“Lilies on Black,” oils on 40 x 50 cm stretched canvas (web store).
As performed live tonight at the inimitable Sunday Slips—my favorite open mic in Berlin.
“He said to David, ‘You are more righteous than I; for you have dealt well with me, while I have dealt wickedly with you.’ ” —1 Samuel 24:17
In the blindness of
what is a blindness if you can name it?
how bad can the pain be if you know where it is?
Anger, then. Bleeding like a fire
in my brain through time, and my heart out-pacing
itself, like the minds of the powerless outpace the powerful.
Nothing to be done. Everything destroyed
by evil men who loved the pain they caused.
Before or after, in the timelessness of panic, I am lost.
Stumbling through darkness, directionless, cold,
I come to a long line of foreign men with suitcases
who want to know if I’m looking for work.
I go back the way I came, less and less able to tell right
from left, to tell right from might, to tell right from
wrong things have happened so quickly all week,
some of them outside my head. Yesterday the border patrol
told legislators they were working for the President,
and hung up. It will do no good to say I tried to tell you.
Besides, the woman sent back from the airport to anywhere else
even though she had her Congresswomen there
even though she had her papers
show me your papers
stay in the car
step outside the car
step outside your body
this is not your body
this is not your life
you are no longer real, you are no longer human
and I myself should have died long ago,
who am I to bear witness?
Sometimes then a silence overtakes me
in which the whole world seems stilled
and all is well because I am a child of God.
And I wonder, is this a trick? My brain was bathed
so deeply in anger, and I was lost, as we are lost.
Do I need like my ancestors to tell stories just to stay alive?
To rest in some kind of certainty that,
although we lose, we lose with love.
In that damn desert in that damn time, there was no other solace
to be found in powerlessness. There was no comfort
no hope for justice, no hope for change.
So we made one up. That kind of faith got us through.
It’s a different time. Still, any peace will do.