He was 39 when he died. He was only 39. I think about that all the time. When people hit that age now, they are still using the word “adulting.” Or at least, the entitled people who have a cushion of some sort—a cushion of money or education or white skin or some other privilege they’re wantonly taking for granted. Something that makes them think they don’t need to pick up a pitchfork or a picket sign or the concerns of others. Martin Luther King Jr wasn’t one of those people. He was a person who led with light but also might, who loved everyone but suffered no fools, who knew he would end up sacrificing his own life for a line that was not just ancestral not just racial but the dream of the human race at its absolute best. He said, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” He said, ““Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable.” He said, “Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle.” Continue Reading →
It’s been nearly four months since Aretha died and it’s still hitting me so hard. Today I listened to her “Bridge Over Troubled Water” about 40 times—its slow build, her big sea of sadness and strength, that soaring everything-everything—and it didn’t make me feel any better about her being gone. But it did make me feel her, and that was so much better than I could have hoped. Once again she’s carrying me through a hard time, reminding me that being brave requires a wide-open heart. And of course, a close girlfriend called tonight to talk about much she’s been playing the Queen during her own hard time. Aretha was channeling us both, I think, because she’ll always be the patron saint of strong women who don’t stop feeling. For this I’ll say what I’ll always have cause to say: Thank you for raising me right, Mama. I love you forever.
your departure seems like it has to be final this time and i can’t stop crying. i feel like the ground has opened up below me, that everything is going to stay dark and cold, and what is the point of such love and warmth—the feeling i had hoped for (prayed for) for such a long time–only to have it go away again. the loneliness is a lot worse now, worse than it was before, because i thought we were each other’s reward for all our sadness, all the struggle before we found each other. you’re the last person i should be saying it to, but it’s your embrace i want (all that would make me feel better) and i’m an inconsolable small person right now. an inconsolable small person with a new manicure because I thought I would make love to you with these new short purple nails. i press send here but it’s always to you that the lost love is heedlessly, helplessly traveling. the pain, jesus, the pain is terrible. will this venus retrograde never end.