Dear Philomena Tour Diaries: St. Catharines Poetry Slam

There are four places across the world that I feel at home in:
1) Airports
2) Libraries
3) Churches
4)  Hospitals

My life thus far has consisted of a lot of traveling due to:
1) My father’s work
2) My father’s death
3) My education
4) My health
5) My Global South citizenship
6) My privilege and access to travel
7) Too many loved ones spread across the world

I’ve never lived in any city longer than 5 years. I’ve never lived in any country for longer than 6 years. I associate home with people more than place. The constants I’ve had in life, regardless of place are:
1) Airports
2) Libraries
3) Churches
4) Hospitals

Churches.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with churches. I love churches because they offer a sanctuary. Regardless of where I am in the world, churches have the same rhythm, timbre and structure. They offer a sense of normalcy in an otherwise chaotic world. Nonetheless, churches brutally converted my people to their faith. Churches advocated for the subhuman and constrictive treatment of my people. Churches promoted the ‘curse of Ham’ and inherent dehumanization of people that look like me. Churches pushed for the superiority of white people over people who look like me. Churches convinced my people that what they believed in was satanic and what the church believed in was true. Churches convinced my people that our traditions were viewed by my people as satanic. Churches convinced my people that we needed Jesus. Churches convinced my people that we didn’t need the Palestinian revolutionary sex-worker loving Jesus, churches convinced my people that we needed the ‘politically correct’ Jesus’. Churches convinced us that we needed saving.

Churches.

My time at the St. Catharine’s Poetry Slam convinced me that it was in fact churches that needed saving. My entire life, it was churches that convinced us that we needed saving, this was not true. Churches needed saving from the individual disruptions that they were facing. Churches needed to preach the true gospel that it was varying sexual and gender practices that thrived in pre-colonial East Africa. In was in fact, churches that needed saving from the rigidity that they had enforced on themselves.

Much love, appreciation and thanks to Kathleen Driscoll and the amazing team at The St. Catherine’s Poetry Slam for hosting me and who did an absolutely incredible job of creating such a brave, engaged space for the evening.

Next tour date write-up is for the In Your Ear @ The DC Arts Centre on September 17th  2017!

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