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Thoughts On Listening To *This Land Is Your Land”

 

I had a dream today, got me thinking,

On the bus on the way home from work,

A dream I’ve had before,

A dream many have probably had

I was on television, talking and singing,

The whole world was a’ watchin’

Woody Guthrie was a’ watchin’

Pete Seeger, he was a ’watchin’

Bruce Springsteen, he was a ’watchin’

And old orange face, Mr. Trump, he was a ’watchin’ too

Kept droppin’ the big TV remote outta his small hands, poor thing,

Anyways, like I said, I was on TV,

Had a guitar in my hands,

Strapped over my favorite flannel shirt,

And my favorite pair of Levis

And my bestest boots. I was a’ wearing all of that

And the song I was gonna sing,

This Land Is Your Land,

Well it weren’t no regular song, sir,

It was, I reckon, one of the most beautiful songs

I ever heard, I was telling people about it,

It was all about this country of ours,

And all its’ natural beauty,

And how it was built for you,

And built for me

And how it was built for him,

And him,

And her

And her

And the preacher

And the doctor

And the lawman

And the bus driver

And the children playing in the schoolyard,

Sir it was built for them too,

It didn’t make no mention of names

Nor what school they went to,

Nor even if they didn’t go to school, well it didn’t mention that neither

Nor what church they go to, who they pray to, iffn they pray at all,

No, sir, not even where they come from,

Not which part of town, not which coast,

Not which country,

Cuz everybody here comes from someplace else in the long run, don’t they?

Iffn ya trace it back far enough, I mean, we all come from immigrants

– Well, almost all of us –

Yes, sir, the song was plain and simple and beautiful, and indeed

This here land was made for you, and me, and him, and him, and her, and her

All to share equally, don’t that sound like a place you wanna live in, sir?

I know I would, if I could find it.

What say we find it together, sir?

 

 

Click the link below to listen to This Land is Your Land – Live by Bruce Springsteen
https://open.spotify.com/track/4MvJlIpDpdZi4sCXvAhrym

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I will see nothing
But the children of peace
Their hair spread against the wind
Like the wings of angels

I will hear nothing
From the tombs of your dead
But the voices from my own thoughts
Like the salve of the ages

I will not open my door
To you as a visitor
Bringing your unrepentant anger
To my thirsty soul

I will no longer dance
With you parents of war
Your darkness blots out
The light from my feet

I will not see your world
Nor read your newspaper
Not hear your symphony
I will not say your prayers
But those which I make myself
The words of empowerment
The songs of unison

I will not drink at your table
I will not eat of your meat
You have no nourishment
To offer such a one as I

The end of the world
As you know it
Will be our only salvation

I will not die
Until we, all of us,
Can die under peaceful skies
Our souls drifting quietly across the sunset
Like a shroud of the finest linen

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With the thought of the awful attack on the Jerusalem synagogue, it is worth a reminder of our shared humanity. We are all Palestinian, we are all Israeli, we are all Iraqi and American, and Russian, and Rom, and Hopi.

I can definitely understand the sense of frustration coming from the muslims in east Jerusalem as the see their history  being evaporated as Israelis rename streets, overtake homes and even disallow prayer in Al Asqa Mosque, the third holiest site in the Muslim faith, this going against a long-established agreement between the ruling Israeli government and Muslims living in Jerusalem. All of this, of course, on top of everything else they have had to endure. However, there is never a justification for violence. I will always believe a peaceful settlement can be found but not until both sides are ready. I can say with all certainty that Netanyahu is far from ready. Sadly until the rest of the world, the US and Great Britain especially, stop their blind support for Israel things aren’t going to change much. But about the photos…..

These beautiful photos celebrate Palestinian music, sculpture, art and the human spirit. That part of us that no one can truly conquer. Not war, not racism, not apartheid, not poverty, not illiteracy, but rather our souls, our essence. In that sense at least, we are indeed all Palestinians. As I’ve said many times before and will repeat many times, No one is truly free until we are all free, no one is equal while another is oppressed.  I urge all of you to take in the photos, the text and the spirit.

 

 

In Pictures: ‘We are all Palestinians’ – In Pictures – Al Jazeera English.

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Masha Shekarloo was a young, energetic pioneering passionate brilliant women’s rights activist in Iran, Just saying that should earn her respect, that she in a country so built on oppression, especially towards women,  would dare to stand up is admirable.  She was a pioneer but a woman, born in Tehran, educated in Chicago, who returned to Tehran and saw an oppurtunity to make a change.   Please read the article below and share it, share her passion, her belief in the possibilities and her work.

