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The hardest part of a poem is always

The start.

The saddest part of a journey is often

The journey itself.
A woman in a hijab waits in the subway

The whoosh of air as a train passes by,

Rustling the edge of her scarf on her soft face.

Posters on the windows of the train mere colors as they pass

Blues and greens and lots of yellow and white, and red

Red, the color she left behind,

Not red like a sunset, but Red.

Red like the lights of an ambulance,

Red like the cheeks of a wailing child.

Red like the blood-streets and sidewalks. Red.
The lights of another passing train flicker by.

Her hijab offers no protection, no barrier is formed between the soft fabric and

Faces lit and then hidden

Eyes shine momentarily and then retreat to dark.

Eyes she’s afraid to meet.

Faces she has learned not to look back at.

The color of her skin disallows contact.

The happiest part of a journey is quite often the arrival.

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I see my father sleeping

The only peace he knows is sleep

Should we wake him?

I see him sleeping

And recall my youthful dreams of him.

All dreams, I suppose, begin in youth.

The young can afford to dream.

Smokestacks become cathedral spires,

Then our aspirations, fueled by the noble half of our nature,

Grow higher, less noble, less precise,

And ultimately, out of reach.

Shall we tease him, throwing stones at his front door

And then run away like children?

Or shall we seek out others,

Who blindly rest, secure in his bosom,

Enticing them to fight our fights against him,

By tempting their fears and prejudices,

Knowing all the while that he will protect us?

But our father sleeps

Wishing to share the dreams

Of the children he has lost

But in his slumber, he cannot protect

Those who die in the streets everyday.

 

I see the other dreams vanishing also,

I see them vanishing on the faces of children who cannot eat,

Of adults who cannot read,

In the despair of a nation that cannot hope

I see America dazed and I don’t know why
I see America sleeping

Weeping, angry, I look upon that which I once called Father

And I see the blissful ignorance that only sleep can provide

A noble, slumbering, drunken giant such as him,

Asleep  on an ashen bed that once was our hopes,

But I cannot forget, I cannot forgive,

And I want to whisper into his good ear the words

“WAKE UP”

I wrote this a number of years ago. I believe it might have been during George Bush “the lessers” administration. I suppose the text more or less speaks for itself as to my intent and thought at the time. But when I read it now, it seems  to be still naive, still wanting America to be something like a Rockwell painting, or in the spirit of Whitman s’ poem “I Hear America Singing” where, to quote the cliffs notes review;

“The poet thinks of America as the “centre of equal daughters, equal sons,” who are “strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable,” and who identify themselves with “Freedom, Law and Love.” He salutes America as the “grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,” who is “chair’d in the adamant of Time.”

This short poem is a reassertion of the poet’s faith in the destiny of the American nation. It demonstrates his love of the masses, his devotion to democracy, and his belief that in responding to the call of a democratic process, America is fulfilling a spiritual need of her people.”  ( Link is here; https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/l/leaves-of-grass/summary-and-analysis-calamus/america)

Perhaps I still saw my homeland with the blinders of white privilege. Perhaps I still hadn’t thought far enough ahead to foresee the possibility that America could ever elect such a nepotist, such a fascist, a racist, and a disgustingly misogynist president. I hadn’t foreseen at that time the divisions that are ripping our nation apart or that such enormous division could even take place in this country with such high ideals to the point where one candidate could ever call the supporters of the other “deplorable”.

I’m not disagreeing with Hillary about that point, to be frank. I was and still am, in total agreement with that perception and was more than a bit disappointed when she apologized for saying it, although I understood completely.

I suppose what makes me sad when i reread this poem now, is that I don’t see America ever getting back to what the founding fathers had in mind.I don’t see our racial divides closing. I don’t see prejudice of any kind dwindling out of our consciousness. I don’t see the poor being fed, the illiterate being taught,I don’t see the immigrants being welcomed and given a new beginning. I don’t see poverty ending. I don’t see the homeless camps in the cities coming down. I remember being so disappointed when I heard a family member saying how much he hated them, how he would get almost violently angry when he drove by them. I don’t see America ever again telling immigrants to “give us your poor, your tired, your hungry” or at least if they did say it, i couldn’t believe in the earnestness of it without being very afraid of what those who have struggled might face upon arrival.What persecution they will face, what  hatred which was once unthinkable but now so commonplace will they face. Sadly, even the handicapped are not immune to ridicule, as the now infamous video clip proves. As Meryl Streep pointed out so well, whether or not it was the “Orangemans” intent to ridicule is secondary to the fact that by doing what he did, it now became acceptable to the rest of his deplorables.Bullying was immediately changed from something we were trying to eliminate to acceptable in one thoughtless moment. He has been shown numerous times publicly inciting his followers to violence against those who disagree with him, He has shown in simple terms the most vile contempt against any who have the courage to point to his many “mistakes of judgement”.

