Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hands ...

Don't tell my scientist boss, but I believe that you can tell a lot about a person by examining their hands. I obviously understand that the lines on our palms were formed when we curled up our fists in a womb for 9 ish months. And I don't entirely subscribe to the old South-Asian adage about our "kismet" or fate being written in the curves of those lines. The pre-written "kismet" is used as a crutch too often to accept unacceptable status-quo's. But there are stories in the texture and wrinkles on the skin, the frayed edges around the cuticles,how the hands rest when they are trying to give off a put-on sense of confidence ... there's just something about hands.

This musing about hands was sparked by a facebook note posted by one of my boos and it struck a chord. And it took me back to one of my favourite spoken word performances by Sarah Kay. Enjoy!

Pedestals and Pillars: For Women of Color (with help from Nikki Giovanni’s “Hands: For Mother’s Day)

We of the unacceptably and exceptionally strong take pride in the strength of our hands…and our hearts, our minds, our souls our wills….we are on pedestals and have fashioned ourselves as pillars…yet while so visible…so iconic…we are not whole…we have not healed…we cannot model…so what to do when you are of pillars and on pedestals and the base is damaged?

I yield from women whose hands are Black and rough…whose hands deserve more than to touch fire, and ice, and needles…whose hands are holding…but whose arms grow weary…whose hands are holding…but who is holding them back…when you’re on a pedestal…too much weight when you lean over to pull those you hold up… will pull you down…and what could stop that…hands don’t tell lies...you cannot hide the cracked, burned, dry hands that have too much to hold…we have to save our hands…and you have to hold our hands…who holds us up

Idle hands create devil’s work…not for us…idle hands mean emptiness…idle hands means not loving enough…idle hands means there is someone who we love…who needs these hands to hold and we are not…idle hands are failure…and if we fail…if we fall…we crush those who we hold…that is why words like rest, self, slow, self, health, self…are not unheard but misunderstood…because we have come to be defined by our hands..and that definition built for us the pedestals and of us the pillars…our hands…like our strength…is our pride…and our flaw

Whatever is not quite well about us will also not quite go away…so…of course…we use our hands to push away rather than to pull closer…we separate ourselves and our hands from the ones we hold…from each other…it is lonely and harsh on top of pedestals and at the peak of pillars…

Not always quite sure what it is we need…too in tune to our hands that hold…are holding…that caress…are caressing…that carry…are carrying…that we forget to soak them, and to soothe them, to rest them…we cannot use our hands, we cannot sit on pedestals, we cannot be pillars…if you allow us to forget…that we need…that we deserve…that we are loved…that is for you, for we, for us…so that we will always be on pedestals, and always be pillars, and always have unacceptably and exceptionally hands…


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmm...your boo most be a very wise and attractive lady...lol...cool spoken word piece

obw said...

shoot, what a great post.

you're giving me a run for my money eh? looks like i need to start writing

xo