her at a coffee shop, we chatted for a bit. I told her of some of my woes of feeling a bit isolated in my work – a Black woman pent on immersing herself in studying feminist existentialism, writing folk music and practicing “conscious self assertion” (I made that up). Sheila listened, insisted on buying a copy of my new book, “The Warmest Low” and then gave me a  quote she’d handwritten in her notebook.

Here is the quote:

“When justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, when ignorance prevails and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither person nor property will be safe.” – Frederick Douglass

A historical rumination on “the safe space”? Hmm.

Thank you, Sheila.

With love,

Jordannah

P / P Poetry: Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Written By: Meccamorphosis

Editor’s Note: Last year, Ms. Meccamorphosis (Mecca Verdell) leaned over to me while sitting at a nearby table at a coffee shop and quietly asked if she could get my thoughts on an idea she was working on. I had just finished an interview for an article and my interviewee had just walked away from my table. I told her I would do my best to answer her question. She said to me, “If you could think of the seven layers of hell for a Black woman, what would they be?” She was doing a piece similar to Dante’s Inferno on the reality of the Black woman. I rattled off my seven layers the best I could, and the rest is history. 

That summer Mecca went on to win the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam  and will soon be competing for Baltimore’s Youth Poet Laureate. I am in awe of Mecca, I’m a big fan and wanted to share her poem, Not All Heroes Wear Capes. -je

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Not all heroes wear capes
Some wear nooses,
Loosened, but ready
To drag dead weight
Hanging behind them
My mom carried enough
To sound like rattles
For her loss babies Continue reading

P / P Books: Early Spring Reading List

Written By: Jordannah Elizabeth

Spring has finally sprung. It took a while. For weeks I was waking up in the middle of the night, removing and adding my sweater to my body as the temperature remained unpredictable, showing itself to be bitter cold, then pleasantly bearable at the drop of a hat throughout March and half of April. I will soon put away my space heater and replace my comforter with lighter sheets, and more importantly, I’ll be taking a personal Spring hiatus to catch up on a few things I don’t do enough: sleep and read.

There are three books I’ve been quietly obsessing over: “Modernity and Self- Identity“, “Vulnerability in Resistance” and “The Sabotage Manuals“. I even forced myself to pay full retail price for all of these books in local bookshops, which added up to what would be equal to the price of a new pair of durable shoes or two weeks of groceries, but there are some things that move me to invest. I had been reading “Modernity and Self-Identity” and “Vulnerability in Resistance” by borrowing them in and reading the books in a local bookshop for weeks, but it wasn’t enough. I needed to mark these books, consume them and carry them around until they looked worn and studied.

I have been thinking a lot about emotional availability, vulnerability and social existence in regards to service and interpersonal relationships. I honestly cannot say I am personally the most emotional person I know – moody? A bit indecisive? Yes, but not emotional. I am a realist and I have to work with my emotions, which at times get clogged up for weeks to the point where I have to take time out to sit and interact with them until they ooze out in a manner that allows me to feel like an appropriately balanced human being. Continue reading

Premiere: Publik / Private Small Press

Publik / Private Small Press Presents:

The premiere of author, Jordannah Elizabeth‘s new book,
“The Warmest Low (Chapbook One) Limited Edition Two”
(listen to the music that accompanies the book here)

will take place at

Publications and Multiples Fair VIII (PMF VIII)
in Baltimore, MD.

at
Baltimore Design School

April 1st and 2nd

Jordannah will be signing books on April 1st at 2 pm.

For more information on how to order the book contact

P / P Writer to Writer Series: Roxane Gay

Written By: Jordannah Elizabeth

Every time something important happens to me, I’m sleep deprived. I got the word that author and feminist, Roxane Gay would be speaking in Baltimore the day of the event, and in the haze of my busy schedule, sleep deprivation and lack of financial abundance, I had to make a quick and conscious decision to do what I had to do to attend the reading of her new book, Difficult Women.  

I asked a couple of sisters if they wanted to drive to the event, but ended up having to take a car a few miles out of the city (or my personal pedestrian perception of city lines) because the convenient location of the downtown library had been changed to The Church of the Redeemer. The church was tucked behind a roundabout driveway in a quaint in a part of town on North Charles St. I cannot describe the area in depth because I was lost in my own thoughts on the way to the event.

