Big Bad Wolf In The Mirror

It’s impossible to not feel something watching the marches and protests that are continuing throughout the United States, Canada and around the world. Some of the feelings are difficult to name and sit with. As a white, middle class female I have lived a relatively privileged life. It’s difficult to face how insidious racism is in our society and accept how unconsciously I may have been contributing to it. George Floyd’s death has ripped open a scar that will never be the same. The bleeding may stop but the wound can either heal or the infection become worse. I am asking myself, how can I, right now, look deeply at any way I can add love and compassion to question long held beliefs so that I may contribute to healing.

When did we become our own worst enemy.
Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes -
they're practically Canadian.
A border and a name is not enough to claim
we are any different.
When did we buy into the lie
our leaders would have us believe
that they are looking out for our best interest.

An egg placed in hot water
becomes soft cooked after three minutes,
hard boiled after twelve,
after that shells may crack.
Gunshot explosions
when the pot boils dry
have us diving for cover.
Yolk sticks to the stipple
like only something contained 
and under pressure, can.

The world placed in a cell phone lens
becomes agitated in eight seconds,
the time it takes 
to form a first impression.
After eight minutes and forty-six seconds
it boils over, multiple "moments of truth"
crack
a two-hundred year old shell,
a police car, a parking space, a man's face
on the asphalt
When did a plea for mercy
become something to taunt,
a knee on a neck, an eye turned away

I have to remind myself to not look away,
to feel the discomfort, to see the obstacles,
see how we use our language,
the toys we give our children,
the messages in their spaces of learning,
Barbie and Ken in their Malibu home,
masculine control of naming and explaining.
What can we learn from Black Americans,
from people of color, 
how they inhabit their bodies
how they live in the world.

I have to remind myself to not look away.
The message sticks
like only something contained 
and under pressure,
can.

Coping

Blizzard white streets
line our city
sifted with fear.
Blue skies above
hiding enemy breath
ready to attack 
unsuspecting hosts.
Our homes
once lively and vibrant
withdraw to silent
lemon scent lysol 
war zones.
Ninty per cent alcohol
for our hands
hands that touch and hold
caress and scratch
tap and text.
Our worst foe
bringing havoc 
to the center of our lives.
But people are people.
Evening dusts
computer screens with song.
People reach people
across balconies
across seas
half a world apart
isolated but not alone
people connect.
Puccini's "Nessun Dorma"
soars
"we will be victorious."

Expect Nothing by Alice Walker

big-snowstorm-pennsylvania

 

Expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.
become a stranger
To need of pity
Or, if compassion be freely
Given out
Take only enough
Stop short of urge to plead
Then purge away the need.

Wish for nothing larger
Than your own small heart
Or greater than a star;
Tame wild disappointment
With caress unmoved and cold
Make of it a parka
For your soul.

Discover the reason why
So tiny human midget
Exists at all
So scared unwise
But expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.

Transcendent Contact

Music plays quietly
delicate notes of joy and love
uplifting
Heartwarming tears of gratitude
offered while on knees of the moment
Beauty and compassion
shared in a circle of safety
stories of hardship and pain
stories of hopes and desires
enveloped in a halo of acceptance
Dream catchers woven
in a time of listening
open hearts
exposed and vulnerable
gathered in hands of friendship
Ragged threads
braided as one
no longer frayed
strengthened by unity
now a beautiful tapestry
Lives unfold
as each thread is touched,
colored, named
Mystical artwork
mysteriously created
Music soars
a divine chorus
a privileged instant