Two things happened this last week that moved me considerably, the week that is that is not defined by Julian. First, Toni Morrison passed, transitioned as Nikki Giovanni said in an interview with the BBC, and our hearts, those of us who not only adored her work, but looked to her for guidance, spilled open. She transitioned, said Nikki Giovanni, and she is still with us. Toni Morrison not only gave us story after story which blossomed into poetry but clearly, strongly, spoke out against, because she recognized it for what it was, and how persuasive it is, the horror of white supremacy.
And Jorie Graham came to speak at the local arts center in Provincetown. She spoke and read, and made the world stand still for an instant as we listened to poetry. Like Toni Morrison, Jorie Graham looks at life in its face, and does not turn away. She does not serve it to us neat on a plate with a platitude about how things will get better. Her poems, incantations of sense and sensibility, are like clear drops of water steadily dripping onto a plate that we did not know needed to be filled.
Poetry moves us, and it moves us best when we forget about ourselves, and pay attention to something much bigger. I have not learned this completely, but remember, when I read, and when I write in moments of stillness, broken by a horse’s neigh, the passing truck, the invisible breath of my cat asleep on the desk. Something tumbles down now, the cat shifts and sighs, and the horse cries again.