I am focusing on writing poems to benefit reality rather than only poems that happen to land in my head without a consciously commissioned mission–poems oriented towards beneficial thought rather than the poems that I used to write, which were typically just expressions of my former angst in which I used to be mired.
I’m writing poems oriented towards causes, and letters to the Universe. My friend c. m. brooks has been asking poets to write letters for beneficial social change, so I have this in mind as well. Today is the opening day of the NAACP’s annual convention, and I’ve been thinking a lot lately about concepts of goodness. I’ve been a bit upset by a dichotomy that pits white against black, and would like for both white and black to be acknowledged explicitly as good, not just white and light. So this is a bit of a riff on the idea of black. It would be interesting to think about this and the spectrum of color, skin tones, and words as heuristic cues, as well, but perhaps another day:
IF I AM BORN BLACK
It’s interesting, those pictures of white people, like the Queen of England, photoshopped black. She looks like a black person one might encounter anywhere, just like when she’s white, she looks like a white person one might encounter anywhere. It’s a friendly feeling. It makes me think. What would I look like black?
I think if I have a next life, I might want to be a black lady. An average height, yet slender and beautiful black lady, very dark. I would have short, curly black hair. I would look sophisticated. The concept of urbane sophistication, nuance. I mean, whatever the Universe has planned for me is probably appropriate, but in at least one of my lives, if I am reborn again and again, let me be a black lady for some of these lives.
If I am reborn as a statue, let me be a black lady liberty. Let’s have a bunch of these statues for many good thoughts of people. Let’s commission more vision.
If I am reborn as a concept of goodness, let it be the goodness of the color black. How black is a soothing color. How black happens at nights when the merciful rain-bringing clouds are out and one can’t see the stars. How black is a place I can go into and rest. Black.
Let us understand black as the well-spring of some forms of calm. Some forms of calm come from the folds of what is not seen directly. Some forms of calm come from seeds pressing up through their nascence towards the light. Tree seeds, even. Seeds that can grow up into the light to provide shadow, shade.
I think the next time I meet my shadow on the sidewalk, if I remember I’ll touch her hand. My shadow is more versatile than I am, in some ways. She can be more squat. She can be more tall. She can be more slender. She can be more regal. She sometimes looks creepy, but usually I like her. She spills and casts over dimensions, ripples in the topology. She spans over folds.
If I am reborn as a shadow, let me be the shade under a tree to harbor people walking along a magnificent boulevard, or to harbor shade loving species in the wild. Or if I am the tree, let me hold a basket of seed for some birds’ appetizers, or grow peaches for everyone’s pleasure, especially the bees’, black and yellow, mostly black.