Do I want to farm?
Do I want to farm?
Thank you for replying & explaining your views & for pointing me in the direction of Family Talk. When I am with a more reliable form of internet I will definitely check it out. I’m familiar with Dobson & used to listen to him on the radio as a kid when riding with my dad (usually to church), but I haven’t listened to him in many years.
I know it’s been a while but in my recollections of you, you seemed always engaged, compassionate, intellectually honest, your faith genuine, & your desire to do good for others was clear. This is why I felt I could ask the question I asked. I think you MIGHT agree that it’s been difficult to talk or listen across political lines—maybe always, but it seems more & more—lately.
For myself I have decided that to follow the example of my mother—& make listening my number one political priority—is the most Godly use of my time & I hope that I can do it well & to His glory. I’m sure I will fail at times.
I was at the march in San Antonio (largely to bear witness, but also to be supportive of my friends) & cannot speak for the marches held in DC or elsewhere except that I know some people who were at many of them, & I know how they described it & I know what those people are like & what’s important to them. I can try to address your statement & explain a little of my own hopes & of what I witnessed at the marches & what I have learned from talking with some of these other people who are the people some of them the people who march I have talked with them very closely, these others & myself & I have learned some words to say about my perspective & about the perspectives I witness— what I think the expectations of many of those who attended are/were/maybe will continue to be, & if you’re interested you can read & if you’re not, no worries & I hope you are well:
I lean on a hope, always, for common ground. There are many disagreements worth having—in good time, I hope: reasoned address of political realities (the facts of many people believing so differently from one another & yet trying to live together—it feels like insanity, but there is much of God in this attempt to find harmony. It’s difficult to carry out in His way) but here I just want to describe something I witnessed & try to explain generally the picture I think it paints. I will not ask you to agree with my assessment, but would not also try & prove me wrong (something I don’t expect you to do, but it is usually my own first instinct when I find my disagreement with someone over their perspectives is incredibly important to me—I give in too easily to an overwhelming knowledge that the implications residing in another person’s perspective are a direct threat (to the good) (to my family) (to my body & my faith) [& these are all so important to me. I hold them so close. They are what provide me comfort & strength… they are what teach me how to Love.] &/but, I will try to proceed with the perspective that we are all created beings in search of our maker & that in the end this is a beautiful thing & there is much suffering built into this beautiful thing & it should be my aim to alleviate as much of that suffering as I can within my lifetime for as many as possible for as long as possible & then die. There is nothing that sounds like God’s voice to me more than this thought when I hear it. It’s a trembling thought, & I am overwhelmed. & I overspeak myself. I cling to pretense. & I take pride in my trembling & I overspeak the voice that is God & I stumble & fall to anger & frustration & confusion & whatever else is lying around on the ground when I stumble there. There are so many pitfalls in the holding of collective hearts. The best we can do is our best. I know you are doing yours.
I am not a Clinton apologist & I did not vote for her, but also I was traveling all over the U.S. making books & meeting with artists & making music & trying to come to a better understanding of the country I live in—I did not have a fixed address for about a year & was not allowed to register—I have to live with this decision & whatever it says about me as a citizen). Still, I don’t expect we (you & I) would find much politically to agree on, but I want to be clear that I would never expect a person ought to vote out of a gender-based allegiance… “just because we are both women,” as you say. & I get the lack of support for Clinton by many, but to me this is a separate issue from accepting Trump’s agenda on its face or thinking about his moral character. (Angel said “lesser of two evils” & I’ll generally go along with that thought, but the lesser of two is still evil—if we’re using that language). It’s important to respect the office of the presidency. Almost as important as it is to take one’s role as citizen seriously. Faith & family come first in my mind but citizenship is important & the office of the president (as a servant of the people) & of all elected & appointed members of civil service are important for us as citizens to respect—this is what I believe.
& it’s very much in keeping with what I witnessed at the march. I’ve seen a lot of people acting afraid & so I think we are afraid, a lot of people. I think a lot of people are afraid because a lot of people are acting afraid & so I think I am probably right. I was overseas in 2008 & I remember from watching these little video clips from back home (that I remembered never really captured the way it felt to live back home—the news & so on) that while many were celebrating, many began to live in fear of what was next.
