Question

What does it mean to be free? Is it the ability to let go of control and go with the flow? Is it a choice or an inherent way of being? Are some people born into this world less free than others? Or do the odds of being always tip positively? (We’re alive!) What about those who hold on to get by? The physically, mentally, socially “unfit?” The disadvantaged? And what kind of people can love us/them without conflating notions of freedom?

Deforestation

Nothing in all the world is quite so lonely as a lover who wants to love but loses his beloved in a jungle the two of them helped one another create, plant by tree by vine. Nothing in all the world is so pathetic as a lover who thinks he wants to stand but always finds himself lying down, thinks he wants to speak but constantly falls silent. Nothing in all the world is so helpless as a lover lost in a jungle he has helped to make and cannot find even the edge of.

There is no escaping, either for the lover or for his beloved, when the vines have closed off the sun, when the trees have closed off the wind, when the plants have grown into a thick wall that no foot was ever meant to penetrate. Escape is never a possibility, anyway. The only possibility is demolition — either the jungle or themselves. They must choose. No one else can choose for them, and they cannot escape the choice. It is their choice. They will live with it forever.”

-Burton Raffel
Lovers Losing Lovers

Terra incognita

The process of transformation consists mostly of decay and then of this crisis when emergence from what came before must be total and abrupt.

But the changes in a butterfly’s life are not always so dramatic. The strange resonant word instar describes the stage between two successive molts, for as it grows, a caterpillar, like a snake, like Cabeza de Vaca walking across the Southwest, splits its skin again and again… Instar implies something both celestial and ingrown, something heavenly and disastrous, and perhaps change is commonly like that, a buried star, oscillating between near and far.”

-Rebecca Solnit
A Field Guide to Getting Lost 

( )

Sometimes old Spotify playlists do it. Replay stories, queue my mind through a loop. We had a time, I wish we could stay in. Shuffle. Breathe in the cold black space with the glistening edges. Shuffle. Every little lie in this world comes from dividing. Say you’re my lover. Say you’re my homie. Tilt my chin back, slit my throat, take a bath in my blood, get to know me. Shuffle. En tus ojos me desvelo y tus labios me buscan en la oscuridad como relaciones de la noche. Shuffle. These songs make me want to reach for you. Pause. Strangers’ smiles remind me: I used to push and pull, but I can be still. Self-induced lovelessness doesn’t last forever. Neither do rings on fingers or ink on paper. We can recreate how we relate. The simplicity of a daily choice. You’ve got it for one day, man. I used to search for the letters of his name, wait for his footsteps, buy time with food and wine, come and go as he pleased, but now we’re free from that parentheses.

Outside in

Even here, even now your letter tempts us to shut our ears to these little facts, these trivial details, to listen not to the bark of the guns and the bray of the gramophones but to the voices of the poets, answering each other, assuring us of a unity that rubs out divisions as if they were chalk marks only; to discuss with you the capacity of the human spirit to overflow boundaries and make unity out of multiplicity.”

-Virginia Woolf
Three Guineas