my wish for you

Christmas Morning Drive 2020 – Hinckley Reservation of the Cleveland Metro Parks.

Happy New Year everyone.   The promise of snow over the Holidays was not exaggerated.   On Christmas morning we had 6-8 inches on the ground and and 1-2 inches fell throughout Christmas Day.    But that is past.   The New Year is upon us.   This song expresses my dearest desire for each and every one of you.   That you feel safe.   For safety is not about the pandemic and has pitifully dominated the past year – like the song says it’s about living with/in grace, being rested, calm, anchored, unchained, holding no blame,  no fear, no blame, being brave and open.   I would also argue that is the foundation of love.   I love each and everyone one of you even if we have never physically met.   Thank you for your kindness and support. 

SAFE by Judie Tzuke, Beverley Craven & Julia Fordham from the album WOMAN TO WOMAN

Safe

Rested

Clear

Calm

grace

centered

here 

home

we’ve fought so hard

we’ve come so far

back where we began

and for all the joys and sorrows

finally we can 

be safe

anchored

unchained

faith

holding

no

blame

and the future is everything

as we forgive ourselves

and we reach beyond the wreckage 

of you loving someone else

our hearts are still surrendering

now the wounds will heal

in spite of everything

learning how to feel

safe

hopeful

no 

fear

brave

open

now 

we’re

safe

be kind and always 

remember to love 

this one life we live

has to be enough

be kind and always 

remember to love

this one life we live

has to be enough

hoping 2021 will be an easier skate than 2020

This is the time of year when people start compiling and review “best of” for the previous year. Those things have typically bored me and seem like a cheap “journalism”. Because they don’t really look at the “best of”. they look at the most popular. And we all know it if was popular it played to the lowest common denominator across the spectrum of popular culture.

As I said a few days ago 2020 was a difficult year culturally speaking. And in that post I included a clip from the movie TOMMY – which is still an amazing musical film. This year I find myself at the point where I’m re-watching musicals. The year has been so emotionally, psychologically exasperating that a little escapism is prescribed. And movie musicals fit that bill. In this post I want to focus on the films of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Three Astaire/Rogers films rank as my favorites among the lot. So if you’re just tired, fed up and frustrated with life take a little escape. It’s okay. (I can’t promise these videos can be seen in other countries but hopefully you will find a version that is accessible and available.)

First up is the song “HEAVEN from TOP HAT (1935) with music by Irving Berlin. This lush little number is the elegant dancing manifestation and lyrical expression of the songs title.

Next is another favorite Astaire/Rogers film SWING TIME (1936) with music by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields. Fred, plays a professional dancer who plays dumb and clumsy to meet and court Ginger. Here is the set up scene which also features Fred and Gingers comic sidekicks played by comedy veteran character actors Victor Moore and Helen Broderick.

… and the payoff… in an effort to save Gingers job….

And the last Astaire/Rogers film I want to feature is SHALL WE DANCE (1937) featuring music by George and Ira Gershwin. This film was unusual in it’s attempt to blend/merge tap and swing dancing with ballet. There are many wonderful numbers that features Fred in diverse settings where he can famously dance with different props. But I want to feature one of my favorite scenes which is comic bliss and sheer fun. It’s the famous roller skate scene. The setting is Fred and Ginger have escaped their New York hotel because they were being overrun by reporters and photographers who think they are married, and the scandal of her being supposedly pregnant on top of it – so they go to the park. You will note that these are not the roller skates of today with a boot like shoe and resin wheels. These are the old-fashioned strap on skates with steel wheels which makes this number all the more remarkable. Please enjoy “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off”.

