running hurdles at the schvitz

dear humans with capacity to hear about some racisms,

tonight I went to the schvitz in detroit for the first and probably only time. I was excited – anyone who knows me knows I love basically any kind of public bath, banya, hammam, sauna, hot spring. this one is very old, and most of its life has only held the naked public bathing antics of men. but it’s reopened as a bathhouse with men’s, women’s and coed nights.

I wanted to love it.

I was the only visibly Black person there. this is not unusual for me in terms of bathhouses, but anytime I’m in a space in Detroit with no Black people, I feel like I’m in a deleted scene from Get Out!

to be precise, there were no other visibly non white people there.

the person who was supposed to give me a tour didn’t include the actual baths. I didn’t notice this until I saw her giving the full tour later. it gave me a slight hmmm feeling.

I’m often slow to realize racism is happening to me. I can see it for others, like a nibbling sees me sneaking chocolate (this is the most hunter like vision I know of). but I’m my father’s child. he survived impossible racism by denying it was happening, or, if it was undeniable, seeking the humanity of the racist and then quickly forgetting the whole thing. the thought that this was a racist oversight only emerges, for me, in context of what followed.

I brought the Vanity Fair with Michael B Jordan on the front; I love the challenges of reading a magazine as it steams apart, and I wanted to be in my own little world – this was one of my days off in a packed work period. the first sign that I was in the wrong place was when a clueless voice called across the banya (which basically means hot ass room): “who is Michael B Jordan?”

I turn around – I was facing away from everyone and reading in order to send the clear message that I didn’t want to engage with humans. I look briefly at this very young white girl, wondering what kind of social exclusion it must be, to be so out of touch with human contact that you can’t read a full body ‘leave me alone’, and so out of touch with your generation that you don’t recognize Michael B Jordan on sight. I say he was one of the stars of Blek Paintha, a crossover hit. another very young white girl says, “not the star though right? I don’t think, right? but he could be?”

I can’t think of anything nice to say, so I return to my reading.

A while later the woman who didn’t give me the tour sets up to do the platza treatment – the person getting treated lays on the highest, hottest level of the banya and gets beaten with oak leaves and then massaged with soap. I scoot away so I don’t get splashed.

This dialogue follows:

person about to receive treatment: is that Dr Bronners?
untour lady (the bottle is clearly branded): Yes!
patrt: {describes an allergic reaction to Dr. Bronners} but let’s do it!
untour lady: ok.
patrt: {possibly said some other things, but what I next heard was} it’s probably made by enslaved children.

I freeze, because my body carries memories of enslaved children, and it always freezes when reminded of this weight.

someone else, in the banya: right?
patrt: slave child rash!

laughter.
laughter?
laughter.

no one speaks up, and I wonder if I am invisible or too visible. is this cluelessness or aggravation or threat?

I notice where I am – in a basement with no windows, in the back corner of a sprawling tile bathhouse, naked and Black. I splay my energy wide around me like peacock feathers.

I hear the ways I could say something to this room of sweating naked white strangers, but then I add up the cost to myself of doing free educational labor for ignorant white people on my day off. when something so egregious is spoken aloud, it’s not enough to name it, you have to also teach it. I have allocated my free or low cost labor to Black people. and I already paid the $30 entry fee.

I stand up so slowly, like if I move slow enough I could slip right out of this warped dimension of white gentrification and into the future post-horrific bathhouse I’m going to open. I go to cool down in every way in the cold pool at the center of the bathhouse, this is my second dip of the evening. the first time another blather slipped past me, swam, and left without a word. I want to shout her out, as long as she wasn’t in the banya for the enslaved children remark.

anyway the water, it’s super cold, so I just go in to my thighs so my arthritic knees can feel some relief. this time a white woman splashes in loudly from the edge and tells me “it’s shallow if you can’t swim.”

I swim every day that I can. I’m more mermaid than any other magical creature. I feel responses well up, coherent, from deep within me. one response involves me singing Chakra Khan’s classic ‘I’m every woman! it’s all in me” but with the lyrics “I’m Esther Williams! Bitch can’t you see?”

but in equal measure to my rage is my exhaustion from teaching classes I didn’t sign up for.

back in the banya, hoping the racists have migrated, I get a moment’s peace. there is one other woman there, and she’s mostly quiet.

then two tall white women walk in, one of whom has a european accent and is loudly cataloging every thing she sees. I wait, knowing the heat eventually quiets everyone. loud lady is dramatically shushed by her friend. I’m reading and reclaiming my schvitz.

I get up and leave the room. as soon as the door closes they start giggling and whispering. curious. I realize I’ve forgotten my towel and slip back in to grab it. they freeze, three blonde raccoons in a trash can.

