Coda

He’s got a green guitar, Emerald Isle green, and his hair is snow
white now, but his voice still rings like a Tibetan bell. I don’t care
that the decades have given him
more wisdom than he had when he made us giggle and wander. He is whole
now like an oak tree. He is bent in all the right places. He has us
all waiting for a miracle. And when it comes
if it ever comes
we’ll weep and add our voices, echoing
through the coda of humanity’s tragic history, boldly declaring
the moment we are no longer
pacing this battered cage.

Posted in adventure, appreciation, belonging, Community, compassion, Contemplations, desire, existence, freedom, immortality, mortality, peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

the long adventure

Stones are rounded by the caress of water, three hundred thousand years without me.

I am so small. I am so big. I am just a speck on the page of this long adventure.

To breathe in the dust of the ages and know

Everything is so sacred. Everything is…and yet is nothing. Only what we define

with our hearts, our longing, our ascent and our skittish minds.

Posted in adventure, Contemplations, desire, existence, life, Poetry, Social/Political Commentary, time | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Environmental Justice

I want to explain what “environmental justice” means to me. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency of the United States) defines it thusly:

“Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. EPA has this goal for all communities and persons across this Nation. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.”
Sounds great.
In practice, it is the corporations (typically multinational conglomerates) that set the laws, exploit the regulations governing their business practices, and inflict their toxic means to an end upon the world we’re forced to share with them.

Too often the communities that suffer the greatest environmental hazards are those too poor to protest effectively, don’t have a tax base big enough for anybody to pay attention to, and are too stressed to worry about their environment. They have things like food and school supplies and heating bills to worry about. The quality of their air, ground water or food is pretty low on the list.
So far I’ve been talking like an American. The concept of Environmental Justice doesn’t stop at our shores. People in China are witnessing the polluting of their major cities at a level we couldn’t conceive of here in America because at least we have laws that protect us and our natural environment to a certain degree.

India is witnessing a complete erosion of a local, rural economic system that has been in place for centuries, while their government rushes to become an economic superpower on the same par as China and the US.

This race for global economic supremacy destroys communities, ravages the land, depletes natural resources at an astonishing rate, and annihilates any hope we have for maintaining balance on the planet.

Don’t take my word for it. Read. Learn.

Participate in solutions and movements and new visions for the future. What else have you got to do?

Posted in activism, America, Apathy, China, cities, Community, Corporations, Earth, economics, environment, Equality, global dominance, India, justice, pollution, rural, superpowers, systems | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Fun House

You wouldn’t know it from looking at the outside, but we live in a Fun House. That’s right, we do. Only the walls know what goes on when we’re not home, and they’ve managed to remain mute for nearly two decades now.

I’ll give you two examples of the fun that can be had:

First off, there isn’t a source of natural light anywhere in the house at 5am. So, when I go into the closet (always careful to close myself in so one of the cats doesn’t sneak in and hide in there the whole work day without a litter box) I carefully choose what I”m going to wear for work. Because of the light, though, I’ve frequently gotten the color scheme wrong. Let’s just say that it’s always a surprise what I’ve picked out to wear for the day, and I don’t know what that it is until I get into my office and look down. Frequently that means that what I thought was brown is actually green, and what I thought was black is actually blue, etc.

Second example: There’s always one cat out of five that has perfected talents unbeknownst to any of us. Today one of them exhibited the ability to set off a window alarm. As I plodded down the sleet covered flagstone that is my front sidewalk (with as much grace as a 99 year old), returning home from a long Monday in Hell (work), I heard a noise. “An alarm? WTF?”

Peering through the front windows, there wasn’t a cat to be seen anywhere. Normally there are at least 3 snoozing in the sun at one pair of windows, lazily gazing at me with annoyance. “Did you have to come home now and wake me up?”

Not this time. Not a fuzzball anywhere, but the window alarm was screeching merrily. Enough to drive even the cats crazy apparently. How that talented individual managed to accomplish this without the other 4 cats meowing a hairball out of him, I’m not sure. I doubt, however, that he’ll pull a stunt like that one again anytime soon.

