Saturday, January 10, 2015


I roll the word over and over on my tongue until it attains a foreignness.
I repeat: They --harsh people, harsh words-- do not matter.
I test the healing words: "You do not matter."
I create a mantra on my bed: "She does not matter."
Matter. What does it mean that they do not matter?

When my friend Rain was small
a little Arab-American kid
walking to and from her Catholic elementary school
on the streets of Brooklyn
voices of neighborhood kids
would jeer at her:
Arabian Nights, Arabian Nights
they would sing.

It was the 1950's
and she was dark then
she has lightened over the years
But her then darkness
her Arabianness
her smallness
was perfect fodder for the cruel.

For many days she endured
Then one day --
even at so young an age --
the wisdom came:
"They do not matter."

She repeated the insight
allowed the epiphany to seep into her
and soon she stopped crying at their cruelty.

At last they noticed:
"Rosemary, why don't you cry or argue with us anymore?"
She answered,
"Because you don't matter."

They laughed.
But never again did their words hurt her.
And now she advises me to think:
"They do not matter."
I'm trying to see this present cruelty as not mattering.

Matter. Mattering. :-) Muttering. Mutter.

But if I were to manage to mutter to that cruel one: You do not matter....
what would that mean?
Would it mean that I see her unmattered, non-existent, dead?

To be of importance?
Matter to me:
To be of importance to my life?
Matter to the world:
To be of importance to the world.

You do not matter.
Your cruel words about me do not matter.
You do not matter to me.
Your cruel words about me do not matter to me.
You do not matter to the world.
Your cruel words about me do not matter to the world.

That last one:
the world.
Yes, your cruel untrue unkind words about me
do matter to the world.
For they brought down grief on my head
a feeding frenzy of cruelty
And they cannot be unsaid.

The words do not matter.
You do not matter.
Could I say that?
No, I am not so cruel.

But you. . .
you were.

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