I wonder if this is an elaborate prank, or intended to make me feel unwelcome, or just ignorance in the wild. white supremacy is tricky that way, a mixed message, consistent only in its hateful bent.

the rest of the evening was less racist, though it still involved a ton of forced engagement, the kind that makes you appear rude when really you’re just minding your business. I kept slipping to wherever there were the least people, wanting to sweat these small racisms out of my system.

I’m going to stick to the sauna at the gym, where the demographics reflect the city and the other patrons know when to let you cry and when to make you laugh, and how to leave you be. oh, and it’s not a rampant racism zone.

riding the line between memoir and psa,
yours
amb

in the river now

I got a spider bite, a Charley horse, and my period while I was teaching last week. I kept noticing that I was happy in spite of dramatically uncomfortable physical circumstances.

I sniffed a septum piercing retainer into my nose and swallowed it. I’m not searching for it.

I taught 11 of the last 15 days and I’m teaching or facilitating 16 of the next 20. My “days off” keep filling up with calls and yesterday I found myself being rude to someone who didn’t deserve it until I finally just said “I’m too tired to really do this.” This is the level of honesty I need.

I visited my friends Alana and Malkia, who are loving each other fiercely under the weight of metastatic cancer. There was so much laughter that I lost track of precious time. Past a certain age, we are always both living and dying. Knowing or not knowing how, we deteriorate and become vulnerable and need others to hold on and let go. These beloveds are teaching me how I want to live-die, in love, in laughter.

I taught a bunch of somatics over this past month and it has me feeling so much hope about what happens when we can actually feel what’s real. It reminds me that most of us have been taught that our feelings are too much. The muffling and repression of feelings is an industry, and our work is to reclaim the full range of senses, of trusted intuition, of bodyscape memory. Our liberation as a species is tied up with the reclamation of what we can actually feel and do, both in our own miraculous bodies, and with and for each other.

I’m grateful for all the people supporting me as I feel and work and work and feel.

I blew out my right knee and have been lurching around the house, mad at myself for overriding limitations I can now feel.

There’s a voice inside me saying “give up dairy and gluten for a week and see if it helps”. But there’s a voice under that that just rage growls at the first voice while holding Jeni’s Salted Peanut Butter ice cream in one hand and pre-made tzatziki in the other. Yes, my trauma eating patterns are like those of a pregnant woman, but without the 9 month time boundary.

It’s all happening. The climate crisis is now and also moving closer, and it’s devastating to have these decision makers creating dystopic conditions that all of us will suffer in the near future.

I write things to lift my own eyes to the horizon. I’m pleased with this piece I wrote for Vice on making a better tomorrow.

I’m also pleased with how the podcast is going, we have had big talks about burnout and state violence, launched our first apocalypse skills episode, and have a very juicy inspiring conversation with electoral geniuses Jessica Byrd and Kayla Reed coming up next week.

I’ve decided Myrtle Snow is my style icon for my 40s. And I’m going to learn to make cheese rolls like they make at Arizmendi bakery this decade. I have trips to Thailand, Ireland and Belgrade planned for the next year, I keep learning how to balance nesting and migration.

I think that’s all the random bits to share. Shout out to any of you who make it all the way to the end of this rush. I’m truly in the river now, it’s moving fast, but I haven’t forgotten this poorly designed place where some of y’all just come for the words.

Dr Ford’s Dignity

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the work was done, and there is heartache and victory in it.

the decision will come and it may be a logical decision (to stop Brett Kavanaugh from becoming a member of a body meant to hold integrity and accountability), or it may be an irrational and politicized decision (to barrel forth with this mess).

regardless, Kavanaugh has been marked by his actions in public, his dirty hands showing, his rageful face showing precisely how a boy who sexually assaults a girl while he is drunk looks when he grows up. his true self showed today, and every survivor who saw his face, who heard Christine Blasey-Ford say she was once scared he might kill her, recognized him as a perpetrator.

and Dr. Ford stood in her dignity, her life – changed long ago by this trauma – is now again forever changed by her bravery. her dignity helped her stand there in her terror and revisit her trauma. she even explained to the world how trauma works in the brain, because like all of us, she is not only a survivor but a whole human being…and in this case, a scientist.

Amilcar Cabral taught us to “claim no easy victories”. i deeply believe that – and i am curious about how we understand what a victory is in this political climate. i was teaching all day yesterday. i read the testimony laying in bed, after reading about Bill Cosby finally being held accountable in the only way possible in his lifetime.

i want to share that i believe it is a victory that the attention of the nation was on this hearing, and that this brilliant woman stood in her dignity and told the truth. now everyone has to face it. those who are doing everything possible to regress humanity back into caves still have a say in the decision of this moment. they may not be transformed by Dr Ford’s dignity, by Kavanaugh’s pathetic guilt. but the landscape of this long war against patriarchy and rape culture is changed by her advance, by this battle.

the #metoo movement is opening up the closets of this country. when Dr. Ford tells her truth, in her dignity, she is flanked by millions of survivors finding our voices and tired of the bullshit. we shake and we cry and we rage and we battle through the day. we cast binding spells. we tell our stories, again and for the first time. we are not passive observers. we are survivors who have learned and are learning to alchemize our pain into futures that don’t hurt our children’s children. our stories are our slingshots, and we are moving forward. and none of us move alone. we are growing from #metoo to #wetoo, and we hold each other up on days like this.

and Kavanaugh, regardless of the decision made about his work, still has options for his soul. his legacy doesn’t have to be that face full of rage and denial, barrelling towards a false entitlement. he can turn and face his actions, his history. he can atone and be accountable. it is important that all perpetrators know that.

but for me, i want to recognize the victory of Dr. Ford, the dignity of that survivor telling her story and shifting the lens through which we see this man and any governing body that would accept him without him taking accountability for these illegal and immoral actions. i hope she is being celebrated properly by those closest to her. i hope there is victory in her heart.

Alana Slays Dragons

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my friend Alana needs your help. she is well into the miracle phase of her life. we all know that we are going to die, but most of us don’t know how, and we can pretend the time is far away. for two years now, Alana has woken up every day knowing that cancer is inside her body, too far along to be stopped, the number of her possible days spoken aloud. she shares each step of her journey, finding the humor, the pleasure, the connection in each battle. she reads Harry Potter, and she plays scrabble, and she slays dragons. it’s never fair when someone gets sick in this way, at this young age. but Alana’s fight is especially unfair, because my friend is in the kind of love that humans long for at the cellular level, the kind of love that deserves forever, the kind of love that cannot be quiet. her love and life are a benefit to all who cross her path. please go and read her incredible, vulnerable blog. it ends with this donation link – give her more days to live, more days to love. give her family space and time with this badass angel. give give give!

I’m upset! #usopen

Ooh. I watched the US Open today.

Ooh!

I’m upset.

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I feel like Serena was not robbed, she was disrespected. This feels like Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, where a white man did something he wasn’t supposed to do and an incredible Black woman gets shamed in front of a massive audience.

It’s shame. Shame when you ban a player’s functional outfit that fits her incredible black body, when you make the best athlete alive wear a skirt. Shame when you beef with her over her coach’s actions. Shame when you punish her in a measure incongruent the US Open. Shame when you distort the first major victory of Naomi Osaka (the first Japanese player to win here, in a championship over an idol) with unnecessary drama.

Serena was so clear each step of the debacle: this is wrong. She had a right to be mad, she was up against a worthy opponent and struggling. And she’ll be fine, she has saved her own life, she has forged her own path many times. Osaka will also be fine, she’s an incredible player and I wish her all the unmarred victories in the world.

Who/what may not be fine is the US Open itself. The US Open needs to catch up with the race and gender dynamics of their victors. Real adult women are emotional under the pressures of the game, just like men players. A Black woman’s rage at being insulted is not irrational. If you don’t evolve, you will continue to make calls that are sexist, patriarchal, and racist.

The way Serena defended herself though – on her baby she wasn’t going to be called a cheater!

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To his credit, her coach Patrick Mouratoglou was like “yes I was coaching,” which we already knew cause cameras. He added, “everyone does it”, with a shrug. Serena – if she saw him or not – also knew the culture, we all knew that. We’ve all spent years witnessing coaching on the court (so much so that I didn’t even know it wasn’t legal), as well as tantrums. It’s so important that everyone has the right to express righteous rage, to stand up for themselves. Serena has transformed her rage into some of the most incredible victories of all sports anywhere. She could have done that here, given a fair chance. Or lost on her own limitations.

This was wack.

White supremacy decides when to enforce the rules, and who will pay the price. Serena’s rage, it ached to witness. It wasn’t fair to her. It wasn’t fair to Osaka – she was heading to victory without this drama.

I’m upset!

birthday blessing

we have now entered the sacred window that only comes once a year, between Beyoncé’s birthday today and my own on the 6th.

a lot of people have asked how they can support me in my new IRS situation, which involves paying the govt more money than i have. every month. (i was a war tax resister, i reflected on my learnings on my blog)

any money given to me will just be more taxes to pay later. but what really matters to me is supporting and protecting the work of the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute. i don’t want the work to drift because i’m being made to feel scarcity. i’m feeling clearer than ever that it’s time to offer emergent strategy facilitation training, i want to answer this call. monthly or one-time donations to make sure that this budding little institute can actually cover my salary, let me hire someone brilliant to grow the work, and let us focus on making the offer of facilitation training for 2019, this is the birthday gift i want.

if you have been moved by emergent strategy, by the thinking and writing and facilitation, if it can come from the heart, please give. in the memo put “ESII birthday donation” so i can thank you all for being my birthday blessing.

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lightning guidance

i’ve been traveling for the last month, and in almost every place i’ve been, there’s been undeniable lightning and thunder.

lightning in the woods over Minnesota.
lightning over the sea in Pantelleria, Italy – i may have been naked in it, singing and praise dancing.
lightning from a plane flying through Chicago – so fantastical that I hardly resented the ten hour delay in travel. hardly.
and now, lightning in Idlewild as i write this, long horizontal flashes followed by rolling thunder.

it’s my birthday month, and this is the beginning of my birthday week. i turn 40, and i’m ecstatic, taking nothing for granted, surrounded by brilliant artists and thinkers, letting the number be both random and miraculous.

i looked up the meaning of lightning, since i’ve seen more of it in the last few weeks than i have in the last few years. aretha is the research soundtrack, because i’m grieving her, and because she clearly understood lightning. i found/learned many things:

lightning means a loss of ignorance.
the arrival of truth.
fertility and creativity (if those are different).
it marks a sacred place, or a sacred time.
the union of fire and water in power.
the sign of the coming storm.

there’s so many variations to it – the singular bolts, the wide sky rolling and bursting with light, the split bolts that come in twos and threes, the horizontal ones that seem like rainbows of white fire.

i know less and less about the general, the universal. perhaps everything is connected, even though there are paths of humanity i can’t feel at all. i’m less certain.

i’m getting clearer and clearer about what is true for me, true in me. what i can trust and what i can live without. who gets to measure my worth? i’m learning this. who gets to shape my future? i’m learning this. who do i live with and for? i’m learning.

the way comes through in clear ecstatic explosions, in connection, in a moment where i can do nothing but be present. lightning calls me into the present moment, and i arrive again and again with an undeniable shriek, expecting mass wonder. so i linger in delighted reverence. i watch storms roll in until i feel the spray on my face. i watch near open bodies of water and from under trees, risking proximity until i can smell it, feeling inside that i am safe – if some day i’m not, it will be a spectacular miscalculation. and i’ll die happy.

at the beginning of this year, i had a different relationship to every major area of my life than i do now. it has been a year of deep thunder quaking me open, and bright illuminating light showing me my limits and my memories and my self.

i read American Gods during this period and have been reminded of the thunderbirds, their lightning of the eyes, and what storms can obscure. i was reminded that i am fickle about god in this way – any time i feel awe i see god.

i don’t want a god who doesn’t live in the heart of all this wonder.

i accept the gift of all this birthday lightning as guidance about my work, our work at this time: be nothing less than awe inspiring.
bring light.
move against, but in a way that illuminates the clouded places.
be truth.
cast off ignorance.
cocreate the sacred here and now.
make fire.

my Black August poems

every Black August I engage in collective practice with many people in the work of abolition and particularly remembering and lifting up political prisoners. I write letters and poems to those still behind bars, and write haikus with my BOLD family.

these are not great poems, but I appreciate the haiku form for pushing me to get to the essence of what I’m thinking.

this year most of the poems in some way relate to prompts from M Archive, Alexis Pauline Gumbs latest spiritual must-read text. the prompts were developed by Spirit House.

enjoy.

1.
cells so full of us
burst open, dear and wild, Black
liberated life
????

2. remember shackles
remember finding magic
these fingers know spells

these hands held the rape
they recall tapping poison
they recall birth mess

remember black bars
gripped in fingers finding sun
reaching for freedom

remember child cheeks
these hands raised up a Black world
these fingers know spells
????
.

3. Detroit Summer youth:
– hard shells that break into smiles
– Black brilliance walking
????

.

4. in her drank and men
in her laughter and babies
grandma brown got free

in her loneliness
unglamorous uniform
she grew too weary

????
(prompt from M Archive, joys and pains in my dna)

.

