Won’t You Celebrate With Me
Lucille Clifton, 1936-2010, (African) American
Still photos taken from Daily Mask, 1997-2004, 16mm film transferred to video.
Maren Hassinger, (African) American born 1947. Running at the Baltimore Art Museum in 2019.
Role models and opportunities of many kinds have increased for African American women – the transgendered remain in peril – in the United States in the last forty years.
Nevertheless, I don’t think that any black woman would proceed into her North American life today, as before, except thoroughly masked.
I sometimes go out in an Afghani burqa. Absurdly relishing the contradictory freedom.
won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my one hand;
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed