Photo credit: Department of Transportation. Federal Highway Administration. Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty. Office of Natural and Human Environment. National Scenic Byways Program. 1991-. Historic National Road – Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. 1995-2013. Wikimedia Commons. PD.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that my poem, “Stones in a Glass House,” which I discussed briefly here, is up on this page of Lucky Jefferson 365. Only a few days ago, Editor NaBeela Washington had written 365 contributors warning us to expect delays. From my experience with her in Lucky Jefferson‘s writing workshop, I sense that she is a caring person, so it is natural that she would be involved in addressing the current movement for change with a new digital zine, Awake, that “seeks to amplify the experiences and perspectives of Black and African American writers in American society.” But she is apparently also an efficient person, since she was able to get the 365 poems up in what seems to me a timely fashion. Thank you, NaBeela Washington, for taking time to publish my little poem while engaging positively in the global movement for much-needed racial justice.
When I wrote “Stones in a Glass House” I was thinking about my husband and me growing old in our house, which was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. I was thinking about the kind of calm togetherness we are experiencing (for the most part). But there was also the image of being in the glass house and seeming to have the potential to do something shocking, but at the same time being trapped by the prospect of self-destructive consequences. Just for good measure, I added in the idea of the irresistible force and the immoveable object–another paralytic image fraught with unrealized potential for powerful action.
The rocks in my poem are not only peaceful and wise, they have complementary passions to achieve something meaningful; but they are also limited by their paralytic situation and their passivity. Reading this today, I was struck by how well this illustrates the position of many well-meaning, privileged people. We can’t afford the time off from our jobs, or we don’t want to alienate our friends and neighbors or expose ourselves to any sort of trouble or danger, so we give ourselves slowly, in dribs and drabs, the way the stones in my poem give themselves to the eroding power of the stream running through their house.
These erosions are not nothing. In the end they are the sum of the stones’ interactions with the world, the diminished outcome of their dreams. But we should do more.