Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!
Twenty-eight participants gathered to read and discuss Ada Limón’s “I Have Wanted Clarity in Light of my Lack of Light” from her 2022 collection The Hurting Kind.
After reading the poem I Have Wanted Clarity In Light Of My Lack Of Light from The Hurting Kind by Ada Limón (poem posted below), we commented on “the attack of the poem” with its barrage of sounds and images that echoed our experiences of the world’s “too much-ness.” The narrator’s references to “knocking in the blood”, “a sound that undoes me” and becoming “More sense, shake, and nerve” (i.e. more like a dog than a human) suggested an experience of post-traumatic stress disorder, perhaps that of a veteran. We questioned what it means to be brave in the face of the many current challenges that worry and wear us down.
Before we were prompted, “Write about a time you were brave” one among us offered a glimpse of light to the group with the words, “Look up” as a strategy that is both a physical act and a metaphor that can change our perspective. Several people read aloud accounts of bravery in the face of grave illness, grief, and a kidnapping. One participant shared a drawing of flowers and a gun’s trigger and double barrels, which reminded people of anti-war protest emblems in the 1960s.
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I Have Wanted Clarity In Light Of My Lack Of Light by Ada Limón Fireworks in the background like an incongruous soundtrack, either celebratory or ominous, a veil of smoke behind a neighbor’s house, the air askew with booms. The silver suitcase is dragged down the stairs, a clunk, another clunk, awkward wheels where wheels aren’t any use. Uselessness of invention. There is a knocking in the blood that is used to absences but hates this part the most. The sudden buried hope of illusion. Lose my number, sadness. Lose my address, my storm door, my skull. Am I stronger or weaker than when the year began, a lie that joins two selves like a hinge. Sawdust in the neighbor’s garage that smells of the men who raised me. What is the other world that others live in? Unknown to me. The ease of grin and good times. Once I loved fireworks so much that they made me weep without warning. I smoked too much pot one young summer and almost missed them until I simply remembered to look up. Gold valley crackling in chaos. Now, it is a sound that undoes me, too much violence in the sky. In this way, I have become more dog. More sense, shake, and nerve. Better now when the etches in the night’s edges are just bats, Erratic and avoiding the fireflies. How much more drama can one body take? I wake up in the morning and relinquish my dreams. I go to bed with my beloved. I am delirious with my tenderness. Once I was brave, but I have grown so weary of danger. I am soundlessness amid the constant sounds of war. Pp.48-49. The Hurting Kind. (2022) Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions.