My friend, poet Jericho Brown offers a view on hope that comes from the past and reaches into the future. Jericho is a gifted and hardworking poet whose magnificent first book PLEASE won the American Book Award. We first met when we were both on a panel at the 2010 Split This Rock Poetry festival. He teaches at the University of San Diego. Like his poetry, I have read his reflection below many times and find something new each time I read it. I bet you will too. ~Joseph Ross
Notes on Abstraction
-Hope is the opposite of desperation, it’s not as comfortable as certainty, and it’s much more certain than longing. It is always accompanied by the imagination, the will to see what our physical environment seems to deem impossible.
-Only the creative mind can make use of hope. Only a creative people can wield it.
-I will never understand the spirit of my ancestors, but I know it. I know it lives in me. And though fear insists on itself, I intend to acknowledge this spirit as one that overcomes us. I write because my writing mind is the only chance I have of becoming the manifestation of their hope.
-I write because my writing mind is the only chance I have of becoming what the living dead are for me.
-Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us. Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us. There’s a high note at the end of my body. A squall inside. I share one sound with time.
-I exist because I was impossible for someone else to be before me. I want for our children what you want for your children. And if my want is right, they will want it too.