we dug our hands into soft sand – fire-beach children. my son’s pudgy fingers pressing at the earth, my fingers dancing around shells/pockets full of waves and sunken bits of salt-treasure. we made a mound – a simple mound/a thrilling mound. decadent with shell bits, ornate with pearlescent rocks – simple colors/magnetic cream and golden hue – something found, something borrowed, something blue and black and hollow. a shell, a whisper/a flagpole at the top of a tower. a firmament – a creation – a castle – a mound – a pile of wet sand/a toddler. a dream afternoon – silence, the splash of the tide, the concoction of clouds in the sky – curdling into a late afternoon storm. gathering, gathering. the sky is gathering. our hands our gathering. sandrain, we dream a wish moment. we build the captain of this ship – a tiny sliver of shell. a broken home washed up on the shore. we gather, we gather. we dig our hands in. we wash with the waves. we wave with the current. we sit in the silence – in the crash – in the din – in the storm-gather. we are a pair of sand-children, we are a pair of silent eyes creating a thrilling mound. and watching it get washed back out to sunken bits of salt-treasure.
soon, soon, your heart will pump clear blood again. the riptide rumble of toxic funnel will pearl its way out of your veins. i’m sure, i’m sure, love will come running – fire will come tunneling. sun will come hurling like wings. someday, someday, I’ll have enough time to tie myself to something firm and basket-sized. something i can place things inside of. something i can place myself inside of. i’ll tuck myself into bed, i’ll tuck my time under the sink. i’ll clean my blood – my fuzzy edges, i’ll clean my fear. some day, some day, you’ll hear me again – songboat melodymind and riverwide heartbeat drums. do i have love – a place to funnel it? and whose mind is it that i am always searching for?
am i always a river, headed west? will i one day funnel out into the ocean?
happy, i am a bottle of aperture and fstops – with my little boy I am a funnel of tunnel vision – satisfied light captor. i am a lens – photographizing every moment. the way the light plays in your hair. the way the grass sinks into your toes. the way your singsong voice comes thrilling through the air. i am devoted, little one. i am devoted to your heart. that is something that never wavers.
keep pulling the light towards you, keep tugging it tighter. keep walking away from the violence, keep funneling the abuse into something powerful. keep doing it, keep breathing. you have to keep finding strength in his fury. he is a victim of never having been given the tools to process his anger. his emotions. his place as a man in this fucked up patriarchy.
step back, step back. he is a victim of never having been given the tools to process his anger. his emotions. his place as a man in this fucked up patriarchy. i’ll say it again, i’ll say it again, i’ll say it three times too loud – the patriarchy hurts us ALL. not just women. and men get swallowed in the current of not being allowed to be men just as violently as women get swallowed by the back side of the shovel. it hurts us all, it hurts us all. the false pretense of the male form. the false rejection of vulnerability. not giving our men tools. not giving our men freedom. to feel, to understand, to cope. we equip and we equip and we equip women with the tools to learn how to learn how to have emotional intelligence. we practice. we say its ok, its ok, feel, feel. talk about your feelings. honor them. talk to your girl friends about it. process, process. this is part of your gender, this is good. this is good. and then we fucking send three signals three different ways with men. we shame vulnerability, then we shame them for not know how to be vulnerable.
that doesn’t mean masculinity should be shamed. masculinity should be honored. femininity should be honored. and vulnerability should not be relegated to one sex or the other. emotional tools should not be given to one sex and then used to beat the other up for not knowing how to begin to fashion tools for themselves. we feel very comfortable saying that it’s time now to teach girls to be strong, to be empowered, to fight. and we rarely sit in that place of deep knowledge of what it is we must do to better equip our boys. to let them be. strong, scared, vulnerable, manly, light, bright, dark, shadowed, rageful, hopeful, wide-eyed, fearless, terrified. it is not weakness, it is not weakness. to tremble with the recognition of yourself. to survey yourself. to understand your emotions. to reflect. to breathe, to pause. to learn how to open up. these are not feminine traits, nor are they the anti-thesis of manliness. when will we get past this? get past the “man up”, “stop crying”, “don’t be a fairy”. when will we get whole? when will we even recognize that we need to get whole in order to fix the whole problem? stop the cycles. stop the cycles. you want your little girls to stop being abused? give little boys a respect for their emotional life. teach them how to communicate, how to open up, how to be vulnerable, how to process anger. do not glorify a violent response. do not glorify violence. do not glorify an angry rebuttal, a fistful of answers. give little boys questions. and ways to walk themselves into them. to sit with them. to be patient with the confusing tumult of emotions. do not keep convincing them, through imagery or otherwise, that a violent, aggressive, or angry reaction is the manly way. and that apologizing is weakness. and that self-reflection is self-pity. and that strength lies in winning. and that your manhood can be found inside of your venom. suck the poison out. snakes can coil, but do not them choke. manhood lies in something deeper, something wilder, something free-er than the bonds of anger and the simplicity of violence. these are not the brave choices we have been taught they are – they are a trembling animals’ self-defense mechanism. glorify the real man – the new shape of manhood. the firmness of heart, the fortitude of spirit, the ferocity of forgiveness and giving and growth. the strength beyond gender. the strength within gender. the fire banked down deep. the one you cannot spit out of your mouth or cower behind meanness – the one that spills out of eyes – fumbles out of warm hands – curls over a hurricane spine. he a storm, he is a river, he is a meadow, he is a wanderer. he is his own; and he belongs to the world. he gives back to it. he knows what it is to give. to receive. to feel. to hunger. to ache. to make whole. to search. and to find.
let’s glorify that manhood, shall we? and everything in between. nothing is wrong – except the wheel that keeps spinning blood from blood. break the cycle of abuse. we know better now, don’t we?
coffee bones that rattle my teeth and windward sea leaves that sink in the sighs. this is the grace of another day sunk in the arms of the horizon. this is the wilderness of a chunk of land darting into the ocean. keys – laying about in pitter patter horizons and snaggle-toothed wretchery. treachery and piracy and plundering the depths and lengths of the sea that still surrenders to the swell of the sun. light and light and light and the courage of your eyes to pierce through it – dart fanged and wingless. creature keepers and creature comforts and comfortable bits of sand splayed out in nameless hieroglyphics – the markers of children’s haphazard fingers and haywire footsteps. and sand, this song.
and sand, this song. this battering ram of time that riddled the shores with rock ash and cremated granite. the solid form of face-full stones shattered and scattered across the shore. piece by piece, we form something new. piece by piece, we lay on top of one another and press. Piece by piece, enough air gets through to keep gravity afloat. and our hands sift through the ashes. and our hands mold castles with clay. and our hands make sense of the sand by saying it means nothing at all. our eyes make sense of the sand by saying this is a place to lay. not a place to pray – to silent rubble gone satin-skinned and collective.
this is the sound the sand makes. this is the heart the sun takes. this is the way the waves wash. this is the way we transform.
the song of the sand sings with a singular voice. from a collecting collective of an infective directive: toss the rocks to the shore/
break the stone to a trillion pieces/
rattle, shatter, rumble and roll/
break it apart, break it apart –
make a trillion things born new and satin-skinned.