In the Clouds

Bring yourself, oh mortal, down
from strata high above,
perhaps we should remind you
that attention is not love;
It’s fine to think you’re welcome
here among us in our midst,
still, you might not care to hear
that you’re no better than the rest;

The boldness of your rally is
beyond what some can bear
while your brothers, sisters carry
all the stardust to your hair;
Let it twinkle deep inside you
so you know that you are blest,
while you eat and shit and suffer
in the galleys with the rest;

It gets lonely, I’d imagine,
you unable to decide
if those gathering around you
only jump on for the ride;
still, you yearn for fame and fortune
while the vacuum grows within
even thought at times you wonder
who’s the butterfly or pin;

On you ramble and you roll
exchanging favors for a smile,
and you know the jig gets hard
when you are dancing all the while;
never pausing, rarely stopping,
the insanity goes deep
and it fills you to the eyeballs
spreads like fungus on the creep;

Then the questions do provoke you
with self loathing and a jinx
when it strikes hard with a blight
you can’t endure like desert Sphinx;
that you’re drowning in delusion
feeling worthless to the core,
as your long-sought admiration
has reduced you to a whore;

Still, awash within the knowing
you’ll survive this, will endure
you await the dispensation
like some bounding, drooling cur;
let me say this with compassion
for your ignorance runs deep:
it’s time for pulling back the sword,
that journey is complete.

 

 

28 thoughts on “In the Clouds

  1. I am not sure what this poem is about, but I do like it. I guess my initial thought was this was a poem to those who try to find purpose in hate groups. I listened recently to a podcast interview with Christian Picciolini who was in a white nationalist hate group when he was young. He left it and now tries to help others who are getting sucked into the white nationalist message. He says that people in those groups always hate themselves more than the people they say they hate. Searching for community and purpose in the worst possible environment. Their efforts become self-defeating and they end up living a life that doesn’t serve others or themselves, even if they think it’s a short path to glory.

    1. Swarn, it was after listening to the final episode of Neal Conan’s “Truth, Politics and Power” and his interview with historian Heather Cox Richardson in particular in which she speaks to the realignment of our Democracy that I wrote this poem. (How’s that for a run-on sentence?): https://soundcloud.com/truth-politics-power/the-final-edition

      It is past time for us to rally as One People and stop thinking anybody is any better than another simply because of race, religion or financial status. It sickens me, a child of the ‘sixties, to witness the current state of affairs today. We truly believed we were turning the tide back then. But history does repeat itself, and in this case, the hope is that, in the next decade, we will see some powerful changes that demand inclusion of every citizen on equal footing. That is indeed my own dearest wish.

      Thanks for your comment. Glad to hear of the work of Picciolini as well. Self hatred is a pernicious beast when one is unconscious of it and simply projects it onto others. Aloha.

      1. Thank you for the explanation, I knew I wasn’t really on the mark, that’s just what ran through my mind. I’ve heard good things about that podcast, I think I need to get into it.

        I can imagine your frustration. Coming from Canada (not that there aren’t problems there) and even seeing the changes I have seen in 21 years here in the U.S. it’s alarming as well. I feel like in many ways we took our eye off the prize, we’ve let ourselves get distracted. Forgetting that transitioning to a better world still require vigilance to really allow new cultural norms to set into the consciousness of new generations. To some degree this has happened.

        But I also think that the boon of the internet has also allowed the powers that be to manipulate us on a scale never before imagined. As income inequality grows, and we have people who horde vast quantities of wealth, the thing they fear the most is a united people, not separated by race or religion or politics. Sowing division is in their best interest, and some tactics have been used many times in history. Hell even liberals are factioning off more and more, despite having strikingly similar goals. We are in desperate need of a new grass roots movement that simply tackles greed and poverty. I thought Bernie was that movement. It was sad to see it not gain enough traction, I do think the texture of this country would have been a lot different had he become president. I hope that in the next election (I think he’s too old to run now) but that he can still provide some momentum again.

      2. Oh gosh – I just lost a huge comment thread I was writing to you by hitting some random key. Do I now have the energy to reconstruct it? Aggghhhhh!!!

        Okay. To the first. 21 years, two decades. I saw it coming, saw it creeping up – the tendency of the collective to rest on its laurels, so to speak – not at all uncommon, as humans are by nature lazy creatures. I’ll leave it up to your fertile imagination to draw scenarios on that one, but I believe you’ll come to the same conclusion. Not a bad thing if one utilizes that laconic element to take time to self reflect, to embrace a bit of mindfulness. In turn this might draw us into a new awareness of our own individual and collective judgments, condemnations, and other shadowy elements. Without acknowledging these within the self, we remain blind to our contribution to the collective, and are doomed to repeat history ad infinitum, as the tendency is to project onto other individuals or classes of people. Not helpful.

