Xennia Gittoes-Singh Long

 

The first time I met Xennia, she was performing her poems at a reading in Kilmarnock.  Both of us had relocated to eastern Virginia from large metropolitan areas.  As sister-poets, we became fast friends.  We joined the Poetry Society of Virginia and the National League of American Pen Women --- organizations which offered opportunities to share our mutual love of poetry with receptive audiences.  We gave readings and workshops in Newport News, Williamsburg, Washington, D.C., and in local schools and art galleries.  Everyone quickly recognized Xennia’s zest for living and her genuine commitment to the arts.  The written word was her strength.  Charisma was her charm.  In recent years as her health declined, she maintained her staunch dedication to poetry.  As a tribute to her legacy, I offer this glimpse of her creative life.   -- Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda

One Drop: To Be the Color Black is a much-needed collection of poems that forces us to take a hard look at racism in America.  In Part I, we see the powerful voice of Gittoes-Singh examining her own life as a woman of mixed blood whose daily interactions with others have largely been defined by skin color.  In Part II, she presents a collection of poems by her “white-skinned friends” whose views on racism point to the poignant paradox of Einstein—there is no such thing as race because it is virtually impossible to trace back far enough to determine every drop of blood that comprises our being.  Ultimately, Gittoes-Singh hopes that racism will one day be eradicated and replaced by a harmonious world in which we all live together as one race, as humankind. Click to hear Xennia perform Mother Earth's Daughter, a poem from her book.

One Drop: To Be the Color Black is available at Amazon.com.

Biographical Note:

Xennia Gittoes-Singh Long, a.k.a. Running Waters, was born in Plainfield, New Jersey.  She graduated with honors, receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Seton Hall University.  In California she began writing, publishing, and performing poetry.  She also participated as a California Poet in the Schools.  In 1998, her chapbook, Mother Earth’s Daughter, appeared.  In 2000, Xennia returned to Virginia to care for her godmother, Eva Braxton.  She quickly became active in the poetry and arts scene, serving as a model for the Rappahannock Art League and participating in Poetry in the Schools projects through the Poetry Society of Virginia.  Soon after, she became a member of the Chesapeake Bay Branch of the National League of American Pen Women.   Xennia’s poems in her full-length book, One Drop: To Be the Color Black, address her multicultural, multiethnic background, as well as her deep devotion to her husband, Bill Long, and her children, Nikki and Derek Tucker, and her grandchildren.

 

Xennia Gittoes-Singh Long

Poet

 

 

(February 8, 1948—October 7, 2009)

 

AFRICA, THE MOTHER   -- 


Africa, the Mother of this earth,
Man's oldest bones were found there first
and all the world's knowledge can be traced back there
we tend to forget, but let's make this clear
the black woman is the mother of us all
so sistas teach us to stand tall and proud
to raise your fist and proclaim out loud
I bow down to her royalness
 

Isis, Nefertiti, Cleopatra and such
all lived lives that we imitate much
yet our kids remain ignorant to the truth
they argue and complain because we give them no roots
I'm RoyalTee*, the Princess of Rhyme
my main goal is to honor mankind
you see, without the black woman there would be no way
that I could stand before you and shout and say
take some time to think today
there's really got to be a better way
 

the future of our blackness is a cause of derision
we need black leaders making life-changing decisions
we need to remember Africa, our mother
remember to honor her and love her
give her the respect that is due all Queen Mothers
then, bow down to her royalness.
 

*RoyalTee- My daughter, Nicole Lynette Tucker's

stage name. This is a rap song I wrote for her in 1989.

Princess of Rhyme was the name of her rap album

released in 1988.

 

FREESHADE


Stare out my window
stare at Freeshade
stare at auction block
see slaves, black babies for sale
black men, black women at a discount
people for sale at Freeshade
Freeshade has humans for sale
 

Stare at the Rappahannock
Stare at the smooth water
Stare at the boats coming in
See the Indians watching from shore
wise men's prophesies fulfilled
waishus coming

The People killed at
Mills Creek Landing
to make room for
horses and cows
Mills Creek Landing left
with houses standing
The People gone
who knows where
 

Stare at the woods
Stare at the fields
Stare down the roads
See the Red and Black People
running...
running from the man
who is white with greed

Staring at the ghosts
of the people from
Freeshade and Mills Creek Landing*
staring out
my window.....

*
Freeshade and Mills Creek Landing are located in

Hartfield, Middlesex County, Virginia. Hartfield is

approximately 50 miles north of Jamestown where

black slaves were first brought into the United States.

Staring out my bedroom window I can see the stump

of a hanging tree and the garage in the Robinsons’

yard which used to be an auction block for the sale

of slaves, (written 1980's)

 

ONE DROP: TO BE THE COLOR BLACK
 

Black
a color
black
all colors
black
every color in the spectrum
to be the color black


One drop, one drop, one drop black
one drop black on black makes all black

one drop red on black makes all black

one drop yellow on black makes all black

one drop white on black makes all black
 

one drop, one drop, one drop black
 

white
no color
white
devoid of all color
white
the absence of color
to be the color white
 

one drop, one drop, one drop black
 

one drop white on white makes all white

one drop red on white makes all red

one drop yellow on white makes all yellow

one drop black on white makes all black

one drop, one drop, one drop black

white woman
has eggs of one color
white man
makes babies of one color
 

Black woman
has eggs of every color
black man
makes babies of every color

one drop, one drop, one drop black
 

Black
a color
black
all colors
black
every color in the spectrum
to be the color black
 

Now don't argue with me

thank your great white father

Thomas Jefferson for the rules
 

To be
or not to be

are you

BLACK?


(1963)