Oh my people, oh my people.
I write to you calm and weary from the transcendent storm of SWP. In this second half of our time, we witnessed endless refractions of light in the form of performance—bright practices of refusal transmitted through our friends and teachers. Knowledge as refuge, as Giovanni Singleton would say. I know you are tired, but stay with me here. I’ve found the connective tissue between these refractions—an alchemical algorithm for shelter, community, and the transition of anger into poetry.
It begins with faith. Moving lightly in fugitive fashion, Erik Ehn restored my convictions. “We can’t transcend ourselves without a sense of faith. Faith is living out of our control, which is a realistic state. When we are out of control, we need help.” Thus, interdependence forms from faith—faith in poetry, faith in healing, and faith in others. Protection takes hold.
Sanctuary then occurs when we realize our responsibility to others. Layli Long Soldier commented on the Lakota people’s gesture towards the innate responsibilities we have in our relationships. From her we learned to keep the sound of our lineage alive so others may rely on us—to contain and preserve.
In this space of humanistic bond, time slows down. We are able to heal. Julie Patton tells us to “Stop. Look. Listen. Make a space for grief.” This is how we begin transition—anger transmutes in stillness (Ronaldo Wilson’s sexual revenge on James Comey comes to mind). The alchemical process of poetics meeting oppression within community is in full force. The shelter creates a restorative delay, and new work is born.
There were so many openings. It felt as if hundreds of blessings hit me at once. We were granted beatific visions from Steven Taylor’s resurrections of Blake. Julie Patton and Janice Lowe dropped us into rivers of elegant, profound music. The little moments linger too—the confusion, hilarity, loneliness. The dancing. I am grateful, loudly and quietly. As we disperse from our pocket of angels, I remember (one of) Anne Waldman’s incantations, given to us during her panel: “minds never come from nothing, or go to nothing.” In this nature, the SWP spirit survives through all of our work, the good work.
Thank you SWP Warriors. Thank you faculty and staff. Thank you students. I hope my passion fuel yours. Your homework is to keep going, and repeat after me: I love you.