        The internet IS a boon, as evidenced in this wonderful little WP community. Yet the ‘net also possesses a hypnotic effect on those who abdicate personal accountability, for whatever reason, even fatigue in world gone mad with ‘information.’ As our minds expand and our brains adapt to the deluge, there is much that falls through the cracks. First it was TV with its hypnotic CRT, now it’s the magnetic draw to a constant flow of data streaming, Matrix-like, before the eyes. No wonder it’s easy to insert a little disruption into that stream here and there, barely noticed, images of certain people cast into certain roles or frameworks, barely detectable when one is in a daze, but there you are. The mind equates and imprints. Us or Them becomes easier to sell as history proves out, time and again. The haves and the have-nots. The greed that compels the elite to hoard what they have, never enough, and suppress the masses whose grasping hands are so bothersome; loathesome, really except they provide needed work and can be taxed into poverty, if need be. Control and domination feel like power to these people. And if media feeds us images that find us wanting some power for ourselves, well then, we in turn prey upon the marginalized. And so the story goes.

        I, too was saddened that the Bernie movement was, in the end, snuffed out by the DNC. I hope in the end that Cox Richardson is correct, that the 2-party system which no longer serves Democracy as was intended gives rise to a more evolved model and that in 5-10 years we will see the changes we dearly hope for. She illustrates how this has happened, time and again, in the past couple of centuries. Gives even me a reason to hope for lasting change in my lifetime. Aloha, Swarn. Thanks for the discussion. ❤

      3. Thank you for writing it out again! I am sorry you lost what you already wrote. I know how frustrating that can be!

        I agree with you and I too hope that this 2 party system can end. I don’t think it serves the people well. It’s more than just having a party that represents middle ground…but I do think a 3rd viable party increases the level of honesty in the process.

  2. Super, Bella! I can feel your passion on the subject…and share your sentiments. It is hard to continue to watch the news…sometimes I think I would just rather not!
    Sweet Blessings to you 💜

  3. Another reflective, emotional poem from you, Bela. It sounds like a poem about reaching deep within yourself in time of hope and searching for a better tomorrow. Really like the juxtaposition between the phrases ‘Let it twinkle deep inside you’ and ‘while you eat and shit and suffer’. It reminds me of both good and bad times all of us go through – as we fight for a better life for ourselves and the bigger world we’re in together. In your comment to Swarn and totally agree that no one is better than the other. Sure, some of us have certain skills that not everyone else has but that doesn’t make use a better person. Bottom line is we’re all different and have much to learn from each other.

    1. Aloha, Mabel – I wrote this as response to a podcast interview mentioned in my comments to Swarn. Sometimes the whole ‘control and domination’ model gets under my skin, and this was a way, I suppose, of exorcising that particular demon. That a person can really feel superior to another for any reason does not settle well. And that the Haves lord something as intrinsically lacking as wealth over the Have-nots at the Have-nots’ expense seems criminal. Throughout history it has been this way! But isn’t it time, haven’t we evolved enough as a species to ring in a new model? Don’t we realize that as we do unto others, we also do to ourselves? The problems in the world today are far too complex and terrifying Not to incorporate the knowledge and expertise of many, crossing cultural and national boundaries. Must we always wait until the 11th hour with our backs to the wall in order to hatch out a new paradigm? If this is true, we have no time to lose. Thanks always, Mabel, for your voice and your heart. ❤

      1. The world is a strange place, Bela. Competition and arrogance get the better of many of us. If only more of us would think less of ourselves and more of others. Thank you for your honestly and warmth, Bela ❤

  4. Bela, “In the Clouds” brings to mind something the Dalai Lama said about the abuse of power and privilege: “The observation that good people suffer and evil people keep enjoying benefits and recognition, is shortsighted. Also, this kind of conclusion might have been made in haste. If one analyzes carefully, one finds that troublemakers are definitely not happy. It is better to behave well and take responsibility for one’s actions, and lead a positive life.” I also reflect on a documentary I saw last night on American Experience called “Island Murder.” It chronicled the 1931 kidnapping and murder of Joseph Kahahawai who was accused with four other non-white Hawaiians of raping a Navy wife. Her society mother, Grace Fortescue and the son-in-law admitted to the murder. But while the jury convicted her and sentenced her to 10 years the governor was pressured by the media to commute the sentence to just 1 hour. So here it is 2018 and I still see how media is being used to sway public opinions to support the unjust. I hope there is a collective awakening to acknowledge and honor the truth, to speak out and to set our Country on a better course.

