REPARATIONS WINE LABEL
Text by J’nai Gaither
Illustrated by Phoebe Funderburg-Moore
Click on images for full-size.
Full Text of Label:
Blacks in Wine Matter
Reparations Red Wine
United Colors of America
401mL 16.19% by volume
To be acknowledged and included in this White wine industry is all people of color have ever wanted. Though wine is as global as industries come, it has never been welcoming to people of color. Even in South Africa, on the Mother Continent, most wineries are owned by White South Africans, though there has been a push to put the economic opportunities of winemaking into the hands of Black people. After 401 years, time is up. Drink and protest responsibly.
Reparations is made from Petite Sirah and Tannat, two thick-skinned black grapes that offer a hearty and savory liquid meal to the adventurous imbiber. With hints of espresso, blackberry and cocoa, Reparations gives back to the drinker what’s been stolen from them: the freedom to enjoy wine uninhibited. Aged in oak for only six months since we have already waited long enough.
Government Warning: (1) According to people of color, wine should be more accessible and less pretentious. It should not divide, and consumers and hiring managers should get used to seeing people of color in the wine space or risk losing a significant portion of the $1.2 trillion that is Black buying power. (2) Consumption of this alcoholic beverage may wake up the world to a bitter racism that has persisted in the industry for decades.
401mL Contains Anger & Indignation
J’nai Gaither is the hungriest of storytellers, always foraging for the next, excellent food and beverage story, or the most delicious of ad campaigns. When not consuming copious amounts of champagne and burgundy, she’s usually planning her next meal while listening to opera. Her work has appeared in Plate Magazine, New York Magazine’s Grub Street, Eater, Dining Out Chicago, Vinepair,From Napa With Love and other books and publications. You can see her work on Amy’s Kitchen website and packaging, as well as on current Sargento Cheese commercials. She has also been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.
Phoebe Funderburg-Moore is a Philadelphia-based illustrator, screen printer, and graphic designer. Her work is focused around self-discovery, love of nature, and observational humor. Recently Phoebe has been teaching herself animation and digital illustration. To view more of her work, visit phoebefm.com and follow along on Instagram at @phoebemakesart.
TERRA IN FLUX An Ekphrastic Collaboration
by Mark Danowsky and John Singletary
The word ekphrasis comes from the Greek for the description of a work of art produced as a rhetorical exercise, often used in the adjectival form ekphrastic. It is a vivid, often dramatic, verbal description of a visual work of art, either real or imagined. In ancient times, it referred to a description of any thing, person, or experience. The word comes from the Greek ἐκ ek and φράσις phrásis, ‘out’ and ‘speak’ respectively, and the verb ἐκφράζειν ekphrázein, “to proclaim or call an inanimate object by name”.
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Terra in Flux
The bathroom mirror breaks my face
no, my face breaks the mirror
nose, a Picasso—
all comes down to energy
In Tai Chi, you create
an imaginary ball
then pass, smooth
sculptor at the wheel
passing it, passing it
back to yourself
blurs the line
we choose to walk against
You touch yourself touching
the face of love
closeness by another name
proximity one boon companion
Tell me when it is you feel
& I’ll go cold as fate
comet without gamble
your unholy geist
The Rockefeller Center
zamboni operator down with flu
still can smooth & smooth
Faces of a masquerade
play at Janus
when lean Judas
free at least
vagrant on the rocks
Mother of God
Sister of Heartbreak
Daughter of Chaos
the beauty line
ties humanity to grace
by way of athleticism—
what it means to be perfect
between naked & nude—
that begins in innocence
& ends in Babylon
There is nothing inherently wrong with Cypress trees.
Or apocryphal texts.
The believer tells you it’s a mistake not to believe.
The nonbeliever can’t tell you anything for sure.
I fall asleep & dream about a ball of light
passed from generation to generation.
I wake & stretch—
In Tai Chi, you take an open stance. Take an imaginary ball in your hands.
Circle the sphere. It can be crystal. You can call it an orb. You cannot drop this ball.
We know pareidolia—seeing
faces in things. We make
some just so we can walk around
being another, feeling safe.
Forget the self, sun
in Elizabethan world view
the great chain of being
we inhabit the middle
above all common earthly things
below the heavens, angels, divinity
Mark Danowsky is author of the poetry collection As Falls Trees (NightBallet Press, 2018). His poems have appeared in Gargoyle, Kestrel, North Dakota Quarterly, and elsewhere. He’s managing editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
John Singletary is a photographer and multimedia artist based in Philadelphia, PA. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from The University of the Arts. His work has been collected by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Center for Fine Art Photography as well as other institutional and private collections. He has exhibited at the LG Tripp Gallery, The Pennsylvania State Museum, The James Oliver Gallery, Sol Mednick and The Delaware Contemporary Museum. He is also a contributing writer for The Photo Review Journal. Photo credit: Stephen Perloff.
THE ESPERANZA PROJECT
Music by Richard Casimir
“Antumbra” (poem) by Herman Beavers
In classical music, a fermata is a pause of unspecified length printed above a note or rest. It is represented by an eyebrow above a dot, nicknamed a “birdseye” or “cyclops eye.” How long that pause should last is left to the discretion of the performer or the conductor.
In March 2020, the music world paused, subito—suddenly—leaving concert halls dark for the foreseeable future, and an entire industry stunned and unemployed. For how long, we can only guess.
And yet, by comparison, this Great Silence seems trivial: a global pandemic is killing millions. The rest struggle against police brutality, racial injustice, the rise of fascism, the precarious state of democracy.
