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QUARANTINE: Week Two

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Like our electronic toys

The world has a reset button

When we ignore her overheating

She admonishes with flames

When we foul our nests

She sends the oceans in retort

And when we ignore the world’s health,

Its inhabitants’ well-being,

Choosing to chase vicious luxuries

Because – we can

She sends the enemy invisible

The virus incurable,

Barely namable

Scoffing dreams and schemes

Our world has reset

An algorithm for stimulus

Six-degrees of separation

Leaves room for empathy

We leave food for the hungry

We drive the immobile

We care for the sick

We handsomely tip the daring

Souls who venture into the

Empty streets of commerce

Bringing food to those of us with money – to eat

But, the natural world wants us

To open our eyes

She wants us apart enough

To see those lives

That will never change – even with

A conquered virus

She wants us to see the fallacy of

Putting profit before people

She wants us to see those

Who have always been

Quarantined by poverty

In spirit and in purse

Yes, the world has reset.

Sadly, the culling

Won’t be equitable

 

Reset people

Reset!

 

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DEAR WHITE PEOPLE

march on wash. monu

I don’t want your                                                                     liberal guilt

Your shocked alarm                                                                   at blood long spilt

I truly don’t want                                                                  your dismay

To matter more                                                                           than a racist display

What I want                                                                                  when you’re alone

Standing among                                                                           those blood and bone

Not a defense of my                                                                    right to BE

But a defense of my right                                                          to take a knee

Scour your own heart                                                                of stereotype

It sieves through all                                                                 the “tolerant” hype

I know when you think                                                                I’m not enough

When my vocabulary tends                                                    to call your bluff

I will know when the                                                           racist BS ends

When in absence I am                                                            just your “friend”

You’ll understand my anger                                                    at a human race

Those who won’t rise                                                             above limited base

 And you’ll feel easy                                                                   in the skin you own

Knowing we are ALL                                                        simply blood and bone

All working toward                                                                     a peace un-shattered

Where there is no offense                                                    that our lives matter

                                                                       G.  Davis-Feldman  ©2019

CIVIL WAR Part II

I find it amazing (not in a good way) that we are at 250 thousand deaths from the Corona Virus and the President is holed up in some emotional  underground bunker tweeting instructions to those who enable him in his efforts to subvert democracy. He has no plan to help Americans through this pandemic. His only plan is to help himself to a second term. I’d like to say we Americans don’t deserve this but, I’m sure we do.

For so long we’ve moved ahead (those of us with good jobs and relatively happy existences) willing to put an uncomfortable, unaddressed history behind us. We have buried our worst  moral transgressions so far below the dirt of this country’s emotional North South Line that when part two of the Civil War erupts, we fail to see it. We’ve been blinded to the GOP’s red on one side and the Democrat’s blue on the other. Only now  we are becoming increasingly aware that the Mason-Dixon Line in this part II of our Civil War is –  Donald J. Trump.

We’ve been blinded. Had – by that long arm of the far-right con working always behind a curtain. We’ve been distracted by the clown sent out to mollify and entertain the crowd. We couldn’t see the con because we are the mark. 

G.D. Feldman 11/20/2020 

GOING FORWARD

Yes, going forward sounds easy – yet we’ve crossed so many rivers roiled with havoc. We’ve bridged  so many valleys made lower with  doubt. 

I cry at the memory of what was my sincere hatred of unhappy people – who’ve made the world unhappier.  I’ve gone to bed at night with hatred and doubt my personal valets only to awake with the only question left; WHY?  That word is the leash that has lashed me to the mast of hope.  

Going forward I will walk with hope open in one hand and doubt doubled in the other. I will hope with all the tears of the mothers who’ve lost children to the systemic hatred of the patriarchy. I will hope with all the tears of those who wait to come into our own troubled land knowing this despairing country is far better than the despair they’ve left. I will hope and be washed clean with all the tears of those who’ve  marched for justice in the streets and the courts. Those who know that when injustice is leveled at ONE it is leveled at us ALL. I will walk forward with all the hope fashioned from the depths of  a four-year-old misery. I will walk forward knowing my purpose; that justice is never achieved by detachment but through hard work – one foot in front of the other until my feet are worn and rent with protest.  

There is no valley of peace – I know now – every hiatus in the struggle, however warm with camaraderie, can be stolen and used against me. Against justice. The thieves of justice will never sleep.  I’ve had four years to learn this.  And I am, going forward, a damned good student! 

HOW DARE WE

How dare we believe that the ALL in

Liberty & Justice for… includes us

How dare we believe our marching

Will bring about change.

How dare we stomp on the weak

Promise of equality.

How dare we want the privilege to

Walk.

Talk.

Drive.

Be in any space. Any place

How dare we reach into the tall

Grass of corruption to

Throttle the snake of injustice

How dare we show the audacity

Of hope

How dare we?

How dare we not?

GDF ©9/2020

GROWNUP FRUSTRATION

 

STAT OFLIB LIGHTENING

There’s frustration in behaving like a grown-up

It’s knowing that the lie told against you this morning

Has spanned the continent twice by the

Time you awake

         But you carry on as if it hasn’t

There’s frustration in being the grown up

When grown men fight the way they do

In suits armored with dollar signs

        But you carry on as if they don’t

There’s frustration in behaving grown up

When the agony of the human condition

Is reduced to excuses

And blame

        And you carry on as if it isn’t

There’s frustration in being grown up

When the door to respond-in-kind

 Is locked just by decency

        Yet you pull on it anyway –  as if it isn’t

There’s frustration in being grown-up

Where relief is found in dreams

Ungovernable desires

For the “blood-dimmed tide”

To drown the babble

AND the rabble

        But you desire it anyway

There’s frustration in being grown-up

In knowing the constancy of  war

Is but subliminal chaos disguised as

A throw of the dice

From congressional pits

        And we carry on anyway

         we adults

        As if it isn’t

Dragging care-worn, frustrated hearts

Across mountains of tyranny

Through valleys of decorum

We’ll wrest the locks from ballot boxes

        And slay the lie

        Leaving no weapons

        To defend it

I’M AFRAID

Stonehenge

I’m afraid

That stray cultural thread

Waving above the fabric

Long ignored

Has been pulled

I’m afraid

An uneasy order has

Unraveled

Uncontrolled by small generals

Hovering over spreadsheets

I’m afraid

We’ve slept

Too peaceably

Allowing bogus men

To do their battles

On our behalf

I’m afraid

We are freezing life

A peace handcuffed to

A failed post-war

Parchment ideal

I’m afraid

We’re melting calamity

Spreading red

Across planned communities

In unplanned retribution

I’m afraid

We’ve failed a test

To which we were given the answers

I’m afraid

The hand we’ve elected is cloven

A hoof with 50 apostles and

All the good lines

I’m afraid

The last man standing

Won’t be man or standing

Just

The illiterate hand  hovering

Over our thread-thin culture

ignorant of

The implacable

Geometry of chaos

PANDEMIC POLITICS

 

 

confetti

What is there to make the heart swell

Against those ungovernable desires?

Wars; showdowns at

The corral

The jungle

The beach

The half-learned lessons class

The thin stream of info-wire

Signifying new battlegrounds

Sneaky. Anonymously mean

And wrong

Stabbing at our rucksacks

Full of unused Gods

           •

What poetry can hold

What it can’t

Anger controlled

By rhyme or meter

Impolite bluster

Baroque or scant

Edgy words on pages teeter

Sweet noises overrun morning thunder

Evening song diminished in

Skeins of days torn asunder

                   •

May November carry our souls

From a hell lined with poetry stole

From that Shredded Parchment,

Now lying in confetti baskets,

To be strewn in ignorant rapture,

Over brides, babies, and caskets

IT WILL ALWAYS BE ABOUT RACE…

 

march on wash. monu
Intelligence favors the truth

“Why does it always have to be about race?”

I was asked this question 25 years ago by one of my 10th grade English students. Classroom discussion had turned to the notorious O.J. Simpson case. Interest in this high-profile murder trial had found a willing population in this small-town, filled with the hero worship of football fanatics. To some students, Orenthal James Simpson was the hero they wished they could be. While for other students, regurgitating family dinner table comments from the night before, the trial became a low-road referendum on why beautiful white women should not marry black men.

For a split second, I felt trapped by the question. I knew, as the only African American teacher in the building, my usual faculty lounge equal opportunity to (my opinion) approach wasn’t going to work. I looked at my students, who were quiet and waiting for my response.

“Race relations, in this country,” I said, “are like a deep wound that scabs over too soon. Sometimes that scab is pulled off because the wound has not healed”.

My analogy held, at least – until the bell rang.  

The longer I live the more I’ve come to realize just how close to the truth I’d gotten with my off-the-cuff analogy of racism. The United States of America is a beautiful and large 50-part body. But it is a body that, when undressed, is blemished with many big and small bandages that have been hastily applied over the decades to staunch the bloody flow of recollection.

I grew up in a time of hope in spite of the assassinations of President Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, and Malcolm X; flawed heroes to be sure but the flaws did not erase the passionate messages they left in their combined wakes. These messages offered a hope that sprung eternal in many African-American hearts. It certainly did in mine. In 1969 I marched across Compton High’s graduation stage to receive my diploma; a piece of paper weighted with hope for my future in college and beyond. I am the recipient of the economic infusion that came as reparation in the aftermath of black protests of the mid-60’s. I was twelve at the time of the Watts Rebellion. My speech at my 9th grade graduation was titled “Where do We Go From Here?” But by the time I had reached 12th grade I still had no idea what I wanted to do or be. I just knew I was moving forward. And with money made available through grants and low interest loans, I was going to college – with hope.  Hope propelled me through a time when it appeared this country had come face-to-face with its past inhumanity. When we made tracks from the back of the bus to the outer limits of space. Hope filled my heart when I looked closer at the pictures and the black and white faces of those marching across bridges and standing at the Lincoln Memorial listening to a man’s wish for his progeny and their ultimate place at the table of humanity. But my heart was never so full of hope as it was when I witnessed Barack Obama sworn in as the first African-American president of these United States.

For most of us, there was a collective hope in 2009. There was hope that this country could heal and become more than a culturally loose affiliation of wounded states. But all the hopes and dreams of those working to keep the conversation alive, could not survive the biggest blow to the empire – the resurrection, the reemergence of the bare-knuckled fist of America’s Manifest Destiny now dressed in the regalia of white supremacy. Manifest Destiny was the belief that early America was fated, ordained to expand her influence and supremacy no matter the land and lives of her indigenous people. This first and largest wound to America’s still young and vibrant body came from the lie that white European men were superior in intellect and desire. It was a lie supported by political attitude and weaponry. The spread of the propaganda of Manifest Destiny sowed the seeds of white supremacy into stolen soil.

It is true, history is written by the winner. That whites should reap the benefits of a stolen land and take on the virtues of an annihilated people is an idea hard-baked into 20th Century white supremacy.  Even today, the prevailing white power structure continues to gore the body of America in its failure to recognize the Native American as worthy, even human.

Growing a sturdy body, like building a durable nation, requires a strong and stable foundation. That this country began with land theft and the genocide of its native people should have been a dire warning to Jefferson and the other “founding fathers.”  But it wasn’t. And when the need arose for a larger labor force, African people were imported. Bought and sold like chattel, the African’s rich dark skin and foreign tongue further failed to invoke any humanity in their overseers.  That Hitler used the American institution of slavery as a blue print for his holocaust was not surprising. Slavery was profitable. It was the slave who enriched the new world beyond measure. And it was the white male who took credit for this young country’s elevated economic standing. Everyone profited from yet another gaping wound to America’s Body. Even those who refused to engage in the overt act of buying and selling human beings profited from the idea that some human beings are less worthy than others.

