Majority vs. Minority Rule, B.S. vs. Passion

United States Capitol

United States Capitol (Photo credit: Jack’s LOST FILM)

Let’s move on to Federalist #22, again by Alexander Hamilton. While I sometimes find Hamilton tedious, as I mentioned earlier, he can also display a ferocious command of logic, political acuity, historical example, and rhetoric. These passages serve as a demonstration of this. Here he discusses how the Constitution addresses majority vs. minority power of the states, as opposed the idea of equality amongst the states, which had been an operating principle of the Articles of Confederation. At that time, the approval of all nine states was required in order to approve a bill, treaty, or other legislation:

The right of equal suffrage among the States is another exceptionable part of the Confederation. Every idea of proportion and every rule of fair representation conspire to condemn a principle, which gives to Rhode Island an equal weight in the scale of power with Massachusetts, or Connecticut, or New York; and to Delaware an equal voice in the national deliberations with Pennsylvania, or Virginia, or North Carolina. Its operation contradicts the fundamental maxim of republican government, which requires that the sense of the majority should prevail. Sophistry may reply, that sovereigns are equal, and that a majority of the votes of the States will be a majority of confederated America. But this kind of logical legerdemain will never counteract the plain suggestions of justice and common-sense. . .

Great rhetoric there, while also demonstrating the frequent insertion of breathy commas–a grammatical oddity throughout the Papers and a reflection, no doubt, of the stylistic conventions of the time.

It may be objected to this, that not seven but nine States, or two thirds of the whole number, must consent to the most important resolutions; and it may be thence inferred that nine States would always comprehend a majority of the Union. But this does not obviate the impropriety of an equal vote between States of the most unequal dimensions and populousness; nor is the inference accurate in point of fact; for we can enumerate nine States which contain less than a majority of the people; and it is constitutionally possible that these nine may give the vote. Besides, there are matters of considerable moment determinable by a bare majority; and there are others, concerning which doubts have been entertained, which, if interpreted in favor of the sufficiency of a vote of seven States, would extend its operation to interests of the first magnitude. In addition to this, it is to be observed that there is a probability of an increase in the number of States, and no provision for a proportional augmentation of the ratio of votes.

But this is not all: what at first sight may seem a remedy, is, in reality, a poison. To give a minority a negative upon the majority (which is always the case where more than a majority is requisite to a decision), is, in its tendency, to subject the sense of the greater number to that of the lesser. . .

Again, great use of rhetoric and logic. He furthermore demonstrates political acuity in acknowledging that the republic would not be static, and was likely to expand. The principle of a majority rule is so commonplace in governance dynamics that we now seem to take it for granted. “Majority rules”: a flippant phrase we throw off while electing which movie to see. Yet at this time, the young states, newly independent, were protective of their rights and demanded equality. As Hamilton notes, though this seems like a just principle, in reality, it provides obstruction to even routine governance processes.

Now these next few passages get interesting, when you read it through the lens of our current perspective. All we see our government doing now is obstruct, delay, and filibuster:

This is one of those refinements which, in practice, has an effect the reverse of what is expected from it in theory. The necessity of unanimity in public bodies, or of something approaching towards it, has been founded upon a supposition that it would contribute to security. But its real operation is to embarrass the administration, to destroy the energy of the government, and to substitute the pleasure, caprice, or artifices of an insignificant, turbulent, or corrupt junto, to the regular deliberations and decisions of a respectable majority. In those emergencies of a nation, in which the goodness or badness, the weakness or strength of its government, is of the greatest importance, there is commonly a necessity for action. The public business must, in some way or other, go forward. If a pertinacious minority can control the opinion of a majority, respecting the best mode of conducting it, the majority, in order that something may be done, must conform to the views of the minority; and thus the sense of the smaller number will overrule that of the greater, and give a tone to the national proceedings. Hence, tedious delays; continual negotiation and intrigue; contemptible compromises of the public good. . .

The mistake has proceeded from not attending with due care to the mischiefs that may be occasioned by obstructing the progress of government at certain critical seasons. When the concurrence of a large number is required by the Constitution to the doing of any national act, we are apt to rest satisfied that all is safe, because nothing improper will be likely TO BE DONE, but we forget how much good may be prevented, and how much ill may be produced, by the power of hindering the doing what may be necessary, and of keeping affairs in the same unfavorable posture in which they may happen to stand at particular periods. . .

