"But we survive, and in surviving all this, something else comes into being, delicate and ordinary. It's hard to recognize it but I think we're laying down track, rigging the boat. There is acknowledgment, witness and shared rhythm. If we lived it in the world, we would be slowly walking side-by-side or cooking or maybe looking out together from a bench toward a sea." -Jade McGleughlin
"This is part of what we are about, being broken and giving each other chances." -Michael Eigen
What I learned from the rooms of recovery has guided me to this day and it is simply this; people yearn to tell their stories. And every story matters. Every story. Many of us have to work a long time just to be able to say something we can hear.
Sometimes healing is simply about being there, a circle of bodies, clasped hands, memorized prayers, bad coffee, and people who, because they've lived it too, won't judge us, or at least will try very hard not to.
People need to be reassured that no matter how lost they might become in this one life, there is still a place for them and a reason for it all. That last one takes a really long time to understand. Not that what shouldn't have happened to us was some kind of immanent necessity, but that now that all these terrible tragedies of our life happened, and that we, somehow - get this, survived, when those odds were certainly not in our favor, we come to realize that our path back to our self is its own thing. Why just becomes; we're still here. It tried, but ultimately failed to erase us.
Healing is really hard work. We're all in-process. Some days you feel close to whole and other times you're right back down on the floor again; asking; are these ghosts or are they ancestors. Each story we tell, each poem we write, is the bridge of continuity that links us to right now, carrying us over the dark choppy waters of a still aching past - into the sometimes good-enough of right here.
As a space dedicated to just saying what happened - the most important part of that is simply witnessing for someone. I don't pretend to know how it happens that we survive, dare I say it; even learn to thrive, despite all that shit that was never really ours to begin with, that belonged to our parents and their parents and their parents before them. That's the book we're all writing, each of us hoping to change the story for the better. What I do know is there is immense power in coming together to share such vulnerable skin. Beyond that it's all a mystery. I'll let it be. You be. All of us.
So, here we are. Beautiful survivors - thrivers.
We are here to heal, offer hands, shoulders, backs, voices, love, light. Make no mistake, we've never really been a literary journal; rather the 2 a.m. phone call and the familiar voice that answers, the ride to the store, your first meeting, the common share that pulls our hearts up from the floor and right back into our bodies. All it really takes is someone who understands just enough of our story to keep telling it. That's a bond worth nurturing.
Community is everything that gathers together in any place at any time, in desperation, love, pain and triumph, the beautifully broken human spirit. Let it be odd to say so; we love you, we see you, you belong in this world, right here, right now. Does it need to be said; you just come as you are.
And yeah, we create much as we came to this dance; alone. But one poem finds another, and another and another. One hand, one heart and on and on. Oh, you've felt this too. What got you through?
Friends, It's never been more dark. It's never been more light. This is the work we do for each other. The songs that we sing in the deep isolation of our endless nights. Nothing about us ever goes down easy. Here we are. It matters. Nothing in the world matters more than this; we owe it all to each other. We owe it all...
In service, love & gratitude,
*Special thanks to my wonderful co-editors, Jenny Robbins and Dana Espinosa, for weaving together this beautiful issue with me.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.