The President-Elect

In 2008 I was ecstatic to find myself working to elect an off-white president. As someone who has a degree in white man’s literature, it is not immediately necessary to diverge to a specific color, race or creed. Much as those who do not want something built near them – “anywhere but here” – I wanted something different. Almost anything.
And now the difference between the president of 2008 and the current president is opening places in me that have never been expressed, hardly thought. Each day of acknowledging the support I feel builds a bridge to expression inside me. When my first woman lover – my 10th grade English teacher, some years after she taught me –  wanted to initiate me to the life I had entered she gave me Nightwood by Djuna Barnes. I was horrified. I didn’t want to move a muscle. I knew for sure then I was alone and I was very afraid. I went on to read Jean Genet who convinced me of my doom.
But I had always felt doomed. I loved John Keats’ poem, Hyperion, identifying with every word about the Titans and their exile. Nevermind that I had risen to no height, I was willing to fall from any.

My mother always called me a rebel without a cause, maddening me and in so doing, making her point! So all this time I have looked for causes – there are many, it’s not a hard pull. I have written and photographed and called and given and stood firm and done it again and again. I have never looked in this mirror.
For over thirty years I have studied the philosophy of authenticity. Call it Buddhist, call it Christian, Muslim, Jain, Sufi, Theosophy, all the ancients and not so ancient. Now I find a thread of myself hidden in my own view, in your view – no mystery or particularly hidden, just not expressed the way I find its expression now, today.

Today I find compassion
in the flower
for me

Today I find meaning
in the word
for me

Today I celebrate
freedom and integrity
for me

Today there is enough
in life’s roundabout
for me

And when I open my eyes
in the reading of a book
to the force of a song
I realize I am singing
I am reading
with you.



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