Sitting in the Make of Me

Prior to our last Proprioceptive Writing group, I’d been chewing on some thoughts on art and aesthetics, especially as discussed in this wonderful conversation between James Baldwin and Chinua Achebe, as well as on the relevance of it all to the Church unfolding in our era. Then Mireya read to us the title poem from Amanda Gorman’s new book (an “occasional,” she calls it), and the following came out of me. Make of it what you will:

I sit in the make of me, 
a form formed on the margins 
as it interfaces with the world that it also is.

It cannot be right
or left,
this way 
that we are made,
but is.
Our is-ness never what it was or will be.

I sit in the make of me,
a form formed on the margins,
redefining the internal
of me
now also of you
and they
and we
and 
that or those.

It is not me who is shaped
in the molding 
and the pruning,
not me alone,
at least.

But it is a shaping of something, 
and in that way an art,
a church,
an is-ness
reaching or being
dragged
across the linoleum,
the gravel,
and/or into, maybe,
the fullness: 
As a we
As an us
As a whole
into a someday
we as the me and the you/me and the they/me
cannot ever see
or be. 

Grant us this day
that we may
see
Your intentions.

I cannot seem to carry the burdens
of my kind,
of my own,
without the art
to subdue the weight of it;
art as beauty,
as aesthetic,
to make the bruising—
the gravel
the murder
of hands
(let the subject be vague)
—palatable,
and, thus,
knowable…
somewhat,
which is better
or at least more hopeful
of redemption,
of…no, 
I stop myself,
that next “re”—
reconciliation—
seems a hope too far
for this me or we
being made 
not just on
but against,
in spite of,
by way of
the margins.

But, pray,
let us lean into the margins of our being.
You, lean.
Por favor.
I, too, will lean
or try
with the sustenance 
and succor
of art
and beauty
(yes, from ashes)
pushing and pulling,
holding and healing
me
and thus you
and you
and thus me.

Let us lean into those margins
the betweenness of existence,
because without 
such leaning
there can be no knowing,
no existing,
even though
such leaning
into the margins
risks or is acquired (how White of me)
or, better yet,
is…(no, ‘achieved’ is no better, still overly White, which is what I am, so a conundrum)
or, better yet,
risks conundrum.

Let there be conundrum.
Let us wrestle.
Let us dance and sing,
pushing muscle against gravity,
notes against tongue,
hands against lower back,
chorus against stanza/bridge/and whatever it is that makes jazz astounding.

Let there be newness
to go with the words we know by heart;
i.e., let there be poetry
working against our names,
how we are known
to self and other.

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