Love or Life?

Do I choose love,

or do I choose life,

down in here in this pit of society

where I can chose 1, be a woman

or 2, be someone, something else

I don’t know what that something is,

exactly, but I do know

it is something of a warrior,

everything of a human being

when love becomes “the next step” in life,

when it becomes a final goal

it ruins the songs for me, it ruins the longing in my heart

for love and life and more,

a world that can make sense again,

a space where I can start learning how the puzzle fits together

rather than about each individual piece,

peace does not, will not, never comes from love alone

these good-vibes-only signs make me want to be bad

I want to speak a language everyone will understand,

that will encompass sympathy and empathy and compassion

and purpose and results. I want to act.

 

I do want love.

But I want to live, too.

I want to live the life I choose,

not just that of the mother or the wife or the nurturer.

 

I want to give this Earth a voice.

That would do just fine.

 

a rambling in the wake International Women’s Day…

a day we shouldn’t need to celebrate…a day that should be every. day.

March 10, 2017

Let America Be America Again

Langston Hughes, 19021967

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark? 
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free?  Not me?
Surely not me?  The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

Practice

What makes you think you have to win,

that this is all a game?

 

I think that’s what they want you to think.

I think it’s what they’ve fed you since you were four.

 

Such a precious word, Practice.

 

Life is not winning and losing

and capitalism and greed

and first and last

and fixing and solving

and searching and striving.

 

Life is Practice–

for its own sake.

 

February 11, 2017

Inheritance

What legacy

have I been born into,

have you been born into,

have we been born into?

 

The farmer,

the preacher,

the banker,

the slave owner,

the slave;

the pawn,

the mom,

the sister,

the son,

the game.

 

It’s all a game of competition

or at least it all seems like a game of competition…

 

The Earth is not a game.

The Earth is life;

and we are part of the Earth.

 

We have each been handed an inheritance

that we had no control over.  You’re right.

 

We’ve all been infants, breast fed, bottle fed,

learned to read if we were lucky.

 

But how much did we really learn

if I am unable to read the society around me–

if society is unable to read itself?

 

Who created this inheritance, thought it was a good idea?

 

What is an inheritance anyway?

 

If leaves learned to read, write, speak

as we have…

perhaps we would have an answer.

 

January 22, 2017