Not Today

I’m well aware that no-one comes to this blog searching for warm fuzzy feels, but today I’ve been thinking about my responsibility as an artist to respond to people’s pain with something they can hold onto. I’m no-one’s Audre Lorde or Ama Ata Aidoo or Nikki Giovanni,  but I also know that written words have so much power in moments when there’s nothing left to be spoken out loud. There are so many poems and works of fiction I turn to in difficult times, and they are usually free of the warm and fuzzies. There have been floods, hurricanes, wars raging on non-stop at the same relentless pace that the planet is heating up, and my writing is often not the place I choose to think about these things, at least not the writing I share here. I think it would be disingenuous to present sunshine and happy endings on a day such as this when many are visualizing a future that seems almost impossible to endure. Here’s something I started putting together during a free write session in class this evening, and finished on the train ride home.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Nina Simone today.

***

I don’t have to paint a grim wasteland of charred soil merging with a grey horizon because

we are already there

are metal gates slamming with their echo competing with people screeching as loud as they can there are foreheads stamped across the world saying Certified US Target so

this is is only ending the way it began if it is ending at all and

today the orange leaves are disrespectfully optimistic and

all that is here remains flourishing on stolen land where crude oil seeps into clear water drop by drop and

tomorrow we will all wake up tasting burning in our morning breath and

leaving smudges of ourselves on the walls we are depending on to remain upright and

bits of broken hair singed off from the rest of the tangled mass falling into the pale green liquid calling itself soup calling itself lunch and

fragments of teeth dislodging in my mouth starting from the ones I should have pulled out from once toughening gums turning into pudding sliding down my throat from dessert I didn’t want

to have to leave I wasn’t ready but she was busy and I was already enough of a nuisance making this all about myself and

I haven’t learnt to display my chaos in front of people I care about so here I am hoping strangers will stop for once and notice

the man sitting on the corner coloring line drawings of pineapples and other things I can’t explain

why the woman is hopping on one leg playing a pop song on her violin on the train station platform in her yellow sweater with black polka dots today

of all days she has spilling around her feet her own strobe lights

up in the park and out on the streets because no one wants this

advertisement is yelling at me “your life is worth living” and I want to know how you know this

is only ending the way it began and

I may go with it

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