What could better describe the overuse of filibuster we witness today, and the consistent impasse that arises now at what should be navigable issues of governance?

Evils of this description ought not to be regarded as imaginary. One of the weak sides of republics, among their numerous advantages, is that they afford too easy an inlet to foreign corruption. . .

No, Alexander, we most definitely now know them not to be imaginary. They have become our political reality. Does this suggest that we need to further reduce the minority party’s “negative upon the majority,” as Hamilton put it?

What’s interesting about that last line above is how we can spin the meaning of “foreign corruption.” Hamilton meant it in the literal sense, but today, we could read it in the sense of any entity operating outside of the government, such as corporations, lobbyist groups, and other special interests, which have an out-sized influence on the operations of our government.

In an article in The New Yorker, there’s a bit more on viewing this as a screed against the filibuster, as well as some interesting caution against viewing The Federalist Papers as “secular scripture.” To quote:

The Federalist Papers—so often quoted to rationalize governmental stasis and congressional gridlock—are almost always treated as secular scripture. They’re not. They’re newspaper op-ed pieces, written in haste to sell a particular set of compromises, some of which their authors had adamantly opposed and accepted only with the greatest reluctance.

This is interesting, and it may explain in part why I’ve found some of Hamilton’s contributions to the papers tedious: he really may be bullshitting when he sounds like he’s bullshitting. The passages above, however, reflect real passion, and this stood out as I read them.

The MLK Memorial and Me

In February, I went to a conference in D.C. My wife came down to join me since I hadn’t been there before (update: wait, I have been there before, once as a young ‘un long ago, and another time for a brief few hours for a meeting. Forgive me, I have a really bad memory!), and we wanted to take the opportunity to explore. We don’t get out much, and I’ve barely seen much of my East Coast environs, barring last year’s visit to Philly. At the top of our list of things to see was the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial. It was the newest memorial, and also slightly controversial.

As we approached the memorial, we read quotations from MLK’s speeches that are engraved along a wall that leads up to his statue. We then walked around the central monument, which depicts Martin Luther King with his arms crossed, embedded in a chunk of granite mountain that appears to have slid forward from its face (“Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope”). His hands are sinewy and strong, veins bulging, and his eyes gaze stoically across the water. There is a sense of calm and might, but also a sense of tragedy. The somewhat unfinished look of the overall work contributes to this sense.

We took our obligatory picture of his statue, and then my wife asked if I could take her picture in front of one of the quotations we had passed earlier along the wall. “It reminds me of you,” she said, somewhat shyly. We walked back over and I took her picture in front of the quotation, which read

“I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their heads.”

I asked her why it made her think of me. She seemed to feel that the reason why I am a teacher and work hard every day aligned with that quotation. I couldn’t quite see myself in it, however, and told her so. I realized I seemed brusque, but I couldn’t think of a reason at that moment to explain why. This post is my explanation.

A little further down the wall, I saw another quotation that did speak to me and about what I am passionately committed to in my work everyday:

“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalty must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”

I took a picture of this one as well. We then walked away from the MLK memorial towards the Roosevelt memorial, which is a long, meandering wall and pathway of red stone with many niches and spaces for reflection along the way. Quotations from F.D.R. are sprinkled next to reflective pools, waterfalls, and scattered stones. But it was a quote from his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, in a little niche that reached out to me. In fact, it linked together in theme with the earlier quotation from MLK that had spoken to me:

“The structure of world peace can not be the work of one man, or one party, or one nation . . . It must be a peace that rests on the cooperative effort of the whole world.”

This theme of common purpose, of a struggle for a global, overarching vision through cooperative effort, is what drives me and motivates me to do the work that I do. I was flattered by my wife’s belief that I do what I do because of a passion for human rights, but when I read the quotation she linked to me, there was a cognitive dissonance I didn’t feel comfortable with. I can’t quite place my finger on it, but it seems to have to do with a sense of martyrdom (“I have the audacity to believe. . .”), a stance of personal virtue, nobility, and challenge, that I can’t quite identify with.

An almost messianic passion, in fact, is a trait of many that enter into teaching as a profession. It is common for teachers to speak of teaching as a sort of “calling,” as if they have been drawn into the vocation by some higher purpose. I am frequently talked to by others who are not teachers as if I have entered into a sainthood, and given the respect and sympathy attributed to a monk — that is, with an incredulous, I-would-never-do-that-myself-but-god-bless-you kind of attitude.

