celebrating summer's sweet flavors, the healing touch of water on our skin, the brilliant colors of the garden... as we deeply contemplate the ways in which we might nourish and protect our precious and troubled home...

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1/23

ode to my blackness

by Evie Shockley

you are my shelter from the storm

                           and the storm

my anchor

                           and the troubled sea

                        * * *

nights casts you warm and glittering

upon my shoulders              some would

say you give off no heat       some folks

can’t see beyond the closest star 

                       * * *

you are the tunnel john henry died

         to carve

i see the light

             at the end     of you     the beginning

                       * * *

 

i dig down deep and there you are        at the root of my blues

you’re all thick and dark, enveloping     the root of my blues

seem like it’s so hard to let you go        when i got   nothing    to lose

                        * * *

without you, I would be just

          a self of my former shadow

Ode to My Whiteness

by Sharon Olds

(After Evie Shockley)

You were invisible to me.
You went without saying.
You were my weapon secret from myself.
Whatever I got, you helped get it for me.
You were my ignorance.
Because of you I was not innocent.
I did not see that—you were my blinding light.
My dreams had a blank area in the center,
taking up most of the screen they played on in my sleep—
a blazing circle that blanked out the core of the scene.
I thought it was my mother’s violence,
but it was you, too.
You the unseen fat which fed me in the wilderness.
You my masonic handshake.
You my stealth.
You my drone.
You my collaborator.
You my magician’s cloak of steam,
you my dissembler.
You mine?  I yours,
irisless eyeball, you my blindness,
inspiration of my helpless act,
you my silence.  Evie’s blackness
a dancer, you another, the two of you moving together.