For the Women

DSCF0274

FOR THE WOMEN
 
Looking up, I see a canopy
of tropical trees, merged seamlessly
under a lazy late afternoon sun,
swaying loosely in the breeze
or hushed to a still silence,
being all of what they are.
I also see a quilt, woven tenderly
by hundreds of hard-working hands
over maybe thousands of years.
I see women in sweaty backrooms
or on rickety bamboo porches
under a relentless midday sun,
creating colour, texture and pattern
one infinitesimal layer at a time,
building inconceivable beauty
out of madness spun by oppression,
and it is beauty on the smallest scale,
but of the grandest design.
These towering achievements
will never scrape the sky,
but they will transport you
through all the skies and worlds.
I see the art slavery can create,
and wonder what would happen
under the conditions of freedom.
I see the future I hope for,
and the women are emancipated,
and the power is tremendous,
and the earth trembles again
in the most delicious anticipation,
and we rule without ruling,
in the space where sun and moon meet.
And the rich tapestries are portals
taking us back to the ancient source
so that we may thrive forward.
And we all become weavers of the free,
and we all the layers of the magisterial tree.
 
– Tammy Takahashi
Advertisements

To Breathe is to Create is to Live

tree

As long as we create,
We have the capacity
To be free
(I know how far
we need to come
before we can create
a world in which
everyone can choose
their freedoms,
before the songs we create
are not only our chains,
our suffering, released).
It cannot stop here,
In calamity.
We must examine
The tools we have.
We live. We breathe.
As long as we have breath,
We have the capacity
To create.
How many breaths
Have we missed
With our inattention?
Take a deep inhale.
Is your breath not like
a growing tree
rooted in the very depths
of you, grounding you
to this plane,
as it arcs upwards and out,
filling every part of you,
from spine to limbs
to fingertips, and the top
of your head, and beyond?
Are you not making yourself
anew each time you fill
Your body with the force of life,
With whatever you’ll allow in?
And the outbreath,
A psalm of celebration
Of what you have made,
Of allowing it to set,
Of releasing what no longer serves,
In the name of beginning
Again, and again, and again,
And each time, don’t you know,
Can change everything.
 
– Tammy Takahahshi

Total Eclipse

DSCF3343

Under the Hidden Sun

I am you; I am not you.
It is as simple
And as complicated as this.
I, like you,
Can never be
Where or who or what I am not.
I cannot have been
Where I never was.
Only love …
Love knows better than we do
Where I end and you begin,
She is the destination,
The aspiration,
Immanent, within us.
I believe that love
Transcends the borders
Of our identities born and made,
The we who we are,
And who we are not,
And might yet be.
Let us not fall into
The dark hole of
Definitions, demarcations.
We have seen where this goes.
Let us be still, in silence,
So we can find
Clarity about
Our capacity to love,
And the space in which
Love happens,
A power that, if we let it,
Makes us more invincible
The more we give of it,
As we live in love,
Vulnerable, perfect, free.
Let us need one another,
All of us,
The me that I am,
The you that I am not,
The us that we are.

– TS

Free Our World

DSCF0484

We want to say
There is no place
in the world
for the violent
words we make,
for the regarding
of one another
with suspicion,
hatred and
tarnished views.
But the truth
is that
there will always
be a place
for what we make,
and that place,
as though
like an old friend
generously listening,
will expand
and grow
and shape shift
any which way
we move and act,
like a leaf
in changing winds.
It will, because
this is all
there is,
do this vociferously,
with no hesitation
at all.
So the choice
is ours:
Let us close
our eyes,
remember that
each is as scared
as the next,
as lonely
and unsure,
that each wants
to be held,
loved, happy.
Let’s not stand
for that
which divides,
and let’s do this
with everything
we have.
Let’s breathe deep,
and from this place,
of understanding,
empathy, connection,
hope and love,
with a commitment
to everything we can
to free our space
from strife,
to never tolerate
anything less
than equality for all,
and the removal
of hatred’s
consequences
and expressions,
right now,
in this moment,
begin to make
our new world.
 