This has always rubbed me the wrong way. Teaching is a profession. It is a job. And yes, it is a tough one, and it is especially tough when teaching special education in a high needs school in an impoverished inner city area. But I went into this tough career not simply because I wanted to make my world a better place, but because I wanted — purely selfishly — to develop myself as a leader, to learn firsthand the ground level effects of policy decisions, and become a part of something much greater than myself. I have no illusions that I am changing the world simply because I may impact a few childrens’ lives in the confines of one classroom. This is important work and the impact on one child’s life cannot be diminished. But I believe strongly that the system within which I work impacts our nation’s future greatly, and that I can learn how to work together with others to change the world by altering components of the system we work and live within. Teachers, parents, children, policymakers, state legislatures, mayors, citizens, these are the people that collectively will change the world. We must learn to look beyond our individual selves and work towards a common, global purpose.

This is why the second quotation from MLK and Eleanor Roosevelt’s quotation spoke to me. I’d like to think that I as an individual can effect great change, but realistically speaking, I know that whatever impact I can have on my own is nothing in comparison to what we can achieve when we work together.

Every Day

Passion can be everyday. It’s not just some wind that happens to blow strongly through a moment’s corridor. It can be flurried, steady, or still, but it’s always there, always ready to swell, always breathing in some divine sense of breadth, beyond your control, beyond your command, but always there when you are ready to open yourself to it. Funny how that is, isn’t it? That the only thing that you can control is yourself, but only by relaxing, by allowing yourself to open, by giving yourself up to something greater than yourself. Through this giving, you gain passion. Passion isn’t wild, inarticulate, bestial sex. Passion can be worded, hinted at, breathed silently. Passion can be seen, captured in a picture, written into a sentence. It’s not just some aberrant storm, some happenstance accident of the world. Passion moves through you. It comes into you. It is a part of you, an extension of you, a diplomatic envoy of your innermost heart. It can be so deep that it couldn’t even be known, if it were not for the surface eruptions of bliss. It makes you move, it makes you touch, it makes you feel. Passion is everyday, passion is everymoment, everytouch, everykiss.

Run On Spiralling Tonic

Sunset over desert mountains

You go out into the world, far away, distant into the all. Then you come back, dressed in darkness. You come back to me to give to me a light that you had been keeping, that you had been molding hidden from the world, building upon itself like of clay, of hard-soft snow, collected, you give it to me, you bestow it unto me, you place it into my heart like a light into a light, two lights turning blue, the most quietly intense of flames, burning without flicker—and you give yourself back to me, and here in this place far away from everything, far away from yourself, close to me, you give yourself again to me—taking me far away from myself, close to you, far away from both of us, close to divinity, close to something unnamed, unplaced, imperfectly slidingly slipperingly slopingly beautiful. Here, in this place, we are affirmed, confirmed, firmed, fitted, whetted. We were meant to be apart to come together like this to break apart into something new, surprised, glistening in newness, shining in compound simplicity. We go there to know that it has been there, will always be there, for us to find again, for us to forget, to renew, to discover, to share, to shed, to find again. Again, and then again. To go away to return dressed in darkness, to unshroud the light, to build the light, to know the light. Back and forth. The light dancing the shadows of the tree in the wind against the blinded windows into this night. Up and down. The journey of the droplet to its source to tear itself into the earth to know of the ocean. Like this. Just like that.

Loving You is Loving the Universe

Loving you is more than loving you. It’s loving strangers on the street, women passing by, couples holding hands, ocean spray in the breeze. It’s loving the feeling of the sun pressing down on my skin, the way ivy climbs up a wall, the way a baby is constantly amazed by attention. It’s loving everyone who has come before, it’s loving myself, it’s loving my family, it’s loving everything in the world that has served to bring us together, that keeps us together, that witnesses this magic to be true. It’s loving the caress of breath out of my lungs, the sense of consciousness leaping across synapses, the vision that filters through my pupils to flip into sensory information, chemical conveyed thought cloud evolution. Like waiting for the rain to come sometimes we sit around, dry, desperate, fighting one another with hope. Then like necessary revolutions of the earth around the sun love breaks into our hearts, undeniable, flooding through to our fingertips, our lips trembling with life force. Loving you is loving nature, loving the cycles of nature, the pull of the earth, the tug of the moon, the kiss of the sun, the blood of the month, the night and the day and the rain and the drought and the leaf and the fall and the wave and the shore. Because through you I am glimpsing insight into all of the universe. You concentrate the power and beauty and might of existence like a lens directly into my consciousness. I love you—and that is enough.

Of Each Other

Every single day, you are there, ready to move our lives together forward. I feel like sometimes I force us to squabble, simply to reassure myself that we are still separate, distinct individuals. But by now we are more akin to meshes, blending somewhere between us to form a oneness that is also a trinity–I, you, us. Through you I see not only deeper into myself, but into all of existence. We form together a lens that focuses the light of divinity to a single point of vision. There is nothing beyond this. There is nothing that is not included in this. There is only this love, and all of the world is shaped by it. Like glass blown bubbled worlds, love breathes through our singular hollows to craft harmonies containing everything and nothing. Whole lives are decimated and rebirthed in this song.

I eat, sleep, and write through you, with you, beside you. To even claim that I could exist outside of you would be, by this point, a conceit. We are each other, as the moon on the surface of a stream is still only the sun.

Making Love

Love isn’t something that you find or discover, latent somewhere in some hidden offspring, but rather something that you must create, re-create, every single day, every single moment. There is a reason why there is the term “making love.” You must make love, you must forge it in the transmuted fires of your soul, mind, and body. It is not something that simply comes to you, that appears out of thin air like fairytale gnomes. It is the purest of human endeavors, a task both magical yet wholly rooted in mundanity.

Don’t sit around waiting for love to rise out of a hidden abyss in some stranger. Create it. Make it. Love is a gift beyond the giver. Love is the flow of divinity through the vessel of you. Love imbues anything and everything with new light. Love is the only reason life has to exist.

Tear Drops

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A thousand teardrops
are worth every moment
you hold me close.

A thousand nights
of solitude
I would gladly surrender for every drop
of suffering from your long black lashes.

We hurt each other to remind ourselves
why we are inseparable.

Two faces, each portending to be one,
draw away from each other,
crafting a mirrored distinction,
all the while tied to the same nurturing root–
the picture of a heart.

The heart is not simply a bloody vessel,
working to sustain our motion.
The heart is a symbol
of life’s struggle for unity:
two spheres at the top–one point at the bottom;
a metaphor for emotion.

Our love is beyond
anything.

In the approach to this open understanding–
this terrifying, beautiful unknown–
we fight,
we dance,
we crash our unshaped differences–
until a shore is formed,
and the waves are freed,
and what was once turbulent pain
is seen for what it always was:

playful, wonderful
bliss.

A thousand tear
drops are worth
every moment
you hold me
close.

Burning

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Love is an everchanging,
up and down sine wave ride–
sometimes I push you away
just so I can find the space
to breathe–
only to find that I am suffocating
to think that I could lose you
so easily.

I know when I’m being unfair,
when I’m being mean–
which is as much to say
that some part of me
hurts you deliberately.

I watch myself doing it,
loathing myself.
I can only theorize
that I do it because I am scared
and I am looking to make something up
against you, so that I can run away.

Don’t let me run away, beloved.
Fight me, be aflame with righteous anger,
put me in my place–
which is next to you, with you, for you.
Be strong in yourself.
Don’t let me wallow in my fears
by digging into your insecurities.

I can be so cold to myself–
and now that you are in me, in my life,
in my every movement and thought,
I have to learn to be better
to myself, to all of the life
which resides within.

Don’t leave me alone.
Keep me burning, love.

Loveliving

You are incredibly brave,
you who place your safety on the line for love.
You who decide to give up your future
for that which you aren’t sure that you can hold.

There is nothing higher than to live your life
based on love.
It might mean giving up everything that you’ve ever had.
It might mean gaining everything you’ve ever wanted.

There’s an easy way to tell:
look at a person who has lived their life
based on security, money, and success.

Then look at a person who has lived their life
based on love and an incurable desire
to be free.

Then look at who is happy in themselves.
Wherever they go,
whatever happens to them,
who holds a light that shines through the darkness?

Love, love is the only way to live.
It is the only way to die.
It is the only way to do anything worth something
in a world that is dying to live.

