A bitter wind
pushes a fog
before the eyes
of compassionate people
obscuring the truth
until all they see
is the gray
until all they feel
is wetness on their cheeks
until all they know
is the dullness
of morally false
and when they
start to believe
that gray is reality
a single sharp light arrives
a child with a candle perhaps
and then another
a mother with a mission perhaps
and then another
a father with a message perhaps
and then another
until the gray mist
has transitioned into
a brilliant spectrum
to remind the people
that the only truth
that matters is
Poetry Month 2018
I’ve resolved a few times to write a poem a day during the month of April, and I actually succeeded once. I’m again trying it out. No idea what each day will bring. Some light verse, some politics, some “oh shit I didn’t write anything today” haikus. If you read one and feel moved to comment, please do. If you want to share your poetry, please share! PS: Today’s poem prompt was provided by the photo Previous Post
This morning some hateful people came from Kansas to harass students at an elementary school and antagonize parents and school officials over a bulletin board display that discussed gender issues.
It turned out to be a gorgeous (if slightly chilly) morning, and a fabulous day. Not only because there were twice as many sheriff personnel (eight by my count) as hatemongers (four that I saw in this NBC video), but because the rainbow umbrella shield created by parents and community members, to express support for and to protect all children, was so astonishingly robust. More than 20 showed up before 7 a.m., and I’d guess about 120 of us were there at the peak.
I heard singing. I heard a ukulele. I saw two people in rainbow-colored unicorn costumes, with two dogs–one black and one white. I heard laughing, chatting, and a lot of kind people meeting each other for the first time.
The organizer, the school and district authorities, and law enforcement officials did an outstanding job of making the hatemongers’ morning a total nonevent. But they made our morning one to remember by bringing so many kind, loving, supportive people out to let all kids know they matter. This is really how a show of support should look when hate comes to town.
Last week, my daughter and I got new tattoos. She designed hers two weeks ago, I loved it, and I asked for a modified version for me. Since she was visiting from southern California last week, we found ourselves under Aaron‘s needle at Zebra tattoo in Berkeley on Thursday, walking out with new ink in time to go to grandma’s for dinner. (She hates tattoos.)
Most people are surprised to find out I already had a tattoo. Clean-cut white guy with no sense of style, very polite, very little cussing, worked for a bank… that guy has a tat? But yeah, it’s tiny and one color and in a place that’s often covered up. So.
Anyway. Emma modified her drawing to my specifications, and Aaron redrew it to make it more tattooey (for skin instead of paper).
It’s on my left forearm, so a lot bigger and more visible than the first.
Emma’s tattoo was the medical symbol of a staff with a snake wrapped around it, but she changed the snake to a rattlesnake and added the words Don’t Tread On Me. I decided a quill (for writing of course) suited me better, though I kept the rattler. The color pattern on the snake is blue-pink-white-pink-blue, repeated; this is the pattern of the trans flag. (As you know if you’ve read my blog much, I am the proud father of a trans woman.) While I don’t think of my writing as venomous, I do want it to have bite, and the rattler reminds me not to be timid in my writing.
Do you have one or more tattoos? Do they have significance beyond aesthetic appeal? Let me know in the comments.
Once upon a time, a man invented a vehicle. It had wheels, and an engine that powered those wheels, and a shifting lever he could use to make the engine go forward or backward.
The man was very proud of his vehicle, and the people found it useful. They drove them in long lines, forward and backward, going to some other place and coming back again. Cities created roads for the vehicles, and parking lots, and complicated rules of operation to ensure public safety and efficient transportation.
Then, one day years later, another man invented something called a “steering wheel” which allowed the operator to change the vehicle’s direction in more ways than just backwards or forwards.
The people freaked out.
“I cannot see sideways!” shouted some. “What if someone else steers as I am steering? We will crash!” cried others. “All the roads will have to change! We will need new road rules!” lamented others.
The inventor despaired. “But we turn and move in all directions all the time already,” he answered. “Surely those who wish to do so in the vehicle should be allowed that freedom.”
“It is not natural,” demanded the frightened populace.
The population voted to outlaw steering in vehicles, and some people began arguing that all turning of any kind should be banned. Until one day, when a plucky nonconformist took his case to court. The judges agreed that it was his right to be able to steer while in his vehicle. And in fact it was everyone’s right, if they desired it, to identify as a person who does not simply go forward and backwards but also in other directions. As a nonbinary vehicle operator.
The population reeled. “This will have repercussions far beyond this man’s vehicle,” they cried. “It was the wrong decision. Stupid activist judges and their liberal agendas!” But there was nothing they could do. Left and right had existed forever, and turning was every bit as natural as going forward or backward. It was just the system that had been designed poorly, to account only for two possible states, and that system had become so entrenched in the people’s minds that they believed anything that did not conform was immoral and repugnant rather than natural and beautiful.
Until one day, generations later, a child was astonished to learn that her great-grandfather’s society had only been allowed to go forward and backward. She found the idea unnatural and unnecessarily limiting, and she wondered about the poor people who had been oppressed all those years, forced to fit the poorly designed system.