Tuesday, December 22, 2009

One Year Ends

Yes, Khulud, you are right. It is the resistors who make new roads possible, who push back the confinements, who broach the walls. It is the resistors on both sides of entrenched nationalisms, of territory and of gender, who make possible the breath of joy between the stones. No matter what the governments do, you and all the others who take on the edicts and the closings and the rulings and the documents of erasure, will change the face of human history.

I want to take this time, the end of one reckoning of the change of years, to thank every one who read my words, who wrote to me, who challenged me, who questioned me, who gave me heart. I have one more thought to share--and I have been 70 years slow on this one. Last week, I saw, had to see, the frenzied fear of a pig waiting for its death. The animal tried to chew through the metal bar of his last cage to escape his slaughter. I looked into his living eye, and never will I forget it. I think of walls that block out the human faces of those called our enemy, I think of the drone planes that now kill at will, machines trained to erase human lives, I think of all the animals that had a life and whose flesh I ate to feed my human life, not so special as to demand so many eyes to go blank. Anonymous deaths from which we benefit. And I think of the people who work in abattoirs, who hear the final screams of living beings all the hours of the day, who need their jobs, who grow used to their jobs, it is just a job. How did we come to this? Yesterday, Di was pulling out of a parking spot, and I looked into the yellow eye of large dog in the back seat of the car next to us. His eye followed mine, his head turning, as our car slowly pulled out and I saw in that yellow look nothing I knew for sure except life, a watching of the moment, silent and steady, each of us tied to our form of deciphering, a quiet agreement to honor the differing rights of observation, the differing workings of the heart and head.

To all my friends, old and new, to all my lovers, old and new, to all who showed me what I needed to see and to all who waited with me while I failed and tried again, who sat by my bed or listened late into the night to the same old fears, to all who helped build with me the archives of the forgotten and the judged, I touch with a life time's gratitude.

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