Reimagine Seattle: Neve Mazique

The challenges of the past two years have changed the way we live, the way we work, and the way we show up for each other. They have also given us a rare chance to collectively reimagine our future. Through the Reimagine Seattle Storytelling Project we invite community members to reflect on their current experiences in Seattle, how they have been impacted by recent events, and their hopes for the future of our city.

A Scorpio At Parties

BY NEVE “ZiqueBeast” Mazique-Bianco

Seattle, Duwamish Land. You wrap me up in the blackest firs. And they said this was a white place. A cracker kingdom of icy interactions. This is an access reality illusion of traumatized passive aggression magic. In the 98118, our tamarind, coconut, bean, and lentil brownness is as myriad as our dialects, the crows are old punks who know our faces, if not our names, some of us are witches, and most of us are gay. Seattle is a Scorpio at parties, searching for the nights who can remember their dreams. Seattle is Disabled in every way imaginable, and it has every foot on the wild other side. Duwamish land is a portal that shimmers, remains open, as long you leave a gift behind.

My Black summer, 2020, that juicy summer of our discontent, was made of roses. I grew them, sweethearts, and stewed in them under the stars. Spells multiplied me, and I became digitally closer to my body than ever. Seattle stages, the ones in parks and the ones on computers, the theaters with houses and the ones that float like butterflies, are hungry for transformation, even if they aren’t ready for it. My contracted joints crave appreciation for how they have held onto their form, they are method acting’s finest. So, I let them push me where they want to go for a while, until I see a way to take a new path in the woods. The one that brings me back to meet myself and other selves, at the meeting of the selves, a hot weather revelation close to blue water. I became prolific in artwork, spell work, and connection during the pangea, our old-world shape. The isolation was so subsuming, so indulged, that our anxiety became a friendlier crystal, and we all find ourselves new gods, including the ones called access, intimacy, consent, solidarity.

At the hour when I wanted to squeeze everything around me, we all had to keep our distance.

So, I made sure to touch what I could. I got to say, flowers and dirt and smells and songs will get you there. Now we’re dancing closer.

Spring, finally, two years later is made of music and psychic spears and cherry blossoms and angel numbers. Crabapples, pink cars, and winks from strangers are small miracles and subtle nightmares to wish on. I wish that the city of Seattle as it is known, would become less afraid of the needs of its peoples. Give roofs to everyone. Light up the night of those of us who are owls a little later. Give us the park back. Defund the slave catchers. Let us all be there. Let harmonies and rhythms take over, pay the dancers exotically, give the veins of this earth, its mountains, forests, and waterways, back to its people, the Duwamish people.

Loving this place and wanting it to love me better is the sensation of slowly going free. Self-hatred is no match for the beauty and might of Mt Tahoma. The peanut brittle shone light through the fissures in my loveship and I had to wonder if this place was a home. With found sticks of western white pine I built it stronger, and to my surprise, found I’m still in love with Seattle and the lands that surround it. We suck on science fiction here in the future, we wake up when we want to, sometimes we even hold hands and dance, the nights are dark enough that even our high fires can’t compete with the show of stars. Every winter births literature, terpsichores, and color for the inside of our eyelids. And every summer is Black.

Every summer is Black.

Every summer is Black!


photo of Neve Mazique sitting outside with flowers in the background. they have short purple hair and are smiling brightly.
Born in 1989, NEVE grew up disabled, mixed-race, and queer on a river in the part of New Jersey where they drive trucks and horse-drawn wagons over the rolling green hills (Lenni Lenape). NEVE began dancing professionally in 1998 with the all-Black, Harlem, NY-based integrated dance company Def Dance Jam Workshop. They are a 2020 Pina Bausch Fellow! Their new choreographic work, “Flora hereafter: how flowers survive” premiered in AXIS Dance Company’s 2021 Home Season at Z Space in San Francisco and has already toured to multiple continents. 
NEVE believes in God(exxes), Collective Access and Liberation, Transformative Justice, Land Back, Right of Return, Reparations, Anarchism (in relationships and governance), the Loch Ness Monster, the Multiverse, the concept that all living beings are people, and You. They are currently a contributing writer for the South Seattle Emerald, and collaborate with their confidante in arms, fellow Seattle multidisciplinary artist Saira Barbaric as themselves, and as Mouthwater. Learn more about NEVE at nevebebad.com.

This piece was commissioned by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. The opinions expressed and information contained herein do not necessarily reflect the policies, plans, beliefs, conclusions, or ideas of the City of Seattle.