Instead: A Manifesto for Immersion

Instead: A Manifesto for Immersion

Instead

of walking in another’s shoes

I say we need

to be the shoes:

tattered and loose laces,

soles worn in places,

prints that time effaces —

they’ve traveled.

the shoes that climbed up hills

and down paths

and across far reaching

plains; but

what about the feet?

the shoes are nothing

without the feet:

blistered and bruised,

sore and swollen,

tired and twitchy —

they’ve traveled,

too.

the feet that carried the weight

of a satchel full

from provisions and

decisions that have driven

them here; but

what about the forehead?

the feet are nothing

without the forehead:

browned from the beating

sun, crinkled from wondering

what, wrinkled from knowing —

it’s traveled,

too.

the forehead that led

the way through the dark

and out the other

side; but

what about, but

what about, but what about

there is more than about

something. instead,

and better, there is

the thing.

of walking in another’s shoes

I say we need

no more

about / of / the / it / they …

but, instead

is / are / feel / thought / be …

because immersion leads

to inclusion and union even

in diversity. we understand

when we know, or try

to know the shoe underside,

the spaces between the toes

and the forehead wrinkle

that is shallow but still

there.

of walking in another’s shoes,

I say we need

the instead.