|from alchemywebsite dot com*|
Maybe Francis of Assisi or the Buddha before he was the Buddha looked so longingly at their wealthy fathers' estates God got antsy and had to give them a little kick, a little boostarooni, a jump start. And thus awakened and smarting they carried on in sanctified ways to become patrons of kindness and compassion.
"The Weakness" is full of play and interplay between up and down, falling and rising (or being yanked upright or raised from the dead), strength and weakness. They run through Toi Derricotte's poem like a river in a storm. In Derricotte's world, or her world in this poem, the natural raging unfairness of life is a given as is the battle against it, and the battle to instill fight.
Everything is in movement here, including the swirling marble floor, except the white people's smiles, enervated "as if they were wearing wooden collars." That boldly ungracious and faint upturn of the lips is a perfect image; and evokes Puritan's stocks and, with "collar," Elizabethan ruffs only the upper class could wear because they so limited movement and expression.
About the image: I respond to alchemical and Rosicrucian art, though my reason for choosing the art on the left didn't occur to me until I added it. Transformation is being enforced, if only for a few solid moments.
That time my grandmother dragged me through the perfume aisles at Saks, she held me up by my arm, hissing, "Stand up," through clenched teeth, her eyes bright as a dog's cornered in the light. She said it over and over, as if she were Jesus, and I were dead. She had been solid as a tree, a fur around her neck, a light-skinned matron whose car was parked, who walked on swirling marble and passed through brass openings--in 1945. There was not even a black elevator operator at Saks. The saleswoman had brought velvet leggings to lace me in, and cooed, as if in service of all grandmothers. My grandmother had smiled, but not hungrily, not like my mother who hated them, but wanted to please, and they had smiled back, as if they were wearing wooden collars. When my legs gave out, my grandmother dragged me up and held me like God holds saints by the roots of the hair. I begged her to believe I couldn't help it. Stumbling, her face white with sweat, she pushed me through the crowd, rushing away from those eyes that saw through her clothes, under her skin, all the way down to the transparent genes confessing.
Toi Derricotte, from Poets.org (click on her name and read more about her)