“How to Go on When It Keeps Getting Darker”
Issue #7, November 2018

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Deena Metzger, Lawrie Hartt, Karen Mutter, Eve Sanders, Andrea Mathieson, Lise Weil, Sharon Simone, Kristin Flyntz

Editorial

VILLAGE MEDICINE

Deena Metzger

Village

Sharon Simone

Fired Anew

Karen Mutter

Village Medicine

Lawrie Hartt

At the Stillpoint of Village Medicine


Eve Rachele Sanders

The View from the Ground

Andrea Mathieson

Listening to Bugs

Christine Holland Cummings

How to Go on When It Keeps Getting Darker

Noelle Imparato

Through Darkness Into Light

Kathy Miriam

Women, Water and Berta Caceras

AFTERMATH: 11/9
Praying Amid the Damage: Dreams, Nightmares, Visions

Kristin Flyntz

The Brown Tide

Sara Wright

Befriending the Dragon

Emilee Baum

The Demoness

Kathleen Kesson

AfterWord Feverish World, 2018-2068

Lise Weil

AfterWord Climate: A New Story and The Book of Joan

Christine Holland Cummings

HOW TO GO ON WHEN IT KEEPS GETTING DARKER

Open the flashlight of your mouth and illuminate something.
You'll know what. It's yours, it rises out of those shadows
cast over your own life

the ones that have carved themselves into
dark scars tatooing your mind.

Or choose a shadow thrown over another, one of the many
advancing now

like Godzilla's over Tokyo growing bigger
as the monster reaches the outskirts of the city.

*

State your name, please. State your nationality, please.

Speak your true name. Say it over and over. Make a song of it, tag it
on walls with a can of paint, feel the letters

shape themselves in the dark.

Do not stop saying it
even when they stand you up and shoot you full of holes.

When you're dead
let your blood speak your name.

*

Why do you come here. Why do you invade.

Carve your teeth into keys to open all the cages.

Melt down the good solid fat of your body to slick the ground
under the soldaten's boots.   Throw in your bones

to break their grinding machines,

stop up their gears with your ash-dark hair.

*

Is it your intention to rape murder deal drugs be an animal infest.

Make a blanket from your skin and drape it over the last of the species.
Hide them in your lungs, your spleen, your gall bladder,

wherever you have a space they can shelter
until the murdering is over.

Until the murderers are over.

*

Do not forget the rose. Her soft heart, her thorn.

Do not forget fragility.
Keep it somewhere safe,

at the bottom of Lake Tanganyika or the top of Mount Denali.
Some day you will want it again.

Notes:

What does it mean, to heal?

And how does my poem, a primal scream of protest against the woundings of our time, connect to healing?

“How To Go On When It Keeps Getting Darker” was written last summer, in the Sierra Mountains, during the height of the first round of family separations at the border. Images and recordings of kids crying for their parents, 24-hour news cycle reports of the outrages committed by our government, by my country, the country I’ve always taken for granted as one that holds equality, openness and fairness as sacred, even though it often fails to uphold them — my country now felt like a foreign country, one of “those” places where some groups are othered and tortured and killed by brutal men. It was just the latest, and one of the most horrifying, of the horrors that kept on coming every single day after the election of Trump.

So I was thinking about the children in cages, and the way Trump and his ilk seem to hate our pachamamita, wanting to dig up and burn all the oil on the planet, to befoul the air and flay the earth’s skin for mineral profit in beautiful sanctuaries like the Grand Staircase-Escalante monument, cut in half by presidential decree. About the tears of the people who come here seeking safety and a chance to thrive, who are greeted with cold hostility and bureaucrats who take away their children and send them back to their countries, bereft.

It was hard not to give in to despair.

The poem, which arrived in a rush of dictation the way some poems do, is/was a kind of healing, a directive to myself: this is how you keep going, this is how you fight back. It was my way of refuting the voice of hatred that shows up in italics, the one we hear all around us these days. You have to stand against that voice, even if it means, ultimately, you must sacrifice yourself, your teeth, your skin, your blood — you must resist in whatever way you can. The poem's final charge, to remember love, tenderness, vulnerability, not to lose them, seems to me the only way we can survive with our humanity intact.


Christine- Holland Cummings

Christine Holland Cummings lives in Menlo Park, California with her husband and dog, where she has turned her small suburban plot into a native plant wildlife habitat. Her poems have appeared in Bellowing Ark, Blueline, Hamilton Stone Review, Manzanita Quarterly, The Sand Hill Review, Blue Arc, an anthology of California poets from Tebot Bach Press, and a poetry anthology about loss of companion animals titled Our Last Walk. She dreams of bringing people into connection with the spirits of our plant allies and to manifest this dream she's begun the work of becoming an herbal healer: studying, growing, meditating, learning to understand the medicine our allies make available to us. Every step she takes on that path leads to more light, more love, more joy.

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