Reflections on Divisions

There is a divide growing in the US larger than the Grand Canyon.The Grand Canyon is a spectacular natural wonder, whereas events leading up to the scope of this divide have been anything but. 

Quite literally, Americans have been cleaved along lines of those for Democracy, equality for all; those who are ‘pros,’ pro choice in every way. We support each other in the enjoyment of freedom in all its forms; we help those less fortunate without exception and generally pay our due in the hope that all might have the chance to simply live. 

Then there are those who blindly follow charismatic leaders, despite often dehumanizing actions and efforts to maintain a certain social order, class and gender segregation, and the established dominion of white male supremacy. I have asked myself many times why women, in particular would support this sort of person, the sort who openly brags about ‘grabbing them by the pussy’ and diminishes women of intelligence, empathy and of course color. The sort of person who would rob them of choice and even their own children. (The fiasco at the Mexican border has become a wretched second Berlin Wall.) Just because it hasn’t happened to them does not mean it is not happening. 

In the end, I must conclude that fear is the culprit. Fear of change, of losing their privilege, of being in unfamiliar territory with those different from themselves. Somehow these dear folks have lulled themselves into greater and greater actual peril by simply not wanting to think for themselves. By simply not doing their due diligence when it comes to what they espouse. Many are Christian, yet fail miserably at the very principles Jesus taught. These principles are ridiculously simple, yet are made complex enough that people believe they need someone (usually male) to interpret ‘the word of God’ for them. Do they not realize that too often this goes according to selfish motives and whims needed to control congregants and fill coffers? When these sorts of masses give, god bless them, it is too often role driven. Secure in their place in society (or so they imagine/assume), they are convinced their actions are benevolent toward often-distant people they support through comparatively meager donations motivated by needed tax breaks. The recipients are likewise grouped under labels: poor and victim leap to mind, yet their actual lives and personal histories are as far removed as outer space. Thus it is easy to label these others as welfare cases, leeches sucking blood out of a society just trying to move its privileged forward. The givers have not broken bread with these desperate factions of societies; have not listened to their stories nor experienced any sort of cultural diversity, first hand. 

Always one to support divergent views, I have found myself so alienated from those hypnotized by the current government as to not have much of anything remaining in common. If we were to get together, what on earth would we talk about? And so I am left to will them my best intentions, and call it good. I have no desire to listen to rationalizations and justifications for their behavior, as there simply are none that can account for exclusions and suppressions of ‘undesirables’ in the eyes of these few. We have no time to indulge ignorance anymore. Global warming is real, this is not open to dispute, listen to science or go back to the cave of ignorance at your peril. The Sixth Extinction is upon us, and we are in the throes of a massive pandemic that is not going anywhere soon. To turn a blind eye to these sorts of wake-up calls is to negate our responsibility as human beings toward the Collective, our sisters and brothers as well as all sentient beings and the environment we depend upon for our very existence.

None of us chose color or gender, we were all and equally born into this life, albeit into very different circumstances. Life is short. We are tiny, less than microscopic specks in a universe filled with wonder. To hold any sort of self importance in a day when sharing and collaborating to figure out how humans might continue occupying space on this amazing spinning ball called earth is truly all we have time to do. And it will require all our creativity, all our heart in order to accomplish a badly needed shift away from established consumerist, exclusionary practices. Opening our eyes to the realities of the time is not only preferable anymore, it is imperative. Be the change you want to see. And if that change has only to do with you and yours, it may be time to rethink priorities. Bless you all.

Relics

We all die. Relics left behind for others,
once culturally defined, a slurry now
of overcooked vegetables in the melting pot
of what humanity has become;

For better, we are more homogenous,
conferring fewer reasons to hate
that which is and ever was kindred.
Knowing this, do we truly taste the apple
sweetness of experience, or drum up
further excuses to postpone joy?

At worst, we forget our ancestors,
those from whom we inherit genetically,
even behaviorally, perhaps to our peril;
for history, devoid of lessons learned,
proves a hollow saga sucked dry of juice;
a dessicated plum placed primly
alongside a backdrop of ripe peaches,
fruit of our potential
.

What traces will linger
in this adolescent nation whose excesses
are counterpart to senseless severity,
an artistic strangulation where
even the Rubenesque among us
yearn to be thin and dry as wraiths?

A society threatened by hips and thighs
is doomed to infertility of the imagination.

 

Samsara

It’s a tricky thing, ask
for one thing, get another,
just what is needed.