– TS

To My Sisters (After the March)

p1450915

To my sisters

who took the world

Into the palm of their hearts

 

Who took to

The streets with their

Wild and pure determination

 

Who never stopped

Listening to the moon’s cycles

As they birthed their own revolution

 

(and it is only just beginning)

 

Who march forward

With a solidarity that is

Bringing us into the future

 

Of equity and equality

For our sisters, mothers and daughters,

For our brothers, fathers and sons

 

Who will not be silenced.

Who will not be silenced.

Who will never be silenced. – TS

This Anonymous Letter to Humanity is a Wake Up Call. Please read!

Tammy T. Stone

Tammy T. Stone

 

“Tragedy always seems so distant and is beautiful in the reactions it causes. briefly, we are forced to care, we are connected and we pray and promise and hope for change. but the words are quickly lost and our minds quickly w[a]nder to other things even when the problems persist[s] with as much power and vigor than before.”

“our manic-depressive switching from compassion to apathy just results in each feeling negating the other. it’s easy to disregard what we can’t see. emotions are generally distorted reflections. over exaggeration and under exaggeration are common, but usually they are just faked completely. what matters isn’t the initial feeling, but the feelings they evoke in others.” – anonymous

 

I took both of these images years ago, when I was still living in Toronto, and obsessed with the vibrant graffiti and street art culture thriving there (I’m still obsessed, but from a distance!). I eventually compiled the photos into a book that I was thrilled to sell at the amazing, and sadly now-closed, Pages Books & Magazines, on eclectic and hip Queen Street West, not far from much of the city’s best street art.

I became deeply immersed in the city through two lenses – that of the street artists themselves, and of my own, through photographing their work. It was a human connection through several layers, but a surprisingly intimate one. There are so many beautiful ways to commune with others, to receive, and give back.

The photo I took, below, has stayed with me – haunted me, really – ever since. I stumbled on these two small strips of paper, written in a regular-sized font on a simple strips of paper, glued to a piece of wood in an urban back alley. It wouldn’t be the first thing you saw walking along, but I’d been wandering around this neighbourhood for months, and one day these faded, stained pieces of paper caught my eye.

The author will remain forever unidentified (though I would love to meet him or her, and have a conversation, and know of the experiences that led to the writing of this letter to the city).

In a big city, which to my mind is increasingly a metaphor for the larger, global world we live in, being human often translates into feeling tiny, lost, insignificant. The writer of this plea to the city makes some very prescient comments, alluding to the tendency for our empathy and compassion to come and go as quickly as we’ve now come to experience the updates on our social media newsfeeds in the years since.

Of course, this isn’t empathy at all, or compassion, because when we have learned to cultivate these qualities, they cease to be fleeting, and we become more able to generate a sustained desire to change the world (and ourselves) for the better. To connect, deeply, gently and kindly.

“It’s easy to disregard what we can’t see.” Let’s make a world where it’s not desirable to avoid seeing. Let’s remove the veils behind which apathy and blind eyes flourish.

Speaking out from a small slip of paper, this anonymous writer reminds us that it only takes a moment to put something negative in the world, but a lot longer for the effects of this negativity to fade away. We should remember, in reading his or her beautiful, cautionary words, that behind the facades we use through which to communicate with the world (be it art or social media), we are real beings, reaching out to other human beings, who want to love and be loved as much as the next person.

Not for what we say or do, not only for right now, under these circumstances and not only to get a “like”, but unconditionally. Equally.

This is the beginning and end of what we deserve as we make our way, sometimes fumbling and yes, also dancing our way through the world. In case I never meet this author of these words, I send out a heart full of gratitude for taking the time to formulate these observations and attach them to the urban outdoors, so that we may be duly reminded.

 

Tammy T. Stone

Tammy T. Stone