Category: Different View

Submit to Me

submit to me - uncle toms cabin at had dam neck fair
April 7 Poem

How do you like my new boots?
I’ll bet it is quite easy to smell the
Hide shine from your vantage,
Sole pressing into your throat.

I’ve heard you have thoughts.
How interesting. When did that
Start happening? It’s all so
Untidy however. Sweep up.

Tonight we’re having roast.
You know how to do that right?
If you could, as well, mash the
‘Tatoes with the skin on.

Later, after you’ve washed up,
Perhaps we can go for a walk. You can
Carry me, if you wouldn’t mind. I’m so
Exhausted from mattering.

I am jealous. Who would not be? You
Sleep so soundly. I’ve been watching you win at
Slumber, mouth slack and wet.
In darkness seething: I am not you.

Boxes – #smallstone – Day 3

Mindful Writing Challenge 2014 Small stones

Six pressure-treated boxes in the backyard.
Cubical quadrilaterals waiting under
A flat snow. We aren’t always a
Summer jungle of tomato vines.

I’m writing “small stones” as past of Mindful Writing Challenge 2014.  If you care to participate, here’s the link. Feel free to read and enjoy more wonderful mindful posts from across the world on Twitter at #smallstone.

Helleborus – #smallstone – Day 2

Mindful Writing Challenge 2014 Small stones


helleborus in a washed-out chinese-food tin;
her spiked hearts and freckled petals
turning towards the pane.
Yesterday
I marveled at your shades of pale viridescence.
Today
I wonder ‘how long before the blooms fall?’

I’m writing “small stones” as past of Mindful Writing Challenge 2014.  If you care to participate, here’s the link. Feel free to read and enjoy more wonderful mindful posts from across the world on Twitter at #smallstone.

No One Wants to Hear You, You Aberration

Sky

I keep hearing them say:
No Drama
No Drama
Yet, all our lives and all the world around is a series of dramas playing out.
Of characters passing across the thrust
Of hearts being broken and lives being twisted
Into unexpected shapes tumbling towards resolution.

What kind of no drama do they mean?
No drama, you cancer-girl.
No drama, you single mother.
No drama, you exhausted supermom
No drama, never-alone, it never-lets up homeschooler.
Stalwartness shall be your burden.

Go get lost in the garden, between the dried out chrysanthemums
And water the plants alone with your
Tears. No one wants to hear you, you
Aberration. You who dares speak
Louder than the crisped interstate hum,
You who feels its OK to say out loud
She disagrees. You who
Cries foul. Leave us.

We are busy cementing our
Feet in molasses pride. You girl
Dripping with your fat emotions,
Making puddles of
Noise and need and complications

Wherever you go–
“Get out of the way, drama queen” said them,
Which is
No person anyone has
Ever met, and
No human being at all.

(I kept hearing people saying “I don’t want any drama.” And “I’m glad when I can get the people with drama out of my life.”

I thought about this today, thinking about mental illness, women, and friendship and acceptance.

This poem came up)

The Two of You


Barnum Memorials - Courtesy Wires in the Walls on Flickr
The two of you browse the
Grass aisles of the gravestone shop

Stuck between then and now at Locust and Cherry, with
The truckers and the teachers passing.

Marble blocks scatter on the little
Hill and you squint in their glare.

You two know this road real well– so well you hardly
See the 24-hour pharmacy, the neon car wash.

None was there when this shed on the
Hill went up. When the family started providing.

Time slides past, snapshots inside a memory held
Weightless and you, both, dragging your feet.

You two. Determined to finish your tidy-up to-do
List, so you both can put this worry to rest.

On the low rise, at the intersection, the two of you, one
Balmy and plain old day.

If I Never Make It to Austin

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="333"] Courtesy: Michael Corcoran[/caption]

If I never make it to Austin and, somehow, the
Longhorns and the old moviehouses get neglected, then
Let me remind you this isn’t
About the city I always wanted to see or the
Man I wanted to reminisce with.

This is about the day I stood in the
Middle of Tuesday in the place where
I now live on a patch of green weeds and it
Occured to me “I might never
See Paris again or eat Memphis barbeque or reach
Austin City Limits, or ever
Be relieved of virutal reality and halt the
Half-truth of Facebook Frances and
Sit with her again over an IKEA table
While our daughters play.”

Every live face I see
I take for granted.
Every touch is
Half-hidden inside a
Craving for more, for desire of what is
Yet to come. And yet,
For a moment, standing on my
Tuesday weeds, I saw the
Face of Facebook Him, of Mike,
Like an Icon, and He was
No one I knew or remembered.

