Heidegger said that we find ourselves in "thrownness."
In other words, we are thrown into the world as we find it, and we piece ourselves and the world together from our surroundings.
This poem reflects a time in my life that was very happy yet also very painful, when I worked in an x-rated video store. I knew that some of the people came to the store for human contact, whatever a smile meant to them, and yes, I had real connections to some of them. I am able to dole out small dollops of random kindness for no reason at all.
Those were also my years in College studying creative writing, and I had a wonderful group of friends. We all had hard lives in Montreal, which is a rough town, according to Americans, but we had fun, and shared our knowledge and learned from one another.
Although my circle of friends are not in the poem per se, I still feel I was very vibrant and loving at the time because I was surrounded by the good energy of friendship.
Like water in the trees when the voice
Of the wind is still as a holy ghost. Like believing
In me, I was once a downtrodden porno girl,
Giving little amounts of love with a real sparkle
In my eye, diamonds, the kind that say,
I cannot love
You, I am sorry, but I am forbidden to do anything such
As that, but if I could love you, I most certainly would,
Fellow crying wind-snap whiplash being
Tossed about like me on the waves
Of this wicked world. The machine does this to us.
The machine is the opposite of the bird
That rises in the heart up the windpipe
And wants to sing. Sparrow-leaden light.
I am no lone crow, though some think so.
Like no snow-capped mountain, no leopard
In leotards with sunglasses and high heel sneakers.
I’m merely a dragon plum, a plume of white
Smoke writing like a feathered quill,
Calling the angels, calling and calling
And calling collect until one day they might
Accept the charges and talk to me,
In even, uncomplicated tones, in ways
That spill and sweeten my morning coffee.
It’s morning, now, and the sun is risen
Like an umbrella, and I don’t see any rain
In the foreseeable future, like just
The music of the masses coming
Together, saying to one another
With no hate, hello, shalom, bounjour,
Ruya, ruya, ruya, pax, capiche, comprende.
It will happen if we try,
Because we know we already have a great
Understanding of each other
When we pass each other, and, like the strangers
That we are, complete strangers,
We do not nod hello good day,
But pass each other,
Staring straight ahead,
Like we are listening to the sound
Under the silence of the flowing water.
Jessica Harman is a writer living in Boston. She studied Creative Writing at Concordia University in Montreal, her hometown. She earned an M.A. in Health Communication specializing in medical research methods at Emerson College in 2003. She has worked as a video store clerk, art store girl, medical researcher, and creative writing teacher. Her first full-length poetry collection, "Dream Catcher," available here, was published in 2012 by Aldrich Press in California. You may find her on her poetry blog here or facebook here.
~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~