Touch

Touching is the closure of distance, a wondering exploration of that which can never fully be known. At the same time an opening, a window of the senses thrown ajar, a new world of scent, texture, and taste flooding inward to the heart. An aperture, a fixture of differences attempting to reconcile, a shore and a sea and the tugging of the moon. To touch you teaches me about myself. I learn what I want, what I like, what I fear, where I am strong. The crenallation of our edges, the edge harmonics of our desire. What is tomorrow when there is tonight? You are the moon catching the light of las estrellas, I am a cloud formed of thousands of tadpoles of sea, this is a hymn and a realization that there is nothing yet of these swirling emotions that I can put into something so concrete and sudden as words. To speak of the deepness of what one fleetingly feels is scary. It is scary, yet when you finally say them, they are true, you know they are true, almost unnecessary, but necessary for reaffirmation, to know that the heart shimmering underneath the touch is there mirrored, two hands reaching out from unfathomable distances of night to touch and pass wonder. Wonder, and wonder, and frightening joy.

Una Carta

El viento en mi vida es un corriente de dios. Ahora hay silencio, no puedo definir qué está en mi corazon, estoy esperando por eterno para entender la amor que está dentro. Sentimientos venir y ir, amor respirar como el cielo, lleno con lluvia en este momento, completo con nada solo azul y sol en ese momento. Qué es eterno?

Es certidumbre que todo venir una otra vez más. Las estaciones como un rueda, hilado adelante.

Ahora en mi vida hay no mucho sino espacio y soledad y el esperando para amor volver.

Te extraño.

Roses for the Stone

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I sunk into your love like a stone, diving to the darkest pressure-filled depths of what might become. Inside of this place I discovered the space of what we are, of what life is–all of everything a form sheltering stillness–all of everything a construction pointing to the heart of silence–all of everything a song sung to express what can never be said.
Entry into your love was like entry into the earth´s atmosphere, burning away all of what I couldn’t shield. You burnt away everything that you could, razing parts of my heart, my mind–but you could not take away my future.
Love is a like a game in which you try to take away everything that the other person is so that you have something to keep, something to hold onto. Except when you approach the end with their pieces in your heart, you find that you’ve taken everything of yourself and thrown it out the window. As if you were sitting before a mirror, steadily and exactly destroying yourself. When you get to the peak you realize that you have been looking at yourself the whole time–and that you knew all along. Are you some kind of monster, tearing the world to pieces to find your existence?
The circles circling toward themselves can never find completion. Coming to where they think they once were, they find instead the space of the future.
Is it monstruous to seek love, and not simply to seek it, but to seek it in its fullest expression? Because love in its deepest incarnations necesitates a form of death, a scraping of the insides to mold out a hollowness that could cradle divinity.
We create fantasies to shield our minds from the burning that comes from our hearts.
I knew all of the fantasies that you created in me, and I led you through them knowing that I was leading you to your disillusion. It was in suffering that I loved you. I knew it then, and you will know it now. My heart was filled by your presence. Now you are far away, and I am empty again. I knew that I could never keep you. I gave you everything that I could in the moments that we were together. That was true, that was real. That is all that we can ever really hold onto. This knowledge of what we once had, the faith that it can and will come again. Not me, not you. What passed between us. What is passing from the base of my navel through my wind-pipe on the disposition of my tongue through the arrangement of my lips. What is flowing from the tip of my spine across the spaces of nerve endings to my fingers.
I loved you. And when I see you again,
I will love her too.

You

I keep remembering our last night,

the way we struggled to create

chains that would bind us through eternity,

knowing that nothing would last.

The way we finally fell asleep,

til the alarm on my phone

came buzzing like a call

that someone had just died,

3:45,

and you immediately

began mourning

as I set about being practical,

like a puppet

hollowly enacting higher commands.

Our love was amputated, no matter what long distance conversations filled with silence we gave. Hopeless seances, groping longingly for something no longer there except in memory. And here you live still in my heart, an apparition of what could have been.

Being with you was like constructing an intricate pyre of our desire, carving out all of our deepest dreams in each other and setting it on fire. It was desperate, it was everything that reality could not be. I don’t regret a minute of it. I don’t regret breaking our hearts. Because it was the right thing to do, there was never a question in my mind that creating a window of beauty only to be broken was worth it. I finally understood, with you, that true love is always worth the sacrifice of long periods of lonely suffering. Even if it might mean a lifetime of sadness. There is never a reason to hold back when love is near. We must give all, we must give everything for something that can never be possessed.

So yeah, I miss you. More perhaps now than I ever did, missing the very idea of you, the place in imagination that allowed you to exist within me.