Understood.

Shake hands with fate,
agree to the veiling
not an ending,
rather the beginnings
of a new life,
tabula rasa.

Oh, the beauty! Tastes
and smells and five,
maybe six senses
all vibrating at once,
luring us into nooks
and alleys and pleasure
and pain and lord,
are we hungry, the earth
is our pasture, her treasures
our plunder, perfecting ways
in which to exert dominion
over what the eyes survey;

Hungry ghosts.

 

Sikkim - Land of Discovery
image: Sikkim – Land of Discovery

fmi on the definition of hungry ghosts:
The Hungry Ghost

GYPSY

The old woman clasps worn cards wearily to grizzled chin,

vertical lines set deep as piercing black eyes etched

into an apple doll face.

Sweeping swollen arthritic fingers over lined forehead,

drumming now, listening to the hollow sound

of bony digits echoing against her skull.

 

Tapping, tapping flat cards to thrust of jaw

ever so gently yet persistently knowing,

as she did,

the message contained within the deck’s images

cast long ago from a stranger’s mind onto paper.

 

Fear arises, wells up inside her throat,

recalling faces beyond memory

castigating, infiltrating, immolating,

angry as the fires of hell that she knew

more accurately than themselves

their own path unfolding.

 

What the men wanted and what they got,

whether from her pack or between her sheets,

seldom elicited gratitude;

rather envy and scorn surged

from the recesses of dull minds

expecting picture-book angels,

unready and unwilling to accept

the too-human answer to their prayers.

 

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Prescience

Beauty is indifferent to itself.

 

Largesse of spirit contrasts with strength

of jaws snapping to the indifferent air,

I don’t know what it ees, but every wanna

dese local boys, dey see one white woman

and dey tink she some kine goddess or somet’ing.

 

Grain of salt and all.

 

Until today, cycling by primary grades

out for recess in the unrelenting sun;

chubby brown boy with dimpled smile

joined by both hands

to a tall yellow-haired girl of eight

standing next to a diminutive friend,

gleaming waves of jet cascading clear and full

down her small perfect back.

 

Paper crown colored in crayon

quickly pilfered from the tow-head

to be placed atop the beaming stripling.

Darker girl looks on imploringly,

sparkling eyes inviting his to acknowledge;

her unfolding splendor remaining,

at least to him,

invisible.

 

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Outcaste

She greets them in alleyways,

meets them indoors;

she’s a mother’s sweet baby,

she’s somebody’s whore.

Her fantasies keep her

from going insane;

her children, her future

bound up in the pain.

 

And for us it is easy,

with lives full and sweet –

moving forward and backward,

eyes avoiding the street.

 

Her gaze sweeps the horizon,

she longs for a clue

how she got here,

where she’s headed

and it’s all up to you.

I know what you’re thinking:

she’s not mine; isn’t yours –

like the homeless and hungry,

despised and abhorred.

 

While the shadows among us

seep under our skin;

they becomes us, they fit

like white lies that unhinge

the most stoic and stolid,

where they come home to roost;

and we have to confront

our own human abuse.

 

~ bj

 

artwork_images_168763_441168_stanko-abadzic

Bridging Cultures

I cannot tell you what a relief it is

sitting amongst those raised with means and ways

foreign to mine as the surface of the moon.

 

Laughter of young children acting out

like I never could;

relaxing into parental anarchy,

rather than worrying about raising them

with some skewed interpretation of rightness.

 

What can I say about those who likely will

never go to college, except to let them be

who they are.

The world needs diversity more than another lawyer;

another veneered politician spinning rhetoric

from a glossy tongue bought by a corporate constituency.

 

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BLOGOSPHERE

Blogging provides a virtual and sometimes therapeutic channel in which to pour one’s thoughts and feelings that, in turn, insinuate themselves into the collective like dye injected into a crystalline ocean. Slowly spreading, the new medium eventually becomes assimilated into the existing one, and a hybrid is born. We are changed and the world changes us.

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Ramble

I strive to be happy. Honest, I do. But sometimes I have to ask myself completely and without guile, Is it happiness itself I seek? Or is it the process of striving that captivates me – the push/pull between satisfaction and all that fails to match expectations of what humans and life, itself are capable? 

