We had the good fortune of connecting with Dez’Mon Omega Fair and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dez’Mon, can you tell us about an impactful book you’ve read and why you liked it or what impact it had on you?
Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone. I originally thought to get it for my niece. Who I assumed would devour it immediately. I quickly re-realized that she was in her final year of high school, already having an intensive reading list. Duh. As she communicates this to me with a gracious smile, I decided to read it myself. Just so happen, early quarantine, as the world seemed to distort more and more, I opened it up. It’s felt quite medicinal to read wonderfully, to be immersed between these people. Two sets of siblings making Orisha magic again. Bringing fullness and wisdom into the world. Expanding human experiences. Bringing maji out of fear and into love. Into supernatural and superhuman abilities. Reapers. Connecters. Tiders. Burners. Winders. Grounders. Welders. Healers. Cancers. Seers. Tamers. Conjuring fire. Conjuring up dreamscapes. Conjuring up the dead and becoming one with water. Connected and fluid communication with animals. I am reminded: books about magic kids are animist and panpsychist in their contemporary earthiness.
A forward: before even unwrapping the story, the list of the maji clans and the elementals of which deify the maji thrilled me: time, health and disease, iron and earth, darkness and light, spirit and dreams. Mid Covid mayhem and right into more Police Brutality. Breonna Taylor living on in effigy with rest. A continued epoch of soul activation, I guess, that is, our growing collective grief. Our resistance to continue the US’s egregious domestic crimes against humanity.
Children of Blood and Bone truly became a life giving source to read. I’m a young reader. Avatar. Lord of Rings. Harry Potter and the like, I haven’t read. I enjoyed the screen versions, but hadn’t read a single novel. This book is becoming a movie. Reading it beforehand feels best. These initial driving factors would melt into moments of tears, rereads and connection and reprieve; without giving anything away, I was surprised by the character I related to. Throughout the book I expected to find myself in some of the others but I keep coming back to Her. And in the very last few sentences I was again brought to tearful relief by her being. Her changing. I began to experience parallels within Adeyemi’s word choices, to my own writing, my poetry. I didn’t consider potential overlap would be there. But there they were: themes of saving others, in turn saves the self. Or to change ones environment brings the inner self out, as one begins to change, one is in fact, the same: the bird is the egg and the egg is the bird; what comes first will always be the conundrum of time.
A PLUS: Her incantational use of Yoruba, the songlike tonal west African dialect pleased my #ancientfuture hopes for the twenty-first century, and spoke to literature as forever a vehicle for globalism. Yoruba, the language of Nigeria, Benin, and Togo has been recognized in Brazil as one of it’s national tongues semi recently, has made a best selling literary appearance in America, thus on my bookshelf now. I love a circle.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Dez’Mon Omega Fair is an interdisciplinary artist and poet living in Long Beach, California. Their work explores storytelling and self-reflection, delineating the cathartic opening of joyance availed by the art-making process. They achieve this expressive art through painting with water, brushless watercolor, and ink on washi; collaborative documentary film projects as well as experimental forms of poetry. Pioneering novel sonics which explores the use of long-form soundscape and audio recordings of riddles, prose, poems, and chants. Public performances are set within large-scale immersive installations consisting of figurative watercolor paintings and poetry sourced from abstractions of the heart and emotional histories of the body.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
In Long Beach there are a few watering holes where folks gather to relax and kickback: the beach obviously, but there’s also The Colorado Lagoon, Bolsa Chica, and my favorite, Belmont Shore. Every morning since Covid-19, I’ve gotten up early to swim. Seeing that the world is more uncertain, draining, and rage-inducing, I’ve been inclined to calm myself as soon as I wake up by communing with the water, by swimming. And just started Parables of The Sower. I’ve been taking it and my sketchbook out to the water, to read, either draw or write, then swim. It felt quite natural to kneel to to my soul. Before that it also felt quite natural to approach the dark goddess this way without my camera. Came calm Softly breached the edge to bloom as the flowers unfolded in circular rows inviting me into the bounty: hot pink ombre fade orange roses red roses a flower that never fades large large daffodil sunburst and firecracker daisies everywhere diapason the grounds are a lush. thorns head to root as they curve and spike a trail through the stem a rich black soil spotted by a wabi-sabi array of petals and freshly dropped flora crusting near baby’s breath. This is where the shrine starts lagoons and pools of water peace lilies plenty and expressive birds of paradise climb to the goddess’s stone robes up her stone beads her stone prayer pressed palms her stoned stoic to smiling face under the stone headdress We’re all here for it: the nectar of her being like bug to blossom me and the people are pulled to the life-giving image in the world of sick men. Tell Me More Black Madonna Black is the color of divine will Day and night. Having pulled back from the blinding light fire of stars to see it divine in the round black holding the event horizon together every day and night. Stoic. Stylistic. Solid. Concrete and Refine. Mystifying. Over the edge diving in with the fools what I learned is alive in me from a quarter lifetime of fear going going gone living begins again and again with the trade winds hissing up in the whip flash of performance. I write I curl I writhe I swerve into the rite. a ritualistic shedding of snakeskin. what’s become of stardust today? Scale’s anxiety sliding on displacement sliding off Anew. Rattles from the other side Something bellows about Actions Ricochet Actions however fast it passes. Actions are forever slow. Tell Me More, Black Madonna There is no untangling my hair. And just like the circles and ebbs and swerves that round: the universe is napped. Consciousness contained wrapped within aself in infinite beauty in infinite complication the black hole. The pea. The beady bea. Tell Me Moor Black Madonna this is exactly where I am when I sit to write it down vague as it is my being, my sitting here. it is spaced and shared ` my being is in the water with good morning swimmers my breath is their breath as we’ve come up for air. Exhale air churning cool wind cycles behind me rounding out the thought the turn drawings. Love is the only commandment I understand. The choosing. The willing. The striving. The strokes we swam through it all as I sit, exhausted and dry writing into oneness. I’m out of breath too. More deeply She returns though She never left. The bay. The falls. The lake. The bath. The lagoon The pool The shore Sure. Tell Me More, Black Madonna. In the daylight of my shadow self It behooves me to write these stories down to remind aself that I’m a decent person yet. I know I’m not supposed to be sitting here but, I am. I know I’m not supposed to sitting, in, at, on this lifeguard’s post. But whatever I’ve saved lives before. All of a sudden at high tide before. Once I snatched up a toddler from Oshun as his granny was looking away. She didn’t even say thank you, older Americans can be real shitty like that… Her grandchild was throwing his blood-red ball into the subtle waves upon us. Into the water. Red grabs the attention and symbolizes life or death or blood or stop or fertility or lust or war depending on where you are in this world in this life. but biologically always increases the heart rate. “Ride The Wave” his Target t-shirt says to me over and over again. He tosses the ball again. Again but stronger. And again as I decide to look away remembering to mind my own business. that I don’t have any children to mind. This time he throws his blood-red ball in with more gusto and muscle than his miniature bones knew his flushed red heart could muster. then all of sudden as fast as it was still, in the constant liminal space where my breathing becomes his is when I knew to grab him from drowning. He’s under the water, body stiff and paralyzed: I’m under the water and for now, that kid is saved; not sure if he’s alive today as I reflect back on his granny’s ungratefulness. I didn’t do it for her gratitude anyway. I guess I jumped up to get em because of instinct. So I could write about it now? Or because who wants the trauma Of seeing a child drown. If I grew up this close to the water would I be a lifeguard? I look okay in scarlet red. *** I came out here to write this in the morning, first thing, at the lifeguard’s post, to get my mind right these days. These weird days. But all I can think to notice is how lame or slack or lazy or zombie I am compared to all these fuckin fit swimming elders. I’m skinny, but I’m not strong nor disciplined just yet. I’m not strong because I took 45 minutes to swipe through social media before I could even consider what’s in front of me. Wasted time and data on nosiness, or am I bored? Wasting? Or am I gathering information? Am I an addict or do I just, care? Is it the dopamine hits? The candy apple red heart? Open communication? Is it digital oneness or is Algorithm, The Change? God nowadays. And there it is the Unknowable: my cerebral integration, taught and taut as I snap out of it, tap the final like and close. For now. *** Enclosing on the water around me. The water must be so cold. The sky is so grey it gives off a chilly tint, an icy gloss to match the low frosty winds. Over the bay soft ebbs of sand move over shore as day officially breaks. Finally, as the night freeze leaves so the sun can do its thing. And speaking of doing his thing, a bearded Hispanic man in a leopard speedo is doing his thing trying not to lose his form. I’m inspiring, as he jogs tired along with the skirt of the shoreline where the sand is loose, yet connected. Same. *** “get up get up get up get up” It’s about time to get up off the lifeguard’s post. “wake up wake up wake up wake up” At this point, I’m just creeping as Marvin Gaye tidal waves my thinking, as he whispers sexual healing somewhere approaching behind me now. Someone is pulling up with the radio loud on. And I know this has nothing to do with what we were just talking about but: don’t be afraid to be seen naked by anyone. Ego wraps tight around the body; work it out and let it go. Good God. I love it out here in the morning. At the water.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
THE FILM AND VIDEO POETRY SOCIETY led by Jesse Brooks THE HEART OF THE MADONNA: MYSTERIOUS SOUL COMPANION by Stephanie Georgieff.
Still from After Grace VII, Director David Andrews Stills from At the Cross a performance at Pam Residencies photos by Rich Costales. Portraits by Jacob Sousa and Jonathan Fasulo.