I don't often get political on my blog and I think it's passed time I do. It's important to speak up when things are wrong because, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "in the end we will remember, not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." Black lives matter and right now, the institutions of our country, the status quo, does not reflect that fact. We can all do better at seeing and peacefully protesting the institutionalized racism that pervades our daily living.
To my understanding, the BLM movement is not pushing for specific legislation to change, rather, their aims are for people in power to acknowledge the injustices that continue to persist, despite the laws set in place during the Civil Rights Movement, and work to eliminate the micro-aggressions and macro-aggressions hurting and killing black men and women today. At the very least, I feel my words might do something to contribute to that aim. I think there are peaceful, impactful ways that an everyday person can be a catalyst for equality. Writing our legislators, running for office, or simply voting, are all actions to take to spread the movement. MLK said "let conscience be your guide" and "love must be our regulating ideal." I hope you see both statements reflected in my poem.
I love Brene Brown and her book The Gifts of Imperfection. In it, she talks about a pervasive sense of inadequacy that has seeped into our minds and threatens our well-being. I have seen this phenomenon anecdotally in my interactions as well. I don't think I know many people who can take a compliment, just stand there and take someone telling them they are awesome. As if it's a painful thing, something wrong, to be avoided. As if the inadequacy is a frozen tundra we've been trapped in, as if we've all been standing outside in the Minnesota winter, -5 F windchill, and our limbs have gone numb and suddenly the compliment comes along, and it's the luke warm water you put your hand in that brings a rush of sensation that feels unpleasant, pins and needles waking up, but oh-so-good when it thaws. So, my poem today is a compliment. Just stand there and take it, and thaw.
I really enjoy physical humor. Seriously, Steve Martin is one of my all time favorite actors. I also really enjoy poems about things our bodies do. So, I've penned today's poem to convey the sensations I experience as part of having, as I put it, "the bladder of a kitten."
I know from previous posts it may appear that I am rooted in the past but I do watch current events from time to time and was recently perusing twitter and caught a tweet chain between Sarah Silverman and a hurting person who called her a horrible name. It was just a one word tweet. And in that word she heard a cry for help and clicked on his profile and learned that he was burdened with scars from his past. Instead of ignoring him, or responding in anger, she responded to him as a real person and, ultimately, created connections to help him progress forward away from past pain.
I think what I loved most about reading what felt like an intimate twitter interaction is that it reinforces a lesson that my eldest sister has tried to get through my skull on numerous occasions; that the world is not black and white- but gray. Sarah Silverman, like anyone, can rub people the wrong way. She is not 100% good or 100% bad, as nobody is. She is, however, extremely authentic and through that authenticity, is able to help others be their most authentic selves.
As I'm studying yoga philosophy, I see many parallels between Sarah Silverman's behavior and yoga principles. I see a ray of light through a shadow of fear I've had about posting "to the internet." My fear was always that someone will call me a name or insult, or threaten me, and I was afraid because I was already taking it personally and spiraling down all the things I could or couldn't do in response. It hasn't even happened, it's a theoretical possibility, and I was already taking it personally. It seems the lesson has finally hit home, to let go of my ego, and be like Sarah Silverman. Know that if a future insult comes my way, it's probably not even about me- and if I reach out authentically, maybe I can ease that person's way.
Climate change is a buzzword in current topics and has been for a while and I guess I'm ready to say my piece. I firmly believe that individual households, especially in the U.S., can have a dramatic impact on whether we avert crisis. I'm the person at work who will turn off the sink you left running behind you when you walked over to the other cupboard to get a glass. I will shut the fridge door on you if you walked away to deal with your food "real quick" before putting the container back. I wonder about people who continue to buy bottled water after so many science-backed resources have campaigned to get the word out that plastic bottled water has so many ills. Have they just missed all the announcements somehow? Or are they willfully destroying the future of their children, nephews, or nieces? I know I can do my part better too, which is why today's poem is a reminder that what we do now, the imprint we make in this minute, is crafting the tomorrow of the little ones we love.
For Earth -
I got a little nostalgic for today's poem and took myself waaaaay back to summers on the farm, baling hay with my family. For those of you who have had the luck to bale hay, I hope this poem evokes some of the same joys that I found when digging up this memory.
Nine days into my year of writing a poem daily and I'm sensing a pattern about my writing. I pen my poems an awful lot like Randy Newton crafts his songs. There is a hilarious Family Guy skit about Randy Newton "singing about what he sees," that I only know because my husband has pointed quoted it to me numerous times. And yes, I do seem to write most often about things in front of my eyes. In the future, I will try to make sure I'm cognizant of this tendency and seek to expand my topics, but really, we live in such a magical world and people are so amazing, inspiring, and sometimes bewildering, that I can't help but want to capture that awesome in my writing. Or, I guess I could help it and I don't really want to stop.
I'm sure it comes without surprise that today's poem is about a person I saw on the bus ride home. This person was happily engrossed in a often-teased form of entertainment and not giving one fig about it. It really brought to mind one of my favorite phrases to use lately, "you do you." Be loud and proud for what you like even if it's not popular*. And now, I'll share my poem, about something I see because you be you and I gotta be me (whew, this poetry thing doesn't turn off).
*Note: statement does not apply to intolerance, hatred, or discrimination.
I love volunteering. I'm passionate about volunteering. You can tell from the photo above that I'm really, really happy when I volunteer. I think volunteering in our communities is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and for others.
I don't want to get all sanctimonious because why I volunteer is definitely not all altruism. First of all, I'm far, far on the extroverted spectrum, secondly, I truly believe in the ripple effect of helping within your community, and third, there is so much fun to be had when you are performing a meaningful task.
So really, my public service announcement is "volunteer to help others in your community and get payback in the form of endorphins, a stronger community, and satisfaction from a job well done." Also, here's my poem.
It's Sunday night. My stomach is pleasantly full, and I'm just enjoying some downtime resting on the couch with my husband and cat. In short, I'm feeling pretty great. So I decided to challenge myself in writing a "blank verse" poem. According to the article I read, blank verse poetry doesn't rhyme but rather uses the "da dum" pattern to make "same-length-of-syllables" lines (like doing iambic pentameter but as many syllables as you want). I think I got that right, though readers can feel free to give me direction if my interpretation was faulty. I chose to do ten syllables in each line and definitely enjoyed the challenge and maybe my brain got some exercise out of it.
The subject matter is every home improvement store. I love home improvement shopping. Home Depot, Lowes, Menard's, you-name-it, I would love to go. Appliances, curtains, electrical wiring, flooring, whatever, I want to peruse. It really does pull me in as if I'm in the "twilight-zone." Hence, the poem.
Today's poem is about one of my most favorite places in the universe. Thanks, Lucia, for making a sanctuary.