I know that expectations are like premeditated resentments. The devil is, however (as is so often the case), in the particulars: the nuances and fine tuning of my own inner frequencies. It’s a bit like orchestrating a symphony – getting all the discordant elements in harmony at all times is a tall order. Often I succeed, and other times I fail abysmally in pulling up even with my own standards. Is it simply that I observe all I see, both outside and in, with eyes wide open? And if, as so many believe, consciousness equates to bliss, I’m not so sure. Rather, I think being awake in that sense means accepting life on its own terms – meeting what is, which is forever shifting and changing and never static. Then somehow being at peace with it all.

Some are blessed to exist or coexist in virtual isolation, while others of us who admire the wisdom gleaned from those kinds of cloistered conditions are likewise graced with passionate encounters and the joys of creating everything from a wardrobe to offspring. The tradeoff for isolation is precisely that, but it’s no surprise – existence itself is rife with contradiction. For the rest of us, society’s constant tug and pull of distractions and drama create emotional highs and lows, as we struggle like oboes and strings to attune to one another’s harmonic as well as discordant qualities in the midst of creation’s chaos.

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BOOM DITTY BOOM

My generation of boomers was born to mothers who, for the first time in recorded history, found themselves in decision making positions independent of their men. Suddenly lives no longer revolved around how children dressed for school that morning, who picked Timmy up from baseball practice or what to put on the table later that evening. Collectively our mothers began to wonder about fulfillment in their own lives. They began questioning subjectively in ways that were not even conceptualized by objectified generations of women before them, except in the most avant-garde conditions.

It is to these courageous women I owe a debt of gratitude, for they laid the bedrock of a foundation my generation needed in order to rivet the rouged faces of females everywhere – get them focused back on their own inner lives – the wisdom, intelligence, energy and heart required for their own healing and, ultimately, in order to change the status quo. In light of this renewed awareness, renewed because it can be quickly forgotten in the crush of corporate globalization, we are, then, perhaps the first generation of truly independent women since the advent of patriarchy itself over 2,000 years ago.

As women we have always been suited to the task of supervision, both as mothers and functionally intelligent human beings, yet due to a collective dearth of early imprinting, we often lacked the skills necessary for discernment and prioritizing. These Saturnian qualities were notably attributed to the male of the species, or certainly men had extensive experience in practicing them for thousands of years. Yet just as men in modern times have been learning to cultivate the qualities better developed in women – those of connection, emotional expression and communication – women likewise have found ourselves facing these underdeveloped characteristics of reduction and delegation.

Of course there are women who have found themselves, either in the field of academia or in the corporate world, in positions of leadership and management. How long it takes us to build the skills necessary to fill those professional shoes likely depends on the temperament and constitution of the woman, herself. Whether or not she finds herself in balance is another thing. For if we gain the world and yet lose our soul, one wonders if the tradeoff is entirely satisfactory. Some of us unknowingly forfeit our sense of connection and relatedness in the mix, which, when it happens, can engulf our tender heart. It may then be awhile before we reclaim the familiarity of trusting our own flesh, once again.

If practice makes perfect, practice serves to help us learn – especially if we have no role models before us – to face the fires of our doubts, fears and anxieties and accustom ourselves to sitting and sifting before we act. Often it seems easier to pick up the phone and get relational with someone, anyone, who might help relieve our feelings of insecurity and uncertainty. This search for answers or positive feedback outside the self might likewise be interpreted as a throwback plea for those broad shoulders of patriarchy to provide the structure we feel is lacking in our own inner lives. And we can fake it ‘til we make it, but if we are to learn, grow and finally develop a true sense of healthy autonomy, we must painstakingly walk before we can run.

There is no regressing in time, one can only forge ahead. Similar to the advent of new technology, we are developing fresh templates every day. We are imprinting new awarenesses onto subsequent generations. And it is splendid, it is lovely, it is unique and scary and necessary. Our world needs balance and we are tipping the scales. And so we proceed – now as elders in society – with love, patience and understanding. And we grant these first to ourselves.

NEEDLEPOINT 

It might as well be my shroud.
Confusion of tapestry woven daily
in knobbly hues – threads pulled
straight when ease marks the course –
twisted and frayed
when impaired.
 
How many acres of worries
it covers! Like prayer beads worn
shiny with use –
stitched string upon
string until, alarmed,
I buckle under its bulk.
 
I want to conceal every footpath,
leaving no trace –
a sandstorm scouring
undulating desert dunes.
 
Instead, tracks are buried –
grooved deeply
into grey matter
waiting in my wings
seeking flight
on the thermals
of my liberation.
~ Bela Johnson