 

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/10/remembering-mahsa-shekarloo-the-womens-rights-activist-and-internet-pioneer-born-in-iran/

 

Also, I highly recommend following the link to her online magazine, called badjens. It’s truly worth a follow!

http://www.badjens.com/

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Ahhhh,, Allen G. It’s hard to think of a poet who had a bigger influence on me than you. Ezra, yes, tiger cage or not, Kenneth Rexroth and Kenneth Patchen both have opened my eyes to the beauty of taking on a social cause and of love, as has Neruda.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, “
 
I was one of those angel headed hipsters, I was one of the frustrated youth, busted without a reason, inclined towards the inevitable decline, ousted with nowhere to go and no way back in, climbing a ladder that I didn’t know didn’t exist, where are the fucking steps? Where am I going? Following a hollow leader, leading nowhere but up and ending up nowhere but down, tearing my clothes in a flagellants rage, whipping my back with all the insipid uninspired rules of the military, the crucifix burnt into my skull, he is risen he is risen, Dylan, no, not Thomas, Bobby, no not Kennedy, a poet for no one but words for all, stuck in my throat, gagging  like a cock at an orgy, a hero running the streets at dawn, now, here in Stockholm luring me into a storm of calmness, denying me my rage until i couldn’t hold it anymore shooting it out into the worlds great gloryhole, with no one on the receiving end,
 
Well, I digress. Allen was simply one of the great minds of our, or any, generation. It is a pleasure to read and share his work. I’ve been planning on writing something for my 60th birthday a few weeks ago and I still hope to do that soon. It would be massively incomplete if it didn’t include this magnificent fountain, this famously censored HOWL.

 

Howl by Allen Ginsberg : The Poetry Foundation.

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I found these three wonderful poems written by Zeina Hashem Beck on a page I follow on Facebook. (NO, my friends, not everything on FB paltry pics of someone’s breakfast. )  I was immediately moved to share them with as many readers as possible.

The first  poem, entitled “Inside Out” is a strong poem, showing the terror of war against the backdrop of the World Cup. The images are strong as they should be, but it is so very moving at the same time. The second poem, entitled “Gaza Mothers Soothe Their Kids” is a beautiful work, short and simple it shows the difficulty of trying to explain something as terrible as war to your children in a way that comforts them and hides the horrible acts of men. The third and last poem is also short and to the point, which I love. It is entitled “Maysam” and I’m going to let you read that one without the unnecessary introduction from me. Her work speaks for itself. Do follow the link below. I truly hope you find Ms. Becks” work as beautiful and moving as I do.

 

Inside out: three poems on Gaza by Zeina Hashem Beck.

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Life, like this poem

 

Life, like this poem, is made up of moments,

Some we’re aware of, or are we?

It’s morning, not the usual morning, not this one, not today,

Opening the window hearing the birds sing,

Chatting away about where to find food or whatever it might be

The sun wafts in through the sheer curtains,

You stand there, gazing out,

Finally and for the first time aware of everything,

Making a pledge to your self that today won’t fly by

You’ll be aware of everything that goes on

What are the birds saying?

Wait… What was that? What was that noise?

Rushing to the window you see an old car,

Being pulled by another, linked by a chain,

Backfiring as the engine struggles to make something of it’s self

Something that was once there and is no more,

A fire, a spark, a fan turning over and off we go,

The clock radio jumps at your thoughts

The music of Gorecki fills the air

Plaintive, repetitive, brilliant

Your soul dances on the notes, the staff your guide, the bars your floor

The sharps cutting your feet and the flats salving the cuts

Yes, you think,, you truly are alive,, this is a moment,,

Happiness happens in these moments, not the planned ones,,

The ones you can’t control, can’t predict,,

A sequence of events that go wonderfully awry

A sentence that doesn’t end up where you thought it would, but somewhere better, somewhere that lifts you up

And sets you gently back where you were, almost

You realize that maybe you can have a life today,

Just once, find what the poets write about

What the partisans fight for,

What so many people, all your life have promised you you’d find…

You go back to the window, coffee cup in hand, ready to meet the moment

Now that you’ve found it there’s no going back,,

You look up in the perfectly blue sky

You see the planes overhead, not recognizing the marks on them

Not knowing from whence they came

A loud noise in the distance

A flash of light so bright it burns your eyes,

The rest is silence.

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