interdependence

the naturalist approaches, his hand splayed out in front of us showing four distinct pieces of a porcupine’s scat. he urges us to keep an eye on the trees. we all scan the forest as if the porcupine is right there waiting. the forest looks back at us. later, the naturalist points to the cocoon of a gypsy moth. with a low hum of concern, the group presses close, muttering we’ll know what to look for then. we stop again when the naturalist finds the rotting corpse of a porcupine overhung with thin naked branches, the black and dirty white of its quills stark against the leavings of winter. the group moves on but I stay and look. a man stays, too, silent. finally, he leans down and reaches in. he plucks a quill from the dead porcupine and puts it in his pocket. he looks at me and says, do you want one, too?

Posted in environment, life, nature | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

peace officers, not police officers

George Floyd is dead after police responded to a suspected forgery. Floyd’s is yet another unpardonable story of a black man succumbing to death under brutal and disproportionate police response. 

Such handling should be unheard of, but somehow none of us are surprised. While acknowledging that police are exposed to risky situations, we’ve heard self defense too many times in suspect situations for it to be believable. Heard it too many times to suppose that the police themselves are not responsible for escalating otherwise innocuous situations. 

When one considers the vast injustices and crimes against the citizenry executed by people in corporations and government that routinely go unchecked in any respect, it absolutely boggles the mind that anyone could approach an individual suspected of forgery prepared to kill him or treat him with brutality. It defies sanity that anyone could similarly approach individuals for countless other ‘crimes’ that are in reality mere evidence of the lack of a healthy social and economic structure and a government with a cold shoulder for much of its populace.

No one, except perhaps for the Amy Coopers of the world, wants to call the police anymore. Since they have assumed their militarized persona, police are broadly feared, distrusted, and disliked. For people of color, the dread is unimaginable and unforgivable. And for those with mental health challenges, it’s beyond terrifying.

Our police officers aren’t just armed, they are prepared for battle, right down to the tanks. They are inculcated with the mentality to go with it. It appears that an unfortunate percentage of them are steeped in prejudices. And we pay for it with tax monies.

This just should not be, and we all know it.

I like to believe that a person is drawn to police work with an intent to make a positive difference in the world. We need to support that intention.

We need to start over on the whole concept of policing. We need to start from scratch on how our police are trained. We need to relieve them of their war weapons and de-escalate their heightened warlike mentality. We need to be done with SWAT teams. We need to take away incentives like civil asset forfeiture, military grade arms coming from the feds, and prison lockup quotas for those for-profit prisons. We need to weed out those for whom discriminatory injustice is not reprehensible. We need to decriminalize in areas.

We need police who are true public servants. These are the police that can be trusted. They are welcome and level-headed friends in a moment of need. They seek to build an inherently safer, healthier community.

We want compassionate local police who care about their community across the board. Ones who are absolutely only prepared to use a weapon or brute force as an extreme last resort. Look at a number of other countries that somehow manage with police who generally go about their business unarmed. Who woulda thunk?

While we grieve with George Floyd’s family for this terrible loss, we need to bang the drum. We want peace officers, not police officers. 

Posted in compassion, justice, peace | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

before the light comes

The birds begin to sing before the light comes. The voices reach me through the windows opened to the soft rustles and creaks of the dark hours. They pierce the magic time of furtive shadows, clear and urgent and free.

Is it song? Or is it speech? Is it utter joy? Do they call lovers, call children? Do they call me, call us, call all?

The strain oscillates through the air, an abstraction, cryptically enfolding me. The darkened space in which I lay irresistibly expands to the trees, the skies, the stars. I flutter up to the birds and sing with them the chaotic anthem of our souls. No beat, no refrain, no syncopation, no rhythm at all but we thrum with the cadence of life.

The birds begin to sing before the light comes. They sing the primal language, the one we all know. My feet and hands speak it, the tongue of the breathing earth, the pulsing star. We are all there together, for that brief moment before the sun snaps its fingers before our eyes, at the feral edges.

So dreams will have to do for now. Imagination defies the story to which we have agreed. Later, I will remember what we all know to be true, and sing again with the birds at the outer fringe of night.

Posted in life, nature | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

for life

tenderness
at the inception
honor the gift
the joy the beauty
the mystery

tenderness
along the journey
acknowledge the shared path
the blind curves the dead ends
the vistas

tenderness
moment by every moment
find it allow it
breathe it
who can afford less?

Posted in life, love, poetry | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

go ahead and ask

At this point, we all have a lot of questions. We have all heard conflicting stories. Fear may keep someone in a strident mask-bound stance, but even they cannot help but have doubts.

