“Now is the time…”

(My own response to a prompt I gave at the Art for Recovery writing workshop a couple of weeks ago — read the Hafiz poem Now is the time):

Now is the time for you to step back into that voice that you thought was forgotten, the voice that was left by the bedside, the missing night table, the history book, that was tucked into the upper corners of old rooms, long since painted over, a mouth wide open and unspeaking. Now is the time for this one loss, this one untenable thing, to unthread through: What if history got named something else besides seeking for revenge or – what’s the word? repercussions, retribution, or, yes, revenge?

What if this one loss weren’t anything but a life, what if that which was stolen becomes the anxious frame I built a life upon what if all the survival is the fragmented foundation what if history meant more than terror and emptiness, I mean what if a life is made up of more than what wasn’t there once upon a time. Now is the time for pleasure to be in history’s creeks and cracks, for memory to flood into the center of loss, for the green cicada throbbing to flesh out the night, the barren mornings.

I’m trying to say that there was more to what we had then than what safety, what innocence was stripped from our palms. Hafiz wants me to come to a lasting truce with god and I am trying to understand how god could have been there in the disheveled places, the times when the body splits, under pressure, into several selves, how to come to a truce with a god that meant loneliness: except, of course, that the same god made use of the blanket of that loneliness to cause some comfort in the swollen and too crowded-places in your mind and so how to make sense of the way a life works. Maybe that’s not my job. Maybe I just keep on moving, finding forever new language and framings for the old stories, the ones about strip-mining a child’s bed, about watching mothers, grandmothers in hospitals… the retold stories that attempt to reframe silencings with color and voice

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