The lie of Manifest Destiny has grown and morphed into a hierarchy of lies ordained by God with the white man, unfettered by compassion, securely positioned at its peak. It is the lie that deems some humans of no value. The lie that continues to consume the U.S. body with a flesh-eating dishonesty. It is a lie made visible by the continuing protest for simple dignity.

The road is long. We are tired. And we have yet to reach our goal of a truly unified body of states. Reaching that goal means this country removes the knife that has been plunged into the Native American heart with its reverence for Indian Killers like Andrew Jackson – revered on the twenty-dollar bill for his Trail of Tears. We will be close to our goal when we understand that the installation of many Confederate memorial statues took place, not right after the Civil War, but during the 1920’s, an era suffused with Jim Crow violence against black people. We are told these statues are only to commemorate a more prosperous southern history. But these statues were being erected on the lawns of state buildings and county courthouses during a time of violent disenfranchisement of black people. And that tells a different, more murderous history.

 Today, it grieves me to know there are young people who feel hopeless. It grieves me to know that we still have to remind people that we are human and that our lives matter. It grieves me to know that the closer we get to that Table of Humanity the further away it seems. The body-US still suffers from severe wounds. Still writhes in hateful, violent spasms of white supremacy. Today’s protests are necessary to highlight that vulgarity of corruption within the body. We protest to break the bandages and scrape the scab from the wound to further allow the pus of hatred to drain. Only then can we proceed to wash clean the bloodstained fiber that should bind this country’s entire body.

Yes, it is about race and until we heal from the inside out by addressing white supremacy in all its forms, it will always be about race.

MUSIC: LISTENING TO THE OLDIES

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There’s a reason why it’s still here

       That “old” music, emblematic of all our firsts

History,  instrument-etched

       Rhythmic scorching guitars

Saxophones – longing or lucky

       Pianos running us up and down

ranges of emotion

Bass and drums defibrillating

beatless hearts

       All spooning with words

That led us in that timeless

       Continuous dance

Along the Watchtower

       Among the purple flowers

In that Purple Haze

       There’s a reason for “oldies stations”

Sanctuaries for melodic reminders, telling us

       Passion, its usefulness, is deathless

As long as humans prevail

       “Old–school” music will continue

Demanding answers to questions

       That should have been asked

Of the past

OF TIME AND DREAMS

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What is that time called

Just before sleep fully takes over

When the night-mind, in acid-etched clarity

Lines up the day’s matters

Forcing them to kneel in pain’s shadow?

What is that time called

That sounds its claxon for battle 

Swinging the Damoclesean sword

Slashing away

The nubile dreams of the innocent?

The time just before being delivered

To the mercy of that clamor

Accompanying the onset of dreams

That time when heart and brain come

Together each with its own music;

Sharps and flats dueling for supremacy

Offering a clarion call sometimes

So lovely as to be taken as anthem

Shepherding the heart

Through sunsets,

Births,

Deaths,

Success,

Failure;

The basic drawing-and-quartering of life.

What is that time called?

STAYING POSITIVE WHILE STARING AT THE BODY COUNT

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Venting frustration
Failed attempts at normal
But normal, escaped, is now
Free-range
Arranged on social media
With intermittent WTFs

 

I’ve overheated
I’m angry
It’s Florida

 

Housework –
I’ve ironed clothes that wrinkle
Wishing life and virus could be
So smoothed

 

A Grocery run –
New hunting and gathering ritual
Homemade masks to protect
From the angry uncovered faces
Staring at my NY plates with disdain
As if my name were Wuhan
Rather than Hot Mess

 

With five-o’clock wine
I watch the sunset
Tossing its diamonds
Upon the waters of Newfound Channel
Week five:
Quarantined in paradise