Root my body grew

By Jasmine Hearn


This is an imagined and remembered illustrated poem that is composed of sketches and poetics from my recent process journals. The photo is from a recent flight into occupied lands now known as Houston, TX.  Root my body grew is in conversation with the upcoming archival and performance project, Memory Fleet: A Return to Matr due to premiere in Houston, TX April 2024.   

It references non-linear conversations I have had with Marjani Forté-Saunders, Marlies Yearby, Jo Stewart, Jennifer Harge, Byronné Hearn, Jenna Hearn, Myssi Robinson, Alisha B. Wormsley, Bennalldre Williams, FreWuhn, Victor Le Givens, Urban Bush Women, Li Harris, Lovie Olivia, dani tirrell, Barbara Mahler, and Athena Kokoronis of Domestic Performance Agency. 

Sketch drawing with pen and markers with the text, “root my body grew.”
Photo by Jasmine Hearn [ID: Sketch in black pen and turquoise and fuchsia markers of waves and curves. Text in thick black font reads “root my body grew.”]

the way I understand   

is to say yes to fear 
and all that fear brings 

I have been forgetting the left side
the bobbling knee and the ill- situated sits bone  

I have been moving myself away from itself 
hold on tight and loose lost loose luc sensation sin sensation 

 like a cliff that crumbled into the ocean a part of what is no longer held 

tectonics keep moving keep 
kept and then shaken/shared 

I have been saying yes to the fear of an uterus the size of a hen 
full of inescapable fluid 

and a trail of migrating blood in between my feet while walking  

emptiness in-between bladder and colon 
in- between organs 
does that did that would that hopefully not will not  

the space collapse?
did the space collapse?
did the church close?
the coordinates empty?
a disappearance a missing and inevitably a forgetting  

 why do i forget almost every month since fourth grade the acute pain of the descending space too full for feeling the exact coordinates of (you) joy and grief  

Colorful Illustration with handwritten text
Photo by Jasmine Hearn [ID: A colorful illustration of orange, blue, neon yellow, red, black, and brown with hand written text in cursive.]

this is question of where the stars are over the church steeple
church as mother 
building as mother 
structure as womb as cave as forever home 

 mother can rule her own 

 is this really a story about the difference between violence and care 

or reading tension 
or receiving the frequency of vulnerability and it is on all the time with every person 

energetic body 
i assumed 
you to have healed

even if its plugged with stagnant highly packed fluid
and pulling up towards the stars 

whined and unwind 
varying levels of intimacy 
with a distinct palate to what got calloused and what hurts and what tastes good.

aerial perspective of the topography of Houston, TX
Photo by Jasmine Hearn [ID: A photography of an aerial perspective of the topography of Houston, TX. Shown are land, buildings, roads, highways, homes, and the river. Teal, dark greens, gray, beige, dark brown, sand, and rust.]

This article appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of In Dance.

Jasmine Hearn was born and raised on occupied lands now known as Houston, TX. They are an interdisciplinary artist, director, choreographer, organizer, teaching artist, and a 2017 and 2021 Bessie awarded performer. Jasmine’s commitment to dance is an expansive practice that includes performance, collaboration, and memory-keeping.