Yesterday I went to the Hatch, a “virtual coffee shop where together we write” hosted by Suleika Jaouad, author of Between Two Kingdoms and founder of The Isolation Journals. I grabbed this screenshot during our session. Of course, there were really a hundred or so people writing together, but I took this photo because I found it fun to think about writing with these two, cozy in the same home in New England, and me writing here in Bahrain.
Carmen Ridley shared this passage for inspiration, from Adrienne Rich’s Sources:
To say no person, trying to take responsibility for her or his identity, should have to be so alone. There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep, and still be counted as warriors… I think you thought there was no such place for you, and perhaps there was none then, and perhaps there is none now; but we will have to make it, we who want an end to suffering, who want to change the laws of history, if we are not to give ourselves away.
—Adrienne Rich, Sources
Imagine a world that can contain the multitudes you encompass. Where there is space for the paradoxes inside yourself. Where you can be a warrior and weep. How do people speak to each other? What do they make and build? Where do they live? How do they solve problems, raise children, grow their food? How do they war? Where do they weep?
I didn’t get much further than how people would speak and listen to each other in this imagined world. My poem inspired by Carmen’s prompt:
Imagine a world where pain could be tamed
where we didn’t have to be afraid
to take off our preservers of pretense
(Those other masks we’ve worn our lives long)
A world we could share our depths
and expanse with each other
Imagine a world where every word we spoke
was caught by listeners, brave and true.
Weeping, laughing, alive listeners
nesting with us in the pain,
helping us handle the hurts
without burning our hands
Imagine a world where receptivity
reigns and revelation is the result,
iron sharpening iron, each of us
no longer alone together,
but treasuring the beauty of the other–
bearing, hoping, enduring our weaknesses
Imagine a world where doubts become sorted,
obstacles become opportunities,
hopes become renewed,
where we all listen with delight
and solve with intent a launching
of liberty and justice for all.
8 May 2021