Wednesday, November 9, 2016

#notmypresident

We are taught to stand. We are taught to put our hands over our hearts and pledge allegiance to the United States of America. We do this in kindergarten classes and at football games and graduations and we do it because we are told to do it.

We are taught that patriotism is the only way-- that America is a wonderful country full of opportunity and hope. We are taught that our civic duty to vote is a blessing and that the troops keep us free so we can do it.

We are taught to wear yellow ribbons. We are told that these men and women are serving to "keep us free and safe." We prioritize soldiers on flights, ushering them quickly through the VIP lines because of "their great sacrifice."

And for what? What have they sacrificed for? What democracy is there for anyone who isn't white and male?

The American judicial system favors anyone with money or connections, not the innocent.
The American education system does not encourage free thought or critical thinking.
The American healthcare system prioritizes drug company profits over human health.
The American agricultural system favors the food industry profits over the environment.

So when I do not stand during your anthem, don't be surprised. When I do not celebrate freedom on the 4th of July, save your hate mail.

We are not the land of the free.
That man is not my president.
We should be ashamed of ourselves.

Friday, October 14, 2016

More important things

A friend of mine forgave me this week for being merciless and cruel to her during a political discussion. She taught me that there are usually more important things in life than being right.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Loose Woman

They say I’m a beast.
And feast on it. When all along
I thought that’s what a woman was.

They say I’m a bitch.
Or witch. I’ve claimed
the same and never winced.

They say I’m a macha, hell on wheels,
viva-la-vulva, fire and brimstone,
man-hating, devastating,
boogey-woman lesbian.
Not necessarily,
but I like the compliment.

The mob arrives with stones and sticks
to maim and lame and do me in.
All the same, when I open my mouth,
they wobble like gin.

Diamonds and pearls
tumble from my tongue.
Or toads and serpents.
Depending on the mood I’m in.

I like the itch I provoke.
The rustle of rumor
like crinoline.

I am the woman of myth and bullshit.
(True. I authored some of it.)
I built my little house of ill repute.
Brick by brick. Labored,
loved and masoned it.

I live like so.
Heart as sail, ballast, rudder, bow.
Rowdy. Indulgent to excess.
My sin and success–
I think of me to gluttony.

By all accounts I am
a danger to society.
I’m Pancha Villa.
I break laws,
upset the natural order,
anguish the Pope and make fathers cry.
I am beyond the jaw of law.
I’m la desperada, most-wanted public enemy.
My happy picture grinning from the wall.

I strike terror among the men.
I can’t be bothered what they think.
¡Que se vayan a la ching chang chong!
For this, the cross, the calvary.
In other words, I’m anarchy.

I’m an aim-well,
shoot-sharp,
sharp-tongued,
sharp-thinking,
fast-speaking,
foot-loose,
loose-tongued,
let-loose,
woman-on-the-loose
loose woman.
Beware, honey.

I’m Bitch. Beast. Macha.
¡W├íchale!
Ping! Ping! Ping!
I break things.

Sandra Cisneros

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Art of Making Possible

My entrance into the world of so-called “social problems”
Must be with quiet laughter, or not at all.
The hollow men of anger and bitterness
The bountiful ladies of righteous degradation
All must be left to a bygone age.
And the purpose of history is to provide a receptacle
For all those myths and oddments
Which oddly we have acquired
And from which we would become unburdened
To create a newer world
To translate the future into the past.
We have no need of false revolutions
In a world where categories tend to tyrannize our minds
And hang our wills up on narrow pegs.
It is well at every given moment to seek the limits in our lives.
And once those limits are understood
To understand that limitations no longer exist.
Earth could be fair. And you and I must be free
Not to save the world in a glorious crusade
Not to kill ourselves with a nameless gnawing pain
But to practice with all the skill of our being
The art of making possible.

"The Art of Making Possible"
Poem by Nancy Scheibner 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Charlotte is on fire.


I'm not sure who took this photo. I wish I knew so I could give them credit. But it was taken on the exit of I-85 next to my boyfriend's house in the middle of the night on Tuesday. That's when the protests got ugly, and an dull haze of fear and rage fell over Charlotte, North Carolina.

The protests began peacefully but quickly became violent. I began contemplating whether or not I should drive to my boyfriend's house this afternoon, knowing it could be really scary.

I've never had to be afraid when I got in my car that I would end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, or that I'd be pulled over for a minor traffic violation and lose my life within the hour. I have not felt this, mainly because I am not a black man. I am lucky in this way, because many people in my community feel that fear every time they put their key into their ignition.

And they wait for change.

And they wait.
And they wait.
And they wait.

I was scared for the first time last night. For the first time in my life I had to feel what black Americans feel every time they put on their seatbelts. It was so unnerving, so uncomfortable. The havoc that kind of stress can wreak on your system over time can break you down.

My city caught fire last night. I wasn't there. I don't know what happened. I didn't see anything firsthand. I don't condone the destruction of private property. I hope that these long nights of protests-- the peaceful ones and the not-so-peaceful ones-- can bring about a positive change to my city. I hope that the black community of Charlotte will feel the effects of their lives improving. I hope something will change that will give back to them the dignity that has been denied them for so long.

And I hope all of my super racist friends unfriend me.