As a sort of end note; I want to include another wonderful dance on roller-skate scene this time by Gene Kelly. Personally I find the song a little inferior and the movie (a musical satire) with music by Andre Previn, isn’t one of his best but the dancing on roller skates is quite wonderful and endearing. Enjoy Gene Kelly from the movie IT’S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER (1955) dancing/skating to the song “I Like Myself”. The notion of dancing on wheels has all the elements of danger that inspires awe when done successfully. And note again these are the old fashioned strap-on skates with steel wheels.

reflections on 2020

The year 2020

brought clarity of vision and acuity of perception

but

I was not happy

and HATED what I “saw”

wishing I was deaf, dumb and blind

(from one of my favorite musicals -more on musicals later)

something fishy

I once saw a fish

washed upon the shore.

I stared down as it lay 

on its sandy grave

taking its last breath

then stepped away

as the seagulls came

tearing away at the carcass.

 

And I thought.

This is the best we can hope for – 

not to be remembered – 

but to provide for whatever comes after us. 

Knowing, like the fish,

when to live

and when to die.

 

The older I get

the less optimistic I feel.

Fantasy is for escape,

reality is for living;

however unpleasant it may be.

things I like

So I guess you could say this post falls in the category of things I like.  As many of you who have followed my blog over the years knows, I love the 4AD music label(specifically the earlier years – the past 10-15 years have been somewhat hit/miss). One of the bands that I enjoy from the earlier years is RED HOUSE PAINTERS.  I recently acquired their SHOCK ME ep.

This recording features 4 official tracks and one untitled “hidden” track (at the end of track 4). Released in 1994 it really is a wonderful collection of covers and original material.   For this post I want to focus on the title track which is a cover of the KISS song Shock Me (written by Ace Frehley) that was originally on the KISS album LOVE GUN.    In fact there are two versions on this EP (the electric and an acoustic version).  Both versions are very solid and very unlike KISS.   Which is one of the things I love.

Don’t get me wrong; I love kiss I actually saw the Alive II tour at a local venue called the Richfield Coliseum (near Cleveland – which no longer exists – how time flies) on 8/1/1978 and what a show!  But that was in my fist pumpin’ hard rockin’ teen years.   Maybe you’re not a fan of KISS or are not familiar with this song.  That’s okay.   Ace Frehley wrote this song after an event that actually occurred on the KISS’ ROCK AND ROLL OVER tour where he was nearly electrocuted.   If you’re familiar with KISS you can imagine this song has the tell-tale chugging hard rock sound that many love from the make-up clad quartet.   I’ll post that video at the end of this post for comparison sake.   But first I want you to listen to the RED HOUSE PAINTERS version.

RED HOUSE PAINTERS have been described as slow core and folk rock. While their music inhibits both of those worlds this song is definitely in the slow core vein.   One of the things I enjoy about it is that is has a very Velvet Underground feel to it.    The second iteration of the song which is acoustic sounds familiar yet very different.  I can sit with my eyes closed listening and imagining Lou Reed and Peter, Paul & Mary singing this.   It really is quite beautiful.

The EP has ephemeral/ethereal cover art that 4AD was known for in the early days.    If you don’t recognize the image – it is a detail of an old broken down upright piano keyboard.   A beautiful simple image that resonates so well with the RED HOUSE PAINTERS sound.   Dean Carlson of ALLMUSIC described this version of the song and the EP as “Somehow quietly splendid”.   I look at the KISS version of SHOCK ME as the “I dare you to” version and the RED HOUSE PAINTERS versions as the “surprise me” versions.  Because even though the lyrics and music is the same the songs couldn’t be more different.  And I think a great original cover of a song that basically re-invents the songs potential is also great art.  I think I’ve said all I can at this time.  I hope you enjoyed this post.

