I light a candle with a violent abrasive scratch of sand on powdered glass, a ripping open of the dark, a hissing expletive, a tearing of What Is.
I light a candle because light is older than time.
I light a candle because fake luminescence will not cut it. I need the very human experience of directing light, by my own hand, more than finger-swiping.
I need the acknowledgement and reminder that what I'm about to do could destroy everything if not handled carefully, correctly, intentionally.
I light a candle because my heart is sick and weighted yet wanting to take flight straight out of my chest.
I light a candle because I'm wondering yet again and always about art and vulnerability and the mere act of being and living in a world rife with insatiable need and hunger and pain. I'm up in the dark not knowing what to do or say anymore - all is cliche yet constipated.
I light a candle because the other day I wrote a long list of names of those who have throughout my life violated my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual boundaries and I'm still blaming myself for not having drawn the line. I wrote these names to see what it felt like to bring them to the surface, like others before me. I wrote this list to exorcize. To let go, again, because I thought I already had. Because I want to be free - I want us to feel free.
I light a candle because I fantasize about burning them. The names. Or the people who have so carelessly burnt in the past, like the man in the mall years ago who unwittingly and unconsciously held his cigarette out in way that left round button scars of searing smoking flesh on innocents who came too close.
I light a candle to illuminate the list of names of those lightworkers who are pushing archaic parameters in our present day and time; not just pushing them, but pushing them DOWN.
I light a candle because flame is alive, and we are alive in this moment as much as some of us don't want to be.
I light a candle to light a way. A path toward the belief that understanding is possible even while it's entirely possible that we can't and won't ever understand.
I light a candle for me and anyone else whose desire to live by example and to practice a new way of being outweighs the crystalline reality that we don't know what the fucking hell we are doing.
Because we cannot undo centuries of wrong. At least not in our lifetime. But we must set the foundation for the shift, even if we won't be around for the change we're dreaming of. This is on our watch. Our hands are on the wheel of that rudder. Pretending they're not is nothing short of stupid, selfish, ignorant, and fascist.
I light a candle because I get tired of being kind. Patient. Tolerant. Careful. Nice.
I light a candle because there are times I want to burn it all down to the fucking ground. Because I want to strip down and paint my face with my own blood and spin and wheel and careen around that pyre to tear out, release and annihilate the wretched age-old shame-pain in my gut, mind, soul.
Because my and others' pollyanna light-holding rose-glasses whine-ass plaintive grasps at "doing and being better" are starting to bore me. Annoy. Aggravate. Incite. Inflame.
I light a candle because there is something more, deeper. Because the festering is starting to poison. Because an eruption is inevitable, is already happening. Strap on the goggles, this shit is real.
I light a candle because I'm feeling the cold bracing wave deep in my brittle human bones that there is no time to waste. That everything is flammable. That we must take care AND we must scream.
I light the fucking match.
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Art as metaphor, instigator, inciter:
Amanda Palmer's video cover of Pink Floyd's "Mother"
Bjork's crystalline prismatic explosive fluid opening in "The Gate"
Yaa Gyasi's exploration of generational atrocity via multi-level enslavement in Homegoing
Ta-Nehisi Coates' honest discussion and interview about hope or lack of it with Krista Tippett
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