Thursday, September 22, 2016

Autumnal Equinox 2016

As autumn arrives, I sigh at surviving another summer.

I get that seasonal affective disorder is a thing, and this is the time of year when it starts to kick in for some people.

I get it, yet I am utterly, completely wired the other way.

Reaching the end of summer for me is like coming up for air -- cool, damp air with just a hint of decaying plant matter.

And while the mere change of a season is unlikely to make much difference in the greater scheme of life -- especially as I seem to be living in a version of the United States that is damned and determined to replay the worst hits of the 1960s, day by day diving ever deeper into divisiveness -- I cannot help feeling a little better now the longest days are behind us.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Eastwood Political Sequel

The angry old white man who four years ago gave us an exemplary piece of theater showcasing Republicans' true views of Obama (an empty vessel into which they pour their rage) has done it again:
“Everybody’s walking on eggshells. We see people accusing people of being racist and all kinds of stuff. When I grew up, those things weren’t called racist.” -- Clint Eastwood 

Sure they weren't. When you grew up. Which was ... the 1930s.

Gee. I wonder what's changed since then. It's almost like there has been an entire arc of history, social progress, advancement of civil rights ...

But I digress.

Eastwood has once again put his finger on the fading pulse of the Republican spirit.

"... those things weren't called racist."

Make America Great Again, indeed.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

I Have Forgotten How It Goes

It's embarrassing how little I remember sometimes.

I have an English degree, and the head full of dusty literature that comes with it, but all too often I fail to recollect the lines I need to recall, when I need to recall them.

Others stick forever with me, even if the context of their origin is sometimes fuzzy.

"This is history, how it sounds. What do I love? Remind me."

That's a line from the poet Bin Ramke, best I remember it, from his work "When Culture Was Popular," which is part of his anthology Massacre of the Innocents.

I met him, somewhere along 1997 or so, shortly after that was published. He spoke to an advanced creative writing class I was part of, only a dozen or so students, and we sat in a coffee shop and asked endless questions about his work, his process, hoping, each of us, to capture some bit of magic from this master in our midst, each still sheltering at least some fragment of a dream that we could be the sort of practitioner he had become -- stable, employed, respected. Any two of those, maybe. Hell, one, so long as it was part of an existence as a writer.

I don't have to tell you I'm one of the ones who didn't make it. That sort of statement is redundant to tell someone who has made it here to this neglected little spot online.

These days the very best lines of poetry I make -- any writing at all, really -- stay in my head for the little bit of time they last before I dismiss them, usually before even approaching a writing implement.

Then days like this come along -- 50 Dead in Orlando -- and all I want is to be back in that coffee shop, dreaming those dreams, because at least then I still believed that words mattered, that something someone wrote might make a difference, than any little piece of peace in this world was achievable ...

But that part of the dream is as lost as the rest of it, and I just sit here wondering what any of it matters, anywhere, anymore.

I am tired of the sound of history, and I do not remember what I love anymore ... but I am trying, I am here today, trying, to remind myself.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

My Challenger Lesson, Strong 30 Years After

I was 10.

Space was exciting, astronauts were cool.

I'm sure I had watched other shuttle launches. In memory, it seems there was always an emphasis on them at school, and they would always be on the news.

I don't remember when, exactly, I learned of the explosion. I'm pretty sure we didn't watch it live at school -- that would have left a definite impression -- but I don't know if it was announced there or if I heard about it later, at home, on the evening news.

What I distinctly remember is my father, discussing it at the dinner table.

I think, perhaps, he was trying to ease my fear about the incident. (I was afraid of a great many things when I was young, often irrationally, and something as awful as the shuttle explosion would set me right off.)

I don't remember a lot of the details in the conversation, but I remember one part of it very distinctly: my father, saying, "I'd go up tomorrow if they asked me."

I imagine he'd say the same today, as would I.

We do not fear our failures; we learn, we move on, ever hopeful.

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Big Step

Yeah, yeah, I've been remiss in writing. This may or may not change.

What will change?

Attitudes in the United States of America.

Today I celebrate with friends, family, and friends-who-are-like-family the Supreme Court's ruling that, yes, in fact, equality is a thing in this nation of ours and we will, on occasion, stand up and loudly defend the application of that equality to all our citizens.

No more counting the states where same-sex marriage is legal -- it's all of 'em.

No more counting the days until the holdout states must recognize same-sex marriage -- it's now.

No more "same-sex marriage," actually -- it's just marriage.

There's still a long road ahead; bigotry doesn't die just because you tell it how the Constitution works.

There's still a long way to walk on that road, and it winds through worse places, truly dark places of hatred and violence.

Today, though, we stand in a beautiful glade and admire a rainbow.