I actually wrote this particular piece after my advisor in my doctoral program gave me a challenge in one of our early meetings. It wasn't an easy meeting, and the challenge felt annoying. He wanted me to recall a time where I witnessed or experienced "communion," because he felt my answers to his questions were too superficial and text-like. I was irritated because I felt during our conversation he was provoking me to share too intimately and this was supposed to be an academic, or outward experience. What I did with it inwardly, I didn't feel was anyone's business.
I wrote this piece because I figured he knew best in some ways what he was trying to crack open in me, and I didn't know how else to touch so many raw things other than threw the raw and layered possibilities of poetry. I resigned myself to his task, and then I got into it.
Poetry is one of those things I've had a crazed relationship with. Some things I read and I JUST CAN'T get there. I want to almost smash stuff. It's crazy town. Other times I read it, and in the most pared back phrasing is a laser pointer to burst me open and I get it, I'm transported or witnessed or homed. Longer pieces become friends. Short haikus open my senses and sharpen my wit like little secrets. I felt compelled to write about this in only this kind of language. Playing with the words became part of the experience. There are a lot of little extra eggs in there for the curious.
This story in the piece is an actual experience that was from a most difficult time. I was really going through a divorce and it was devastating, even though it was correct. It split open all the hopes for my own measurements of personhood and what I felt was now lost in all my years of wanting. Not marriage itself, but my place and value, my capacity, my essence of who i thought I would be and could create. I believed I betrayed my vision, although I didn't have those words at the time. Of course I didn't. It was a bad marriage. It was broken, and I healed. But I almost didn't. The profound loss of hope, the feeling of prolonged loveless living, of purposelessness and failing, is dire. Suicidal longing is real. It can claim us, and isolate our thoughts and feelings, remove us from communion. It took me 2 years to fight for my life, even after I knew I wanted to stay. The restoration of communion, in whatever form that is true, through nature, spirituality, kindness, service, creativity, more, is as important as air.
Did my advisor know best? Yes. These times we go through, however deep, dark, heavy, are not precious secrets. These are our shared experiences, and they need air, because we are not alone. We are not broken or in shame. We are in shapes and conditions of wholeness, asking for connecting, disconnecting. And it's not always pretty. It tripped me into a whole exploration of what is communion and this will never leave me. I am grateful for leaning toward what felt like an intrusion in that conversation instead of away from.
A little companion poem book: Communion: Wind can be purchased from the publisher's site. I'll have a few copies that I can sign on hand also. The shipping may be less through me if I have some available. It is inside of the larger book published and available on Amazon, called Communion in IX parts, which goes further in testing and shaking up the hold on the word, but this little one is nice to pass on or keep in a pack if you find it useful or comforting in any way. I left a blank page at the end for notes.
Wind is the piece that became the artful, lead letter press project that I am hand illuminating and hand binding for numbered, collector editions. I hope you find it expanding and comforting.