Finally the moment you have been waiting for?  Here’s the KISS version from a concert in 1998 in all their makeup and costumed glory.   🙂

Cocoon

mobius faith · COCOON

I am in a personal, creative, social,
emotional and professional cocoon.
Once a caterpillar,
I thought I understood life.
Now it feels like time has passed me by
and I no longer understand or
recognize the world I live in:
irrelevant, voiceless, useless.
I can’t move.
Wrapped in blankets on a bed.
Cocooned in my cotton chrysalis.
I peer out through fuzzy threads
and see people moving about,
attempts at normalcy.
But, I have no desire.
I am weak and sickly;
left to the shadows of a previous life.
I have neither the will nor the strength.
I’m left to wonder if I will emerge from this cocoon
to a new life,
a new type of existence
or if I will die in my encasement.
Will I be able to break free and
enjoy new life?
A new existence?
Better Health?
Feeling “at one” with the world around me?
Or will this shell become my abattoir
slaughtered in silence.
Perhaps I will emerge an avatar
able to engage, teach, foster and encourage the souls who remain?
“If you live long enough and hang in long enough
the world will learn to love you again” (*)
So, now is the time of waiting
and hanging in there
waiting for the metamorphosis to complete
as I wonder….

Will I be a butterfly or a moth?
Will I dine on the sweet nectar of milkweed?
Will I flit and flutter toward the light of my undoing?
In the end the question is not “how?” but “when?”
Even butterflies can die in their cocoon.

* quote by Toya Willcox in the liner notes to her new boxed set.

Escaping One's Own Shadow

ESCAPING ONE’S OWN SHADOW

Musings on Prayer

Recently I’ve been thinking about prayer and how religious organizations are capitalizing on and exploiting peoples weakness during the corona virus to convert new believers, claims of healing, surviving etc.

Yesterday I just started to write down some thoughts in my journal.

It doesn’t rain because you pray, The sun doesn’t shine because you pray. Disaster doesn’t spare you, your friends or family because you pray. Yo don’t recover from illness because you pray. You don’t enjoy good health because you pray. Your enemies don’t suffer because you pray and you don’t suffer because others pray.

You created God and now you’re unhappy with your creation. What was once the domain of religion is now the domain of science. Still you refuse to believe.

Again, those are just some preliminary thoughts to be fleshed out sometime in the future.

I am a H-U-G-E fan of Nick Cave (the musician). A few months ago I subscribed to his “Red Hand Files” newsletter where once a week he answers a fans question. Questions range from the banal (favorite books?, favorite protest songs? etc) to the more serious (how did you cope with the loss of your son? and in April “A prayer to who?”)

He had some very interesting thoughts on prayer which I want to share.


Dear Patrick,

The act of prayer is by no means exclusive to religious practise because prayer is not dependent on the existence of a subject. You need not pray to anyone. It is just as valuable to pray into your disbelief, as it is to pray into your belief, for prayer is not an encounter with an external agent, rather it is an encounter with oneself. There is as much chance of our prayers being answered by a God that exists as a God that doesn’t. I do not mean this facetiously, for prayers are very often answered.

A prayer provides us with a moment in time where we can contemplate the things that are important to us, and this watchful application of our attention can manifest these essential needs. The act of prayer asks of us something and by doing so delivers much in return — it asks us to present ourselves to the unknown as we are, devoid of pretence and affectation, and to contemplate exactly what it is we love or cherish. Through this conversation with our inner self we confront the nature of our own existence.

The coronavirus has brought us to our knees, yet it has also presented us with the opportunity to be prayerful, whether we believe in God or not. By forcing us into isolation, it has dismantled our constructed selves, by challenging our presumed needs, our desires, and our ambitions and rendered us raw, essential and reflective. Our sudden dislocation has thrown us into a mystery that exists at the edge of tears and revelation, for none of us knows what tomorrow will bring.

In our hubris we thought we knew, but as we bow our heads within the virus’ awesome power, all we are sure of now is our defencelessness. In the end this vulnerability may be, for our planet and ourselves, our saving grace, as we step chastened into tomorrow. Released from our certitude, we present our purest offering to the world — our prayers.

Love, Nick

To check out and subscribe to Nick Caves THE RED HAND FILES – click this link. https://www.theredhandfiles.com

HAPPY JUNETEENTH!

JUNETEENTH. It’s not a “federal” holiday but it is recognized in almost all of the states/territories of the United States – the exceptions (shamefully) are Hawaii and South Dakota. For people outside the United States, Juneteenth is the day the last slaves were freed 2.5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Texas was the hold out and dared to keep slaves even though their freedom had been decreed years earlier. Next to Independence Day (July 4th) I can think of no better reason for a holiday than to celebrate the day when America ended the overt enslavement of it’s own citizens of color. My God, why is this not a National/Federal holiday already? But enough preaching.
Here is my Juneteenth playlist. Enjoy.

Let’s kick it off with Pharell Williams FREEDOM

A blast from the past Kool And The Gange – CELEBRATE

A classic; The Staple Singers – I’LL TAKE YOU THERE

Michael Franti – GOOD TO BE ALIVE TODAY

While African Americans formed the largest portion of slaves, it also included all people of color – including the various tribes of Indigenous Americans and hispanics. Buffy Saint Marie – CARRY IT ON

Redbone – COME AND GET YOUR LOVE

And even though we are in the midst of a cultural revolution – now is NOT the time to stop. Ozomatli – CAN’T STOP!

Shaun Martin – ONE BIG PARTY

Knowing the conversation that MUST continue to happen if we will move forward as a species. We must be fearless. The Neville Brothers – FEARLESS

A reminder of what it’s about and why we should celebrate – Cynthia Erivo – STAND UP from the movie HARRIET (based on the life of Harriet Tubman)

Bonus Track – reality check – We are still a long way from where we need to be in our evolution of humanity. There is still racism and bias. The revolution must continue.
Nina Simone – AIN’T GOT NO (from the musical HAIR)

America’s trouble with racism goes back to the beginning.

Very few people around the world, and even fewer American’s know how far back the systemic racism goes in the United States  –  where attention spans limit any thorough reading of the US Constitution.    For most American’s. Their knowledge of the Constitution Of The United States is a piece of yellowed paper with hard to read writing that is somehow supposed to be important.

But the United States Constitution is a very important part of our history and needs to be understood – and, I would suggest, needs updated.  Because it has not been updated or understood it has allowed for any old jackass, like the president of the united states, to interpret it as he wishes and even use it as a weapon to justify his own racism.

Racism has existed in America before and ever since it became the United States of America.  It is actually a part of the US Constitution.    Don’t be shocked – slavery was part of the “national” economy when the Constitution was drafted.   And I suppose that is where the trouble starts – when humans are viewed as products because of the color of their skin to be sold and traded at the will and whim of whites.

During the US Constitution Convention of 1783 – which was created to frame the government by creating constitutional guidelines. During the convention something happened that became known as the 3/5ths compromise.  The article under debate was relating to taxation and representation.    Many states wanted representation  to be reflected by the number of people in each state and taxes determined by property (i.e. the more property the higher the taxes).    While many southern states liked the idea of increased representation because of their slave population they objected to the notion of being taxed for their property  since black and brown slaves were considered property which meant not only higher representation in congress but higher taxes also.

There arose what became known as the 3/5th compromise which allowed southern states to be taxed on only 3/5ths of their slave population.   So this effectively denied humanity to 2/5ths of the slave population. That is like saying to every single black and brown person, “You’re not allowed to do ‘this’, or ‘that’ because you’re only 3/5ths of a human being.   “You’re not even a complete human being”.     That is outrageous!!!!!!

Thus the United States Constitution Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 states:

“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

Now there was some good news to follow but it didn’t come until after the Civil War – and frankly, by then the damage had been done. Generations covering 80+ years had viewed people of color as “not entirely human”. The good news came in the form of the 14th amendment to the US Constitution which completely reverses the 3/5th compromise and states the “whole” number of people will be counted. So people of color were declared by law to be “whole” persons again.
Not that they needed white politicians to tell them that – but it did afford them the same protections as white people. So why do I say the damage was done? Well peoples minds were not that easily persuaded and by 1877 slave states started subverting the new law and actively sought ways to disenfranchise people of color. And that has been going on even into the modern era. Today people of color have been disenfranchised from property ownership, disenfranchised from voting because of all the voting district gerrymandering by politicians, Disenfranchised from education, career opportunities and economic success. There MUST be reparations. Reparation will be difficult for everyone. But putting it off because it will be difficult is not a sufficient excuse. The longer we wait the harder it will become. It will require a political will to change tax law, economic law, police law, credit law, and major criminal justice reform.

