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.

White Supremacy?

White Supremacy

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand
Leprous hand
White as snow
You sound like help and look like death

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand, leprous hand, white as snow
your heart is too close to the skin
you cannot see what I see
Your deformity prevents you
from feeling the pain you cause

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand, leprous hand, white as snow
I see the disease you bring
Hidden among your so-called gifts
Your virtues tainted by
The supremacy of your unclean hand

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand, leprous hand, white as snow
The diseased heart has spread to the hand
You build your gated communities, armed fortresses
Of wealth, leper colonies, prisons of your own making
Separating you from a whole world of wonder

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand, leprous hand, white as snow
You seek to unify YOUR family
By separating ours… mine
You burn bridges and build walls
Usurper of truth, teller of lies

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand, leprous hand, white as snow
The lesions of your thinking
Discolored by the deafening roar of hatred, intolerance & FEAR
I could feel sorry for you
If it were not for the swift kick
Of your Jackboot and the Searing heat of your tiki torch

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand, leprous hand, white as snow
The prophesy has foretold
You will starve, you will lose all you had,
You will die by your own white hand
And when there is no more white
Who will be left to dig your grave?

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand
Leprous hand
White as snow.

4 haiku on aging

Daily progress
with pain in every step
These “golden years”

+++++++++++++++++++

Unable to sit
Unease prevents stillness
My restless legs

+++++++++++++++++++

Time goes faster
Losing track of days
One more bare limb

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Once, clarity
of a happy, sad youth –
memory fades

… on… getting old DOESN’T suck….

Mortal.  It’s what we are.  Even our super heroes  with their super powers are mortal.  All things get old and die.  But we have somehow deluded ourselves into denying our mortality by thinking if we make the right plans, if we eat right and exercise our mortality will not be of an issue.  But we are lying to ourselves.

Infants are unaware of their mortality.
The young ignore it.
Adults deny it.
Mature adults fight it.
Seniors can’t escape it.

In fact all our marketing and advertisements seem to promote products that help us deny, fight or escape our mortality by finding ways of promoting youth and not growing old.  But these are lies.

2010 Three-Wheeler

Getting old doesn’t suck.
I use those words specifically because I hear a different version of them ALL the time. I’m really tired of hearing “Getting old sucks” from people complaining about their ailments or expressed as a sort of sympathy for my when I talk about my ailments.  For example, I have arthritis which has caused complications with bursitis and also sciatica and I also have atrial fibrillation.   These conditions come and go by degrees.  And while I have these pains that have caused me to resort to using a cane to help get around and have limited my mobility I do not complain.  I’m just happy to be alive.  Pain reminds me of my mortality and the older I get the more aware I am of the end that is destined to come – an end that I will welcome but will not rush toward.

It seems at times that we have finally become such a youth-based culture that aging and all it’s related issues have become completely intolerable as if mortality was something to be cured of, or fixed.  And medical science and technology have done nothing to diminish that idea.  Yet for every disease that is cured a new one is discovered.  It is inevitable and will continue to be so because we are mortal and there is NO CURE for mortality.

I once wrote the following 2 ideas (in previous blog posts):
1. We begin to die the moment we are born.
2. We spend our whole lives learning how to die.

We must come to terms with our mortality in loving acceptance.  Failure to do so will only result in the unnecessary illness of self-delusion.

At times it seems that we are just one step away from the Euthanasia portrayed in the science-fiction film – LOGAN’S RUN (1976) where life must end at the age of 30.  And maybe that is the only solution to our mortality.  Blind delusion that leads us to an end that is sooner than what was destined.

Sure, I’m getting old and I am accruing illnesses that accompany my status and state of being. I can’t change it.  I can’t turn back the clock. I accept that I have changed.  In fact at times I look back to when I was in my 20’s and think, “who was that person?” and ruminate that I’m not sure I would like to meet that person if I bumped into them today. My values have changed.  Getting old doesn’t suck – it’s just different.  I can still experience good things – even if it means just sitting by my window enjoying a quiet moment watching the sun rise.  I can still contribute to the world around me (whether others pay attention or not).  Life is beauty and pain.  We cannot escape pain and mortality.  We should welcome it regardless of what may come – at any age.