July 28, 2011

Dust and the relationship to Gold

By Lori Young-Williams

I watched a movie the other night Dreams of Dust. Ananya said it would help with me writing the blog. I don’t know if it will help but it has stuck with me. I am still thinking about the images from the movie.

Picture a screen shot of the dessert. Not much, some trees, sand, rough land, and in the foreground small piles of sand, rock, mounds of rock and dust. The wind blows and the everywhere you look the hue is gold. The wind blows again and out of the ground up from the mound comes a dark face, dust caked on the face and in the hair. Flashlights along both sides of the head held on by a headband, and a bag of rocks. More heads and faces, male. Climbing out of these holes in the ground. These are the gold mines.

I was struck by the imagery of the people living most their lives digging for gold in the fox hole tunnels, lighting matches to make sure there is enough oxygen to breath. With pic axe and burlap bag the men go down and look for gold. One can almost feel the claustrophobia. Once back to the surface, they take their bags to the compound to hammer, bound the rock to see if there is any gold. Break up the rock and hope.

The movie was about a man whose wife told him to leave after their daughter was killed. The women in the movie were the typical Madonna/Whore dichotomy. One woman had a daughter and was allowed to stay on at the compound, after her husband died in a mine. She stood and watched the men go down and the men come up. She stood and sifted dust, and for any flecks of gold. The other women in the compound, around the mine, were looking to spend time with men who had money (gold) to spend. One woman said the main character was crazy for not wanting to find gold. That was the whole purpose for being there in the first place, almost the only reason for living.

The women were in the background, they held up the community through taking care: feeding, serving, and giving of themselves. And yet their lives are just as shifty and changing as the men. They too are looking to strike it rich. They want the creature comforts money/gold can provide.

But to get gold and keep it at this frontline, is hard. To rise up means someone must die. The bitter truth is one can be replaced. There are more out there willing to search for the gold, sift, break up rock, dig deep in the mines and lay down with the men to find the gold.

The land is speckled with wiry trees
vast colored in gold, tan, ochre
fills cracks and cakes feet, hair and hands

Digging is hard, but the beer
afterwards will go down easy with a
Blue Blue – amphetamine
Women stand for hours
sifting dust, blown in
around, but the comfort of a body
will help for tonight

Women push to save lives and
keep the rhythm to get the work dona
Women push to connect with life through
gold, to put food on the table.
cakes the hands and fills
the lungs
Seeking the fire, the specks of glitter
to become the next rich one.
Leave the mines a big man,

Leave the mines with a future of Comfort.
Go and come back with gold
help the family.