At the march I didn’t walk with anyone acting afraid. I saw one person acting afraid. They wore a mask. They shouted angry things. They wore a mask. They shouted. They raised their fists they pointed. They wore a mask. They ran away. I think this is acting afraid even though I also think that it is an attempt to act brave in the face of fear. I think they wore a mask because it would help them to become brave & to do the thing they feel must be done. I think I’m right about this. & I think it is a fearful acting. & I think it is brave. & that these two things are not in contradiction with one another & both are true. But I did not walk with anyone acting afraid. I walked with a lot of people who were enjoying being in a place together with other folks in a place together & not feel so afraid. I heard folks expressing joy with one another & I listened to some words connecting the present with the past & descriptions of what hard work looks like & what a cheerful heart sounds like & statements agreed to consider it our duty to love & protect one another. There was, in the march I attended—since it was a local march—some discussion of local concerns relating to the broader ones. “There are companies that contract with the government here & the government is here: let us work to make the working of that government transparent & let us work to encourage the ethical treatment of humans & let us work toward fair pay for our hotel industry, let us preserve our public parks, let us keep the refugees who live here safe. Let us take care of the least among us. And if no one opposes us, we will have cared for those who need caring. And if we are opposed, we will have cared for those who need care.” – was sort of like the thing/I paraphrase. I shall phrase eventually somewhere else.
What I saw were a lot of folks looking to do the good they see needs doing & asking one another for help & offering to help.
I’m afraid it may seem I’m covering the easy part. The temptation is to give lipservice to what it seems we can all agree on. It is given, & so we ignore it & focus on the places where we differ. Yes, yes, everyone thinks their side is right, move on. But I think it’s important to spend time acknowledging this. At all times, not only now. But also yes now. Even though the election is over, it makes no real sense to tell anyone to stop doing whatever they are doing to protect their family & their loved ones & themselves & continue working for what they believe is right. & it makes little sense that if a person perceives suffering & wishes to combat that suffering, that they should elect to make as many enemies as possible in the way they go about it. I don’t think most people are doing this, but vocal groups are doing both & it’s completely human & understandable & probably justifiable. But to refuse to talk to one another is death to a community. This seems to me unchallengeable & it doesn’t matter as much who’s responsible for the lack of listening as much as it is to remember we are all responsible to it. Spending time in agreement with these concepts is what I consider unity.
Agreement, protest, complicity, resistance. We do these things for those we love. But we also love one another. & I can love a man whom I believe intends to strike me. & I can love him after he strikes me. If I am strong enough to remember to do so I can offer him my other cheek—& if I am strong enough I will not run, but face & pay attention & try to exemplify & pursue compassionate behavior. This is what I see & witness in those I know who participated in the march. I see it all over.
Yet it is becoming more & more difficult. We trust so many voices that tell us we are different from one another. We forget how to disagree. This is dangerous, I think. It’s good that we are in conversation. I hope it is. Even if you find me full of it, you listened. That’s the main thing I want to think about here. The other stuff. Right. It’s really important. & if we can talk, we can talk about it. If not we’ll just have to keep fighting about it.
I shall keep an eye out for a sea for you, but it looks like mostly creeks and the Pacific Ocean. I drove by one sea on the way but it was named “lake.” Look at that lake, would you? said the Mormon, Simply all full of salt! Tis a miracle of heaven!
Tis no bummer to desire nowhere, I think. Or at least, tis not necessary. Nowhere is a good where, it demands a full listening. It’s the resistance we carry that makes the abyss so uncalm. Surrender may be, I think I am coming to this, the only way.
Once again reminded: Life takes, to paraphrase the aforementioned Al Swearingen. That is the one constant.
Try not to forget that.
I won’t pretend to hold a particularly sophisticated political philosophy, nor would I presume to feign ignorance to excuse my many blindspots & biases, the fact of flaw I take as given. Regardless, this past few weeks there was very little which gave me cause for encouragement besides the mainly diasporic (of my own geography) voices of the women I look to as mentors to my heart. I name them here casually other than their given only as I keep them much close in admiration but also not wish to be the shouter of names so much as my own grateful sentiment—
who is my mother. On so many potentially untrivial things we find cause to disagree, but that her insistence in politics leans on the bedrock of the ear. There is no useful politics, she holds, without we are listening. I can do nothing but grow in this understanding. I can feel nothing but gratitude for the constancy of her love & strong example of leadership within her community & empathy & action in favor of those in need.
I at one time named to myself the Dusk. The qualities of her I have been considering are her devotion to immigrant communities & her insistence on challenging the brains of those near her toward answering the immediate nature of their political realities. She is relentless in her kindness & a brilliant dreamer of dreams.
who organizes for Planned Parenthood & who has helped children learn to be together with animals & who gathers the words of other women as they confront their planetary natures. She is the most poetry of any human I have yet known. & though she is already a healer, she also strives to a perfecter relationship with the unity of body & mind & guiding others toward that end.
who looks through science & art & poetry toward the better understanding of the sexes of the genders of the people toward the people—one to another, the many to the many. She teaches me precision in my contemplations. She teaches me acceptance from within. She examples the act of responsible discourse & the value of a good walk.
& I cannot avoid the coloration, not is it skin deep, but as light galactic I think. She is ferocious in her cause toward compassion. Patient with ignorance. Unafraid to air her fears if it will help another see. Unwilling to accept the current narrative—in any spectrum of politic—of our nation.
