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This is not the quiet tap of civilized literature; this is the loud, raw truth of life. Up Decatur is the gush to keep faith, hope and stay alive. It is birthed in tribute to the dead, family, friends and for everyday struggle: FREEDOM. The words express experiences of life and of being of New Orleans - the rhyme, rhythm, neighborhoods, senses and people that make the city unique, eccentric and always keeping its roux in your blood. New Orleans - the goddess, queen, mother - is Valentine's first love. She is tethered by her children. New Orleans is anchored by her love for family. With family she triumphs and remains grounded. Love for friends, lovers, others is there because LOVE never fails. To live in New Orleans is to be defined by water - mystical, mythical or mundane. Valentine splashes water, swirls tempests. You definitely cannot live in New Orleans if there are no special colors, days or seasons and days are not ordinary. You will remember the colors and the palettes Valentine portrays in "Jazz." New Orleans also has its treats - chocolate drops and marshmallow cr me, milk chocolate The RESISTANCE, MOVEMENT of our day is evident in "Up Decatur." Valentine affirms that we are a country led by the unpresident with a privileged delusion. The collective and bullhorn call to raise the FLAG for FREEDOM from 9/11 should not be confused with the divisive respect for the flag and the national anthem stand that is tweeted as early morning sirens - just noise. Valentine continues to raise the alarm for code black in order to pay attention, be vigilant and stay alive. To answer her own question what shall I tell my son she answers back - Do not take a notion today if you aspire to be the master race. Finally, there is Valentine herself - woman, daughter, mother, sister/sistren, friend and her community. With Up Decatur she manifests her starkness, strength, senses and searching as a woman. It is summed up in "Reincarnation." What time is it? It is TIME for a TRUCE. Call out your neighbors, read the poems loud. Words have broken. She will not hear or see you. She does share your SPIRIT though. The photographs? Mostly of New Orleans, of course. They are everywhere, everyday, routine, ordinary, ubiquitous. It is all right to look again at them, a little closer.
About the Author
Valentine Pierce: spoken word artist, writer, graphic designer, actor. Publication credits include Mapleleaf Rag, Mending for Memory: Sewing in Louisiana Essays, Stories, and Poems; Nasty Woman Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse, Bayou Magazine, Callaloo and New Laurel Review. Performances/presentations include Postcards from Over the Edge, We Beg Your Pardon America, 100,000 Poets for Change, The Festival of Words and A-Musing, in which she won two AACT awards. She was the writer-in-residence, A Studio in the Woods, 2006. Her debut poetry book, Geometry of the Heart, was published by Portal Press, 2007. Her chapbooks are: the stream from which they drink, Shades of My People, Home, The Skinny Book of Skinny Poems, Unfinished Business and Roux.