This Sacred Way #3
October 5, 2008
What one means by integrity, in the case of the novelist, is the conviction that he
gives one that this is the truth. Yes, one feels, I should never have thought that this
could be so; I have never known people behaving like that, but you have convinced me that
so it is, so it happens. One holds every phrase, every scene to the light as one reads–for
Nature seems, very oddly, to have provided us with an inner light by which to judge of the
novelist’s integrity or disintegrity. Or perhaps it is rather that Nature, in her most
irrational mood, has traced in invisible ink on the walls of the mind a premonition which
these great artists confirm; a sketch which only needs to be held to the fire of genius to
become visible. When one so exposes it and sees it come to life, one exclaims in rapture.
But this is what I have always felt and known and desired!
–Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
We enter a time of major and permanent change.
All my life I’ve been changing, yet my integrity
holds fast. How many people are still connected
at age seventy to who they are in their depths
so that their words release the invisible ink in
the minds of other people? She called it
"the Judy effect," but I could not see what I’d done
besides encouraging her to read and write. Then I
remembered I’d talked about being whole and
how one might seem conventional in most ways,
but then in some situation, one would be moved
to speak out, regardless of the consequences,
which is exactly what she did, after sitting on
her truth for five years. I forget my integrity,
though it regularly annoys someone when I
speak the truth. Some are angry; some, relieved;
some hate me; some love me. I’m writing
novels with clues to integrity, to how conflicts
can be transformed by love, how the impossible
dream can take on flesh; how communities are
created and sustained, how neighborhoods can
become places of sanity and love. Call it bread
for a hunger as universal as for wholesome food.
Along with the garlic, carrots, beets, peppers,
beans, okra, sweet potatoes, peaches, figs, pears,
grapes, and raspberries, I’m growing communion,
harmony, transformation, the coming into its own
of the human soul.
poetryrepairs #212 15,05:060
now i am airborne
surrounded by the lightest of waves
i am reclining as my eyes search upward and
i glide ever so softly so slowly in a perfectly
light blue celestial expanse
i am suffused with hope
with fullness and love
with great faith in seeing them again
my mother my father
i will find them at peace and
be comforted when i see them together -
with swords bent and broken and buried -
their eyes smiling...their arms open to me
no more will they be the warring force i'd been subjected to
no more the awful couriers of malice i'd been witness to
and when i find them in heaven's home, this once
sainted child, this damaged soul who glides
toward them will forgive them...my heart
will be rich with love and goodness
transformed and transcendent
i will rush to receive their
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The Green-Eyed Monster
She was always angry when any woman
looked him over, checked him out.
Possessive and jealous, short-
tempered and mean spirited,
she was a bitch. Always poking at
him, second-guessing him, her
bold dark eyes glaring at the
least little slight. And her
tongue knew no limits. She
would dress him down right there
in front of anyone, ridiculing
him, embarrassing him, making
him an obvious target of her fury.
She would wait for him by the
window at night, her sleepy cat
nestled on her lap, an aromatic
stew or soup or casserole wafting
through the tidy city row house
they shared. He knew if he lived
there much longer he'd end up
with his hands wrapped around her
throat or maybe he'd just slip
some antifreeze in her drink or
he could just walk in one night
and announce that he finally
found the one true love of his life.
No bloody knives, no smoking guns,
just words aimed directly at the heart.
poetryrepairs #212 15,05:060
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