These are songs of oceanic longing taught to me in waking dreams by my grandmothers. Boda, my Ashanti grandmother who survived the Middle Passage and became mother of our Anguillian generations. Nunánuk, my collective Shinnecock grandmothers who witnessed whales beaching themselves on the Long Island shore as a survival offering to their whole community. Augusta Carty/Red Gussie, granddaughter of shipwrecked Irish born in Anguilla, mother out of wedlock to nine children, the last of which was my grandfather. My Jamaican grandmothers, Joyce, Eugenia, Rebecca, Georgianna, Sarah. And the unnamed who speak anyway. My process for listening to all of these grandmothers was consistent. I listened daily to the recorded songs of whales underwater. I wrote daily with short phrases written or spoken by the Jamaican theorist...
Alexis Pauline Gumbs is the author of M Archive: After the End of the World (Duke University Press, 2018), Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity (Duke University Press, 2016), and Dub: Finding Ceremony (forthcoming) and is the coeditor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines. She is the founder of Brilliance Remastered and the co-steward of the Mobile Homecoming Trust in Durham, North Carolina.
Alexis Pauline Gumbs; Whale Songs. Meridians 1 April 2019; 18 (1): 8–13. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15366936-7297125
Download citation file: