CharlottesvilleĀ 

Image credit goes to Jim Bourg at Reuters

when the light dims

and hate from the shadows

explodes into rancor headlines

man reveals beast 

our true colors, warped 

painting promises of a dark Prometheus 

they seek rabid rapture in oppression

hollow edged fists bear torches

obscuring our triumph, our passion, our poignancy

illuminating our savagery, our inhumanity, our bloodlust

the racism coiling sinuous leather lies in the name of progress

emboldened by leaders 

hungering for divides and distractions 

they march proudly 

into their sham conqueror’s high

old flags expose ancient hates in new masks

and pointing fingers meet screaming eyes

 

It is not enough to witness

It is not enough to condemn

It is not enough to disavow

Now, we must love

And act and hope and hurt and sob

Unite and fight and thrive and reach 

Revel in every single flavor of humanity

Live beyond our labels

And together, rise

 

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Wake Up America

I just finished reading a news article about the highly volatile situation in the Middle East. Listing five different countries and explaining the individual sources of tension and conflict, the article was both informative and clear.

My issue lies with the four little words at the end-cap of each country: “why we should care.” Each little blurb describes how the situation links back to the U.S. and offers a salient quote from a U.S. public official.

To me, this is despicable. The “why we should care” has absolutely nothing to do with American involvement. It has nothing to do with the fact that some U.S. citizens might be volunteering to fight in the Middle East, or to consult, or whatever euphemism they use for our government’s sticky web of self-interest.

It has everything to do with the fact that we’re human beings. That reading stories about war, about civilian and children dying, should be horrific enough in its own right. It should spur us into action, not coax us into showing a spark of interest by forging a tenuous connection with victims of ongoing tragedy.

It’s like the high school guidance counselor rewarding you with a week off school for showing up for your mandatory 3 hours of community service. It is reinforcing the message that “you need a black and white connection to your home country of U.S. in order to feel even a mild interest in what’s happening elsewhere.”

Isn’t it enough that we’re part of this world? The blood, death and destruction we’ve written off as everyday parts of life no longer shock us the way that it should. We live in a culture-wide complacency that would be terrifying.. if we could even be bothered to care.

I am mixed race, including Israeli and Arabic. While I have a supremely personal connection to what’s happening now, I find both sides of my heritage condemned and blasted. According to the news media, I should be much more self-loathing. When I read the press coverage of the Middle East I feel heartbroken, because it’s always about apportioning blame. Who fired which rocket, who killed which civilian, who issued statements of denial first, etc.

You know what I’d like to see, in a perfect world?

Media coverage of the families of victims, of the first aid workers flying in from other countries to offer their help, to put themselves on the line for others. I’d like to see the people banding together to help out in the wake of crisis, visuals of the aftermath of bloodshed. I’d like to see U.N. meetings that are pro-active instead of declamatory.

I want us to feel, to hope and act, and not just because we’re told we’re supposed to for ________ reason. More than that, how can we possibly hope for peace in the Middle East if all we can fixate on is blame, doubt, and “why we should care?”

Game

The world is a motley rich competition

and I’m just another contestant

some of us are better

and some worse

casting friends and enemies in the game of life

clutching our families&time&treasures

with sweatsoaked knuckles

always reaching for the greener grass

breathing the same soul saturated air

all of us, alike

willing to kill, heal, wound, despair, coax, love, torment & violate

 

then how is it

that I often find

my worst enemy to be

reflected back at me on my bedroom wall?

Bones

the air sits heavy on my bones today
as the world sucks in its breath,

receding with a smirking wink.
It leaves behind

Disease

the ultimate thief
slinking quietly backstage
to cue the bone show breakdown

pulling tendons and strings
until all thats left of me
are frayed edges & unspooling doubts

No sledgehammer tragedies here
No blazes of glory
No booms or bullets or
ominous music cues

No warning at all

just you
nothing more
than a series of stutter stop breaths

but somehow
I do not accept.

Gladiator


They are watching me.

released from my cage

blackened fingernails reach for a dullbright sun
terrified pinkies curl around like question marks
rusty with abandoned hopes

Hands unsure how to survive
how to be touched
useless now.

barred teeth bloody tongue
helpless sentries
against the Words
bursting through flesh
like overripe pears

scared alone confused open
reaching too quickly
wanting too badly

Gloating eyeballs revel in
flaying the surface
sand soaked skin

not all

some sympathetic pupils wink
flashes of caring strafe the gray
stale stark madness

Words caught like broken waltzes on my lips
swirling and choking
pieces falling
carefree crashing into each other

take me away
swan dive into blinding oblivion
gun shy loneliness calls

my opponents crawling embrace

daggered touches slip past
peppering the night with apocalyptic sparks
woven out of faltering heartbeats
I cradle the left-behind

Words

escape me
snarling liberators
sneering deputies of a charred justice system

They bind and destroy
make bare my half-bitten prophecies of a future
the revolution
that condemned me

The mob smiles
and duck their heads
ignoring the reflective gleam of the broken gladiator

Safe in their arena stands
mud-wallowing in joy savage discord
eyeing the spectacle

as I lay unveiled

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