I can write the names all night, & hope that in my stalling here it is not a sign that the list is near an end. What I mean to impart is I have been of late—as many—stewing in quiet dejection over this cloud I consider to be passing through our midst, the most convenient name to give our cloud is Trump. But, of course, this is not the name of the cloud & nor did it just now arrive & nor will it have gone once the man has gone. It is a momentary name for something very old.
Understood on some level there is work to do & there is hope to hold to, yet my stewing remains—as I’m sure for many for many for many the stewing the isolating feeling remains, but it has been the observable honesty & unwavering commitment of these women (& more & more & more) to the walking of a walk (and by this I do yes mean a march here & there & apparently all the damn-over, but I also mean just the walk itself of head-high, willing-to-admit struggle/unwilling-to-allow the struggle to dissuade) that has filled my heart with hope for the long darkened path that so obviously looms ahead.
As such & in such a frame as that there is somehow, without my having invited it in, a joy to find.
But today, in this hot little corner of Texas January, I did. I did not voice much, but I listened much. I took notes from leaving my bungalow & walking the miles to City Hall & from City Hall into the city & from the city past the Jailhouse & past the Jailhouse down the lane and on into the end of that walking & into the continuing of the walking & we continue I think a good walk.
But I have noted & wanted to share. & probably I mean to share this on the blog of the blog of the Primates, but this letter is mainly to you, & I hope it remains relatable in another place, but mainly & really it is to you:
**watched the thing [inauguration]—
There seems nothing to note at the moment
that could benefit any thought about
collective governance. More at maybe
Heading to stand with the women. Frazzled of brain (me) but moving of feet. A heart towards next—
Hornets’ nest hangs tree limb over Broadway walk
Tower of Americas hangs in
Unhurried feet yet fleet
I come to throw my lot in with these women
Blue & Red & White:
Blue as in the West of
red woods white
Red as in the white Midwest
White as all light
jazz as fuck
the rio & the gulf
Who hold the heart of my head
Making up what wisdom
there is to touch
in “we” & “will”
& where I throw my lot (mother, sister, other)
the best of those whose love is greatest
whose insistence everpresent ever present
whose compassion teaches
there is no better “here”
there is no later time
to do the working good
I throw my lot in with them
the lot I’m thought I’m lotted
could honestly do no better
Still I cannot bring myself into a “stand against,” an anything
Only the great “is” of another way
Shade of oaks in hot January
Acorns & humans in the moss of gentle grass
“Men of Quality Don’t Fear Equality”
“The Future is Female”
“Our Rights aren’t up for Grabs”
“Muslims for Justice for All”
“We are =”
This body leans against an oak
These bodies are present
A quiet joy resides/presides
Sparse police presence
11 bike cops
& two cruisers
they are leaning against
the stucko walls across from hall
playing on their phones to ground
cop at the cruiser bites into an apple
little one in a yellow wreath
shirt reading “love wins”
this body leans against a tall old oak
people who don’t use their legs to walk don’t use a sidewalk—are only seen as disadvantaged because our environment is designed to cater otherwise—nobody remains able their entire lives
Considering what moves out of this moment—the “next”est of things maybe.The we the I that waits to heal (an act). Yes we walk in show to symbolize our walking, walk in order to have it said we walked to show our walking. We walk to say it said our walking were for good & to recall the together of our walking good how many walking else around the round the round of earth around.
in this later now
when we are alone again
& it is cold & dark & worrysome & difficult to remember, well, there was a walking that we walk still we walked & walked & walked among the walking; worthy of our walking there are all of these, these humans here, I remember & will remember it as such & such & such is the hope is the hope
is the hope
Crowd does the crowd thing pressing in to gaggle like as geese
Taking audio of the speakers at the steps the speakers at the steps who focus on shared principles & wages at the hotel & hotels in public park & NSA backyard contract. Woman whose head is covered cannot be heard for half her speaking & by the time the thing is fixed I wish only to hear her all of it, she is the heart of the moment in this we. Weaves together past & present struggle in this now of now of now of America the now & before. Insistence upon equality does not appeal to fear. Does not overpower the moment purple. No slogans. no platitudes. Just a quiet collective heart of education to touch. & I do not know her name.
Medina in a white shirt looks like a statue smiling overrighteous politician. Posing for photos. Politician. How do we stay close? Avoid the photo op?
Woman in the Tower waving flailing arms & screaming “Trump!” & nothing more.
Past Market square—onlooks like to skipping stones, dangling a foot in, bored
Elder couple wet of eye, fist to the grateful sky
By the jail of coiled barbed wire
a disembodied voice cast down
What’s going on out there!”
We try to explain, he’s not hearing
“No! More! Mass incarceration!”
They are waving from the stoops along W Martin
Drones taking profiles
Writers exchanging information
& I am not elated nor inspired.
& maybe just the sense of the weight of the walk of the weight of the moment of the path that is uncertain & thirsty & together
“It is our duty to love & protect one another.”
all my fractured full of Love,