News Shop Digi Pubs Glyphöria ÖMËGÄ Podcast Events Submissions About Distribution Connect
Issue I – MAINTENANCE – Jay Ritchie

a score for the Black voice as instrument




"my little thingliness (SCRUB-A-DUB-DUB-BEBOP)" is composed with modernity’s mundanities; the tidying, scrubbing, child-minding, counselling, hemming, fucking, and uncelebrated problem-solving that fuel the everyday. It uses the voice, tongue, breath, and field recordings to make comprehensible care work’s coercive, quotidian hum. Save for the music sample and a champagne cork pop, all of the sounds in the poem were generated by myself at home, from frying pans to toilet plungers. The composition is heavily inspired by scatting, the modernist renaissance of Afro-diasporic vocal forms, and innovated by jazz masters such as Betty Carter, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan. Sampling and remixing also inform the recitation and the collage of cultural references, which destabilize past / present / future. Black women’s subjectivity has been relegated out of modernity’s story. They said we had too much washing to do to be part of it. my little thingliness interrupts the singsong, whistle-while-we-work ease that naturalizes our labour. It elevates the sonic articulations of Afro-diasporic women’s lives—including the dissonance, or the dull, daily refrains—to their rightful musicality.

With thanks to Oana Avasilichioaei, who provided early feedback and a platform for creation, and Bridget Mountford for recording assistance. Score formatting inspired by Carlos A. Pittella’s “Dante’s Bureau”—thank you. Select sound courtesy of WillsWillsAudio: www.willswillsaudio.co.uk.



The Aunt Jemima Show, starring Marvin Miller, Tess Gardella, and Harriette Widmer (1943)
“Carolina Beaumont, New York, 1976”, Jean-Paul Goude
“No More Auction Block for Me (Many Thousand Gone)” (1867)
Scrub Me Mama with a Boogie Beat, Walter Lantz Studios (1941)
Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show (2004)



Faith Paré is a poet of Afro-Guyanese ancestry. Her work has appeared in The Capilano Review, Arc Poetry Magazine, CV2, and elsewhere, and she has performed at Canadian and Quebecois arts centres such as the Art Gallery of York University, the Harbourfront Centre, and La Centrale galerie Powerhouse. She is curator of the Atwater Poetry Project, a Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montreal-based reading series founded in 2004. Faith was the inaugural recipient of the Quebec Writers’ Federation’s Mairuth Sarsfield Mentorship and was an honourable mention for the League of Canadian Poets’ Pavlick Prize, awarded for an outstanding portfolio and significant commitment to national poetry communities.