From "Creed," by Dom Helder Cámara

I want to believe that the whole world

Is my home, the field I sow,

And that all reap what all have sown.

I will not believe that I can combat oppression out there

If I tolerate injustice here.

I want to believe that what is right

Is the same here and there

And that I will not be free

While even one human being is excluded.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Disclaimer

I've spent the last month revisiting friends and family whom I haven't seen in three years, and I'm (relatively) recently back from a cross-cultural experience that "ruined" me for life (JVC intentionally chooses that terminology).
The result of these two facts juxtaposed is that I find myself wanting to really say "something" but unable to do so given the circumstances, which usually involve a cup of overpriced tea and the inevitable question, "So how was it?"
And so here's everything I am afraid and unable to say in those moments.

Hello. It is good to see you, because in every interaction with you or anyone else, I am given a glimpse, whether minute or gargantuan, of the cosmos in each of us, of the reality that we hunger for the same things. Let's not gloss over that intensity with pleasantries. I am happy when you show me your soul.
That said, I'm angry.
It's beyond words, so let me try to paint a picture.
I feel that every one of my pores contains a volcano connected to the magma center of my heart, and the unfamiliar home around me causes eruptions that social etiquette demands I swallow, causing implosion. Implosion that manifests itself in nervous ticks and awkward silences and other creatures that are best left unnamed.
Allow me to be perfectly clear that I'd prefer to explode.
I'd prefer to tell you this, that I have seen poverty, I have lived with it outside my barred front door and inside my gut, and it has left me reeling, wondering if you have felt the same bottomless incredulity.
I have seen love, triumphant in the maggots-on-stomachs, laughing mindlessly while Satan strives to comprehend, and it has raised me out of bed with a drive beyond my own understanding, whispering si se puede.
I have asked questions that are knives plunged into my past, about why it's worth existing when one-sixth of the people on this paradise planet barely survive, and it's in our grasp to change that.
And now I'm here with you. As I cautiously sip from my styrofoam cup, my feet are silently crossed under this transparent marble table. Say, I do like your shoes, but I admit I'm stuck on how many extra pairs we have between the two of us that could be sold to give a single pair to Denika and her brother Brian, who walk barefoot in broken glass. And while we're stuck on shoes, allow me to admit that HDTVs make me vomit a little inside.
It's hard to enjoy this tea while I'm vomiting.
I know that soon we will collapse full-bellied into your recently-washed Lexus and head home, where even I will happily dull my mind with a movie or two. Plasma-projected. It will be pleasing, even for me, for a little while, but I apologize if afterwards I must excuse myself and take a long walk alone with little faces dancing in my memory. Could I tell you about them?
I also know my words are dripping with swords. But it's not personal. It's buried where I cannot expunge it in the deep end of me, not you. I wonder if you are the sort of person who will jump in with us.
While I get used to this dark water, please forgive the judgment, and know that I do love you and thank you for receiving what you may or may not understand. I look forward to the moment when this disclaimer will no longer be needed. I sincerely ask, would you like to get tea again sometime? Even if I'm erupting, I can't stop trying. Peace.