I Traveled Back in Time

forest

It felt good to say hello to all of them,

The flowers were in crisp spring bloom,

The fields swayed with more romance than I recall,

I remember the gravel road,

The swing rope, and the river pool, just for you,

There was a single cow liked to moo.

 

Last night I visited my childhood,

Through John’s steady croons,

I was walking with him in the county library,

I remember I felt emotions, love,

There was a certain peace that went with friends.

It was the 60’s and we all listened,

 

To each other, much less than we did the Man,

That societal icon that disturbed our land.

Whenever I want to dream,

It is the gravel road, forest deep,

My walk is forever, yet it’s serene,

I know there is certain beauty, Grace in tree-lines.

 

When I was only a child, I grew up in sadness,

There were losses and turbulent times,

I really didn’t understand,

But the people around me did,

So I listened, I watched, I imagined,

And later in life I hoped I could remember when.

 

It felt good to say hello to all of them,

I traveled back in time, I remember when.

© Thom Amundsen 2017

“I Read The News Today, Oh Boy” – John Lennon

lennon

He always did have a reason to speak, when his lyrics would wind our mind,

“Watching the wheels turn,” he seemed clearly in command of his time,

While we the listeners would be in a constant trance, a mellow sweet remind

How easily his lyrical mastery could make a dull afternoon be sublime.

 

Often the names and faces of humanity lose their certain authenticity

When this our society continues along a road so designed to fail.

We gather steam to criticize the Man, the friend, the neighbor; duplicity

Becomes an only nostalgic desire, when spinning  our arms flail.

 

Oh to hear it said by a pundit’s Machiavellian tongue, meant to misconstrue

We rest our mind to know we haven’t a need to hear it all, day, long.

Rather everyday a glance in the sky to recognize the world is only as true

As a remarkable miracle, allows our hypocritical lives to finally belong.

 

Yes, “it was 20 years ago today, Sergeant Peppers taught the band to play”

We all took in the moment, singing “all you need is love”- live life this way.

 

Love, Time & Death

Central Park

It’s New York,

of course,

where lives do happen,

cross through Central Park,

onto 7th until we find ourselves,

sitting on a bench,

wondering where everyone is coming from,

hoping that we might find peace.

 

We keep looking in their eyes,

sometimes the notice is true,

others,

they walk by searching themselves

for some resting point,

a place they can call home.

 

He is that man alone in a world,

where everything exists,

and he’ll ride his bicycle all hours of the night,

because he can,

he can maneuver through the masses,

and always,

he can still eat his dinner alone.

 

She might be that woman living different roles,

walking through the park,

with a certain flair,

an attraction to the masses,

yet, in her mind,

no one really notices,

because she has felt alone.

 

I took the day off today

because I needed rest,

seems that has been a necessary event,

while the world continues to glow around me,

I center my eyes upon tears,

for it seems they are always near,

waiting for some answer,

a reason to suggest there is purpose,

even when nothing seems to matter,

only time continues to measure.

 

When that moment called me,

I stood before an audience,

Strangers all of them so cold,

the bitter icy winds of discontentment,

without notice walked away,

while my body wondered about time,

the descent, how far, how chilled, how quickly.

Then she became the moment,

amongst many beyond that walkway …

 

she is love.

Propagandic Despair

I want to watch the news,

want to know, to understand, to speculate,

what is right, what is incomplete, what deceptive story

will lead me astray today, tonight, tomorrow, every way

I look for something new, some situation refreshing,

 

I want to watch the news,

I just can’t find the right ideas to concern myself with,

everything is optional, alternative, filled with a facade

of mainstream idiocy,

a propogandic nightmare,

teach me how to spell,

I can’t even count on the vocabulary being correct anymore.

 

I want to watch the news,

I want to see what’s happening rather than the constant shield

from reality, a spacial shape shifter,

we are all latching on to the movement,

the pendulum is rather static right now,

which way will it move?

 

I want to watch the blues,

because quite frankly that’s all that’s worth the news.

Empty Spaces – The Road Taken – Photo Challenge

The Road Taken

img_6289

And yet there were travelers, all of the eyes,

the minds, the plays, the laughter that contained

an avenue of freedom inside quiet minds, sighs,

while everywhere around a humanity maintained.

 

Where have they all gone, the inspiration, surreal

is the occasional dreamer who steps inside wonder

only toward the stranger that perhaps might feel

questioned, in an accentuated fog of a hereafter.

 

Perhaps if we might contain each story’s beginning

to reach the end, all of the internal warfare being

forgotten while nostalgic, the dreamer again did sing

a sorrowful melody of some melancholy meandering.

 

Oh, now there is a silent road ahead where people muse

we imagine an emptiness filled by travelers we amuse.

On Racism, Schools & Awareness

Whenever an act of racism occurs in my community, or in the world around me, I never know quite how to respond. My natural reaction is to be appalled and disappointed, then fear settles in, then uneasiness, followed by confusion. My gut tells me I want to figure out who to blame first, and then I want to understand how this impacts the people around me, specifically the students in my classroom.

1

Being a high school teacher has its perks. We see immediately what is on a young child’s mind, whether positive or negative. When something so blatant happens that shakes the community, it is sometimes difficult to get a read on how the message is interpreted. What rolls off one’s back as minor might plant a seed of contention in another’s. There certainly always seems to be a level of response to the ignorance of the action, specifically in this case, the desecrating of school walls with epitaphs and racial hatred. The important message to recognize is that it is out there for people to respond to, whether consciously driven or designed by unintentional circumstances. It is difficult to imagine racial epitaphs to be accidental; however, the motivation is unique in this situation.