I could barely afford the fare at that time, but I felt I had to invest in a Black woman who took the time to travel the world to inspire Black feminists and progressive women. Most most importantly, Roxane Gay speaks about intersections of reality that tend to make people feel uncomfortable and enlightened at the same time.

As feminists, we should invest in one another. As Black women, we should speak and encourage one another.

I sat in the second row of the church, which was filled with mostly white attendees. I turned by body around in my seat and grazed the room with my eyes, looking at the faces of the sprinkle of women of color in the room. I was a bit saddened to not see anyone I knew except for my friend who worked at Enoch Pratt and was managing the event, which didn’t make seeing her any less pleasing, I just wished more sisters were able to attend as listeners and explorers.

After Gay read excerpts from three short stories in Difficult Women, she opened the floor up for questions from the audience. Of course, I was the first person to raise my hand after realizing no one in the room wanted to be the first to speak.

Continue reading

P / P Poetry: Sediment and Sentiment

Written by: Carolyn Shayte

Photo credit: Photographer unknown

The switch was flipped

the city turned on

and twinkled

from beneath orange clouds

vibrantly reflecting the sun as it made it’s way

to morning

made its way to the other side

So the earth turned

and the earth turned

and I wondered what you thought about me

He thought of her

with his soft heart

with his fresh wound

and his harden scab

and he tried not to think of her

The pan had been used twice

to fry oil Continue reading

PUBLIK PRIVATE MIXTAPE # 16.16 – Daydream Machine Mixtape

Mixtape and Words By: Daydream Machine

Portland’s Daydream Machine are friends I’ve made by being a long time member of the neo psych, shoegaze music community. Our love for the music connects us with musicians from all over the world. DDM are have released a new album on March 7th entitled, The Show Must Not Go On on Picture In My Ear Records. I thought we’d celebrate the release of their album by inviting them to curate our newest mixtape. PS: Here’s a link to an alternative Spotify version so you can listen to the songs in their entirety. -je

Luna – 23 Minutes in Brussels
It would be a lie to not acknowledge how much of an influence Dean Warhem has been on Daydream Machine and this song was certainly the musical inspiration for “Modern Prophecy” and that I’m comfortable believing we turned it into something wholly our own, though I won’t deny the stylistic similarities between Justin and Josh’s bass lines. It’s just such the perfect groove to frame Jsun’s critique of the bourgeois spiritual hypocrisy and diplomatic war mongering pervasive in American culture.

Spiritualized – Medication
No song has influenced me on a psychic level or as a producer more than this. I still think of the first time I heard it, on headphones on a hotel bed in London in the 90s. I sold my soul to the dual philosophies of minimalism and maximalism. The song, and the album, Pure Phase, also spoke to me on a lyrical level, one that continues to resonate with me throughout my life. Continue reading

P / P Introspective: The Summer Tarot Deck

Written By: Jordannah Elizabeth

deck1

Photo of the Summer Tarot Deck by Mary Shock. Photo: courtesy of Mary Shock

I am happy that there is a vulva in my tarot deck! – Mary Shock

Mary Shock has a gift. I’ve witnessed it first hand. The first time I met her was several months ago when I stumbled into an inclusive workshop for strange people. I was born strange. My mother told me the first time she realized I was “different” was when I sat in the front yard of my childhood home and dumped dirt over my head. I’ve been essentially running around the world, “dumping dirt over my head” ever since.

Anyhow, the workshop where I met Mary was last Spring. She and I were both attendees and politely promised to connect in the near future during everyone’s niceties at the end of the event, but it wasn’t until a bitter cold night in Baltimore a couple of months ago when I stepped into a lecture put on by her group, the Bmore Tarot Club that I saw her again. The lecture on the history of tarot was fascinating, and I was glad I attended.

Mary has this ability to create opportunities for people to learn. She doesn’t take advantage and she doesn’t hoard information like many metaphysical professionals do. She’s a portal for the local metaphysical community to gather and learn from one another in harmony. At the end of the lecture earlier this winter, all attendees got to check out different tarot decks from some of the teacher’s personal collection, and that’s when I was introduced to her Summer Tarot Deck. Continue reading