More than ever before we need to use the popular quote by John F Kennedy (which he stated about going to the moon) and apply it to reparations:

“We choose to …, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.”

Where are our leaders with the political will to make this happen? It makes me angry to hear politicians deny the widespread systemic racism that exists.   They are afraid – and they should be – because we live in a time of tyranny.   And we must overthrow tyranny.

A great quote commonly misattributed to Thomas Jefferson (But no one knows for sure who first said it):

“When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

ALL LIVES MATTER

3 Good Friday haiku

Winter’s dying gasp
Before Easter’s rising dawn
Good Friday’s snowfall

this morning out my window 2

This morning out my window #2

Snow falls on Friday
A Savior rises Sunday
Spring surprises all

this morning out my window 1

This morning out my window #1

April morning snow
Quiet soft burial melting
to resurrection

 

It may be Friday – but Sunday’s on the way!

considering…

Considering the overwhelming impact of humanity on this planet I’m left with the following questions and statements to think about:

How much more of humanity can our planet support?
How much more of humanity will our planet tolerate?
At what point will our natural resources run out?
Then what?
Is there a danger that humanity will become extinct?
Would that be a bad thing?
Is the problem Humanity or merely the sheer volume/numbers of our species? After all no other species has completely dominated the earth like Humanity.

Nature always attempts to reset.
Isn’t the Corona Virus COVID-19, an attempt by nature to reset the balance of humanity to earths resources? Should we fight the Corona Virus, COVID-19?
In fighting nature aren’t we trying to control it and force it to our liking, our whims regardless of what may be best for our species AND the planet?
Does humanity have a false sense of value?
Does humanity have a false sense of what is morally right?
Does humanity have a false sense of importance?
Didn’t God create humanity to be caretakers of this planet?
when did humanity evolve from the “Image of God” to being god?
Hasn’t God always punished humanity for overstepping (think of the Tower of Babel)?

Even if we defeat the Corona Virus, COVID-19, something else will come along?
Just because we CAN – does that mean we SHOULD?
People will always get sick and people will ALWAYS die. Personally I’d rather die by natural cause like a virus than by a gun, war, violence or technological accident. Just think how much better the world will be if people took the same extreme measures to stop war, curb gun violence, domestic violence and other crimes of humanity – is it really just and right to imprison people in their homes because we are afraid?

http://www.anthropocene.info/pb5.php
what are the 7 signs of the Anthropocene – a manmade epoch?
1.Nuclear Weapons
2.Accelerated use of fossil fuels
3.The invention of 3 materials that have forever changed how we live: Concrete, Aluminum, Plastics
4.manmade change of earths geology through farming, mining, deforestation, landfills, dam building, coastal reclamation
5.Increased use of fertilizers
6.Climate change/global warming
7.mass extinction – we are currently in what is called the 6th mass extinction in planetary history with 3/4ths of species due to be wiped out in the coming centuries.

4 haiku on death by suicide

Living, one’s own terms
no judgement for suicide
Dying, ones own terms

********************

Sweet Sweet Suicide
The last exit from life’s stage
Stigmata of choice

********************

On a high blue bridge
She jumps, flying toward the earth
Releasing all cares

********************

It takes great courage
To take the reigns of death
There’s no mortal sin

3 more haiku on death & dying

Ending transitions
Matter to anti-matter
Life turns into death

********************

Flesh will decay fast
When life is present no more
Bones will decay slow

********************

Circumstance unknown
I know neither time nor place
When death comes for me

3 haiku on death & dying

When death comes to call
Alone I will fade and fail
remembered no more

************************

When the body dies
Software will be deleted
And hardware destroyed

************************

Autumn to Winter
All life has been drained away
Dry leaves in the fire

even more haiku on lightning, rain & thunder

Weathers town crier
Thunders crashing box of rocks
announces the rain.