The initial reports of this most recent incident are that the student was not fully aware of their actions. One could argue this is an attempt to save credibility as an organization, or the truth of the matter might be as simple and basic as it is being described. Whatever the answer to the action, the bottom line is that this unfortunate moment exposes a frightening part of our society that we would sometimes rather quiet than provide a voice of reaction.  As it is, this should be handled as a teaching moment for students, wherever and however involved.

Ironically, we are living in a present society that is increasingly accepting the notion of ‘alternative’ or fake news. Such terms are being bandied about with such frequency that the phrases, ‘Bowling Green Massacre’ and ‘Last night’s terrorism in Sweden’ have become household maxims, and the terrifying truth is they are believed statements by many, despite the originators coming out with statements otherwise.

The reality is that words of hatred have appeared on walls that our youth will see with frequency and then naturally react to afterward. So how do we go about repairing thescreen-shot-2017-02-28-at-5-11-55-pm damage? I think the real solution lies in what are the reasons these events occur, and how can we raise the consciousness of our young people to such a degree they begin to recognize the dangerous precedent of accepting racism rather than fighting to overcome its venomous impact on our society.

Accepting racism is the failure of our society to identify it as problematic to our youths’ value system. What this means is that rather than confront the issue, if we can quietly just pretend it away and not put dramatic focus upon a real issue, maybe it will simply go away. That is about as relevant as imagining that inane rhetoric is more reasonable than the truth from the leaders of our country. There is a saying that suggests, if it said enough times, then people begin to believe it as true. In the case of racism on the bathroom walls of our schools, there is a percentage of students that will certainly ‘buy into’ the hatred rather than recognize it is damaging to our society’s value system. This is where open discussion needs to begin.

When we speak of teaching moments, we have to clarify when and how these opportunities are going to happen. Rather than using band-aids on a segment of our society, we need to rally around the bigger picture. Our youth are the most impressionable people in our world, and their actions will be the foundation of the future of this country, one that is chock full of immediate change and adjustment as that mosaic of assimilation continues to take hold. Rather than rely upon hope without dialogue, we need to begin the conversations and continue to encourage them in meaningful and thoughtful ways. Perhaps then, words on a wall, or rhetoric meant to sway our society will become less and less powerful and the truth will begin to matter.

Is This Really Liberal Thinking?

Last night I had a conversation with two people I have tremendous respect for, the subject quickly turned to politics, and I openly expressed my dislike of our current state of affairs. I spoke of my dismay with our current POTUS’s views and motives, and the dialogue took an icy turn to defense and validation. The three of us bandied back and forth for many minutes about the pros and cons of what we believed in earnest. The positive takeaway from the conversation is the three of us finished forty five minutes later, and together walked out of the room, smiling, and said good bye for the night. I think it is important to recognize that people can have honest, often animated conversations that include their views, without the fear of character assassination afterward. That was my takeaway from yesterday’s debate with two people whose opinion I value.

A concern that evolved from our dialogue is their personal anxiety with the inability to be open about their views around their own community, specifically the school they attend. I’ve heard this conversation before, and the tone has been similar in that there is a general fear with expressing one’s political views no matter the side that someone carries or believes, because someone on the other side is always going to be waiting to pounce with wrath and indignation. The subject of a divisive culture is prevalent in our American society today, and both sides of the argument are easily persuaded to lay the blame for this current mindset upon the other, rather than step back for a minute and process their own contribution.

In a democratic society, the true definition of democracy is to suggest an open debate always exists that merits argument and opinion from all sides. Democracy itself is dependent upon actions that inherently support social equality. I wonder if anyone can look about their own personal world beyond their backyard and see this belief in action. I’m afraid not. Instead we are talking about walls, and bans, and now steadfast agreements of a scorned party to vote down another party’s proposals in a unified attempt to recreate what we as a people have witnessed for decades upon decades of political ignorance. I’m afraid putting a narcissistic, megalomaniac into a position of power will not change things anytime soon. In fact, even if I could be in complete agreement with any of the current administration’s  proposals, which I am not, I just cannot believe that ‘the people’ will rise to support those ideals in a complete and unified manner any time too soon. There is far too much anger in people’s minds right now, and it is evident first, in the children.

We live in a pretend away society. The sort that would suggest if we don’t talk about it, then the repercussions will not impact us directly. Until it does, when the ramifications of our society begin to knock on our front door. In the meantime, let’s sit in sidewalk cafes and debate the subject until we are lacking oxygen due to vitriolic fuels slapped back and forth between good souls trying to justify and rationalize their own way of thinking. I sat in that very coffeeshop this morning, in between two paired conversations, where one side lauded the efforts of our current administration, while the other decried the present swing of governmental bureaucracy. If the two pair had literally gotten up and walked through each other they would have magically disappeared as their parallel universe would have quietly combusted with little fanfare.

Growing up as a child I had a certain advantage. I was raised in a divisive household, a political separatist movement. My mother and father had differing views, and for most of my childhood and well into my teens, and later adult life they proudly canceled each other out at the ballot box. Here’s the important thing to remember though. No matter how differing their views were, and there certainly were heated debates over the years, they at the end of the day, had respect for one another’s viewpoint. So me, I learned how to weigh both sides without forgetting that people could actually get along together, quite well actually with differing opinions.

How do we possibly get started with our current state of affairs? I think our first objective is to recognize that liberal or conservative thinking do and will cancel each other out forever. That’s not the issue. I think the solution exists elsewhere and somehow we as a society need to recognize that path, together.