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May 18th, 2006

your children are not your children

That's the title of the latest Dykes to Watch Out For, taken (I imagine) from what turns out to be lines from Khalil Gibran, but which I know (as maybe Alison does) as set to music in the Sweet Honey in the Rock song---which is beautiful, and moving, and/but which today is taking me back to performance/performativity and the little gap in what the particular "performer" in mind could share in that regard.

I loved the woman's enthusiasm, don't get me wrong. It was exciting to be around someone so excited by something, and that energy often made the thing more exciting to me. I'm suggestible anyway, and it could be (at least to me, so fond of her) infectious. Yet there was something about that glorying in something groovy, with her, that many times had such a requirement of being seen/noticed to reflect on her that a kind of (glorious itself) (shared) communing with grooviness, a kind of more "pure" appreciation/enjoyment, could be lost.

S'anyway, below is that lyric. Imagine it with the intensity, harmony, intonation/enunciation and intertwining flow Sweet Honey does so well; I alone shall be stuck imagining those arms---the same ones from the girl's silly Celine Dion lip synch, the same ones that danced more than any of the rest of her---and all that came out with them, wonderful and terrible---and the dead are not under the earth, over and over again, and that afternoon, and the flavor of those days---and how, I know in my gut, the desperate edge of the performance thing is/was all caught up in something that went wrong in the woman's daughterly embodiment of these very lines:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and the daughters of life's longing for itself.
They come through you, but they are not from you,
And though they are with you, they belong not to you.
You can give them your love but not your thoughts. (mm!)
They have their own thoughts.
(They have their own thoughts.)
You can house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in a place of tomorrow
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You can strive to be like them,
But you cannot make them just like you---
Strive to be like them,
But you cannot make them just like you.



Edit: Click here to listen to the women do the song in QuickTime.
 
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