More later. Cheers for now!

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Harvest Me

Fingers and toes begin like kernels of corn and pods of peas, making

the grown ones giggle and coo. I never knew any of you

when the world introduced you and you were so new. God kept count

of each inhale that brought you closer to Fate and every exhale

that propelled you closer to Heaven. I counted on my fingers

and then my toes, the number of times I found you

through the laughter of your words, hiding in the shed to ward off the rooster

or skating down the thin ice on the smallest of hills, your shoe soles

not enough to keep you rooted and upright. The hands that dug

the ditch so well that could never be promoted. The gentle man

that played cards at the firehouse, waiting for a turn at the hose.

The many that have scattered seeds that scattered seeds, or fell

where they would never germinate. Each of you will harvest me

like a fruit so ripe on the vine, a blossom that conquers Winter.

And in this way I will be yours. I will be yours as I so rarely was

since the beginning of my day.

Posted in appreciation, belonging, Community, compassion, Contemplations, family, life, love, mercy, Poetry, Respect, Responsibility, Uncategorized, Wellness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Horizon

We go our ways, don’t we? Cut the chord, turn out

the light, change direction, lock the door. Sometimes the heart

skips a beat and before you know it your feet are clinging

to a tightrope and your hands are grabbing air. I saw you

down below, laughing. Your eyes sparkled as they always did, merry

meet and never part because you just are. There. No need

for shouts or whistles, your encouragement carried on a laugh

a hand to hide the smile that couldn’t be shuttled away.

I’ll thank you now because I’m a dolt who didn’t possess

enough sense to thank you before. You funny little court jester

not afraid to speak your truth or twinkle at twilight.

When I was up on that wire you were my horizon and I would fly

to the edge of any cloud to greet you again.

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What the world needs now: Trans-parency

I’m one of the lucky ones; I believe that to be true. When I was a kid, growing up in a conservative, religious household, I struggled with my sexuality. It wasn’t easy, realizing that I felt differently than what I was taught to feel. There was a lot of self loathing to work through, and no way for me to effectively communicate what I was thinking or feeling to the people closest to me.
But like I said, I’m one of the lucky ones. At least I, being born a girl, still felt like a girl and identified as a girl, even though I hated the pleated skirts and the patent leather shoes. I can’t imagine the confusion and despair and self loathing I might have felt if I’d been born transgendered.
If I had been born a girl, but felt like a boy, how hard would that have been? How much pain might I have inflicted upon myself then, or might others have inflicted upon me?
Too weird, right? Such a strange concept to most people, and not something that “normal” people choose to understand or concern themselves with. After all, those people are freaks, and most of us don’t know anybody like “them”.
The truth is that there are hundreds, thousands, ten of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people around the world that feel like they’d been born into the wrong bodies, and the pain and confusion and despair they feel are enough to make them attempt suicide an alarming rate. For transgendered people, the suicide rate is an astounding 41%.
Luckily for me I only had to tell my parents that I’m a lesbian, and despite their religious beliefs they showed me love and support and embraced me. That was hard enough. I can’t imagine struggling with gender issues and having to muster the courage to tell them about that.
Why the hell am I posting this? Because my heart aches for all those people out there who hate themselves and feel they are forced to live a lie. Who feel trapped in a body they despise, and have been assigned a gender they don’t feel is their own. The brave ones who choose to live the way they feel risk losing everything, including their lives.
Trans people go into prostitution at a very high rate because they have difficulties finding work otherwise. This puts them at a very high risk for violence, sexual assault and murder. Those are worst case scenarios, of course. Daily living, for openly trans people, is wrought with discrimination from all corners: health care professionals, police, landlords, employers, family and community members.
I’m bringing this up to shine a spotlight in my very small way, in the hope that someday being transgendered will carry no more stigma than having red hair.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Compassion الرحمة

حقا، والله هو الرحيم ومغرم الرحمة، وقال انه يعطي لالرأفة وما لا يعطي على قاسية

“Verily, God is Compassionate and is fond of compassion, and He gives

to the compassionate what He does not give to the harsh.”

Do they do it for Allah, the mass killings, the videos, with their bare

hands twisting mercy into ribbons of blood and their prayers

flying on the sour winds of hatred to stain the heavens?

Is a human being better off without a head, and the gesture becomes

the waving flag of Love? لن تدخلوا الجنة حتى يكون لديك الإيمان. وأنك لن يكمل إيمانك حتى تحبوا بعضكم بعضا.

“You will not enter paradise until you have faith. And you will not complete your faith

until you love one another.”  Love-  Not the wily hand servant of power,

not the densely woven fabric of terror, not the tricky mirror of self righteousness.

Love like a crown of Light yields no space for the heavy helm of delusion.

هل تحب خالقك؟ أحب المخلوقات زميل الخاص بك أولا.

Do you love your creator? Love your fellow creatures first.” 

Where does compassion live within Islamic State? Compassion. الرحمة.

Posted in alienation, Apathy, belonging, Community, compassion, Contemplations, crime, Death, faith, family, Law, life, love, mercy, Poetry, Politics, prayers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Default: Judgement Rendered

Gay Marriage. So, the US Supreme Court denies a couple of appeals and makes a few million dreams come true. Thank you.

Posted in Equality, Gay Rights, Law, Same Sex Marriage | Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Camel and the Marlboro Man

When my friends and I started smoking – in our teens in the 70’s – cigarette smoke was everywhere. Elevators, hospitals, restaurants, grocery stores, workplaces, you name it. My mother smoked through 4 pregnancies. I remember Sunday drives with both my parents smoking in the front seat while my little brother and I whined in the back. Still, I took up the habit as soon as I could get away with it. (No one carded at the gas station, they were just eager to make a sale to all the high school kids passing by.)
Back then Big Tobacco operated like devious, mad scientists, didn’t they? They polished up the image so you wouldn’t even consider that you were consuming a carcinogen. They commissioned scientists to research exactly how to make their product more addictive (yes, they did), and as soon as the results were in the project was terminated and the researchers were sworn to secrecy. Sugar,. That’s right. Just the right amount of sugar in the processing of the tobacco triggered the nicotine in just the right away to get all those new smokers hooked, making them life long customers.
I remember when my best friend – indeed, my first REAL friend in the whole world – was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. She’d had the biopsies, part of a lung removed but it was too late; the cancer had metastasized and was already in her blood stream. She did the chemo, the radiation, she went on a raw food diet, she made plans to go to Costa Rica or some other paradise that promised a holistic cure to her ailments.
She decided to sue R J Reynolds. Say what you will about smokers who sue tobacco companies; I understand the arguments completely. I’ve had those thoughts myself. “You knew it couldn’t be good for you.” “You could have stopped, but you didn’t.” “No one made you smoke! You chose to do that your self, when so many people chose not to.” On and on. But when my friend tried to justify her decision to me she said, “When we started smoking those things were everywhere! If you wanted to be cool you had to take up smoking in school. And when it became an addiction? It was more powerful than I was. I was an addict. And now it’s too late.”
She had the support of her lawyer husband, but even he knew it was a futile effort. I think he agreed to support her because it gave her some sort of feeling of empowerment. She had the lawyers videotape her testimony… just in case. She died before she could go to court in person. Her husband dropped the case after she passed.
The lawyers for R J Reynolds were like pit bulls, of course. They looked up everyone who had ever been in her life. Her psychotic mother, cousins, aunts, uncles, grade school friends, high school friends, abusive ex husbands, everyone. It mattered not to the lawyers for Big Tobacco that I lived nearly 2,000 miles away from where we had our first cigarettes. They hunted me down, found me in my tiny little blue house and knocked on my door.
When they identified themselves to me I told them to “Get the fuck off my property. I have no obligation to speak to you. I will not speak to you. Get away from my house.” They never came back. It was a minute victory that gave me no satisfaction. I had lost my best friend in the whole world because of shrewd and deceptive marketing, and the sale of a product the company knew would kill millions. They had secured enough profits to withstand plenty of nuisance lawsuits, after all. Nothing was going to break that camel’s back, or put the Marlboro Man in an early grave, right?

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