It is a frustrating irony that my heart finds nothing worth writing about other than the painful, bloody fight for equality (still) raging in the US; and at the same time, my heart is too filled with anger, grief and tension to find words to write.
Here is one attempt. Just a few words that could not find completion written in the days following the release of the video of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder. I was born and raised in Georgia, and I think this is a sort of proclamation that we do not have to become what our social environment and our history might dictate.
Dear Dr. Angelou
a global pandemic
and the war against “other”
have become bedfellows
And the place of my birth
is synonymous with murder…again…
And yet, I love
15 May 2020
For too long, it has been the challenge of people of colour to rise in spite of a system rigged against them. White people, please, we must learn to love humanity more than we love privilege.
Life brings challenges beyond our control, and these challenges can sometimes be great burdens. But when we use our voices and express our truth, we can turn those burdens into new light and fresh growth for ourselves and for the world. I wrote this poem for a friend 22 years ago. I thought I would give it some new light today.
The Shape of Water
All this weather
In a woman’s voice, it is matter of fact
Prophetic and profound
Because it is commonplace
That itchy little annoyance that turns up the dis-ease
That makes you or breaks you
All this weather
That never quite settles a person in one place or another
Just continual change
Until there is no particular sensation drawing the mark
Between rain and shine
No particular sensation
Bleeding into the flood waters – the runoff from the world
And blending so that one can no longer claim: “those tears are mine!”
…Even if one wants to
Do you know that the shape of water is round?
Like earth, like sun, like moon
Like life and death
Like submission and victory
There is no beginning or end – only weather
But do you know
That a woman’s voice will change the world slowly?
Light will creep in where she unburdens her heart
And leave the yellow-pink glow of sunset
Looming over the yield of years and years of weather:
Little green sensations.