Your face is a page, please turn it
I can't remember what I've just read
Before I move on to the next lesson—
let's forgive ourselves these missteps
For example: I want to see the gold
shimmer within you, even though
you're covered in mud.
Do you want to see stars fall within me?
If not, should I care?
When my warmth echoes, don't
dampen these moments with judgment
You are only lashing yourself.
I'm told, with each separation
we solidify suffering. In other words
if I reject you, I reject myself
I believe, this cap ripped from a blue plastic bottle
reinforces our otherness. I collect
such artifacts of gross communal error
drink from them, shrug. When I trash you
I trash myself. When I let you thrash me
don't I compound your anguish?
Welcome to the crook of my heart, full
of this hurting-egoic—
So much shouting our planet eye rolls
at the sanctimonious wrong.
When we run from them, we run from ourselves
Instead, shelter in the shade of these almond trees
pink blossoms cling to their branches, let go
drift into the ravine— It's spring
Fear and shame are strangers here
I understand it now
if I privilege you, I inflate my own importance—
imperil of our shared enlivenment
We don't matter more than we do
My name is Allison DeLauer and I spent the quarantine in a small rural village in Abruzzo, Italy, under intense travel and movement restrictions that lasted from early March to early June. I had just moved to Fontecchio in December 2019 to help build an artists-in-residence initiative, in a community that has suffered depopulation in recent years. Aside from virtual time with friends and loved ones, the only physical human contact I had was with someone with whom I experienced an inordinate amount of conflict. While there were certainly beautiful moments with my quaranteammate (some snowfall, the river's sound, fires in the hearth, good food, drink, and full moons) it was overwhelmingly sad and difficult to disentangle from the abusive dynamic. I continued to navigate the adjustment to two new worlds—rural Italy with the sweet community here wherein I am building a home, and a world where Covid 19 continues to dominate our thoughts and limit our engagement. I spent the bulk of my days walking on empty trails enamored with the spring's unfolding; studying Italian, meditating, snapping photographs, writing, and reading. Meanwhile, I watched from afar as the protests and riots in response to the murder of George Floyd and the ongoing police brutality in the United States mobilized diverse communities around the globe to resist systemic racism and ongoing oppression. Hope began to grow, that collectively, we might find a new way of being in the world. Here is one poem that resulted from these inquiries and some images of the ground that welcomed me, and the trees that sheltered me. Please stay safe and be well.
Much Love, Allison