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OnBecoming: Aesthetic Evolution of This Rising Ancestor
ON(UN)BECOMING is a heroic story of rising from political trauma. The collection holds readers by the gripped fist, navigating the only way out of a dark place; taking on the tedious task of unwinding mindsets and patterns, digging deep into the resilience of ancestral blood, and fighting gravity to rise from grief. Intentionally set to release September 27, 2020, the 2nd anniversary of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony at Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, this poetic memoir begins with "Daggers on Ice"- a piece penned by Hokis and Dr. Ford in a dream. Pieces move forward in real-time, dancing between Hokis's life and our shared political reality. She glares directly into flashbacks and family mythology to scoop up wisdom on which to feed, nourish, and wise-up. The theme of abandonment becomes a resonating thread in a collection exploring politics, sexualized violence, feminism, grief, toxic masculinity, compassion, and forgiveness.
creative nonfiction as summary
It was one year after my father died. I was walking my aged miniature beagle on the most perfect of summer days: bright sun, cool breeze, with one small cloud looking over things. Then, there he was. The younger man with a full beard. The torch bearer with charming eyes and half-cocked smile walked past- our eyes locking for a whiff of a second. A moment later, a return glance. Lighting up the life in me that had been laid to rest with Dad. I found myself wondering who he was, where he was, and if I would see him again. It was exactly what this grieving daughter, this wife of an exhausted marriage, this near empty-nester wanted. It was the last thing she needed. Her wounds so deep, she was unsteady, unrooted, unlookingforwardtoeverything.
The second point of contact came. One afternoon at the public library I turned a corner and fate landed him right in front of me. We said hello, exchanged some playful words. This scene would repeat often. Within weeks he would be at my doorstep asking to borrow a needle and thread to patch a hole in his jeans. It was an hour of conversation, an hour of assessment. Looking back, I could say – I do say – I knew all along what he was up to. I say this so I can live with myself, but I don’t know if it is true.
The self-help books call him “gaslighter.” Today is Tuesday, so I call him “asshole” for wearing my microexpressions to embody me, to learn my wounds and weaknesses, then slice right through me. Today is Wednesday, so I call him “fucker” for shining his dusk through the cracks of my very own #MeToo. Today is Thursday, so I now call him “my suicide note,” which is shorthand for Friday’s “I willingly welcomed his dirty, burning, diesel-fueled torch into my home,” or Saturday’s “I have lost all hope in life and death as it was and forever will be.”
Sundays are different, as they are meant to be. Typically, I recall his carefully curated notes shared through Spotify, his symphonic forms of orchestrated courtship swoon. I dive back into my “Tunnel I am Going Through” playlist. This summer’s blue sky is cloudless as I walk my German
Shepherd as Xavier Rudd, Fiona Apple, and John Prine play. Their lyrics of mixed meanings remind me of this mind of mine, this orphaned self’s half-baked cult-mind that once begged all the hims to make it up for me.
On these evenings, my head shakes in disbelief, my breath roots me to the earth, and my hand waves to last week. I turn my senses towards the Moon – basking in our forgivenesses and tuning my ears to starlight’s sounds. The echoes of astral infinity assure this rising ancestor – trust, choose, be.
first published with The Poetry Question, February 19, 2020