Poem: Chains


Years a slave

finally walking free

mud-caked down dirty shoes

dragging home

Will the soul ever sing on key

after bent down beat work

freedom is loaded

heavy with ropes

pulling on out

but ever tying

things tight low hopes


Forty years in Penitentiary

then hitting the street

smelling the air of

humanity

Bars and walls now left behind

the etching of punish

carved carefully through time

The binding gavels

final thud to close

the pathways forward


And words and words

to wound and cut

much bloodier than what

a gun can shoot

Inside the body disappears

until  it seems to be

just hollow fears

Fly away or gather others

yet sounds still linger close

will any time

seem anew

and recapture the ghost


Slave, prisoner and abused

can liberate some day

and wanna walk hard away

from hellish past

with head up and

chains left in a rusting mass

 

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Poem: 1956


Forbidden love

is tossed back

into the arms of the hand

the throw of the gamble

that most fear to play

Yet

under cover

‘neath the sweaty dark

of the hidden night

in the pulsing fury

of times angry divide

A union

of color

entangled together

through tension and tender

White wanting in concealed desire

wrapped in Black brave

Heart marches

toward an outlawed end

Bound

Round

Babe

Racial

Bye

Given gone away

to spare the agony

of blasphemous belonging

Two

split to wander separate worlds

One

drowning in the blood

of both

Speak


As this Martin Luther King day approaches, I am compelled to contemplate (and write) about racism and bigotry in this country. With a president that feels he has the right to boast his hatred and utter his disregard for equality it is quite evident that some people still carry these sentiments most obviously.

But a book that I recently read: Tears We Cannot Stop, A Sermon to White America, By Michael Eric Dyson, made me look more deeply into the question of implicit racism. By definition found on the computer it means:  implicit racism includes unconscious biases, expectations, or tendencies that exist within an individual, regardless of ill-will or any self-aware prejudices.

He speaks to ‘whiteness’ in general, not in a way that is scolding, but in a way that most definitely made me look at my privileged life in this country as a white person. Of that there is NO doubt.

It is easy to notice things like what the president did and said: that this is racism/bigotry. But there are other signs that are less clear. The lines become blurred when looking at crime and how media portrays who commits them. Who do we feel as white folk are the criminals? Really, answer that question, then check the statistics. Or how do you feel when you walk down a dark street and people of color are near?

There are tests to see if you have implicit bias (or racism). The results may be surprising to you. I was scared when I took one, afraid that I might not be the person I thought I was or wanted to be. The result was fascinating actually. I guess it may depend on life experience and how much you really believe what you read and see on the news.

Dyson challenges white people in order to make this a world as Martin Luther King envisioned (and many others like him), then we must engage those who say racist things when we hear them. Sitting silent is as good as saying it ourselves. Let people know you won’t tolerate this kind of talk. Use it as a teaching moment if you hear folks spouting incorrect information about black people; let them know you know the truth.

This president is trying to worm his way out of the disgusting words he spoke recently and so will others. It is not being tolerated.

So in the words of MLK, speak up!

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

 

One


Humans have so many peculiar traits. There are a myriad of cultural, ethnic and race oddities we humans have adopted that allude me. How far in the centuries do they go back and from where do they stem?

For instance: where does royalty come from? Watching The Crown last night, it struck me as, well, silly (no offense to anyone reading), that we as humans actually regard other humans as somehow superior. That their blood is somehow ‘royal’ and to be treated specially; that we should bow down and kiss their hands etc. It struck me as funny.

And then there is the black vs. white situation. We all know the horrors of that situation, not only in this country, but in South Africa too. How do humans come to a place that one race is more deserving than another? Where does this feeling begin?

In Germany, we have an idea where to trace the hatred of the Jews and subsequent extermination of them. But was it really just one man’s idea or is there an underlying theme among humans that somehow we are not all equal? I see a trend.

There are so many examples we can look to in history where one people feels different and better or somehow higher. In some cases, like with royalty, maybe these people are held in high esteem. But in most cases, it causes bad blood  among the groups.

I’m no scientist, but I do know that at our cellular level, and when you cut us all open, we all bleed them same. We all look the same on the inside. We all have a heart, two lungs, two kidneys and a brain, although some don’t use it as well as others. That’s why when you get right down to it, it’s all so foolish that we fight and kill, destroy and bomb, displace and denigrate folks we feel are others. Because really they are not.

They are really us, maybe with a different color paint, but filled with the same parts.

Clarity


Seeing people for who they really are, whether they are homeless or our closest friends/family, can often be challenging. As humans, we spend a lot of time trying to create comfort around us, and this may include internal comfort also. Living in a world where situations can bring us discomfort, our brain will do as much as it can to remove the ‘bad’ stuff; erase memories or twist pictures before our eyes into something we’d prefer to see.

Seeing the world around us without our rose-colored glasses can often be painful, on a personal and global level. It may reveal our own child as a drug addict or a fellow human as hungry, neither snapshot as something we want to see.

But both these things are truths before us and must be acknowledged. They are drastic cases of what we see when we choose to have our eyes truly open to people around us. How do these things make us feel about these people and how do we react in response? Afterall, it does not change the fact that they are both humans still…

What if what our eyes remain closed to simpler truths about someone else? Things that just make them who they are, but different from you and I? Have we truly listened and accepted what someone has told us about their feelings or needs? Or are we trying to change them to fit into our agenda?

It can be a challenge to accept someone just as they are; especially when they look or act differently. Each day the world seems to become less and less accepting and we drift farther apart from our shared humanity.

Respect and listening. If we felt heard and respected, no matter how minor the role we may play in this game called life, then we can feel here, human and a part of the whole.

 

 

 

 

 

Ironic??


Is it ironic that I saw this Mockingbird perched upon the American flag  today: July 4th, 2017 given the state of our nation?

Maybe this bird understands something many folks seem to be missing these days….

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Memorial Day 2017


Honoring those who served on this Memorial Day. We must all take a moment to think about what freedom truly means. And to give a moment of silence not only for our veterans but for all the people in this country who have given up their freedom because of any kind of injustice laid upon them. Freedom is not just for some in America, but it is for everyone who came here, was brought here, was born here or was a native. And we all need to figure out a way to make sure this freedom is shared equally. 

Peace to you all.