If America is to have any chance of returning to it’s ideals, or should I say finding them for the first time, it cannot sit idly by. It needs all of us to be watchful and alert. It needs all of us to refute and refuse to accept Trumps ideals as our own. It needs idols. It needs statespeople. It needs to find the strength to stand up. It needs, more than ever, to WAKE UP!!

 

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A very interesting, disturbing article about the rise of hate crimes in America in 2016, with a focus on the post-election trauma. The article states that ;”The Southern Poverty Law Center has found more than 1,000 reports of hate incidents since the election.The group counted 1,094 reports of harassment and intimidation between Nov. 9 and Dec. 12. According to Ms. Beirich, this number is unusually high, more than the group would usually see over a six-month period.“

This is, to be honest, to be expected when a populist racist is elected. Particularly one who continues to incite on every occasion and has accepted the endorsement of the likes of David Duke. As I said, the numbers are alarming and I am very worried that they will do nothing but increase as the deplorables sense their power increasing.

Here is the link to the article:The Scope of Hate in 2016

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Casablanca_126Pyxurz.jpg

 

 

A very interesting article about Trump, truth and idiocy gone amuck. What happens when the truth, as a construct, as a parameter and as a way of life gets basically thrown out with the waste water? Well, for one thing, people like Trump get taken seriously. Their lies and coverups are never questioned, fake news replaces proper reportage, and all of our constructs, everything that our society is based upon explodes.

Tell me, dear reader, if any of this sounds familiar, this is, of course, a quote from the original;

We already know that in America you can be arrested for suspected petty theft and wind up imprisoned, untried, for years. We already know that in America you can be pulled over for a burned out taillight and wind up dead at the hands of police. In America you can be raped and the odds are overwhelmingly high that your rapist will walk free. These things shouldn’t happen, and yet they do. These things don’t affect you personally, until they do. You might think that these things happen because you are the wrong color, or the wrong gender, or the wrong religion. But right now in America the boundaries of right and wrong are shifting dangerously.

What are the truths? What are the lies? More importantly, how can we know the difference?

Notes from the Resistance: A Column on Language and Power Summer Brennan, In Defense of Linguistic Infrastructure

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This is also a fascinating article from Guernica online magazine, a superb source well worth your own perusal, dear reader. This paticular one deals with the rise to power of Donald Trump as seen through Shakespeares Coriolanus. The comparisons are there to be drawn, and as such are very intriguing and scary. To quote the article

Coriolanus has been seen as an antidemocratic play, but it’s better read as a warning against treating democracy as a popularity contest, and the people themselves as a mob who can be bought with flattery.”

Sadly, this could, in some way describe precisely what happened in and TO America, as it was and is the doing of the voting public themselves, either by not voting, not being active or by simply voting for the strongest personage regardless of what may follow, or perhaps and this may be the unkindest cut of all,, because they agree with the minotaur.

Here is the link, do read it!

https://www.guernicamag.com/tana-wojczuk-the-vanity-of-crowds/

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This is so spot on!  A fascinatingly scary article about Trump, and the hatred behind his election. Written BEFORE the election, it so accurately reflects Americas state of mind. To quote a part of the article; ” This is not my grief, I do not own it, I cannot appropriate it, but it is my grief as an American, and I’m reminded of that line in David Wojnarowicz’s jeremiad, Close to the Knives, lines that I could tattoo on my ever expanding and discontented body, I’ve quoted them so often: “I want to throw up because we’re supposed to quietly and politely make house in this killing machine called America and pay taxes to support our own slow murder and I’m amazed we’re not running amok in the streets, and that we can still be capable of gestures of loving after lifetimes of all this.” ”

 

Read and be afraid!

/Postcard from America Trying to process. By Kate Zambreno

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Taken from the introduction on the original website;

“Lion’s Roar spoke with Wendy Egyoku Nakao, abbot of the Zen Center of Los Angeles, about her work to thwart the Dakota Access Pipeline, in order to – as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their allies have put it – “protect our water, our sacred places, and all living beings.” Following news of use of increased force against protestors at Standing Rock, her message is particularly urgent.”

As one who has tried to come to grips with the continued cruelty on the part of the US Government, American corporate greed and the almost constant racism faced by Native Americans, the situation in South Dakota comes sadly as no surprise. Of course I wish that it would resolve it’s self honorably, but I have deep doubts. Do have a read at this interview. it’s very interesting and informative;

 

http://www.lionsroar.com/among-the-bodhisattvas-at-standing-rock/

 

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