January 6, 2021

Yesterday, as the steps of the Capitol Building were being cleared, I witnessed a black D.C. police officer kindly escort an elderly white woman, clad in trump supporting gear, down the capitol steps. This image clashed violently with  the sight of angry Q-Anon supporters chasing another black policeman up the steps of the building’s interior with intent on bodily harm. I wondered if this elderly woman was aware  her presence was simply a smokescreen to justify the sedition planned by far-right insurgents intent on making real the Day of the Rope(Day of the Rope references a fictional event – depicting the slaughter of all Non-Aryans). The image of a rope in the form of a noose has become the homegrown homage to the Neo-Nazi idea that educators, academic, lawmakers, liberals, and all elites should be hung for treason. Would this woman, who received such kindness, have stayed home if she had known she would be forever linked to the mission of neo-Nazis and white supremacists?

There was a wooden gallows erected on the far side of the reflecting pool in the U.S. Capital  January 6, 2021. The expertly tied noose was supported by 10 x 10 uprights and a cross beam that suggested the construction of this gallows was not haphazard. It had been planned and implemented by more than one person. I’m guessing the elderly white woman having trouble negotiating her oxygen canister down the capitol building steps was not one of them. The sight of the gallows did not, as was expected, instill fear in me. Rather I was immediately engulfed in an ancient and historical sadness that has, over the years, kept me and other people of color from really engaging in the political apparatus of this democracy. Then, it was easy to feel defeated knowing that white Americans were, at their very core, racist. The notion that blacks alone were doomed to fight a losing battle with racism was underscored for me in the 90’s when I sat in a meeting of educators and administrators and made the statement that I’ve been driven to believe that if all blacks were too vanish from the country tomorrow there would not be one white person who would care enough to ask about our disappearance. Indeed, after the meeting, not one person among them, some whom I’d considered friends, cared enough to disabuse me of my notion of hopelessness.

I credit the group Black Lives Matter with restoration of my hope. Last summer, when I looked at the faces, young and old, people of color and whites gathering and marching in protest of racist police tactics – I was no longer hopeless. I am no longer hopeless when I witness the work of people like Stacey Abrams who’ve done the monumental task of real grassroots organizing and getting people out to vote in record numbers. No longer will I be afraid or delayed in speaking out against racial injustice.

So today, while that gallows was intended to create fear in me, I see through that hateful intent. That gallows was erected by those who fear BLM, Stacey Abrams, and all people of color who refuse to be marginalized and made so fearful that we don’t vote. The result of November’s elections, fair and free from fear, have flushed out the haters and driven them to Washington to take back a country that they’ve never lost – because they’ve never owned it. Fear is the tool of tyranny. Fear is the hammer this president has used to pound into the palms of those who’ve lost control of their ability to reason. Those are the Americans who would rush into the arms of any tin-pot messiah who promises safety from the imagined demons of his making. 

Justice is here and we are no longer afraid.

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

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

MUSIC: LISTENING TO THE OLDIES

th

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

ON BIG PINE KEY:   QUARANTINED WITH WORDS

cropped-florida-sunset.jpg

     My words,

They’ve marched in on dreams,

Printed conversations with those

Who’ve mastered their form

They’ve fallen from my tongue in hailstorms –

WTFs after reading NYT’s homepage

     Today, I am stuck at the intersection of

“If only” and “Where to now?”

30 minutes ago, over coffee and sunrise

I knew where I was going

 Now, not so much

     We walk the dog

I look for the cardinal who had

Been singing his bright red song

For weeks now

He’s gone – beating the lockdown

Finding a mate who loves his music

     But I am still here

Quarantined in paradise

Wrestling with each letter

Clanging demands

Words; unheard cries

Unraveling the earth

Before it dies

 

 

QUARANTINE: Week Two

    cropped-sunset3651.jpg

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!

 

THE RICH GET RICHER

Flickr
A wall Street-off Scott Lynch/Flickr

I hear the Rich are happy now

     Millions are left uninsured

     Their congressional pawns lie straight-faced

     Tax money saved and secured

 

How much do Rich need to satisfy

     How far can their zeros extend

     Common decency should prove the check

     When so many have so little to spend

Ask, they’ll say: we worked hard for our money

     We deserve every fruit of the earth

     They’ll explain to us, meritocracy

     Forget criminal inheritance, and birth

They’re rich because we like their stuff

     As greed smiles behind our backs

     Their small Christmas bonus implies

     We can buy those boots but not those straps

The Rich assuage guilt with philanthropy

     Tattooing their hearts with no blame

     As the poor kneel to pray for cures

     For diseases bearing only their names

THOUGHTS FROM THE CENTER RING

well of sorrow

             It is inaccurate to say that I hate
             everything. I am strongly in favor
             of common sense, common honesty,
             and common decency. This makes me
             Forever ineligible for public office.   H.L. Mencken

I’ve written about my perception of decency and, it appears, I am writing/preaching to the choir. My friends feel as I do.

As for people who see things differently there seems no “healthy” debate available to them. So far, it’s all been name-calling and put-downs. People who want healthy debate, it appears, are having that debate somewhere other than on social media. And, honestly, I’m not so sure decency should be debatable. Aren’t there are rules already set for what is decent in a democracy?

There are recognized standards for decency. There is the recognized standard of what is proper and in good taste. And we live in a democracy in which our representatives are expected and elected to adhere to a certain standard of decency. I find it difficult to understand those who support elected officials who fail to follow even the faintest path laid out by (what used to be) our collective decency.
In 1954, as an amazed television audience looked on, Boston Lawyer Joseph Welch – after one of his associates was accused by Joseph McCarthy, of having communist ties – responded with the immortal lines that ultimately ended McCarthy’s career:

 
“Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.” When McCarthy tried to continue his attack, Welch angrily interrupted, “Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?” 

What has happened to our collective sense of decency? When did it become okay to be cruel and reckless with the lives and well-being of American citizens and other people around the world?
Where is our sense of decency?
This is a question that should haunt us because the answer will certainly define us as we move forward.