It’s amazing how something so fleeting can be worth all of my life. One must, of course, always look back down at the ground and climb back from the mountain top and return home. I walked in the front door and everything was the same but everything was different, and would never be as it was. Every time something in me dies, another world opens up before me and it is like being born again, shuddering in the light with only pain to wake me.

I walk through the world with your emptiness before me. And I will remember you when my heart is filled with love again.

Here

Here in this everlasting moment of flowing ether, here, watching your hair falling around your face, here, looking deep within the mirror of your love to mouth the words I didn’t know were there so apparent in my essence, here. Here, tasting the salt of your tears in the moonlight fading and calling the taxi for you to leave forever, here, carrying your suitcase up the stairs through the snow, here, holding you one last time. Go. You must leave. You must catch your plane. I cannot keep you. Here, listening to our loss on the phone, here, hearing my heart harden in resignation, readying myself for another long period of loneliness. Here, sitting in my office alone at night, remembering you. Here. Where can I go to see what has happened to me?

A Love Song

I loved loving you, pretty princess of the slipstream, come to me out the abyss of the unexpected. But like a breath, I’ve let you go, slow, so slow it hurt, the emptiness so close, it hurt when I drew back new blood into my heart again. I am sorry to have lost you, but I cherish the knowledge of the space you once filled. I am growing from your transference of primal understanding, the metaphysical data that has passed like your wind through my reed. We crafted together a song, an art form that was so powerful that we could only wonder in amazement after it had been passed, after it had come out of us and stood hung before our minds. I am still amazed at your memory, glazed into my skin. There is a loneliness so deep within. There is a hunger you fed that nurtured the flame. Do you know this light that comes from my heart? It is my mind and my body, thirsting for you in this unreachable void. It falls, it travels, it spans into a million stars in the nightsky of our dreams. I loved you, guapa. See the evidence written in the darkness? It may take forever to forget this–for every breath I take is an echo of the birth and death of this love.

Life, the venture of inevitable failure–we live for the fullness of balance that can only be achieved through death. In between there is the beauty, the spiralling movement forward and outward and toward the door in the sky that lets into the space. We love, we love, we love, and we understand, finally, that each and every love is the ultimate purpose for which we have been placed into our bodies.

And now I can sleep without fear of tomorrow, because I know what I have left behind.

A Last Touch Of Earth

i watch the flame eating wet and circular into the wax, a descending well, dripping solidified heat. soon there will be no wick left to burn, and the flame will fizzle, smoking dissipating into the darkness. tonight i let you go; i wrote you goodbye and sealed my heart of our history.
i had contemplated war. i was bloodthirsty with distance, yearning to break apart the boundaries of our worlds, to penetrate your space and wash my wounds in your river. i wanted reparations for all those moments of emptiness when i reached for you and you weren’t there. for all the words i wanted to speak and couldn’t because i knew you didn’t want to hear them. for feeling like what i feel needs to be hidden.
there was a sacred space once where we would meet. i look for it now and it seems to have been a dream. or perhaps it was a reality we sullied by our pretending. sharing an intimacy requires honesty. anything else and it shutters the world into a box, into a room with no light, struggling for freedom. i cannot claim innocence.
i’d been holding it in and lying to myself for so long that when it finally broke out of me i couldn’t understand what it was. here they were, my emotions, staring me in the face, and all i could see was red. after i let them bleed and scream for a little while, i began to see their true colors.
this is what happens when you stop communicating. your words clot together and then you can’t breathe and you have to explode, you have to break down and spew them out like they were nothing, like they were everything. so i did. i sat down and i wrote a letter to you and strung up the words like a declaration of cold war, like a manifesto of love lost. for the first time in a long time i was personal, i was honest, i was pure. and i decided to never show you that letter, because it would only be fodder for your distance, a little piece of me. i don’t want to struggle with myself against you any longer. i am sick of killing, and i am tired of dying. so now i write this for myself. you will never know. you will never understand how i feel. and now you can go.

The Reaching In To Out

a shroud cast off to pass the light around, the breath moving balanced, her body against mine, honestly touching. I have learned how to tell the difference between the light others attribute to me, and take, and the light which I bear, and give.

I fill the space I move within—there is nowhere, now, that I cannot fall. Indefensible, I break open my eyes into every interrogator I pass, and it is their minds that must deal with me.

woman,
channel of flame,
it is to you I owe this passage.