earth do what you will/forgive us

prayer/submission/spell

earth do what you will
mother father creator home
full of wrath, molten, tremoring
you show us how to live and to hurt you
all our life, we spiral out from your body
stardust and sea, anemone and feather
flesh and flower, metal and bone

earth forgive us
all children are greedy
we all demand love beyond what we can give
we all expect your miraculous patience
we are nonsensical, ungrateful
we take your hours, wooden toys, all the sweet
the attention, life force, and all your peace

earth do what you will
how long have we terrorized you
we violate your soft/sacred-ness, deny
that you are changed and changing, that your heart is broken, spirit struggling for respite
venom spilling from the wounds, swelling the surface, catastrophic chasm opening within

but earth please forgive us
for we are split as a species
let us who see you and love you
let us join you, we can tell you where the hurt begins, we can tell you where it ends
let us stay and whisper love songs to you in the turning of the cosmos. let us stay.

earth do what you will
cast us into the endless sky
make us brief

earth forgive us
before we learn to apologize
see us whole

earth do what you will
say finally, enough
take back each perfect gift

earth – forgive us
for we think we are walking
when you carry us

earth do what you will
we thought we could live without you
we have been wrong every day

earth forgive us
every step away from you is an error
even now, we love you

the future of children

before She spoke She dashed a hand into the water and pulled out a fish shining with rainbows, limp and stunned by Her touch. She flicked it whole into Her mouth, then pulled out, by the tail, a skeleton, fragile bones clear of flesh, which she returned to the water.

then She said:

love is never a mistake

a lesson
a force of life
a becoming tomorrow
a preparation for self
a landing in divine purpose
yes

never a mistake

love makes the miracle

never in obligation, we know: cause we got to continue
or we want a son
or we already with child so oh well
or cause it’s what people do
or we just lonely

we can make miracles but
it can’t be so much work
please do better

love is always abundant –
we can nurture everyone
who comes in love

but these days
we struggle to nurture our obligations
our shoulds and ‘posed tos
our abandoned experiments
our too-scared-to-do-otherwises
our i-didn’t-thinks

it is a calling, creation

do we love the heart beating in the womb
do you love feeding life from your own miraculous body
do i love dreaming up ways to comfort the inarticulate wailing
do we love the future
love shaping life for survival
love letting go while holding on

all that love is what grants the miracle
the days it is meant to have
and only those days
only as good as our giving

i know those who
survive without love
carve out of themselves
a new heart
press rhythm into it

are they regrets? tch
are you looking backwards? tch

we have no regrets
we have offered our Self to all of them
and now we are looking forward
at our own aging body
diminishing with time
and resilient and fecund
and sacred and willing
and we are saying: only love will survive

love is the only significant factor
in the next stage of evolution

we are beyond the purely biological now
we begin to see that love
is of the body,
and can make of the body
any necessary reality
parenting is not a ticking clock
it is forever
as are we

and still, We mature

the answer is: who do we love
and how?
bring love forward
and sustain it
and we will sustain you

Compassion/We are all being

Yesterday there were coordinated terrorist attacks all over Paris. I was shaken by it – Paris is one of the places that has shaped me, I’ve been many times and have friends and family in the area.

And then I was doubly shaken by the response of my radical circle of friends – ‘to respond to terrorism in Paris but not in other places is narrow/ignorant/racist’. Or that even as we see the crisis unfold we should remember this is France’s political due.

My initial reaction was frustration and disappointment – I hate the insertion of critique in a moment of genuine emotion and grief. The assumptions and reductions that get made there. This might be my weakness as a revolutionary…but I really wonder if we ever want to be beyond compassion. Is compassion too much to offer?

And yet.

The day before, there were attacks on Beirut. On a regular basis there are attacks on Syria, on Palestine, on Baghdad, in so many specific and ancient homes. There are places where people live in constant, systemic violence. Yes there is racism in who we can see in pain. (The US is one of these places but the bulk of our violence comes from our citizens against each other, our unnamed high stakes civil war….but that’s another post.)

