I don’t think many people truly understand the power of gestures. The rich, the middle class; they understand the power of money. They have their money to speak for them. They have their money to say — I care about you. I care about cancer research. I care about the homeless. They donate to causes, write cheques, dismiss anyone that doesn’t do the same. They say, “What’s the use of your useless gesture? Do something that actually helps. Donate. Give money.” And don’t we all just fawn in appreciation when we hear that a musician has contributed millions to a cause? We all know that part of it is PR, but isn’t it just lovely? Isn’t it wonderful PR?
Growing up, my parents couldn’t give me and my siblings a lot of things. But my parents’ gestures meant everything. It was their dominant currency. The things that people do for you when they can’t give you material love are unsurmountable in value. I remember my younger self remarking to a friend that his chocolate muffin looked delicious, and he gave it to me! Immediately, without hesitation. And there is the power of a gesture encapsulated in a moment. I can’t give you many things, I can’t give you money, but if you want what I have to give, if you want my muffin, then I will give you my muffin. It’s like when Rachel Corrie said:
"I can’t cool boiling waters in Russia. I can’t be Picasso. I can’t be Jesus. I can’t save the planet single-handedly.
I can wash dishes.”
But people don’t understand the value of gestures. They just don’t. The only thing that is considered useful and legitimate is money. There is no usefulness in metaphors, in poetry, in giving through gestures. How does your gesture help someone move off the street? They would ask. Well maybe it won’t. But isn’t the lifting of the human spirit with a gesture of love worth something? Isn’t it worth something to make them feel like the world is a place where someone cares enough to do something for them as an equal human being & not just always be giving them money? Isn’t is worth something to make someone feel like they aren’t just a charity case?
I stepped out of the saturation of your garment
For a moment, for a reason. Only to plunge back in
A little later, when the closet was different.
You don’t keep me at bay or away.
There is everything I can say to you.
Your voice is a rapturous clarinet
That doesn’t listen, ripe, evenings.
You tell me to go away, and I stay.