Notes for a community chorus.
Like this, she said, hands open, singing. Gonna let it move me, she sang, and we followed, fingers splayed and pressing into the space of the circle we made with our attention. Now stir, she said, and we did, and it stirred us up.
Let it come, she sang. We laughed, cried. Feel this, she sang, and by then we couldn’t help ourselves because our centers had shifted to the space between us, and it was this that we pressed with our open hands. It was into this that we poured our voices, surrendered our attentions––
And we held it like that, stirring and singing together, here. Something shifted, and we went with it.
Life, she sang, let this life.
The transformation of silence.
How to speak, that what would live may live,
even if bruised. Even if misunderstood.
Death will come anyway, with its final
silence. Why rush its hand?
If fear is here anyway, let us use it. Your
silence will not protect you. There is
love here, even in war. And company,
in the refusal to swallow a tyranny
of silence, the refusal to comply
in becoming the next casualty.
In becoming, may we live visibly
to speak, share, spread life
creative and continuing
Inspired by Audre Lorde’s “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action” from Sister Outsider. Italicized phrases are Lorde’s.
When the pigeons come near the bench, a white-haired lady tossing crumbs from her lap begins to laugh when a lone mallard approaches. You too? she says. Okay, okay. Then come three or four other ducks. Sure, sure, she tells the first, bring your friends. There is enough.
Down the path, a toddler turns from his red rubber ball, and now he is coming too, the others behind him. In the distance, a train sound. Uh-oh, says the boy, and then turns back to the birds. Hands open, arms out. The woman laughs again.