Postcards to the Future: JOY / Adjua Greaves

In Adjua Greaves’ poem, “We Live on Earth Where Sex is Fuel,” we read about joy in the context of sexuality and nature as a loving partner in the full energy of passion as our existential fuel, from which we drive and derive, profound understanding. 

We Live On Earth Where Sex is Fuel, 2012

“We live on Earth where sex is fuel, and I have longed to spend my time here in the body of a wild creature. Longed for every part of this figure to declare my soul’s connection to our corner of the cosmos. Longed for my spirit to inhabit the same exquisitely, extravagantly, minimalist constructions I adored in elk and tiger, root and petal, flame and ocean, neuron and bone. Longed to look synonymous with sex, with art, with life and with creation.
          For years, I thought running, and water, and vegetables would help a clear, wise body emerge from the distracted, unsure form I’d found myself in. Thought a dream romance might find me arm-in-arm with another, perfect spirit all tangled up in the wrong machine. Envisioned shared joy as we saw past our fumbling, mumbling material selves straight through to our elegant, infinite, blazing entities within. Believed that,from this lovingunderstanding, we’d find the spark to fine-tune our rough drafts. And, as the years slid quickly past, I remained calm assuring myself I would, at any moment, begin the work of shifting toward a body more worthy of this gorgeous planet.

But, that’s not the way it happened at all. No—it didn’t happen like that.
It couldn’t?
Instead, I fell in love with nature. And it showed me I was art. I fell in love with nature and collapsed, exhausted, in its arms—dreamt of recent, human orgasms, and ancient, cosmic eruptions; I dreamt of wine and fire, dreamt of forests and swarms, of bee wings and spider webs. I dreamt fast and slow at once and then awoke in the same body—now gorgeous, nude, adored—on display for lovers of art and students of beauty.

     I’d cast a pagan spell upon myself—trusting this home above all else, I dressed in blue and green and gold, expected beauty, relied on magic—and emerged an artists’ model.
     My same body—once messy, once apologetic, once ignored—was now luscious,and grand, and central. The current truth of me as beautiful as any ocean wave, and my aspirations now irrelevant, I performed Goddess and found I had become one. Posing on a modest platform before a focused throng of artists, what I once thought I’d find in romance—acceptance as is, and beauty forthwith—I found, instead, in the eyes and at the hands of these creative strangers.”
Copyright © Adjua Gargi Nzinga Greaves
(Excerpted, see full poem on page 78 in Letters to the Future)
Adjua Greaves

Photograph by @TerraBot

Adjua Gargi Nzinga Greaves (New York City, 1980) is an artist chiefly concerned with postcolonial ethnobotany working in mediums of scholarship, performance, corporeal wisdom, archival gesture and language. Greaves has been published in The Black Earth Institute’s About Place Journal, The Recluse, The Poetry Project Newsletter, and No, Dear. In 2017, Belladonna* published her first chaplet—Close Reading As Forestry. She lives and works in New York City where she is Monday Night Reading Series Coordinator at the Poetry Project, a Wendy’s Subway board member, and young mother of The Florxal Review.

On the 2012 autumnal equinox, Greaves began unschoolMFA —a durational performance of higher education culminating on the 2015 summer solstice in a comprehensive public reading and subsequent group discussion of her manuscript The Bulletin of Wilderness and Academy: an introductory conclusion to unschoolMFA. Galleries of her documentary photography and Afrofuturist dioramas are viewable on Instagram via @TerraBot and @SuperModelStudioPractice respectively.

JOY is part of KPI’s small experiments of radical intentseries: Postcards to the Future: Protest in Place that began during the BLM protests while on pandemic lock down in summer 2020. The series runs through August 2021 and focuses on the voices in Letters to the Future: Black Women / Radical Writing, with the intent to uplift and celebrate Black women’s voices. You can navigate through the series by following the tag Postcards, at left, and by clicking on the icons below for each unit.


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