It’s not hard to stand in the dark.
We have learned to see one another
faces, bodies, movement
the flow of sexuality and connection
that so fluidly passes from one man to another
one woman to another
one person to another,
often in silence
and in secret
as if we were building a kind of love
not intended to be noticed by others,
by fathers, by mother, by gods.
I feel the day hunting me,
trying to find me and my friends
where we are,
dancing in the dark,
dancing as I have my whole life once I learned
there was love in the shadows
that shadows are not only for monsters
and that the dreams in me
– delicate, colorful, fragile in a way,
dreams that know so well
how a butterfly emerging
from the long journey of losing itself,
and cannot receive help from anyone,
until it is ready –
those dreams of mine
refused help, instinctively,
because they knew that love from the outside
is so often a gun
whose bullets only know how to say
that there should be no butterflies in this world.
My dreams took a long time
to be aware of themselves,
aware of the secret place inside
where love comes from,
flowing into my life
just like the mystery
of blood filling wings, changing
what was soft and new and opaque
into something hard and experienced and clear.
Perhaps God put us here
to learn our dance from the inside,
looking to others, so shyly at first,
not wanting to be seen watching.
On the floor, in the dark,
pulsing together, as one people
our bodies full of joy and power and rage and fucking and sadness,
speaking to each other in that hidden way we know –
a way that 50 years later is finding
its own wisdom, its own intelligence, its own faith –
our hearts in every moment of our lives
to weave the blanket of our pain and our culture,
now arriving at the end of its sleep
where it has hung so still and innocent
in the crisp air of becoming.
We are emerging as a people,
transformed as surely as any other miracle
by energies far beyond
that we are only now coming to fully know.
Always there has been a voice in me
that grew from the realization that I had only the night
to be safe with.
As a boy, I heard the Levitical Bell,
that terrible note that I can never unhear,
naming me, Abomination.
That culture of cruelty
has raised ten-year-olds into adults
who exchange their lepidopteral entitlement
of long-handled nets and ball-pointed stick pins,
and a worship starving for its own shadows.
The day is hungry like a rabid dog
thirsty for darkness and fearing the darkness. .
The entitlement grew up with them,
like the lessons of the old boy scouts
now carried into adulthood, only
this merit badge was about
the perfection of the skill of
walking right into a bar
and shooting the darkness in the back.
Remember what we used to call people
back in the pioneer days
who shot others in the back?
I listen to the house music,
pulsing with the rest.
Part of the rhythm I feel in my own life,
now that I am older,
is the aim of the barrel at me,
a hatred I can feel more than see.
But part of the strength of the butterfly
is to emerge in full view of the gun of the day,
and to leap off into the dark empty
and be carried by winds,
somehow able to survive
on a grim kind of mercy,
or die with courage and bewilderment every time
the day must express itself,
take its measure of the world once again
at a safe distance
by squeezing the trigger.
Our people are older now. 50 years strong.
We dance, not because we have to,
not because there is any danger of the night disappearing,
and not because whatever it is in us
that is dreaming its way into the world
will leave. No.
We carry that dream, that sometimes yet-inarticulate love,
into the world.
Again and again, eternity bears my siblings
into this pocket of time and, again and again,
humanity reaches in absently
and pulls out the lucky penny of our gifts and our talents,
surprised, and wondering
where that came from.
Because people still don’t know what money is.
How could they when they don’t know the value of anything
or anyone else?
They would have to learn what it means
to be born into the pocket of the world
among the clouds of dark lint and forgotten candy.
Of course, most things in pockets are thrown away
or placed somewhere else,
by someone else,
to do something else
FOR them. Every entitlement has to find a home
or else it wanders the streets with a gun,
mad as hall.
The steady hand drives the colored pin
into that beautiful wing
a beauty so blinding it scares some,
is so much better pinned down
and dead, and where the curious can keep an eye on it.
Dead things are so much easier
to keep an eye on, right? I get it.
But all the forgotten things,
all the pennies,
all the lost sweetness our parents,
churches, and neighbors,
that people have forgotten about
in the forest of growing up,
all the discarded bits of this world,
they find their way here
onto the dance floor,
and we make room for them.
Eventually they catch the beat,
our wordless smiling bodies teaching each other,
and strengthening one another.
We know the day will come for us again,
perhaps again and again,
like a promise made by a terrible God, because
that is what the day always does.
It lives to kill the night.
In our time, the day has come with guns
because in our time,
light is lost in a dream
that thinks it will find its way home
only by breaking the night.
But here together,
moving as one,
as who we are, emerging and beautiful, I can say,
that we are not broken,
and we are not lost.
We are together.
We are the night.
We are eternal, and,
we are dancing.