Peace, Poetry

Peace is…

Patrick Williams’ jazz draws me into a hypnotic spell.

I melt into my chair and hear my mother from beyond, “Don’t slouch!”

The saxophone massages tensions from my neck, my head buoyant.

Syncopation strokes the shoulders.  Melodies dangle me like a puppet.

A brown bird sits on my windowsill for the longest time.

She seems to know I need a friend.  I am still so she will not leave.

Brown bird preening her feathery cloak occasionally looks at me.

How amazing to have the choice of staying or flight.

Prolific crepe myrtles boast bold colors to proclaim landscape dominance.

Each bloom winks at passersby, not a shy nod to a neighbor’s presence.

Crepe myrtle enters like a woman with flaming, red lipstick

and a dress that dares you to look twice.  Crepe myrtle holds court.

Each night Ken says, “Dear wife, it is time for bed.”  I smile at “dear wife.”

Ken is like music playing familiar notes, the pattern ever-changing.

He is the brown bird that will never leave a garden of crepe myrtle.

Peace is being surrounded by the things I love.

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Peace, Personal Growth, Personhood, Politics

POLITICS 2020

I have given a great deal of thought to linear thinking lately.  Vile posts and conversations have invaded my space.  I listened to the rant of an unfeeling Sons of the Confederacy member who believes the virus is a hoax.  I have seen posts by well-educated people who are unwilling to recognize history as a fluid experience with learning opportunities rather than as a place we inhabit mentally in perpetuity.

Both parties have people who, although not at the fringes, are incapable of expanding their world view.  Single-mindedness or linear thinking is another way of renaming lack of empathy and bigotry.  I do not believe many of these people behaving in bigoted ways are aware of their harm to others.  I also believe most would claim to be without prejudice.  Linear thinking is not given to self-examination, but is generous with the judgment of others.

I believe there is room for compromise for the sake of peace and, most importantly, for the sake of justice. 

Compromise 1:  Wear masks.  The people who want to open everything up get their way.  Those of us who want to be protected from the virus get our way.  Win.  Win. 

Compromise 2:  Relocate the monuments.  Living in Texas magnifies all symbols of personal independence.  The questions are: When the symbols of independence and freedom were erected, were they meant to only allow freedom to whites?  Were they meant to intimidate people of color?  Are these symbols of oppression more important than the living people whose souls shrink in their shadows?  Are the monuments representative of who we are today?  Do the monuments keep us stuck in the painful past?  My compromise:  Put the monuments in Confederate cemeteries or in museums.  Raise a statue of a man reading to his child in front of the local library.  Put a quote in front of the courthouse, “Justice cannot be for one side alone, but for both.  Eleanor Roosevelt.”  In front of the schools erect monuments that inspire achievement – scientists, artists, John McCain (one of my more recent political heroes).  

If we do not learn to compromise, we will lose our country.  The question for us all is whether being right is worth sacrificing our democracy.  Let’s get real and do the hard work of learning to get along.  Regardless how we may want to win all the marbles, our children may lose everything if we plant our feet in the past and refuse to move forward.

Stating the obvious: the past is behind us and the future is our gift to the next generation.  What are we creating in the now?

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Peace, Personal Growth, Personhood, Politics, Stress, Uncategorized

To My FB Friends

I heard an interesting interview of a mental health professional.  (I never remember names.)  She said there was a stress study of cadets.  The expectation was the cadets’ stress would be highest in the beginning of their studies or even when nearing finals and graduation.  The highest stress was after they passed their classes and their careers were promising.  The research discovered that the stress was higher because they no longer were in a struggle together, no longer in unity with their classmates.

I find that is true of me (and maybe you) during this pandemic.  We are not pulling together as Americans.  One political party is not the enemy of the other, unless individuals create chaos by reposting feeding-frenzy nonsense.  I personally am not going to be used by manipulators manufacturing articles to divide us.  I believe science, not fantasies.  I believe most people on both sides of the aisle are basically good and share my American values.

I am stressed each time a friend posts another deep state conspiracy.   Government workers are our hard working neighbors who have children and grandchildren who play with our children/grandchildren.  They keep us safe in law enforcement, process paper by the tons, work for the VA, investigate nursing homes complaints, and keep our tap water clean, etc… etc…..

I am stressed by people who post their rights to infect others (me!) by not wearing a mask or curtailing their activities.  As much as I grieve for those who lost loved ones – almost 80,000 families, we could have had twice that number if we had not been responsible.  The time out was not a waste of my time.  I had no burning desire to kill someone (the elderly, medical personnel, my neighbors).  I am a grown-up and can be still for a brief time.

I am stressed by people, most churched and professing love, who have chosen to be hateful rather than be my friend on FB.  It is a choice.  I will miss them, but not the hate.

My stress goes down when I behave in a loving manner, am kind and rational.  My choice.  What I control.  I hope more of my friends regain their loving centers before we are lost to one another.  No one can have too many friends, especially during a pandemic.

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Aging, Art, Country, Memoir, Peace, Politics, Uncategorized

Political Winds

Seventy-one and a woman who’s seen mighty change—internet, cell phones, and one step for mankind on moonscape.  Veterans of WWII branded their stories on my young soul.  That damned McCarthy caused me to look for communists neath my bed.  Viet Nam tattooed my innocence.  Patriotism, plated as political righteousness, challenged the rage against dying and peace movements—Gandhi dared Patton philosophies wrestling for ethos.  No winners, just battle-worn heroes.  Now drums the social-till-doomsday-shrill-media robbing weak heads of free thinking—new mind control.  Fear like rain cuts rough, new gullies of hate, fear and rage.  Peace lost not on a battlefield, love in surrender to hate.  Godly abandoned in rallies, the modern lion’s den, truth’s death.  Long serving soldiers dismissed for truth-telling.  A Medal of Honor bestowed on a bigot.  Romney the lone statesman.  Loyal, weak servants rewarded and righteous, strong saints defiled.  Labeling knowledable elitist.  Labeling brown other.  Labeling good hearts feeding hungry folk socialists.  Villainous!  Rise up you virtuous patriots.  Be the strong voice of right.  Rise up still Christians and claim the mantle of kindness.  Rise up to speak!  Rise up to vote!  Rise up!

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Country, Peace, Poetry, Politics, Uncategorized

FUGU

                    FUGU

Celebrate freedom of speech,

ideas spewed against the tide.

Frightening, strong, in defense of right,

or hateful and wrong—

schools of thought swimming

toward the light and

prejudices bottom-feeding

‘till persistence creates law.

If we follow a bully pufferfish,

democracy dies on poison spikes.

Feed the blue planet fugu—

love swallowed and hate discarded.

                  

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Peace

JE SUIS CHARLIE

On signs above passionate defenders of personal expression, JE SUIS CHARLIE said it all.  We are Charlie!  We believe words have power!  We believe words have more value than guns!  We believe democracy is the moral high ground.  We celebrate creative spirits.  We stand with signs under night skies after the gun powder has settled and are one with those who sacrificed everything to pen truth, ambiguities, humor, and our shared, human experience.  JE SUIS CHARLIE.

Writers are strange, curious, thinking people.  Some break lead penciling rage and stirring hate.  Others inspire with the rhythm and rhyme of verse.  In a few instances, a writer divines a great truth.

We read cartoons because the truth is easier to digest with humor and perspective.  Charlie Hebdo scripted their view of the world regardless death threats and property damage.  Heroes sometimes lift pens rather than guns and wear the arms of children around their waists rather than ammo belts.

Words are implied responsibility.  Just as carrying a gun is action – life or death, threat or defense; writing is action – life or death, threat or defense.  Words create law, rally against unjust administration of the law, and connect our conscience to the principles of justice balanced with mercy/understanding.

Teachers and parents say, “Use your words.”  The child midst tantrum pounds fists against the flesh of the person in charge, releases tears from wide eyes, and kicks wildly until pain is inflicted.  Adults raising their fists and guns, wide-eyed but not seeing, and inflicting pain on the innocent may be unredeemable.

Peace will only be achieved when we learn to use our words.  Thinking adults must have the discipline to use their words without rage and speak the universal language of peace.  In some states, work environments and families, defending peace and solution-based reasoning rather than rage and guns is a brave undertaking.  The culture of violence and lack of compromise is too often the politics of government and interpersonal relationships.  Movies and television celebrate winning more than integrity.

Teachers and parents have the power to create peace by teaching children to think and speak resolution and acceptance as they heap unconditional love on tender hearts.

There is hope in the world because people carry signs to remind us of unity and freedom.  JE SUIS CHARLIE.

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