Sunday, May 15, 2011


(Photo at the edge of the Lea Marshes, London, taken by Margot Williams, April 2011)

I woke up at 2:45 (after a 4-hr REM cycle and an Architecture Dream) and stayed up 2 hours, rereading Ginny Bates from the point where I had dipped in to get an excerpt for M. (Keyword search for that massive manuscript was "overalls", I had to laugh at how many hits there were but it finally surfaced.) Reached the birth of the first grandchild before I fell back asleep. That book looks like one long prayer of manifestation now.

I am living still in an altered state of "Be here now" body anchor and "Dream it forward" recovery, a swaying hammock that requires constant adjustment. And unlimited patience. I keep making 100 day plans, and at each new draft, there is definite movement but never as much as I had wanted. At those times, I have to staunchly resist the pull to Blame Self as best I can. Or blame at all. Blame is how my father glided through his oblivious life, and I want to do more than survive as long as he did, stepping over the bodies of those he claimed to love.

But Mama's pattern, of trying to assume responsibility for what which she could not change, is equally murderous. It is the lesson of being a girl in this country, and if you did not have it lacquered in thick coats onto your spirit before you were even a year old, I do not think you can truly Get It. It's a conditioning my generation, at least some of us, wake up to wearily every morning and mark the new perimeter, like a personal glacier's retreat or advance, so as to know our task for that day.

Has nothing to do with hormones or what attire we put on -- those illusions do not buy respite. Not for me. Not for Margot. I buzz my hair, she grows hers to below her ribs, and we are still both reacting to girlhood messages about female = wearing your hair for others. The Male others and their sheriffs.

Intimacy with another woman is a revolutionary act. It defies the most cardinal rule of the patriarchy -- Do not prioritize that which we call female. I don't mean love: "They" claim love for us. But here inside, we know what real love breaks down to, and thinking well about another female, valuing her intrinsically, is the act that threatens all the foundations and sets then whistling for the harriers.

The folly of the patriarchy is to try to control the Mississippi at all. The defining river of North America has traveled where she needs to for millenia, but within my lifetime men decided to stop its western advance -- because how can you own property near a force of nature otherwise? So now they are opening the Morgansas Spillway, saving New Orleans (this time) by flooding Cajuns. The hierarchy is always written plainly on the wall. Now that the Ninth Ward has been emptied of blacks, New Orleans is valuable enough to spend money on future lawsuits and a few insurance claims from those who will be under 25 feet of water by this time tomorrow. Blacks and Cajuns are both expendable. just at different points on the scale. But that difference is exploitable enough to get the Cajun vote for David Duke and Bobby Jindal.

Look deeper, bigger. See what the original watercourse was and get the fuck out of the way of her path. Women have always loved each other this much, when we could. I feel raw and uprooted only because I grew up with Boys running the world. I stand in rising waters that are from a broken dam, and I breathe, refusing to panic. And I have a strong hand firmly in mine, someone who for two years has not faltered with me, not once. A girl-hearted woman who keeps saying "We ALREADY have it." I stand on submerged granite and build leg muscle back. And think of the poem by Louise Glück:


The darkness lifts, imagine, in your lifetime.
There you are — cased in clean bark you drift
through weaving rushes, fields flooded with cotton.
You are free. The river films with lilies,
shrubs appear, shoots thicken into palm. And now
all fear gives way: the light
looks after you, you feel the waves' goodwill
as arms widen over the water; Love,

the key is turned. Extend yourself —
it is the Nile, the sun is shining,
everywhere you turn is luck.

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