It’s been a busy month, but as far as the YAV program goes, things have been fairly normal. I still wake early five days a week to work at Mercy, our Purple House is trucking along, and we’re surviving the occasional spat with fruit flies.
We have officially crossed the halfway point in the program. It’s hard to believe I’ve been in Atlanta six months at this point. Time has flied, and I can’t help but wonder at the inevitable end of this experience. I know it will be difficult. I’ve found a home here, and leaving will mean taking wrenching myself from the roots I’ve grown in my communities here. I’ve done that a few times in my life, and it’s never been easy.
So, I’m trying to keep my focus on now, and relishing the opportunities I’m being given everyday to grow and learn.
Recently at the YAV house, we’ve been talking about poetry and the transformative power poetic speech has to imagine new possibilities for living. Since nothing particularly noteworthy has been happening recently, I thought I’d share a poem I wrote during one of our community nights. It was based on a format set by Manifesto: the Mad Farmer Liberation Front, by Wendell Berry, so here is a link if you are curious or would like to imitate the project:
This poem tries to imagine what it would look like when I live life right. It is as aspirational as it is reflective. It’s not particularly good, but I hope you enjoy.
Love the meeting of mind and moment,
molding thought into form,
labor met with fruit, want more,
Though, of love and passion. Fear
to know gentle feelings grow distant and die.
Craft a mirror in your heart.
Not even the deepest depths of self will be hidden
no more. Your mind will settle in an alcove
while your body waits at the door.
When they want you to say something
they will call you. When they want you
for instruction they will let you know.
Hold your tongue.
Friends, every day do something
against what we are taught. Love yourself.
Love the world. Strive for simple being.
Take what you have and be content.
Love someone who rejects love,
or someone you’ve been told not to love.
Denounce ambition and embrace
generosity. Hope to live in fellowship
and galvanize around it.
Give patience to what you can’t
control. Praise curiosity
until everyone can afford it.
Ask questions that break walls,
invest in stable bridges.
Plant seeds in splintered pavement.
Say that your art is harmony
that rings in silence as in raucous din.
Music is magic,
but only when shared.
Call that the fruit of labor. Cry out
and break the oppression of silence.
Put your faith in the smallest thought
of a perfect stranger
awake before the sunrise.
Listen to them – put your ear
close, and hear dreams, softly
beating beneath exhaustion and doubt.
Expect failure as a welcome friend.
Sorrow is immeasurable. So be joyful
though scars have made you stiff.
So long as you hold the reins to power
Ask yourself: will this satisfy
someone satisfied to bear with me?
Will this disturb the sleep
of someone who is hungry and scared?
Go with your love to the wild places.
Lie easy on the nettles. Rest your head
against a shoulder. Swear fidelity
in the face of numbness and sloth.
As soon as politiques
can predict the anxieties of your mind,
Abandon it. Leave it there as a sign
to make a false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Swim like a fish
through an endless ocean
To find communion by the river.