5. breathing thru this wall
out over fire-dry land
out to the Black sea

all that exists now
back to that cold beginning
beyond future flame

into your broken heart
to the very edge of life…
and then we exhale

????
prompt from M Archive (what collective breathing and love makes possible)

6. beloved precious
innocent unbroken child
needing everything

two streams flowing clear
miracle and breathless awe
enough, once, enough

????
(prompt, M Archive, who you are on first breath)

7. our reparations
need abolition, love song,
the debt so massive

not just our labor
not just money, but Black lives
spent in fields, cages

freedom, nothing less
nothing alive imprisoned
that is our North star

fight not for dollars
but for land, for years, for breath
for bone deep freedom

????
M Archive prompt, what words have not been spoken, are left unsaid

8. bye bob bye bob bye
evil don’t prosper too long
Kayla fights for mike

we win these rigged games
because we fight together
Black back to Black back

???
????

9. anyanwu lessons
I quiet myself enough
to hear bones, fault lines

hear trauma calling
out from my hip, dropping masks
listen on purpose

today Mike Brown waves
ripple through my pain center
touching all my grief

I feel everything
this is how I spend my life
feeling surrender

I practice recall
reclaiming scarred memory
uncoil my sacrum

I practice breathing
be here, right now, regardless
alive, of my time

I practice seeing
beyond the time horizon
shaping the future

I practice quiet
learn when I choose how to be
reclaim agency

practice not knowing
change is all. and miracle.
turn and face your life.

????
(prompt, M Archive on what are you practicing. calling on Octavia Butler’s beloved healer Anyanwu for inspiration.)

10. swallowed the rage and
made it something beautiful
you loved it, not me

now i interrupt
demand true abolition
throughout our movements

not to be righteous –
to get free, all of us free
we must see the bars

we must see our hands
we must follow our dollars
we must love our rage

????

11. sifting through shadows
I find lives I did not live
scars I never bled

massive weight to pull
the years growing back to land
years of blades and wound

centuries mothered
through the impossible pain:
visionary love

we always know home
know we lost, know we seeking
sifting through shadows

????
prompt from M Archive

12. bodies melt into
one mass universe scale ‘yes!’
this is a greeting

‘suck this breast darling
grab onto something solid’
(remember delight)

laughter moves my flesh –
that earthquakeish movement, these
tectonic mood shifts

I can carry it
when I plant my feet earth sighs
saying ‘yes come home’

lovers do marvel
say ‘no, stay naked, feel sun’
unlearn skinny love

children dive into
these arms, this bosom, they know
they can rest deep here

a road to freedom
is held in her fat black palms
when she touches you

????

prompt M Archive (write about the love of a fat black woman)

13. mind knows black brilliance
hands, divine work of pleasure
soma, our oneness

my skin reads the room
my gut feels the storm coming
knows if we survive

my tongue knows your taste
my spine knows undulation,
the music that moves

feet know to open
heart knows release, ritual
body knows to live

my body knows how
to live survive dream give love
and let go, let go

????

m archive prompt: what the body knows

14. always been freedom
dialectical Blackness
spiraling upwards

????

prompt from M Archive

15. woven in my skin
longing, belonging, and loss
still in your rhythm

????

m archive prompt on relationship to Africa

16. we already dead
we lived before, we let go
we chose to return

we not tied to you
but we love all around you:
say yes to what is

when you can’t hold us
we’re in your blood, under skin,
your sound memory

finished with the fear
the small longings, broken hearts
we are left with Black

????
M Archive, on the dead who are with us, while grieving Aretha

24. I kissed the ocean
lost myself in languages
I will never know

unlocked my Blackness
from suffering, from smallness
from expectation

found my skin wider
world scale in undulation
beyond any wall

freedom is quiet
many paths will bring you home
wander further now

here and now is brief
travel back, correct the harm
then, go everywhere

???? (back in land of signals and data, been practicing in other ways for a bit.)

27. ask the question, pray,
tears flowing, dripping, crashing.
hush: I know nothing

quiet politics
until you can hear your heart
learn your own rhythm

in that still pulsing
let your knowing fall away
listen for fire

????

28. we lock ourselves up
the prison concept spills bars
we call shackles love

teach each other ‘nope.’
limits, office hours, greed,
singular beliefs

live in old footprints
circling worn paths throughout time
caught in righteousness

judging each new inch
punishing each stumbled step
we create the walls

freedom is a way
to protect the part we play
in evolution

freedom is a path
from one heart to another
on a long dark night

????

31. we may look so wild
we crying with our hands up
frustration and praise

raging over change
feeling the differences
more than the oneness

we dream together
but the path is long, labor
lasts through the black night

what is emerging
is too new to bear our weight
caught the old trauma

but so beautiful
a movement of breathe and scale
we intentional

flawed midwives, mothers
raise up miracles daily
hands scarred and lovefull

flawed humans, dreamers
rededicate our whole selves
to revolution

????

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