Dreaming

I want to live as if the world is, again, just beginning.

      I have been told that there existed a time, when the world was just being born, that the physical and spiritual realms were not distinct — gods — ancestors walked the featureless earth, as giants, and formed that which we now see — the mountain ranges, the valleys, the rivers, the lakes, the plant and animal life that proliferate the land. And they did so in the most natural of ways — by sitting down, by fighting, by making love, by giving birth, by dying.      

     The stories go that certain sites on this earth, specific flora, particular fauna, hold feelings which we remain unable to describe in our paltry language — these feelings are too subtle for that, but they resonate through our bodies and will continue to do so until the twilight of known time.

     It is also said that we have known one another, before, in The Dreaming. That is why we can, sometimes, find each other — across continents, over oceans, across a world crumbling and dying. It is our spirits that recognize the other, even when our eyes do not. This notion has often made me balk; it did not fix with my limited view of spirituality from my former life. But now, now that the world is falling apart and, perhaps, being reborn, it makes more sense. It all makes so much more sense. The fact that I had never invested in anything before — that nothing could hold my interest any longer than a fleeting moment. You are something that can keep my interest, this life is something that can fully grasp my mind and body. Something inside of me has been holding out for this life. I somehow knew — somewhere in the very back of my brain — that there was an existence outside that which I had led before, something more fulfilling, deeper, and more instructive.

     You told me that you knew that I held out in fear of romanticizing you. I did not want to make you something much more simple than what you are, but I knew I loved you long before I could fully sustain the thought. I resisted — I want to love you as your own entity and not what you represent or don’t represent. My life before had fallen apart, and I was too happy to let it slip from my grasp.

      The world is dying, but I know from what I’ve been told, some part of us will meet again in The Dreaming. We may not actively participate in the practice and rituals of our elders, but I know that we feel them as they are voiced and danced. We know them inside of ourselves as if born with them intact. I have never meant to be dense, but that is the idea, right? That we existed before we were born, and that is why certain things in the world ring so familiar? I believe it — now that we face the brink, I can believe everything. It is the gift of regret, hindsight, and hope.

Exploration

“A man is asleep in the next room
     We are his dreams
     We have the heads and breasts of women
     the bodies of birds of prey
     Sometimes we turn into silver serpents”
                                                                   – Adrienne Rich in Diving Into The Wreck                                      
    I remember times when I have laughed at certain jokes and seemingly random aside comments of casual misogyny. I think back on those moments and wonder how I could have chuckled so easily? How readily these blatant suggestions and hints of gender/sexuality based violence have risen from some individuals’ throats and out their mouths, falling upon the ears of those who know better. How could these persons be so cad about veiled but handy threats against others — those who are their friends, their coworkers, their lovers, and family? How could we, me, giggle as though these threats are never carried out, that there are those among us — men and women — who suffer beneath the weight of their constant shadow? Why do we titter about what is a reality as though it were not? How is it that I myself can giggle when I could easily be made victim of such suggested acts? And, perhaps, be made yet another survivor or simple statistic, of the misogyny that dominates our culture, but that so many — possible victims and probable perpetrators — have willed themselves to believe is just innocent fodder, guiltless fuel for laughs over drinks and dinner.
    The hair on my skin stands on end every time, no matter how I may grin and chuckle, allow these moments to pass without raising objections. Because, I have now begun to understand, there was silent objection, muted query and closemouthed protest. And I can guess that it wasn’t just my own disapproval. There are those around me whose hair also stands up in the same mum manner. They might not have a clear notion of why this is happening, but it’s there — the cloudy idea that what is being said isn’t funny, is too true to ever be simple, or simply humorous.
     Every one loses in a misogynistic culture. Men and women and those innumerable individuals who do not/choose not to fall into that limiting, culturally-constructed binary of identity. Even those who would be labeled perpetrators — they are losing out too…on the better options, actions, and identities possible for themselves and for those with whom they come into contact and affect/are affected by.
    The current political and cultural climate of our nation and world is in my brain as I both skim and sink into Adrienne Rich’s seventh volume of poetry, Diving Into The Wreck: Poems 1971 – 1972. The precision of her language across such a range of experiences yields images so delicately personal yet, also, so revelatory in their universal nature. Rich renders clearly identifiable feelings and notions that were once foggy — shrouded in cloud, floating along the edges of conscious thought. She writes of loss, love, intent, despair. And of those horrible things that one person can do to another. This includes acts of terrifying violence, rape, and homicide, events that seem so hard to imagine at more innocent moments but are so present all around, all the time, are reality for so many.   
     I grapple with my distance from/proximity to the events that swirl around and surround me. I fumble to make sense of the tectonic-plate-like shifting of roles for men and women throughout the world. I sometimes weep over what it feels like I owe to others because of those roles that I have been forced/willingly stepped into. And I despair over what others find their spines bending and splintering under the weight of. 
     So, in my struggle forward, treading — sometimes weakly, other times fiercely and with such great purpose — through the murk, I will discover a buoy at my fingertips and grab hold. Call it a romantic, silly mirage. Call it a privilege afforded to so few. Call it whatever you wish. But I will continue to reach for those small islands of respite and re-invigoration, like Rich’s transcendent, gloriously fortifying poems. We all find our strength where we can.
  
   
“I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.”
                                                                – Adrienne Rich in Diving Into The Wreck

Buzzing

That bee
the one in my head
it’s speaking again
and my being is a-fire
with its echoing calls
that ricochet off 
the walls of my skull
deafening and shrilly twisted
but also crisp and 
clearly intentioned
its stinging voice
flowing through the byzantine 
maze of veins and arteries
muscles and tendons 
encased within my tingling skin
so that I am nothing
but pure desire 
a carnal aching
wantonly desperate
to open my mouth
to reply to this world
to act up 
and act out
to divorce myself 
from mindless paralysis and 
benighted caution
to finally exist here 
and now
in the moment of
my own truest life
before that wild 
and wily insect 
can manage escape
and I lose 
all sharpened
woken nerve
 
“In my head a bee is speaking…”
– Max Jacob