    1. I love how HH the Dalai Lama expresses things. So wise. Unfortunately humans on the whole are not that wise, and not collectively that apt to listen to reason. I believe it’s ego in overdrive, yes, but also emotions being so difficult to rein in.

      I full know the story of Kahahawai, and strange you mention it. My writers group on Hawaii Island has been published by Bamboo Ridge Press in Honolulu, and the women who got us started writing together here all teach in Honolulu. They wrote a book of Renshi/linked poetry on this very subject:
      http://www.bambooridge.com/renshi.aspx?sid=2&fid=24
      You might really enjoy reading their perspectives, jumping into the skins of those involved to write about it. As Hawaiian women, these gals were really stretched, artistically speaking, in the endeavor. And no wonder. The whole affair brought much to light about privilege and its reach. And yes, the influence of media on current or then-current events.

      There is much to suggest we are in the throes of sea change, not only in this country but on the planet at this time. There is a great demand for paradigm shifts, not the smallest reason being our survival as a species on Planet Earth. But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.

      Perhaps listening to the podcast I recommended to Swarn Gill in this comment thread – at least to the first interview with historian and BU(?) prof Heather Cox Richardson – will grant some perspective. Change does seem to happen a) from the grass-roots level and b) when backs are firmly to the wall. Such has been the case since the dawning of ‘civilization,’ unfortunately.

      Hoping you are well, Mary Lee, and love to hear your ‘voice’ anytime. ❤

      1. I think it’s the other way round. In my experience the majority of folk prefer peace and security. Sadly there are too many disturbed individuals and they are the ones who stir up all the violence and destruction. 😦

      2. Yes, I can see how my words might be confusing, sorry. I agree that many to perhaps most people enjoy being peaceful and secure. Yet if we keep electing leaders who take us to war over and over again, we are all responsible in a collective sense. Abdication (I don’t vote, I’m not proactive, nothing I do will make a real difference) is no road to lasting peace, at least from where I sit. If we are to accompish that vision, we need to collectively implement new models and systems that support our core beliefs. I don’t see that happening anytime soon, but I would love to be surprised! I would love to see this happen in my lifetime. It’s where we thought our actions were headed in the ’60’s and ’70’s. That history keeps repeating itself is most distressing.

      3. Yes. Even in the so-called “democracies” the system are rigged so that there is only an appearance of choice. I wrote no poetry after 1999 for several years. I next wrote one in 2005 and here is part of it:

        “And who now recalls the year the party
        Saw their vote for disarmament squashed
        By their own elected leaders?

        The rule of democracy – after all
        Being useful only just as long
        As people vote the way you want

        Once in power you can do as you like
        I couldn’t accept that even then
        And come to think of it still can’t

        But the world of politics – after all
        Is one of those areas in which
        Any fool can point out what’s wrong

        And you’re a fool of a whole other kind
        To think you can even imagine
        Still less define what might be right

        Yet there are times when I know there’s something
        That can be embodied in our lives
        And can inform the way we act

        ‘Cos politics is our use of power
        In accord with the values we hold
        And doesn’t require that we vote

        Of what use to man or beast – after all
        The options on an all meat menu
        To a strict vegetarian?

        The world is not to be found in a box
        Or between the pages of a rag
        It’s before our eyes day by day

        Watching or reading what they call the news
        Caveat emptor … smoke and mirrors
        A weapon of mass distraction”

  5. Dearest Bela, first love your bright new theme.. And second.. while reading how this poem came into being from your comments.. This poem spoke volumes to me.. And I loved your reply to Ben.. History IS repeating because we are stuck in the game plan.. War, depopulate, reconstruct, generate wealth.. Sigh.. oh Sigh..

    Sending LOVE and Blessings, I think I will go stick my head back in the Clouds again.. 😉 Love to you my sister! 🙂

    1. Thanks for noticing my new look 😉 Yes, how it came into being … so frustrating, these times. Had to get it ‘out’ somehow.

      Love and blessings back to you, soul sister. Head in the clouds here, too – can hardly help it during our rainy season! ❤ Big hugs.

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