Do not be misled by details simply because you live them.

I was smack in the middle of trying to figure myself out and make that self fit Some-Damn-Where when I discovered Audre Lorde via her “biomythology:” Zami: A New Spelling of My Name.  (Didn’t quite work out for me).

But the line that grounded this airy Aquarius for a sec went: Do not pretend to convenient beliefs/even when they are righteous.

Of course I love Audre Lorde for way more than this frankly pretty didactic piece. Lorde is brave and honest, flawed and unselfish and I took the cue to give some of that a try as I wrote.  Not so easy I’m afraid but I hope she would find my attempts honorable.


For Each of You
Audre Lorde (1934-1992)

Be who you are and will be
learn to cherish
that boisterous Black Angel that drives you
up one day and down another
protecting the place where your power rises
running like hot blood
from the same source as your pain.

When you are hungry
learn to eat
whatever sustains you
until morning
but do not be misled by details
simply because you live them.

Do not let your head deny
your hands
any memory of what passes through them
nor your eyes     nor your heart
everything can be used
except what is wasteful
(you will need to remember this
when you are accused of destruction).
Even when they are dangerous
examine the heart of those machines
which you hate
before you discard them
but do not mourn their lack of power
lest you be condemned
to relive them.

If you never learn to hate
you will never be lonely
enough     to love easily
nor will you always be brave
although it does not grow any easier.

Do not pretend to convenient beliefs
even when they are righteous
you will never be able to defend your city
while shouting

Remember     our sun
is not the most noteworthy star
only the nearest.

Respect whatever pain you bring back
from your dreaming
but do not look for new gods
in the sea
nor in any part of a rainbow.

Each time you love
love as deeply
as if it were
forever
only nothing is
eternal.

Speak proudly to your children
where ever you may find them
tell them
you are the offspring of slaves
and your mother was
a princess
in darkness.

1973

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