*******

The pink noise of rain
With distant lightnings white noise
A cool breeze for sleep

*******

Music in the night
This ambient symphony
A chorus of rain

3 more haiku on lightning & storms

Restless dreams at night
Toss’d ’bout on flashes of light
Ships on stormy seas

*******

A thunder not heard
The storm can’t hide its approach
Bright lightning flashes

*******

The quiet of night
Static on the radio
The rain comes lightly

3 haiku on lightning

Across the night sky
A visual symphony
Heat lightning flashes

*******

Disturbing the night
Punctuating the darkness
Heat lightning dances

*******

Dark blanket of Night
Heavens dome with light flashes
White doves in dark skies

diamond in the rough

we are diamonds
born of the earth
the diamond does not understand the jeweler
the diamond seeks to defend itself
against the jeweler’s knife
we struggle to hang on
hang on to absolutely everything we can about ourselves
not realizing that every little bit that is cut away
reveals a facet of the inner self
the diamond only sees
a piece gone here
another piece gone there
another hit, another blow from the chisel
piece by piece it sees itself whittled away
and it is afraid
for it cannot yet see it’s shining glory

coastal haiku

gulls flight in the night
coastal lights guiding their slumber
humans haunting sounds

————————————–

seagulls on the prowl
dive-bombing at lunch in hand
McDonald’s french fries

From The Coast

early saturday morning

3 shots fired 1:30AM (a repetition or re-petition)

rat-a-tat-tat
rat-a-tat-tat
rat-a-tat-tat

who fired that gat?
who fired that gat?
who fired that gat?

she screams & shrieks like a wounded animal
she screams & shrieks like a wounded animal
she screams & shrieks like a wounded animal

“where are the fuckin’ pO-lice”
“where are the fuckin’ pO-lice”
“where are the fuckin’ pO-lice”

“I’m back for more nigga”
“I’m back for more nigga”
“I’m back for more nigga”

“yo muthafucka want some of this?”
“yo muthafucka want some of this?”
“yo muthafucka want some of this?”

“they police are comin’”
“they police are comin’”
“they police are comin’”

fight breaks out
fight breaks out
fight breaks out

an unholy number of 7
an unholy number of 7
an unholy number of 7

young men young women
young men young women
young men young women

fight fight fight
fight fight fight
fight fight fight

fists fists fists
fists fists fists
fists fists fists

shouts shouts shouts
shouts shouts shouts
shouts shouts shouts

drown out the sound
drown out the sound
drown out the sound

fists ring out through the night
fists ring out through the night
fists ring out through the night

pain cries pain
pain cries pain
pain cries pain

raw wounds of heart and flesh
raw wounds of heart and flesh
raw wounds of heart and flesh

fight moves inside
fight moves inside
fight moves inside

back outside
back outside
back outside

45 minutes later still no police
45 minutes later still no police
45 minutes later still no police

fight moves down the street
fight moves down the street
fight moves down the street

slinking into the darkness
slinking into the darkness
slinking into the darkness

the distant sound of fists banging on doors
the distant sound of fists banging on doors
the distant sound of fists banging on doors

where are the police?
where are the police?
where are the police?

did anyone call the police?
did anyone call the police?
did anyone call the police?

ameri-KKK[a] loves guns
ameri-KKK[a] loves guns
ameri-KKK[a] loves guns

hunting season on humans is open
hunting season on humans is open
hunting season on humans is open

god is in the gun
god is in the gun
god is in the gun

the age of reason returns
the age of reason returns
the age of reason returns

crippled by emotion
crippled by emotion
crippled by emotion

handicapped by aggression
handicapped by aggression
handicapped by aggression

finally police arrive
finally police arrive
finally police arrive

man on the run
man on the run
man on the run

“I dinn’t do nothin’ man!”
“I dinn’t do nothin’ man!”
“I dinn’t do nuthin’ man!”

