Friday, February 03, 2006

"Diving into the Wreck" is a poem and a book by Adrienne Rich.

"Diving into the wreck"--all by themselves, those words are helpful for someone wanting to make a new and better way for humans to be together, starting from the bizarre combination of advantages and disadvantages we have right here, right now.

What is good that is submerged and can be gotten by diving?

What is good and right here but I can't see it because of the way I've been trained to see and not see?

Rich's poem begins:

"First having read the book of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,"

she puts on the rubber suit armor and mask that let her breathe and goes down.

"my mask is powerful
it pumps my blood with power"

(I keep those lines handy to think about the power that comes from having the right mask, and the limits of that power.)

"I came to explore the wreck. . . ."

"I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasure that prevail."

"the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth."

The dream of ever seeing the thing itself and not the myth, of seeing something that includes it all, us all, and not the wreck which submerges great vast parts of us.

The wreck that submerged the treasured was partly made by me, by forces, decisions, assumptions I'm still swimming in. I bury parts of myself and parts of other people and it partly works for me. I'm still here.

The poem ends:

"We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find out way
back to this scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
in which our names do not appear."

She never says what the knife is for. I think it's to find the place to cut myself free from a way of swimming that wipes out so many names including some key part of mine.

When I've looked up my first name, Anne, in name books, they say it's from Hannah, in the Bible. and that it's Hebrew for full of grace and beauty.

I'm game. I just don't know how to do it, but grace and beauty sound like a good plant to me. Peace wouldn't be merely no war, but moments ringing with . . . various things in the grace and beauty family,. . . I think.

Hannah in the Bible changed the space by having the propitious kid. I've thankful that other ways to serve are now more available.

Women can change the space. The brave man who wrote the book "Refusing to be a Man" said that men do not need to always express their anger because the entire human space is made of male anger.

I wouldn't go that far--and I don't need to, because he did, thanks be to him and I'll find his name soon.

Male anger in public and private spaces prevents a lot from happening. It prevents some thought from being thought and some gentle moves from being made because of the cringing pre-knowledge of the angry reaction one might get.

Houdini, the magician, said that anyone could hit him as hard as they wanted in the stomach and he'd live.

He meant that first you would tell him you were going to hit him, he'd prepare and live. Some kid walked up to him and hit him as hard as he could in the stomach and Houdini died from that.

Walking around in a society with so very much anger, often male, means the wise person is forever braced for the blow. Which means the wise person can't be as wise as she might be if she didn't need to be forever shielded.

Can we make a different space for each other to breathe and dream in and act in?

I think so.

Why do I think so?

Because I'm wildly optimistic.

Grace and beauty are common things in life, as common as many horrors, but it isn't clear how to give them some room to rev up and move, how to make a garden where grace and beauty can grow. Sometimes space between women can be such a place, a grace and beauty creation zone.

Space between women can also be a pettiness bonanza, which I think is an escape from the call of grace and beauty beyond what we have commonly experienced. Like, a woman can see it just out of reach, more grace, more beauty, feel that it might just be possible--but how?

The how is hard and the knowing that in such a world we would all have to become different people is also hard. So a possible escape is picking at the real and imagined faults of women who one might make new grace and beauty with.

It's been done. What hasn't been done enough is following the good space and letting it grow and be what it is. Then we learn what we are in that space. We live there a while, we'll hardly know us, in a good way. Then we come back to here and by our slightly, profoundly different moves reveal that other things are possible.

We do this while remaining, ourselves, physically safe. That last really calls for wild optimism.

Wake in heavenly peace. Move in heavenly peace. Show that heavenly peace can be a common earthly phenomenon where people can live as there actual good selves. And don't get hit hard in the belly or elsewhere for doing this.

We can move more than we used to be able to. How much more? Pray, listen for the universe's time and check it out, subtly.

The career drunk passing me on the street said, "Are you all right?"

I said, "Yeah, why wouldn't I be all right?"

His drunk buddy said, "Yeah, why wouldn't she be all right?"

The question is, why did he say it then?

He said it then, in my opinion, because I was thinking in public about how things might be really different, and my thinking was getting somewhere.

I was taking actual, technically invisible steps, toward something better for more beings than this. His job was to interrupt me and he did.

The all rightness in question was the idea of accepting this whole set-up as all right enough to live with. I was taking some small step toward leaving this all rightness behind. He was there to stop that process.

Happens a lot. I'm really really thinking and walking and some guy asks, "Why do you look so sad?" or some guy orders, "Smile!"

That is because in my opinion that I am, in public, spending so much energy thinking the way I really think about what I want for us all, that my assumed female cheerleader suit is not evident. ("Oh, I just love the way y'all are running this thing.") and that is scary, so guys come from nowhere to order my moods around.