For the Sake of Strangers is the title of a poem by Dorianne Laux. I read it this morning. Laux is American. Her poem appeals to me as call to both appreciate the world as it is, in its patterns and obligations. And to step from its edge. Perhaps we all do this many times in our lives. Be in the simple. Step off the edge. Return to the simple. Step from the edge to the unknowns. Half the time wishing to eject from the absurdity and limit that is human life. Half of the time drunk in the beauty of the most simple forms of being, seeing, doing.
My current life calls for a step from the edge. To be in the weightless fall, as Laux puts it. It has much to do with consciousness. Much to do with restoring center. Finding places of collaboration. It is all there. Journey of self. Journey with others.
My step from the edge is in my learning these days is about being together. In self. In groups. With my partner Teresa. What does being together mean? What is the deep entanglement? What is the webbed consciousness that offers such promise? What is the quiet presence of nothing together. I know these. Funny to think that, as it is with deep knowing, these questions visit in their repeated seasons, returning again for a cup of tea, or even a prolonged stay.
Remove fusion. Restore choice. Reclaim big story. These are focal points for me.
Sip of tea. Watch for the default of fusion. The impulse as my friend Roq calls it. Attractive. Yes. But it isn’t the giving up of self that creates together. Some needed pause in that one.
Sip of tea. Restoring choice. Oh, yes. This is a big one. Live life because it is chosen. It is a luxury at so many levels. Perhaps. But the expression of life as commitment freely offered rather that obligation begrudgingly obeyed — that is important.
Sip of tea. Reclaim story. The big one. The one that folds in the time and the timeless. The one that has purpose in the now and in the past / future continuum.
For the Sake of Strangers
No matter what the grief, its weight,
we are obliged to carry it.
We rise and gather momentum, the dull strength
that pushes us through crowds.
And then the young boy gives me directions
so avidly. A woman holds the glass door open,
waits patiently for my empty body to pass through.
All day it continues, each kindness
reaching toward another — a stranger
singing to no one as I pass on the path, trees
offering their blossoms, a retarded child
who lifts his almond eyes and smiles.
Somehow they always find me,seem even
to be waiting, determined to keep me
from myself, from the thing that calls to me
as it must have once called to them —
this temptation to step off the edge
and fall weightless, away from the world.