dark uniforms in a dark night
dark uniforms in a dark night
dark uniforms in a dark night

shadows within shadows
shadows within shadows
shadows within shadows

flashlights looking for shells
flashlights looking for shells
flashlights looking for shells

gathering of evidence
gathering of evidence
gathering of evidence

belongings scattered like fallen leaves under a tree
belongings scattered like fallen leaves under a tree
belongings scattered like fallen leaves under a tree

“Isabel, Isabel answer the phone”
“Isabel, Isabel answer the phone”
“Isabel, answer the fuckin’ phone”

hope withheld in violence borne
hope withheld in violence borne
hope withheld in violence borne

It’s not about race
it’s not about race
it’s not about race

repression suppression regression
repression suppression regression
repression suppression regression

it’s about decades of hopelessness
decades of hopelessness
decades of hopelessness

decades lacking opportunity
decades lacking opportunity
decades lacking opportunity

results inhuman’s hurting humans
results inhuman’s hurting humans
results inhuman’s hurting humans

the night grows quiet again 2:30AM
the night grows quiet again 2:30AM
the night grows quiet again 2:30AM

rat-a-tat-tat
rat-a-tat-tat
rat-a-tat-tat

3 shots fired 1:30AM
3 shots fired 1:30AM
3 shots fired 1:30AM

in silence forgotten
in silence forgotten
in silence forgotten

for now
for now
for now

long live the NRA!
long live the NRA!
long live the NRA!

for now?
for now?
for now?

more guns are the answer?
more guns are the answer?
more guns are the answer?

for now?
for now?
for now?

how long?
how long?
how long?

who will break the rhythm of violence?
who will break the rhythm of violence?
who will break the rhythm of violence?

It’s now 3AM
water droplets from the air conditioner
falling on leaves like rain
cleansing the night with manufactured tears
but the heart remains the same
the spirit remains the same

All’s quiet on the urban front
for now
for now
for now

maybe I can go to sleep again
for now
for now
for now

 

*written 8/3/19 during the incident

knowing when to make someone’s day

knowing when to
“make someone’s day”
means not being selfish
like knowing when to give
when not to give
being sensitive about what you say
when you say it
and when not to say it
knowing when to do nothing

knowing that to
“make someones day”
means knowing when
to leave them alone
alone to their own devices
alone in their misery
no matter how much it
bothers you to do so
there are just some things
people need to work out for themselves

Knowing that if
you don’t leave them alone
you may make their misery worse
knowing that if you help
help them figure things out
they are being forced
to deal with their problems
in a way that may be unnatural to them

knowing that “being there”
may be all they need
your presence is enough
your gift is your silence
your gift is not the answer given
but the question shared
your gift is the answer
discovered together in their time

knowing when to
“make someone’s day”
means that sometimes
the less you do
is the most you can do
the best thing to do
and that’s okay

knowing that sometimes
we have this wisdom
sometimes we don’t
and it all depends on
how “invested” we are
in any given situation

ramblings on suffering

RAMBLINGS ON SUFFERING (6/21/19)

Of all living things
the most fortunate are
those who escaped….

I saw a still-born hippo
floating in a pool,
it’s legs reaching to the sky
as it’s grieving mother swam, circling around it.

Why did the opossum cross the road?
Did it not see the car speeding onward?
Now just another memory of life
flattened on asphalt.

There’s a black man hanging from a tree, like my savior,
with a sacrilegious cross burning in the yard.
The sounds of wailing through tears
mocked by fleeing hooded jeers and laughter.
And I’ve seen a black man stopped by police
because of the color of his skin
Unjustly harassed, searched and thrown against the car
only to find nothing.

My dear Ophelia, drifting underwater
what was your last thought
watching the last air bubble, wobble
and rise toward a liquid sky?

