Friday, July 21, 2006

milkman's sister

there are many ways to express love.

one of them is to stay out to support a sistapoet who's on her way out of town to pursue an academic dream, staying until every last drop of the send-off has dripped, even if it means that my body wasn't going to hit the sheets until something-to-three in the morning.

wait for it...

*yawn* (excuse me.)

i also noticed lately that a lot of the poetry i write - the substantial majority of it, in fact - is love poetry. notice, i didn't say romantic, i said love, because love is bigger than the erotic and sentimental, though i do write romantic and sensual pieces. i write poems that are in tribute to different kinds of people, like women, men, black folks, my old neighborhood, and my dad. i have other poems that are about my disappointment in certain events, like the aftermath of hurricane katrina or the incidents where people lose their lives to violence and receive no justice because of apathy. still other poems center around my identity politics, and where my place is in this society and the various microcosms of society i deal with, and more often than not, those poems are written towards the love of self, the love of the Creator, and the love of others. i suppose it's fitting that my poems all boil down like greens to love in one way shape or form. i'm happy about that. i'm very pleased to know that the contents of my mind that my expressive side feels imperative to share with others is essentially all the stuff about love.

my faith teaches me that the two greatest and most imperative things a person can do are to love the Creator and love the neighbors (more than you love yourself, which is really just an extension and natural companion to the other two acts of loving.) i think i actually understand that ordering too. because in order to love the Creator, you have to earnestly be open and respectful of and generous toward Someone you can't even reach out and put your hands on... unless you can recognize that that loving Someone's breath respirates in every person you'll ever see. and that alone is enough reason to be open and respectful and generous to everyone who will allow you to be, and to at least be respectful from a distance if folks force you to. i think that once you've done that, then maybe you can truly do that for yourself. because without that first understanding, we love ourselves merely out of self-interest and intrinsic self-preservation. that's such a biased and limited love - it's the kind that allows us to criticize and doubt and hold contempt for our fallibilities and shortcomings that perhaps we'd be able to forgive if we could love ourselves with the same lack of conditions with which we can look at a stranger and love what we see. the more we practice the effort, the less we see good reason to put exceptions and conditions on love, with others and with ourselves. i walk several blocks in the city most mornings, and i pass all kinds of people. practice makes perfect, so i look at them and i try to see myself in them. well, not so much myself, but the part of myself that is like the part of them that is in common to both of us because it's both of us and not of us, that Divinity - that shared original breath some people call soul, or spirit. it gets easier as i continue to try. i've seen myself in middle aged asian ladies, and weather beaten old homeless dudes, and cosmopolitan white girls walking their little dogs, and brothers riding low in their seats listening to hip hop loud at eight in the morning. it's the most amazing thing.

i've noticed lately that my posts lately keep going back to the spiritual. i don't plan this stuff. i just write where the words take me. i try not to beat folks over the head with my spirituality and my faith tradition, 'cause one of my main gripes with it is that people who preach generally annoy the hell out of me. i can get past those who are self-righteous, or those who are regurgitating stuff they haven't even understood or internalized yet, and those who are condemning. but it's the persistence of those folks who don't realize that only those who have ears for what you're saying will be the ones to grow from it. and whoever ain't listening for it, won't be ready until they are listening for it, in which case the best you can do is plant a seed and keep it moving. i'm not here to save anyone. everybody has to decide if they even need saving, and if so, from what, and only then will a decision they make on how to get what they need hold any water. only then will they know whether or not to accept or reject the seed. till then, their ears are closed, and they're just going through the motions of apathy or ambivalence or perhaps even persistent rote activity, with no ground being gained. i live and let live, and hope that my living speaks louder than the oft-repeated phrases in a misunderstood paradigm of religious thought that dull the ears of the otherwise willing.

anyway, that was a big digression. or maybe not, 'cause i was talking about love, after all, and that all fits in - because i love folks, or at least am learning how to really do it. and because of that, i will set aside my pride as best i can in order to respect that there is always hope in the Divinity within them. i'm learning the art of it as i go along. and i like that my poems and blogs are telling the story of how i'm coming closer and closer to understanding. for now we see through a glass darkly... (ooh let me stop before i start mangling first corinthians (one of my favorite toni morrison characters) up in here. i didn't even know this post was gonna go there...)

have a good weekend.