I looked into the beautiful mystery.
The gulf between now and then.
The man who used to
Climb between the fresnels in that
Goatee and serape and
It occurred to me
I might
Just have to cruise it out
With the memories I have.

How to Watch Breaking News

Advice from a (Former) Television Director

Back in my 20s I worked at the FOX station in Kansas City. Glamorous job of getting up early and helping to feed a major metropolitan area their fill of weather, traffic and morning news.

We had our share of “Breaking News” moments in those days: usually the more mundane water main breaks or apartment building fires. These were the salad days of pre-9/11 when the most wild thing that happened to Americans was a low-speed L.A. interstate chase, followed by the even more arduous “if-it-doesn’t-fit-you-must-acquit” OJ trial.

It should have been a dream job. I worked with lots of young people, my friends. It was prestigious and if I stayed on track and stayed ambitious, I could have gone on to work in news or sports at CNN, ESPN, NBC, or who knows where.

And I have friends who went on to do that. I am proud of their accomplishments and know how hard they worked to get where they are.

I didn’t. I absolutely despised the job. I left after a couple years.

Here’s why:

Turn off the TV and tune in.The news of Boston is not our news. It’s a fallacy. I am not speaking about the sloppiness of 24-hour TV news coverage in this case (or many others).

I am talking about the impact of the coverage of these events on our psyches.

The way news anchors talk to us: it is personal. They look into your eyes. They use pictures and words that frighten us and seem to belong only to ourselves.

But that feeling of personal-ness is a lie. What is personal is happening right now, this moment, in your immediate life.

This is why I left TV news. Because the fire across town wasn’t my fire. The accident on I-35 didn’t have any meaning to me.

It wasn’t my tragedy. And I realized with growing anxiety that most news media producers, editors, and news directors had no idea how to filter that information appropriately: they didn’t know how (or feel it was necessary) to tell the story differently to the people who were nearby, rather than to those who were faraway and completely distant and out of control.

Learning the bad and horrible news of a faraway place in such immediate and grisly detail changes us. It stops us in the middle of our own days and slaps us with horror: “Look at this. This is a possibility for you!” — even if the event has no context to our own lives.

It creates the fear that has stopped us from sending our children outside to play.

By and large, the event in Boston has almost no impact on the majority of Americans. Most of us did not know anyone injured in the blast. We do not know either of the bombers. We may not even know a single person living in the Boston area. We have no way of controlling whether this can and will happen again, closer to home.

All we can do is be afraid, anxious, and unhappy.

If we choose to turn away, what could we do instead? Give our attention to our own friends and families, our own communities right in front of us. To the things that really DO need our attention.

Small (yes this is very small) events like this get BLOWN UP and out of proportion on our TVs and computer screens — in every version of itself, from video, to articles, to photos, to banners on  Yankee stadium. When that happens, they become another injurious nail firing from the pressure cooker.

Remember when we said, after 9-11, that we wouldn’t let it change us? That we wouldn’t let the terrorists win, or take away our freedoms?

Well, we all know that they did. We now live in a completely terror-obsessed society, in which the media — and the NEW media, ourselves on Facebook and Twitter — spend every second of our day poring over the details of events, sharing photos of suspects, sending condolences, stating our private prayers in public.

We are that frightened child going into a dark room, banging and making loud noises, to make sure all the imaginary monsters have gone away.

Having worked for many years in a business of feeding you sensationalized bad news in order to up our ratings, I have some advice to share. Here it is:

Shut up. Just be quiet. Try it, really. Sit still and look out the window. Feel free to observe the news if you need to, but stop talking about.

After all, that’s the advice we give to mothers, right? If a child falls and cries out, we tell a mother “don’t react.” The mother looks at the child in a heap underneath the monkey bars and she holds all her terrors inside, still and smiling but watchful. It’s the hardest choice but it is necessary. Because there is child, watching.

No reaction and up the child jumps, and off to something else.

Let’s stop reacting. With each reaction — from the media, from Twitter, from our ridiculous wasted time on Facebook — we heighten the power of those violent people who started out very small. We make them big with our noises.

So be quiet. Send your donations anonymously. Say your prayers in private. If prayers can be heard, they are heard without your shouting them onto Twitter.

And meanwhile, turn off the TV and RSS feed.

Have a good look out the window. It’s spring; the first robin has visited, your friends love you, the buds on the trees are ready to burst, and all the death of winter is behind us.