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Excerpts from Wakings: Performance Poems to Awaken the Body and Transform the Earth

Updated: Jun 5

These are early excerpts from a book that's been gestating for about three years now. If you'd like to receive more early excerpts (approximately monthly) and offer your feedback, email me at sondra@sondrawriter.com to be added to the early reader list.


Introduction: 


A blankness of being has engulfed the earth, a lethargy of flesh. Minds grayed, cells slack, bodies blurred of light: how little heat breathes between you and me and everything, we who were born blazing. 


I give you a name so we can seek an antidote: The Great Vague. Call it a virus for its contagion, a flesh-eating bacteria for its hatred of materiality, or simply call it “it” because it thingifies everything it sees. To it, the world is a field of manipulable objects, subjected beneath the mastery of the human. To it, humans are also objects: subjects are only bodies and minds are only gray matter.


Beneath the gaze of the Vague, objects are rendered mute and bodies shrink in shame. Humans do not speak, but rather clatter emptily, unbelieving of their own words. We fear the future and so we fear ourselves, believing we are broken and knowing we are the seeds of future things. 


Even spiritual movements are often co-opted by the Vague, seeking a sweetness of being that shunts the wild growth of reality. So the seekers become the other side of a duality: believing light can redeem the world, they become the darkness they fear (nothing can redeem the world but the world seen simply, entered in without fear).


Now that the Vague has been described, I will not use the word “it” for the remainder of the book. Either everything is life-animated or nothing is, and I’ll place my bet on life. There are no persons, no nouns, and no dead objects. Only moving verbs, living networks, and endless iterations of light. 


The antidote to The Great Vague is joy—not material comfort, easy contentment, or an inane positive thinking—but a full-throated yes to the Now of everything. This joy is foundational, beneath each experience, beyond happiness or hope, but requires that we prune unreality. 


Having cleared a context, here is the premise of this book: in a world of empty speech and blind bodies, I give you a text of permeable parameters, of participatory meanings. Let each action pry open the lost words in your body. 


[    ] Read aloud.


0   0  Write on your skin.


:    : Plant these words in the earth. 


~   ~   Burn these words as a prayer.


…………

I am new in the morning, knowing I am unworthy to write the world which sacreds its way into a sea of time-malaised eternity. I write anyway.


Because I am equally unworthy of the smoke-soaked skies out the window, the earth choking on burnt tree limbs from wildfires in California and Oregon. I am equally unworthy of the cat who has pounced onto my lap, licking my toes methodically and purring.


We are worthy of nothing: the tragic or miraculous, the evil or mundane. The world leaps on anyway, leaps into the darkness we call “now” and the brightness we call “then,” spiraling blindly into we know not what, you and I trailing behind, wide-eyed.


Where do we travel from here? Your words awaken the future. As do mine. The future requires you, in all your imperfection of sight, to listen. To hear. To write (or dance, color, sing) the world into being. There will be no more waiting.


At my feet, galaxies gather, petitioning stories. Trees sift wind between leaves, knowing things. Mountains heap before me, blinking. Some day, the weight of these words will crush the earth. Unsounded songs will sing, unseen colors will pigment skies and trees.


But I begin gently, so ease your ears close and sink into the song beneath speech.









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