Friday, November 7, 2008

Civil in Poetry and in Marriage

Experience suggests that strong feelings right the craft, eventually. At that point, one may notice one has company in the form of friends that have sustained you, sometimes with nothing more than their friendship; and in the form of commitments in the nature of decisions and breakthroughs on issues that you had time for when you struggled to write.

So we are righted, and we look about not wanting to lose anyone or anything. We look back at what we did to put ourselves in peril, making mental notes, then to the sides and ahead, suggesting to ourselves, I must remember this.

I was very young as a writer when I saw how little poets could say for themselves that seemed to me to take part in what I saw of their poetry. Well, we throw ourselves ahead in our words, don't we, and can scarcely be held accountable for a hit or a miss, for an appointment gone awry. Even when I am right, I have to laugh at how little it matters in a world where my writing is of all the things the least significant, my goodness. But when the words come with the heart racing, pushing them forward, I am with strong friends then, some of whom are listened to and who do make a difference.

We travel together, my friends and I. We depend on each other to be civil to each other, to remain friends. We count on each other to do the best with what one has, on a given day, etc. We do not keep track, I don't think. But we watch each other closely, because watching means learning, and learning tends to be good for writers and their families.

There's not much writers ask for, other than the right to be themselves and with other writers. Their commitments are real and quite strong. In this vein, the writers I know are asking for some certain rights to be granted their friends, that they be allowed to marry in a civil union. We ask this because life is difficult enough without two people who love each other not being allowed to sign the contract of their love. We ask this because we are uncomfortable asking for our friends' support in a society that grants rights so negligently, that it allows one to vote, but cannot recognize the right to commitment.

The right to marriage may eventually be composed in an act or an amendment. I can't say, being largely uneducated on what the actual goals should be. But I do challenge myself here and now to make a difference, to put time into the change that must and will happen. I am not alone in being tired of the stratification that inhibits this society. We must support and free those who so willingly and I think magnanimously call us friends.

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