hope during advent

Credit: marian solidarity

Credit: marian solidarity

Last night, in keeping with the first week of Advent, we wrote to the theme of hope. What made this writing challenging – and  to the amazement of the women around the circle, rewarding – was the second part. After a 20 minute free-write, each woman took an additional 10 minutes to transform her words into a poem. We used the pantoum, an accessible repeating pattern based on 8 distinct lines which women selected from the ‘strongest’ in their original writing.

The resulting poems spoke raw power, profound clarity and deep pain. Read both the original and poetic versions from TH, one of our newer writers. She sinks directly into experience, dredging up the immediacy of her pain and struggle for hope using the analogy of drug use. It took my breath away. But you decide for yourself!

‘Please try your call again later.’ Sighing, I hang the plastic black receiver up and continue staring at the numbers on the keypad. You never seem to be on the other end anymore . . .  The guard hands out stacks of cards and letters. As usual, I receive nothing.

I am here.

Alone.

Forgotten.

Buried in pain.

My mind turns the corner of loneliness, extracting hope as if with a tiny syringe, sucking it in off its home in my soul and injecting it into my current state, bright red, pungent, stinging my veins. It hurts to hope because you never come. You never answer. You never write.

And yet, I magically produce more, even now, as snow lightly decorates the ground; even as December marches on in pageantry and decoration. You are mine and I am yours. We always say we are family, and family NEVER LEAVES family!

But you’re gone.

The concept fails to compute on even the most primitive level in my gray, mushy brain. A movie plays out in my imagination . . . possibilities . . .

 You and I, hands intertwined, blue eyes locked in chocolate brown ones, giggling while we drop to the ground making snow angels, arms frantically waving, brushing snow in that up-and-down flying motion, breath escaping as clouds dissipating in inky black night . . .

 Or standing silently crying while the police cuffs my hands too tightly behind my back you watching me as you plead with the officers, begging them to let me have a cigarettes, to be kind to me, to let me warm up under your oversized Adidas zip-up hoodie. They usher me out, and you follow the procession, crying and shouting to the world that you love, no matter what, unconditionally, before you disappear behind the door and I disappear down the road in the dusty, caged black-seat under my own salty tears, into dark, unknown oblivion . . .

 ∞      ∞      ∞

My mind turns the corner of loneliness.
It hurts to hope because you never come, you never answer, you never write.
Extracting hope as if with a tiny syringe,
even as December marches on, in pageantry and decoration.

It hurts to hope, because you never come, you never answer, you never write.
The concept fails to compute
even as December marches on in pageantry and decoration.
Breath escapes in clouds dissipating in inky black night,

the concept failing to compute.
You watch me as you plead with the officers,
breath escaping as clouds, dissipating in inky black night.
They usher me out and you follow the procession.

You watch me as you plead with the officers,
extracting hope as if with a tiny syringe.
They usher me out and you follow the procession;
my mind turns the corner of loneliness.

. . . and you?

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