I’ve been saying Fuck fear! to everyone today, especially myself. The surrealistic results of last night’s election were shocking and fostered images of increased violence, economic disparity, disenfranchisement, senseless cruelty and suffering in our country and beyond our imaginary borders…yet while out with our dog, I marveled at the stars sparkling as they have and will for eons.
So many compassionate people with social and historical understanding are scared, yet fear is how slave owners and terrorists, bullies and rapists, gangs and militias have gained and maintained entirely too much privilege for too long. Fear paralyzes. Fear wraps us in numbing behavior, PTSD and isolation. I’ve spent too much of my life focused on moving out of fear to embrace it now because our young nation is struggling with issues of entitlement and humanism; the ideals of capitalism and democracy; the definitions of freedom and propaganda. Fear locks the brain in a simplified fight or flight state rather than perceiving others through the complex lens of empathy and layered perspectives.
Fear, like anxiety, is a mighty imaginative force. If I let it root I’ll be paralyzed in ways I’ll be too blinded to even see, so fuck fear. We rise above bad circumstances and heal through love and connection so let’s make our way to 2020 as intact as we can as a nation, as connected as we can with our entire world and with as much deep listening, caring and intelligence as we can offer one another.
May all be happy, safe, healthy and at peace.
I’ve never understood the arrogance peculiar to certain people or cultures that denounce other species as lesser because homo sapiens “are the only ones who can make tools, speak, or have emotional bonds, consciousness, problem-solving skills, complex thoughts” and the like.
Most of these assumptions have already been debunked, albeit one species at a time, one tool expanding our limited sensory ability at a time.
However, we know so few, if any, absolutes about ourselves–individually or collectively–so little about existence, potential, unraveling, or our tangled-unconscious reactions and impulses, yet too many claim knowledge about other species’ limitations that can’t possibly be known, especially when we lack the sensory means of even observing what other species can or can not do.
Since we can’t fully inhabit another, we are left with our limited knowledge of ourselves and those we can most closely empathize with. The rest is often projection.
So who knew mice could sing? Not a squeak, but frequencies beyond human hearing that change to match other mice and woo the females. Imagine Elvis’ little hip grind if he’d been a Mus musculus. (More about singing mice)
(photo by TLB)
Carla is part of this self-portrait since she helped me develop the character for a monologue. People loved Carla. I loved Carla. There are no words for such loss except ALS sucks! and hers:
Possibility of Hands
I hold your hand
palm up, lace your
fingers with mine,
stretch the palm wide
so my thumbs can press
tight muscles into pools
of softened warmth;
open, your hand could
slap a child’s face,
brush away crumbs,
press the sternum for
shape the sides of
a porcelain bowl
while fingers curved could
pull a trigger—crosshair
parting the bridge between
eyes, press rounded keys to
blow jazz through
brass, suture severed
flesh with catgut and needle—
within this skin
no purpose but life.
Thank you to the editors of Poets for Peace and http://lit.carayanpress.com for publishing this poem.
Dark in Light
Wanted to show you the moon
but cruised off the wrong ramp
and wound up in a war zone
where there is no curfew:
men standing solo in the middle of the street
or huddled, talking beneath burned-out lamps;
wanted to show you the soccer moon
but drove down darkened roads with bars
enclosing windows and doors,
barbed wire spiraling a hardware
store and nursery—planks and daisies
out of reach;
wanted you to count the seas
across that haloed orb
but drove alone
through neighborhoods as treeless
as that dog-song moon;
beat-up cars driven
beyond unmarked borders
pulled over by uniforms
with clubs and guns,
jagged tension cutting concrete air;
I want to know who
declared this war of Americans
children peer from sheeted windows,
women hide behind hollow doors,
a man looks up from an empty street,
each of us equal
distance from the sun’s reflective sphere.
Thank you to the editors of Something Like Homesickness and Literary Well/Pozo Literario for, respectively, printing and then reprinting this poem.
There are two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as if everything is a miracle.