for gathering our truth & our strength

I woke up this morning & struggled to get out of bed.

So, i made myself a small playlist for gathering (our) truth & (our) strength, and after listening to these four songs through a few times i was able to get up & face another day in this twisted cultural moment.

First– a post-rock wail of hope & grief

“when the world is sick can no one all be well?  but i dreamt we was all beautiful & strong.”

every breath-like movement of this song is so honest & raw & expertly crafted that fear is left very little space when the voices of other strong feelings rise up to join.  it’s a long song, but stick through the movements, because the choral end part is a rare form of human perfection: the merging of hope & grief.

 

next up— a modern r&b declaration of exhaustion

“my joy takes nothing from you”

because her voice is hauntingly beautiful & there’s a deep satisfaction in being able to declare DONE with such eloquence & grace.

next up, an a capella psalm

“we remember”

because we all already have the tools we need to start.  the tools are simple.  the tools are within us.  we have shaped them.  they have shaped us.  we will reshape this fractured world.  we remember.  we weep. we rise like water.

 

& finally, our poet/philosopher & one of our great living teachers

“we won’t be silenced, no”

because the fact that we need a global movement affirming that BLACK LIVES MATTER says so much about  the type of crisis we face collectively.  we wont be silenced, no, the noise came from here.  bare feet– all our most human vulnerabilities— against the harsh streets where authority wrongly stole a young life.  powerful video to a beautiful song.

 

hope this helps you reader, wherever whenever whoever you are.  we’ve got more days ahead of us where it’s going to be tough to get out & face a world that seems hostile to our existence & seems hellbent on crushing our resistence. do you have any songs you’d like to add to the playlist for gathering our truth & our strength?

Fear Blue Eyes

Looking, I see the

crafted scab buttons you fasten and press

in the unforgiven sun of our salt baked road.

& again, no peace, in this landscape of devouring green

no gods without faces to call you back.

Even the trees have needles here.

Still as the sun,

I have given up on licking your wounds.

Hammered down,

I have given up on buying your pretense with my prayers.

Strangers congratulate me for keeping you alive so long,

I am stopped on the streets

I am hailed savior – just some vehicle for your survival

some girl-child you chose to choose when choice was small.

These homeless crows obey me

& beg me give back their feathers I burned for you

You are not here, I have asked for too much.

It burns to think of you.  Burns to mourn you while you move.

Your smoke is in my eyes.

& the guardians of bitter boys circle

my mistakes in their mouths

scared to lose you

scared you are forgetting to breathe

Will you sing for them?  They want you to sing.  Sing for them.  Be their broken bird.

Later I will ask,

who is this?

In this photograph, in this lake; this bathtub; this mirror

Reflecting me back

to this when where who leaves?

Still I fear blue eyes.  Again I look away.  & you survive.

The Outpost: Axis

The Outpost is situated at the axis where space meets time.  It is the only here I know.  After leaving so many theres it is only here that I am home.

Imagine a compass rose.  Imagine North & South to be space.  Imagine East & West to be time.  Imagine a double exposed photograph where a young girl and an old woman are occupying one body.  Imagine this old girl is writing you love letters from the preconception beyond death.  Imagine a pivot point where the needle centers on the compass.  Imagine here.

I am not checking passports.  Every refugee is welcome here.

& when they say “you have nothing”
or when they say “you are no one”

Remember The Outpost.
Imagine it here at the pivot point.
Here at the axis where space & time collide.
We have always been here.
We will always come back.

Brain

the brain is a feral five pound meat maze
where sense-grenades wage war with reason’s meter
it pulls the pins and it counts the syllables–
rearranging it’s fleshy neurochemical electric grid landscape
to suit the non-Euclidean geography of our experience

 

Transmutation

I will not erase you from me — I cannot.  I would not.
I would rather scoop out my eyes– cut off my left hand — do violence against my own atomic structure.

you were my approximate parallel for so long that our roots are entangled.
we nourished each other for so long that I would starve without our history.

in the eternal past there is an always-us
in the eternal present there is no us
in the eternal future there is no  certainty but this:

there will never be a me that does not love you

I will not erase you — I cannot, I would not.

Wood or Water or Slate or Silk?

yes.
yes to slate I am made of you.
yes to silk it is strong & flexible & it turns the light inside out.
yes to water how can I resist you when you call me with your liquid tongue?
& yes to the tree corpse you are shaping to hold some body
yes to the sawdust smell of your hands
& yes to all this witchcraft of remembering
yes to the pulp mill steam rising from the morning

I cannot choose which sense to abandon —
not the eyes of sight
never the skin of touch
not the tongue of taste
nor the highway nose
never the ears of song
& these pieces
this wood (yes)
this water (yes)
this slate (yes)
this silk (yes)
this memory (yes)
have conspired to keep a secret from us

 

Balanced Equation

feeling divided/
feeling squared²

but feelings aren’t facts.

maybe it’s all addition (+)
all multiplication (x)
all more than we can survive (∞)

maybe searching through all this living for some balanced equation is pointless

& yet all this thinking — analysis — probing — dissection
seems compulsory when faced with such large integers

even divorce is not division
even death is not subtraction

we are working with imaginary numbers & faulty syntax
grasping for some variable greater than, equal to, & less than zero.

(>, =, & < 0)