In late June, as our American cities broke open in protests over the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, I received a WhatsApp message from my longtime friend, Richard Casimir, a Haitian-born violinist and composer now living in Pamplona, Spain. He’d written a string orchestra piece on the improbable (it seemed to me, in this dark time) theme of hope. Now he was enlisting performers from all over the world to record their individual parts while quarantined at home.
It would be a diverse group of musicians, including conservatory professors, international soloists, orchestral players, high school teachers—and Richard’s 14-year-old daughter, Emma, a promising young violinist. My own daughter, Caeli, who grew up to be a musician, appears on both violin and viola. The tracks would be mixed together by Richard’s nephew, Michael, a violist in the St. Louis Symphony.
Richard wanted to know: Would I help him find a poet to compose words to accompany the music? My first thought was that a poem on hope would be a nearly impossible challenge in this bleak time. I turned to one of the strongest poets I know, my colleague Herman Beavers, a scholar and artist whose poetry often evokes and centers music. Herman’s gorgeous and moving response to “Esperanza” is “Antumbra,” a two-part poem named for the part of a solar eclipse in which the ring of fire from the hidden celestial body is visible on the edges. The poem, which begins in despair, brings us forward to a moment when we can sense clarity around the edges of ruin:
in the morning’s first blush, nomads on a river whose whispers
turns the sad machine of hurt to wings, the Blessing’s pale fire blooming
“Esperanza” is a lush and seamless integration of sound that swells with purpose, and with hope, that we will one day again be together. The collaboration with “Antumbra” nudges us closer to that moment.
—Karen Rile, September 2020
ANTUMBRA by Herman Beavers
Everywhere the search
for colors to drape
across the heart, a state
of mind barely legible
against the shout of hyperbolic
clothes, the mantle of undignified
thespian privilege, a Van Gogh painting
fake & perfectly intact. This panic-
stricken tale of woe for those who
live poised on the lipstick
side of things, coveting a gift for
reinvention perhaps or the tactical
use of a day’s ration of rice. Enough
with the cars minus license plates
children banging metal pots
clustered around dead pay phones.
Struck dumb in the square-jawed
light, the sweat of blood red air,
the chameleon plies his craft,
muse for a contretemps’ pallid blue yes—
its precise, ironic surface sprawling
across scrublands of agate type, dramas
of family succession akin to
the serpent’s unconscious hatred of mettle.
Anywhere a heart hammers
where the curve’s beguiling tumble
of words makes the straight line
testament to unspeakable sadness,
we are one ache, humans holding
the moment so still, the day could
fly to pieces. If we could turn
fast enough, we might catch a
glimpse of an angel’s wingtip, the hem
of a celestial robe. Trudging behind
beauty, the velvet fist of violence
flattens into romance, leaves us caught
in the squirm of a good plot. Could
the cool flesh of a peach, cumulus
clouds rocking the sky above us,
the slow wheel of a mind
humming in the tightest
corners of the universe,
invite us to taste honey, taste
salt? What if a good year
is any that God sends, even
if the blackbird flies low to
the ground, his song lost
in shadow? So what if the
sound the rain makes, ticking
on the roof, against windows
mimics the clock face knocked
clean of numbers, houses
pelted by a panoply
of numerals tumbling all about us?
Might we relinquish looks shot through
with worry, with hubris? Caught
in the morning’s first blush,
nomads on a river whose whispers
turns the sad machine of hurt
to wings, the Blessing’s pale fire blooming,
Oh, to be loved like this.
To be loved, like this.
For Richard Casimir and Michael Casimir
A native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Richard Casimir (composer) graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, with a Masters and Professional Studies degree in Violin. He worked as a violin instructor at the Preparatory Division for Gifted Young Musicians at Temple University, and as a string teacher in Philadelphia public schools, before moving to Spain in 2006. He currently resides in Pamplona with his wife and two children and teaches violin and chamber music at a private high school, Sagrado Corazon. Richard began composing to address the technical needs of his students and ensemble groups, while encouraging the communal and citizenship aspect of their music education. To that end, he has organized several benefit concerts for charitable causes, involving his students both from Philadelphia and Pamplona. His latest composition, “Esperanza,” is an example of such a community awareness effort. He dedicates it to the victims of discrimination and intolerance, appealing to people of all cultures to recognize their shared humanity and to treat one another with compassion and dignity. Here Richard is pictured conducting the Sagrado Corazon Youth Orchestra for a benefit concert in the Parliament of Navarra, located in the city of Pamplona. That concert, entitled Music Against Inequality, was organized by Oxfam Intermon to raise public awareness in combating poverty around the world.
Herman Beavers’ most recent poems have appeared in The Langston Hughes Colloquy, MELUS, Versadelphia, Cleaver Magazine,The American Arts Quarterly, and Supplement, Vol. 2. His poems are anthologized in the volumes Obsession: Sestinas for the Twenty-First Century (University Press of New England),Remembering Gwen (Moonstone Press), Who Will Speak for America (Temple UP) and in the forthcoming volume, Show Us Your Papers (Main Street Rag Press). His chapbook, Obsidian Blues, was published in 2017 by Agape Editions as part of its Morning House Chapbook Series. His latest books are Geography and the Political Imaginary in the Novels of Toni Morrison (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), and The Vernell Poems (Moonstone Press, 2019) and the forthcoming Even in Such Light (Anaphora Literary Press, 2020). He serves on the Advisory Boards of The Furious Flower Poetry Center, Modern Fiction Studies, The Black Scholar, The Langston Hughes Review, and African American Review.
Esperanza String Orchestra:
Amaya De la Cal
Nicole Peña Comas
Txuma Del Río
Isaac Salas Luna
*Viola & Violin
Audio editor: Michael Casimir Video Editor: Kim Kelter Neu