Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Four Hundred Years

 

400 Years

Four Hundred Years

ago

human beings,

stolen from their home,

from their kinships,

from the beauty of their world,

from their families,

their lovers,

their children.

 

Four Hundred Years

ago

human beings

piled into the holds of ships,

shackled  and abused,

barely able to move

stripped of their humanity,

denied their freedom,

humiliated,

often drowned.

 

Four Hundred Years

ago

humans beings

treated somehow

less than human,

like expendable chattel,

like mere property,

disposable, exploited, murdered

with impunity, with indifference,

with carefree and deadly violence.

 


 

Four Hundred years

from then until now

intervening decades

this insidious poison

spread through the generations

periodic massacres of innocents,

near genocide of

native americans

treated as nameless obstacles

to colonization and conquest,

bloodbath that was the civil war

hundreds of thousands of bodies

left dead on forsaken battlegrounds

twisted and mutilated wreckage

forged from an erroneous notion

of supremacy based

not on merit

not on reason or logic

nor justice

but on accidental whiteness

now faithfully eulogized and

solemnly remembered,

blight and contagion spread to other

hapless victims

Chinese

Japanese,

Hispanics,

Muslims,

Human beings mostly of color,

of difference

in outlook

in custom

in dress

in persuasion,

their collective sin

their unforgiveable inequity

the nature of their threat

to be born with

non-whiteness,

with gradations of darkness

no matter how slight

no matter how innocuous,

this overweening falsity that

forged so much carnage

that ushered in Jim Crow,

that gave birth to the

Ku Klux Klan and the

NRA and

Tea Party politicians

inevitably spread to other lands

under the guise of foreign policy

national defense

beneath the umbrella of justifiable wars

leaving millions upon millions dead

immense carnage

and grief

Korean and Vietnamese and Iraqi

and Afghani and Mexican and Filipino

mothers to grieve for their children

their elders

their families.

 

Four Hundred Years

and yet

this unspeakable terror,

this fearsome and unimagined horror

still persists,

some human beings using

power and wealth

to dehumanize others

based upon the color of their skin

and yet

mindless bigotry, hatred and

violence still

plague this nation

even in the twenty-first century

with all that science teaches,

with all that we know,

yet senseless prejudice is

sustained and nurtured

in spite of all that logic and reason dictate,

in spite of all that we understand as truth.

 

For Four Hundred Years

In spite of all that we know,

the killing goes on,

mothers continue to grieve,

justice is denied

unnecessary suffering roars through the land

in a hurricane of grief,

those who live on stolen lands

arm themselves

preparing for a conflagration

that they cannot possibly control,

those who possess inordinate wealth

callous to the suffering

indifferent to the injustice

refuse to relent in their insatiable greed,

this poison passed around in giant goblets

that touch the lips and infest

hearts and minds

with pure nonsense.

 

It has been Four Hundred Years,

It needs to stop,

this moribund and

dangerous idea of superiority

based upon  the fallacy called race,

needs to be extinguished once and for all

not by the power of intimidation,

not by violence,

not by fiat

but simply and resolutely

through a transformation of ideas,

it is up to the people of this wondrous land

to teach the children and ourselves

what is fundamentally the truth

that we are all members of the same species

Homo sapiens

we share the same architecture

of body and mind,

the same panoply of

emotions and desires

the same capacity for love,

for reason and harmony

for logic and intellect,

for imagination and

creativity, inventiveness and

for art,

each and everyone of this

family of human beings

deserving of  equal measures of

social and economic justice,

equal access to health care

to shelter

to nutrition

opportunity to thrive and to prosper,

to learn and to grow

without any fear of reprisal or

bigotry or baseless retribution,

all worthy of the love that mothers

naturally give,

of being embraced and included

without hesitation or reluctance

or trepidation

within the all encompassing arms of the

human family.

 

After Four Hundred Years

is this

really too much to ask for?

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Lightness of Being

 


Dance of the mayfly,

storm of fire ants

beneath the jungle canopy,

thundering herds of wildebeests

across the serengeti,

bones of a stegosaurus

millions of years deceased

in some faraway world

on earth’s perpetual sojourn

around its parent star,

human journey through time

illustrious home of earth

generation upon generation

stretching from tortuous past

into an uncertain future,

star going nova within the

expansive cosmos

engulfing its planets in a

momentous release of enormous energy,

owl beckoning for the

fall of night

to awaken its predatory spirit,

mothers in labor all over the

this wondrous world

on the same day,

destined to perpetuate the species.

 

Life transient

Impermanent

like the passing breath,

like a singular beat of the heart,

gift of existence

exquisitely present,

surprisingly brilliant,

intensely felt,

momentary,

often blinding,

unsettling,

full of sadness

and poignancy

and joy.

 

Life bonded

to emotions,

forged by love,

grounded in consciousness,

imbedded in now,

shaped by myriad experiences,

haunted by shades of past and

shadows of future.

 

Yet, there is an

Intrinsic lightness to being,

that embraces the present,

created and extinguished

moment to moment

within the indefatigable

arc of time.