To a woman: Did you feel free
the moment you jumped
from that high blue bridge
and flew toward the earth?
The broken red wings of your spirit
spilling through your cracked skull
onto the pavement one summer morning.
Your twisted body, lying there
in front of me behind the wheel,
on a street called North when you went South.
The subject of a undisciplined and indiscriminate passerby
who just had to wiggle out of her red van,
before the police arrived, get up close
and take a photo with her cell-phone.

The mosquito gorging itself
on the blood-feast of its host
takes no notice of the hand that will kill it.

The fly for all it’s many eyes
still cannot see
that it feeds, mostly, on shit.

Does the flower feel pain
as each of its petals fall until
all that is left is a withered stem?
Does the tree feel pain
when its limbs are stripped from the trunk
during the storm or when
this living thing is cut down
by the chainsaw massacre of deforestation?

I’ve seen wild mice care for the injured young in a nest disturbed.
I’ve heard the piercing, shrieking squeal of injured rabbits.
I’ve seen the Killdeer risk its life to distract a predator
and I’ve looked into the sad, fearful eyes of an unloved dog.
I’ve seen a deer hit by a car get up and limp away
only to die by the side of road while looking back
as if to apologize for disturbing traffic.
I’ve seen a butterfly with a broken wing
clinging to hope while wishing it were back in its cocoon.
I’ve seen the fish
stranded too long on the beach
its glassy eye blinded by sunlight
its gaping mouth filled with sand and
its scales sticky with death

In Alaska, I found a cassette tape
by the side of the road
the middle of nowhere
the wilderness, no one around for miles
wet and muddy, its case cracked
I don’t know what made me
pick it up and take it home.
I let it dry, cleaned it, rewound it and carefully placed the tape in a new case.
My proud first attempt at restoration.
Then I put it in the player and pressed “PLAY”
I was assaulted by the sounds of thrown objects
hitting something and someone,
cursing, screams, cries, anger, hatred, vicious argument,
begging and pleading.
There were no names.
Only he
Only she
and the sound of a crying child hiding in a corner whimpering “please stop”
Threats and the dull sound of fists hitting flesh
meting out punishment where once there was love.
I sat listening. Frozen. Unable to move.
As the sun set I cried.

I’ve smelled living death
The stink of blood mixed with piss
as the cancer-fill man stood naked by the toilet.
His unbathed pasty flesh clammy with sweat.
He is too weak to bathe himself so I have to help
as I try to disguise my gagging reflex;
and I wonder if this is what the mortician sees, feels and smells.

And I’ve smelled the death of a slaughterhouse
the mindless cruelty and knock of a thudding blow
to the head of a cow with a stunbolt
the still live animal lying helpless, it’s throat now slit,
blood gushing in rivers onto the dirty, stained concrete floor,
the twitching limbs of a dying years supply of hamburgers and steaks.

I’ve even smelled the death
of a carcass in the hot summer sun
at the dumping grounds of livestock no longer “live”.
Cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, goats piled indiscriminately
the rotting remains, not yet destroyed
lying in an open trailer to a buzzing soundtrack
the pungent waves of nauseating stink
this unmovable feast for flies and their maggot young
The bodies juices oozing
from the rusted corners of the container.

I’ve heard the uncontrollable impulsive
wailing of the living that accompanies
the release of the recently dead

Maybe I’ve seen too much
Maybe I’ve heard and smelled too much.
Maybe I’ve even said too much.
But of all the things that have touched me –
Have I let them move me?
Or do I stand in shock,
immobilized by the glare of oncoming lights
that are driven by forces beyond my control?

I sometimes wonder
if the luckiest child is
the one never born
into this world of suffering –
and of those already born;
if the most fortunate ones
have already escaped
the suffering that is yet to come.

REJOICE! it’s what we do

REJOICE!

Humanity will become

                      a slave to its creation.

REJOICE!

Just as God became 

                      a slave to humanity.

REJOICE!

Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

REJOICE!

I sometimes feel sorry for God.

REJOICE!

Maybe one day our creation will feel sorry for us.

REJOICE! Again, I say REJOICE!