Monthly Archive for August, 2018

if you want to go far…

two days ago i got the news that my wage levy is lifted.

in january i was at a meeting and my bank card stopped working. i checked my accounts and all of my money had been withdrawn. by the irs. and they’d put a wage levy on me.

i asked for help, hired a company, and began to wait. and pray. and surrender. and change my relationship to money and value. and assess my financial landscape. and put this in perspective to other things of value. and recenter connection in my assessment of wealth. and lose mad sleep. and learn how to speak my financial situation aloud with my dignity intact. and pray to all the deities and cast all the spells.

i was a war tax resister for many years, and this is my punishment. i still deeply agree with the politics that led to this action, but i know now that i didn’t do it the right way. i acted as an individual, as if my singular act of rage should be respected, as if it could have meaningful impact on the systems of oppression that lead to the military spending i want to divest from.

it helped me sleep well at night, but it wasn’t tied into a collective strategy, a system of accountability around whether it was effective. someday i hope to be part of larger direct action efforts around debt and taxes, but from this struggle i have learned in a most personal way the importance of the collective. i am also interested in debt coverage as reparations in radical communities. more to come on this.

i am very grateful to the small massive circle that has held me down through this. i am challenged in asking for help, a basic human thing, so these are people who read between the lines, persisted, asked awkward questions, were generous with attention and resources, and countered my negative self talk while also encouraging my humility.

it will take me a while to integrate the lessons. moving through the financial-emotional roller coaster of this year has been humbling. i wanted to share this big lesson, that going as far as i am meant to go in this life will only happen with others, because it is so simple, hard and clear. and my gratitude for the lesson is overflowing.

the quiet hours

i love the quiet hours
pale beach or soft lamp light
i slow down until the sound can’t catch me
so slow you couldn’t see me
while they sleep without dreams
while they dream of being normal
i gather light from the stars
stars, you shine? light is time
time is light moving towards us
having let go already of that old life
or, each star is a life being lived
everything we see has happened, as it happens,
we reflect and plan, stars are
until they are not
we go dark some day
but a little bit every day will keep you humble and hungry for that quiet place
between the dark and the light
when it’s too beautiful to look
when no one answers
so you have to live with those thoughts
true. true. still.
maybe it will all get forgotten
maybe apocalypse is a chaos of memory
and if so, if so, why remember, anyway
only memories make a case for it
only the smallest snapshots
and really, only a handful, two
but the gift has no boundaries
spills through fingers
always unexpected, all that vicious feeling
we’re all accidents, walking,
late for purpose.
man, if we weren’t miracles.
i love the quiet hours
no cars pass, the walkers are silent
involved in secrets guided by their soft bellies
singing internal songs that cannot be translated
cannot be measured or placed in a rhythm
in the quiet we shift into freedom
a memory
a fantasy
a structure to our sentience
a longing that seems familiar
what we mean by love
you’re free, you make me feel free
not to run but to rest
not to get lost, but to stay found
not to root but to unfurl into the earth
not to reach but to remember
we have to ‘wait till the midnight hour’
that’s all we ever need to know

Detroit Summer Spell

yesterday i got the honor of spending some time with Detroit Summer on the last day of their programming.

the very first time i came to Detroit was to work with an earlier iteration of this incredible youth program. this year, alumni from those earlier years decided to run the program again. they invited me in to give some emergent strategy framing on the front end. i had each of the young people identify something in nature that aligned with their energy, something they wanted to bring to the summer of collaboration and creativity. they picked things like the playfulness of monkeys, the easy transition of beaches, the calming force of rain.

yesterday we started out by going around the circle and asking each young person what they had brought to the summer program. it is so important to understand that we shape everything we are a part of.

we then did a brief writing reflection: what did i bring to Detroit Summer, and what did i receive from Detroit Summer that i want to bring forward into my life.

i’m sharing this here because we all know about going off and having magical, transformative experiences and then returning to life and feeling like the magic gets swallowed by the mundane or stressful aspects of life.

from these reflections, they wrote brief spells: i use my power of ___(insert things you brought to the program)_____ in order to generate _____(insert things you received from the program)_______ in my life.

many of the spells involved using the power of humor, kindness, listening, calm, confidence in order to generate connection, community, happiness, belonging and creative work. i was impressed and inspired by the growth of relationships and sense of community between my first session with the young people and yesterday.

shout out to zena, jon and dakarai for taking this on and doing a beautiful job! Detroit Summer forever!