I was an odd kid--I don't just mean the whole biracial thing--I cultivated weird. As a teenager I preferred PBS to MTV, and jazz to anything that played on the radio or the "black" music that came on KBOO only on Saturday nights. But still, I fell in love (many times) the way teenagers do. Oh, love made me so helpless and hopeless. So, I turned to poetry. I thought of this today as I was looking at my bookshelf and saw my old copy of Shakespeare's sonnets. This sonnet, which I was surprised to realize I still have memorized, was my companion as I suffered through many unrequited loves.
BEING your slave, what should I do but tend Upon the hours and times of your desire? I have no precious time at all to spend, Nor sevices to do, till you require.
Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you, Nor think the bitterness of absence sour When you have bid your servant once adieu;
Nor dare I question with my jealous thought Where you may be, or your affairs suppose, But, like a sad slave, stay and think of nought Save, where you are how happy you make those!
So true a fool is love, that in your Will, Though you do any thing, he thinks no ill.
For those of us who live at the shoreline standing upon the constant edges of decision crucial and alone for those of us who cannot indulge the passing dreams of choice who love in doorways coming and going in the hours between dawns looking inward and outward at once before and after seeking a now that can breed futures like bread in our children's mouths so their dreams will not reflect the death of ours:
For those of us who were imprinted with fear like a faint line in the center of our foreheads learning to be afraid with our mother's milk for by this weapon this illusion of some safety to be found the heavy-footed hoped to silence us For all of us this instant and this triumph We were never meant to survive.
And when the sun rises we are afraid it might not remain when the sun sets we are afraid it might not rise in the morning when our stomachs are full we are afraid of indigestion when our stomachs are empty we are afraid we may never eat again when we are loved we are afraid love will vanish when we are alone we are afraid love will never return and when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcomed but when we are silent we are still afraid
So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive