We are all aware of the news, so I won't touch there, but will instead share a moment from my day yesterday.
I have a round, metal container that says on the lid, "The only gift is a portion of thyself." Ralph Waldo Emerson.
I rarely open it, just treasure my interpretation of those words, but yesterday, I did open it and sat with the bookmark within which is two ribbons bound together to be worn as a necklace. At the base is a metal heart, but what caught my eye yesterday was that on the gentle blue of the ribbon is the word "gift" and on the pale green ribbon is the word "thyself". What I saw and felt was "gift thyself". "Gift thyself". I sit with that today as I put the necklace around my neck embracing the message to "gift thyself".
Today is Carolyn Forche's birthday. She is a poet of witness. Here is a poem of impact I will never forget.
WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD is true. I was in his house. His wife carried
a tray of coffee and sugar. His daughter filed her nails, his son went
out for the night. There were daily papers, pet dogs, a pistol on the
cushion beside him. The moon swung bare on its black cord over
the house. On the television was a cop show. It was in English.
Broken bottles were embedded in the walls around the house to
scoop the kneecaps from a man's legs or cut his hands to lace. On
the windows there were gratings like those in liquor stores. We had
dinner, rack of lamb, good wine, a gold bell was on the table for
calling the maid. The maid brought green mangoes, salt, a type of
bread. I was asked how I enjoyed the country. There was a brief
commercial in Spanish. His wife took everything away. There was
some talk then of how difficult it had become to govern. The parrot
said hello on the terrace. The colonel told it to shut up, and pushed
himself from the table. My friend said to me with his eyes: say
nothing. The colonel returned with a sack used to bring groceries
home. He spilled many human ears on the table. They were like
dried peach halves. There is no other way to say this. He took one
of them in his hands, shook it in our faces, dropped it into a water
glass. It came alive there. I am tired of fooling around he said. As
for the rights of anyone, tell your people they can go fuck them-
selves. He swept the ears to the floor with his arm and held the last
of his wine in the air. Something for your poetry, no? he said. Some
of the ears on the floor caught this scrap of his voice. Some of the
ears on the floor were pressed to the ground.