Tuesday, May 13, 2008

tugging at the darkness, word upon word

looking down on empty streets, all she can see
are the dreams all made solid
are the dreams all made real

Safety. Safe places. Protected places. The need for them, the illusion of them.

Is any place truly safe, that is part and parcel of the world delusion?

all of the buildings, all of those cars
were once just a dream
in somebody's head

Safety in numbers, safety alone. Safe in someone's arms. Safe behind glass, safe behind walls. Held safe, kept safe. Wrapped and tucked and stored away, far beyond the reach of unsafe things.

she pictures the broken glass, she pictures the steam
she pictures a soul
with no leak at the seam

How safe is too safe?

How safe do we make ourselves, before we are no longer capable of risk at all? How important is risk if it means leaving the safe spaces?

How dangerous is risk if it means we have to allow unsafe things closer?

let's take the boat out
wait until darkness
let's take the boat out
wait until darkness comes

Safety and risk. The two-sided coin, the twin-edged dagger, spinning dangerously through still morning air. How safe can we be if we're armed?

When is it truth, and when does the truth fail? How safe is safety if it's only an illusion in the first place?

How safe do we feel when our safety relies on self-deception to be retained?

How do we know it's truth? How do we know it's safe?

nowhere in the corridors of pale green and grey
nowhere in the suburbs
in the cold light of day

No one ever said we couldn't lie to ourselves. But how reliable are our truths if they're based on lies? The lie of safety...how do we know it's a lie? The need for safety...

How much are we willing to sacrifice?

there in the midst of it so alive and alone
words support like bone

Held out at arm's length, thus far and no further. No closer. No, it's not safe, we're not safe.

You're not safe.

How do we know?

dreaming of Mercy Street
wear your inside out
dreaming of mercy
in your daddy's arms again
dreaming of Mercy Street
swear they moved that sign
dreaming of mercy
in your daddy's arms

How close can we come if we, ourselves, hold danger within?

How can we keep our danger contained? How do we make ourselves safe again?

How do we blunt the sharp edges of the world, and still keep moving, keep learning, keep our faces turned to light and sky?

Or do we withdraw entirely? That which is unseen cannot be threatened. That which is invisible cannot be attacked.

pulling out the papers from the drawers that slide smooth
tugging at the darkness, word upon word

But that which has no presence cannot be in the world. That which cannot find the light cannot grow.

What cost, then, safety? If it removes us from all things?

confessing all the secret things in the warm velvet box
to the priest--he's the doctor
he can handle the shocks

Security. Protection. Intervention. Safety.

The turbulence of words through open air. The pulling back. The turning away. No is the ultimate refusal, but is it enough? Is saying no, meaning no, the only protection? Is it safe to fight back? Is it safe to withdraw?

dreaming of the tenderness--the tremble in the hips
of kissing Mary's lips

Open our hearts, open our doors, open our homes...but then our hearts, our homes, our safe places are no longer safe. These things can then be hurt, wounded, attacked, destroyed. They are no longer secure. They can no longer be walled away.

So what price safety? What price security? Is any interaction, all interactions, food for destruction to come?

dreaming of Mercy Street
wear your insides out
dreaming of mercy
in your daddy's arms again
dreaming of Mercy Street
swear they moved that sign
looking for mercy
in your daddy's arms

All things must pass. Destruction is direction. Destruction precedes change.

Is change inherently unsafe? How can we have safety and growth? How can we have safety and survival?

mercy, mercy, looking for mercy
mercy, mercy, looking for mercy

Be safe. Be well. Take care, we tell ourselves, we tell each other.

Take great care, for we worry. We worry that those we love are not safe. We worry when we are not safe.

What does it mean to be safe? How much do we give up, to keep ourselves from all harm? How much do we sacrifice of ourselves, of those we love?

Between safety and risk. Between love and fear. Between reaching forward and pulling away.

Can we ever be truly safe? The cage of bone within, the cage of words without, the actions that barrier us away, from ourselves, from each other...all, all can be broken.

Anne, with her father is out in the boat
riding the water
riding the waves on the sea

What price safety? The cost spirals higher the longer we hold ourselves away. In the world, of the world, a part and parcel of all the sharp places...to blunt these edges, to keep us safe from them, means we hold ourselves away from the world.

What price safety, to sacrifice all other things?

Is it worth it?

How do we know?

(Lyrics are from Peter Gabriel's Mercy Street.)

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