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I think of this poem, “Connectedness” as my calling card to humanity.

The audio version of “Connectedness is a richly textured sound experience, with music by Charles Moselle and  Errol Strider.  Click here to listen: Connectedness

We stand before and in the midst of each other… as individuals….
carved out of the space, the past, the bodies and experiences we have occupied
during the storms and calms of our existence…
… each with his/her own agenda–
collections of dreams, ought to’s, and better not’s
that reach for fulfillment
for survival
… for Selfness….

We face each other…
…in separation
thinking that because we seem different
there’s not enough for each of us….
…. stranded on the outskirts of our being
…looking for a passport to center…
as we ride our fickle feelings
and our unquenchable yearnings for more
or something else
or less of that-
anything but what is within
where we fear coming face to face with the ubiquity of our terrors
the terror of what I might be
beyond the aftertaste of my misgivings,
the terror that I might really find the love that I say I want.

But is our “more” or “something else” the same for each of us?
Do our dreams resonate?…
…or simply rebound in the dumb echoes of our isolation?
…sometimes yes…sometimes no…
…often at odds…variously in agreement–
a cross meshing of goals and aspirations–
but parallel at least
though destined for convergence
in the warp of space
and the depletion of time…

We face one another and search for a point to connect-
some crisp focus that will draw us into union

We seek an indentation into ourselves-
an inroad into each otherts souls
where somehow we can invest one another
with a practical vein of hope
in this time of aching disillusionment,
–a viable avenue for growth, together

We are looking now, here to connect-
to find a place of agreement,
where we can truly say yes to each other
…without compromise,
knowing that we have given some of ourselves away,
trusting that it will return
expanded from use
enriched from cross breeding

We are drawn into the vortex where yin meets yang-
…the apex of a triangle where we can be
male and female to each other-
…sensitive enough to thrust
…receptive enough to feel.

We look for the unwinding of that which keeps us apart,
the unfolding of that which draws us together…
and yet.. we do walk in different rhythms,
have different mouths to feed,
different tastes, methods, and concerns.

What then is our connection?
What is the convergent point that will shatter/permeate
our resistant membranes?
What is the nonviolent way in which we can commingle
commune create and connect?

Is it through the outer sharing of our beings
with our chants and touchings
ideas and biases, our sex, age, size or stories?
Or is it through sharing our nakedness-
exposing where we least want to be seen?

Is it in being so ruthlessly honest with ourselves
in our process together
…that we redefine the depth of the word, truth.

Is it in offering and receiving
each other’s pains, griefs, longings, and terrors
without fear that we will be tainted with the same diseases
or left with the same hungers?

Is it in acknowledging how we really feel about ourselves,
though we want to appear invulnerable
and beyond the need for confession?

Is it in breaking down the isometric shells we’ve created
protecting us from death–
at the hands of union
the mouth of merger
the hollowness of infinity

and opening to the invitation to trust
reaching tentatively between us
making it okay to reveal the candor of our guts… …
to admit our bafflements?

Can we find connection here as we face each other
by dropping away our indigestible past
and abandoning ourselves to the rich
where we can truly discover our exquisite selves
reflected in our beseeching eyes,
just beyond our guilts
and our bulbous resentments?
Can we disrobe our chiffon separateness
strip fear’s crimped gaze
and plummet into each other’s resplendent worlds
there to find our connectedness
….in the sharing of our innocence
the unendingness of our identity,
in the humanness we know we are
in the Divineness we long to Be?!

© 1991 Errol Strider