Air palpable with earnest outcries
read to the appropriate audience
words spent on prayers to gods
too busy to grant wishes
(From my last day at AWP:)
The folks I saw yesterday (Friday) were not out today. I want to believe that the old guy flying a sign on the corner of Halliday and MLK -- who, up close, doesn't look much older than me -- got what he needed and was able to sleep in doors last night. I want to believe that Tanya J. McDonald -- who told me her name 5 times and who was clearly released from a hospital with no sense of where she might end up -- was able to find peace and safety and some comfort in mourning her mother's death.
I saw them. I looked them in the eye and took their hands and helped in some small, temporary way. I want to believe it made a difference.
But I don't feel that optimistic today.
There's something about all the appropriate mourning and moaning here that's just so far-sighted in all the wrong ways. People see injustice at a distance and want to engage it. But when it's up close, they overlook. Or worse, they look through it like it's air.
Of course there's talk about Trump and the peril to democracy -- mostly by white academics. When I hear work by writers of color, or by immigrant writers, or by people recounting stories of assault and the abuse of power, there is no presumption that democracy is in peril.
There is no presumption that democracy exists at all.
in the course of natural process --
the fragrance lingers,
a memory seized
right in the moment breath freezes.