And that’s as it should be. 

There has been enough conflicting, dubious information, that you’re not awake if you haven’t noticed. You should have doubts and questions.

Based on a narrative, we have turned our culture on its head. We are reduced to anonymous, hidden entities. We are uncomfortable in what used to be normal spaces for us. We are largely separated from community. The looming agenda for our children’s schools should frighten any thinking parent. Our livelihoods, our food supply are threatened. Trackers are hired, and apps developed for the purpose of knowing even better who we know and where we go. Discourse is censored. Medicine and our control over our own bodies are becoming even further not matters of choice but submission to state decisions.

We are citizens of the earth first. We have every right to question the narrative as well as what government seeks to decree. 

We need to look with open minds and compassion at each other as we find our way through this. We need to look at each other with respect instead of being driven apart by fear. 

The people who stridently support everything they are told are trying their best to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities. 

The people who question and resist also have everyone’s best interests at heart — they are no less invested in protecting themselves, their loved ones, and their communities.

This is a time for people to come together – in the midst of our enforced alienation – to find the true answers and discover the truly healthy path we should follow. We must come out of the trenches of fear and move towards love to find the truth.

We must allow the questions. We must be willing to listen and to learn. We must be willing to confront the narrative and to take a loving stand. With no time to spare.

Posted in compassion, fear, life | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

chance #WritePhoto

Leaning over the rail, I look down into the water — the bird nesting in the reeds, the turtles sunning on the half-submerged limb. The greening and growing around me hiss with life.

I am almost startled by your whisper at my side. My eyes raise from the waters to the leafy tumble above the pond. I search, not seeing. You point. My eyes finally find the deer looking back at us. 

We stand, silent, just watching. Eventually, I realize I can feel you there, the warm of you, a stranger. Not touching.

Months later, I miss you.

###

Thank you, Sue Vincent, for the inspiration of this week’s #WritePhoto prompt.

Posted in life, love | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

time for a new party

veru5_19_20

It was only early March when the Super Tuesday coup saw Joe Biden, the candidate who hardly bothered to campaign, magically sweep up rival candidates, votes, and endorsements. Then, suddenly we were all caught up in the pandemic vortex, and a month later Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign.

The pandemic commanded our full attention, also raising a lot of questions about leadership, policies, healthcare, economics, rights, freedom.

In that context, we still gather a simmering steam towards November.

We have had ample opportunity to watch Trump and his cohorts at the helm. We’ve seen the Dems in action, too, repeatedly turning their backs on the working populace they supposedly champion. We even occasionally get glimpses of the presumptive nominee, Biden, giving a shout-out from his basement.

This is the man the establishment Dems somehow expect people to line up for? Who puts up a candidate for whom there is zero energy in the electorate? A candidate clearly coping with cognitive decline. A candidate with a predilection for hair sniffing. A candidate who must carry around the baggage of his own track record and lies even before the contest really begins.

The Trump campaign lately put up a website sadly featuring Biden’s difficulties in parody. Truth Over Facts derives its name from a Biden quote. And it is laugh out loud stuff. It was inevitable. But if you’re going to point the ‘for shame’ finger at anyone, point it at the Dems who have foisted this man onto the presidential stage.

One can’t help but wonder if the deliberate intent of the Super Tuesday coup was specifically to get Trump re-elected. They swept the popular agenda and grass roots candidate off the table and installed an unfit candidate with a dysfunctional neoliberal agenda – to the extent that he has one at all.

One cannot even bother to blame Bernie Sanders’ voters for the next Trump win — the Dems engineered this situation with brute force. Lesser-of-two-evilism notwithstanding, there’s a percentage of those voters that have DemExited for good now that they’ve been pushed over the cliff.

I don’t think the Dems will lose any sleep over it though. As we have seen with their pandemic priorities, the Dems are perfectly fine with their Republican agenda. They don’t even bother playing Good Cop Bad Cop anymore. In fact, at this point, it’s not so much that we have Red and Blue factions. Nope, we just have one party, may as well be Purple.

We deserve better than this. The planet deserves better than this.

It’s time for a new party to come to the forefront. One that doesn’t just give lip service to the working and broader populace while doing the bidding of the one percent. The Movement for a People’s Party launched in the wake of the 2016 election, and it is gaining momentum. Maybe the Green Party will be part of the ultimate equation. It’s a wave that looks surfable.

If we don’t have a revolution first, I think we’ll see a People’s Party take center stage for 2024. Then, we might really have something worth voting for. Sadly, it’s not really clear we can afford to wait that long.

Posted in politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments