With No Immediate Cause (Ntzoke Shange), Performed by the Third Eye Collective

 

In this video essay directed and produced by Lena Palacios and “MIZShama”, members of the Third Eye Collective perform Black feminist Ntozake Shange’s poem “With No Immediate Cause” while riding the Montreal metro.

Shange’s poem begins with statistics that viscerally pushes us into awareness about the endemic and unrelenting nature of intimate, sexual, and state violence against Black women and girls (“every 3 minutes a woman is beaten/every five minutes a woman is raped/every ten minutes a little girl is molested”).

Lena Palacios is an emerging video artist and was the recipient of the  SAW Video Media Art Centre‘s Cultural Equity Production Fund. The Cultural Equity fund is a production support program that provides opportunities for visible minority artists to express themselves creatively through the medium of video.

 

With No Immediate Cause

 

every 3 minutes a woman is beaten

every five minutes a

woman is raped/every ten minutes

a lil girl is molested

yet i rode the subway today

i sat next to an old man who

may have beaten his old wife

3 minutes ago or 3 days/30 years ago

he might have sodomized his

daughter but i sat there

cuz the young men on the train

might beat some young women

later in the day or tomorrow

i might not shut my door fast

every 3 minutes it happens

some woman’s innocence

rushes to her cheeks/pours from her mouth

like the betsy wetsy dolls have been torn

apart/their mouths

menses red & split/every

three minutes a shoulder

is jammed through plaster and the oven door/

chairs push thru the rib cage/hot water or

boiling sperm decorate her body

i rode the subway today

& bought a paper from a

man who might

have held his old lady onto

a hot pressing iron/i don’t know

maybe he catches lil girls in the

park & rips open their behinds

with steel rods/i can’t decide

what he might have done i only

know every 3 minutes

every 5 minutes every 10 minutes/so

i bought the paper

looking for the announcement

the discovery/of the dismembered

woman’s body/the

victims have not all been

identified/today they are

naked and dead/refuse to

testify/one girl out of 10’s not

coherent/i took the coffee

& spit it up/i found an

announcement/not the woman’s

bloated body in the river/floating

not the child bleeding in the

59th street corridor/not the baby

broken on the floor/

there is some concern

that alleged battered women

might start to murder their

husbands & lovers with no

immediate cause’

 

i spit up i vomit i am screaming

we all have immediate cause

every 3 minutes

every 5 minutes

every 10 minutes

every day

women’s bodies are found

in alleys & bedrooms/at the top of the stairs

before i ride the subway/buy a paper/drink

coffee/i must know/

have you hurt a woman today

did you beat a woman today

throw a child across a room

are the lil girl’s panties

in yr pocket

 

did you hurt a woman today

i have to ask these obscene questions

the authorities require me to

establish

immediate cause

every three minutes

every five minutes

every ten minutes

every day.

 

-Ntozake Shange

Advertisements

One thought on “With No Immediate Cause (Ntzoke Shange), Performed by the Third Eye Collective

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s