Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The History At Home | 11. O Transient Light

in battered women's west virginia,
shelter is deep down
the hollow’s gaping crack.

past trailers like lice,
crab grass, on blocks -
rust scabbed trucks

and battered rebel cars
too proud to properly give
up or die. they run -

these women with their children
see some tv psa drinking gourd
& one anonymous call presses

me into a dark meeting
place. or trap.
anyone might linger

after happy hour mixes up
hate’s intoxicating spirits.
blood too thin for shadows,

i prefer the limping ones.
groaning from the safe
locked back seats of police

cars arriving sullen
like cat burglars
surrendering prized

heirlooms. intricate
fractures, delicate
hematoma, internal scars

going back
before that first
womb delivered wound.

transient light, I greet you.
you are in there somewhere
I love you like I love myself.


screen doors
trap doors
cathedral doors

wood, steel, glass
warped, bent
or off track.

they open.
slowly. make
their own sound.

transient light, I love you.
eye in the rift peeking out
see you like I see you.


one feral caramel girl,
Harriet, refused underwear.
squatted anywhere to evacuate.

snatched food from the table.
ate behind the door
like a rat always watching,

twitching clever for life.
no slave narrative
could explain

this broken 3 year old.
observed her white father
laughing. shot gun sighted

on her mother waiting
for him to yell
run nigger bitch run

gun powder ear drum dance,
later, heavy musk perfume
sinking under the creaking bed

some child

transient light, i charge you.
you are there somewhere.
embrace her like I embrace you.


Harriet’s legs thrashed.
arms flailed. throat reddened,
started emitting

scratches rather than
screeches. when I picked
up her stinking dripping

body to the toilet; grabbed
run away food nabbing
hands, and sat her in a chair.

neck puppy twist thrashing
fierce incisors ripped. clamped
down. tasting

blood, she bit harder.
do it again. you are in there
somewhere. I love you.

i said to wild rolling eyes. teeth tear
again. do it again. somewhere
you are in there. I love you.

i repeat do it again
you are in there somewhere
I love you like you love life.

Harriet bit and bit
temporary crimson
crescent tattoos

enough to quiet,
slump, release to sleep
in my singsong whispering

arms. i love you. i love you.
you are here now.

I whispered

until she woke ready
to learn to toilet; to sit
to eat. to play, I prayed

transient light, drift down.
love her a suit of armour.
let her see it like I feel my heavy own.

NOTE: After a comment on yesterdays post, I was inspired to do a vanity search. Deep down in google’s tendrils, I found a comment that I made on a friend’s blog - over a year ago. I hadn’t thought about that child in a long time. There was such perverse complexity wrapped up in her story.

I am shocked that it is ever far from the front of my consciousness. I’m flabbergasted that after what happened to Megan Williams in West Virginia, it still didn’t surface. I’m remembering an incident which happened over 20 years ago. The stories are similar. They happened in practically the same place. Some things are supposed to have changed over time.

In the current climate of Obama euphoria, and intoxication that a new day is coming, I feel a tiny bit of sobering up would serve me well. Perhaps, we are standing on the cusp of some new America. But, this morning, a sad understanding lodges in my throat.

This new America rests so precariously on top of a history riddled with dis-ease. The arteries of our consciousness are clogged with clots. The cerebum’s frontal lobe has periodic seizures. We experience symptoms of amnesia, ADD, mania and multiple personality disorder. (No offence to actual sufferers.)

Our corpus callosum has turned into a toll road and doesn’t accept debit cards. Everything important is an opportunity to get more karma on Reddit or Digg; increase hit count or attract another Facebook/Myspace friend.

A famous singer’s sister gets pregnant, will that cause an outbreak of preteen pregnancy? We become outraged during news broadcasts about actual injustice, then, watch the Superbowl and scream about injustice. When the beat is “all that,” who cares what they are saying or that each down beat represents a new woman currently getting beaten.

The remote control makes our reality a carousel ride. Our legs are so atrophied, we can only write checks for change. We change Dafur by paying publicists to keep our attention on it, so we can keep writing checks to pay publicists to keep our minds on it. How easy it is to let Megan Williams ease out of public view in favour of more interesting news. Her recovery takes three google clicks to locate. How many people are still following the story? I am guilty of forgetting.

Here we are five months later, dancing in the promise of a new America. I am spinning, shaking and grooving. But, I think I’ll change over to a slow dance for now. We are windswept by our own personal storms. We all do the best we can. Any more than we are able would make us crazy.

Writing about Adrienne Kennedy made me remember how fragile we are. It would take the smallest thing for us as a nation to snap. I wanted to end this post with a poem by Pat Parker. It was in "Jonestown And Other Madness." I can’t even remember the name of it. It is about a Black woman in Texas who wakes up one morning and drives her car into the White people on the streets. Everyone wondered why.

Our nation is like that woman right now.

When I find the poem, I’ll let you know.

1 comment:

Ferocious Kitty said...

Thank you, for bringing Megan Williams and all the suffering (little) girls and women back to my consciousness (though they are never far).

I almost blogged a few weeks ago to ask: "Is it open season on children?" after reading another horrific story.

Do such things fall off our radar after a time because if we held it all, we couldn't bear it?