poets can only show us the mystery of light

Yesterday was the last meeting of the Art for Recovery Healing through Writing workshop for this spring session.  One of the prompts I offered was a list of quotes from Alice Walker’s, “In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens”:

  • Only justice can stop a curse
  • Creation often needs two hearts
  • Our best poets write poetry full of holes
  • I am so tired of waiting […] for the world to become good

This was my response:

“Our best poets write poetry full of holes,” for our best poets put themselves into their poems, through their vision and lineage, the breath of their metaphor and memory, through the detail they recount and forget — they put themselves in their poems, and they know, the best poets, that we are all full of holes, that that’s where our light sines through and out, that we are imperfect and we need the connection of others to resolve and decorate us, to flush out and fill in what we can’t do ourselves.

Our best poets can only show us the mystery of light, they pull out of morning and find the starlight in dawn, they give us the echo of sparrows on an otherwise silented concrete neighborhood at 5:50am, the rizz of a passing cyclist and one downtrodden neigh borhood dog with unkempt blackbrowngrey fur and the brightest brutish face, they give us cement front lawns filled with buckets of flowers, concrete driveways with multicolored snapdragons for weeds, they show us what possibility feels like when we show up at our once-upon-a-time favorite cafe at 6am and the lights are still down, the doors still lockied, and the city blows its frigid soaking summer breath all over shivering underlayered you —

And so, because you understand about the holes, you let the cold in, you know that all the experience you can suffer or contain can only come out in your art, is all grist for the mill that is you, and you inhale deep the thick fog, you shake with lack of sleep and the drill of being alive, you watch the joggers in their tight brazen architecture, their skin that says I move too fast for the cold to catch me. You watch the streetcleaning machine make its humping wet way doiwn Divisidaro, you let the gossamer sheen of jasmine into your lungs, knowing this is all there is, and being wildly joyful.

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