Ajanae Dawkins is a poet and performance artist living in Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin depending on the time of year. She is a First Wave Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who uses her art to “explore God, love, trauma, and identity.” Her most recent project was a one woman show, Atlantic. Next year she’ll be studying in Barcelona, Spain and Fes, Morocco. She told us that she hopes to one day tour universities, and teach workshops surrounding art and activism. Needless, to say, we think she’s great — and her poem, Trash, is a powerful part of our show.
Five Questions for Ajanae Dawkins…
What inspired you to write for TRASH?
I thought about the word trash and it’s significance in my own life. The power of it when I thought about it in depth was that trash is essentially representative of something that you don’t want anymore, and consequently move it to a space where it will be concealed/masqued. But generally speaking trash is not destroyed. It may be moved, given to others to take care of, compacted, recycled even but almost destroyed. What inspired me about that is what that meant for the emotional trash that we gather in our lifetimes, how we dispose of it, and where it actually goes.
What will you never throw away?
The letters my family has written me. Particularly one my father wrote me for my 13th birthday that he sent with dozens of roses to my house, that simply said, “I wanted to be the first man to ever send you flowers. Happy 13th birthday daughter.”
What’s the one thing you’ve thrown away that you wish you hadn’t?
I’m a hoarder so I don’t know that I’ve thrown away anything that I wish I hadn’t. If I have any doubts about whether I could use it or not, I keep it. Now losing things is a completely different story for me.
Is there something you need to throw away, but won’t?
Yes. I desperately need to throw away some of my hair and skin products because I have boxes full but I love prodcuts so much that I don’t want to in case I ever decide I want to use them.
If you had to live with just five material possessions, what would they be?
A blanket, a magic bullet, a laptop, coconut oil, and a family photo.