In certain parts of the world, there is such continual violence that we barely take note of it as a global community. Such violence that we hold it as something fantastical, because we cannot imagine living in those conditions. And lacking such imagination means that when people react to the constant violence by unleashing it, letting it whip out and touch someone or some place beyond the invisible boundary of safety and nonsafety, we earnestly ask ‘who would do such a thing?’

Privilege includes being able to live in a violent world without hearing the gunshots. There are places where we can pretend that violence doesn’t exist. For many of us Paris has been/is such a place.

Tourism is a way of getting to know the surface of a place, and Paris gives such a gorgeous and delicious top layer. I think of Paris as crepes, hammams, art, love, Baldwin and Simone, balconies and kissing. But I also know better – top layers can only cover a rotten core for so long. To be radical is to be willing to acknowledge the rotten core of present day conditions and seek to heal, transform and grow something absolutely new at the very root of society.

I think compassion has to be part of what we’re growing, what we’re training into ourselves at the root. For me, compassion usually means being able to see myself in others, my weakness or fear, my humanity.

Often those creating the conditions of violence are able to stay far away from the daily experience of it. By this I don’t mean actual terrorists or mercenaries. I have always thought of them as victims of those with resources and decision making power in this world, those still concentrated in the ‘West’, Europe and the US, those who continue to live in such a level of indulgence that the entire planet is being thrust into climate crisis to meet our need for fuel, materials, new new new things.

Many victims of our current economy are refugees right now, seeking home and safety amongst hostile nations who don’t want the burden.

I think of Warsan Shire’s poem Home:

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
pitied

But refugees and terrorists are fruit and flower of the same tree. People of a place that has become unlivable. Different theories of change…perhaps the distinction is hope vs hopelessness. I believe that no one blows themselves up in a crowd of strangers if they believe there is a way to live with dignity. Now we have this impossible foe – intergenerational hopelessness.

We have to be able to imagine the unimaginable to understand the long suffering at the root of terrorism. And then we have to be unflinching in tracing the lines of causation, especially when they run back to our own government, our own tax dollars.

I’m not saying the US is responsible for all terrorism in the world – that is us centering ourselves yet again. There are fundamental belief systems that are legitimately regressive. But those systems flourish in the condition of armed inequality. And I am saying that the US arms inequality, manifesting chaos and disaster in order to control the material world. Our fingerprints are always on the the grenades, our hearts always broken by the carnage.

When terrorism happens, if you are a US taxpayer, the response isn’t ‘Who would do such a thing?’, but rather ‘What have we done?’, what conditions have we helped generate, what scarcity have we grown in this abundant world? How long can we hold this contradiction?

Yesterday I spiraled through these thoughts – sad for Paris, because I believe there is such a thing as complex innocence. Sad to see how many of my comrades reacted with little to no compassion, and then devastated to know that that lack of compassion is a response to watching the world ignore systemic violence. That what we are generating in the world right now, everywhere, over and over, is borders. Us vs them, those who deserve our compassion and those who do not, barbed wire topped walls between humans we can care about and those we can’t.

We are forgetting each other, forgetting our interconnectedness. We are in one pattern. We have to fight for our right to feel for each other, to remember that ‘enemy’ is a construct, and we can reject it, outgrow it.

I will end with this poem from my brother Sam Conway, which helped me sleep last night.

May I see clearly
That I am the dead in Paris
And I am also their killers
I am the family of the dead in Beirut
And I am the family of their killers
That I am the child of each refugee
And the mother of every despot
I am each ISIL recruit, each American soldier, every exploded hospital and every roadside bomb

May I see clearly
That I with all the living and the dead
with the Great Earth
Awaken together in this moment

May we see clearly together
That there is a Great Way Through violence and fear
Past bloodshed that brings more bloodshed
A way past hate

And seeing all these things clearly
May we with all beings
Simply do them.