Deep In The Wood

I did hear a scream,

It wasn’t a city street

A forest it would seem

To hold so many sound

The wind had calmed

Now in the distant mystique

A cry could be the sound.

 

An animal I would surmise

Caught in the moonlit stars

A bright horizon left exposed

This creature of the night,

Was simply pre-disposed

To use the carrying sound

To warn the world around.

 

Haven’t really known a way

Beyond the cover of my chance

I’m listening to the ground,

Yet only when I’m told

The locks have been changed

No new keys to be found,

You’re on your own, is Man.

 

A creature wild in the deep would

Forever find solace what calls wood.

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In Finding Love

We are this world of living human beings

Each of us do strive to privately soar

Beyond the scope of whom we might ignore

Only known, to live similar doings

 

We do each one of us wish to be known

Gather in our soul, deliver evil

From our seeming sacred hold, we might will

Now bury our misgiving left alone

 

Within the structure of our being we learn

To breathe, to weep, to listen with intent

For are not we all someway Heaven sent

While the Earth revolve, forever we yearn

 

For in the darkness, the stars be a guide

Toward everlasting love, might we, decide.

Always Practical

Was it always this simple

The practical practice

Of knowing one another

So the strengths and weakness

Might somehow balance

 

Were we that naïve in beginnings

A trip to Europe

See the world and imagine life

From a perspective beyond

The normalcy we are taught to hold.

 

I remember the time I came

Down early, the hostel,

One of the last really crowded ones,

I saw him,

Sitting across from you with interest.

 

I’d noticed that look before

A short smile

Guarded yet with an innocence that

Suggested,

Yes this is the way it can be.

 

I wonder about practicality,

Sitting in the sunroom,

A cigarette burns to imagine

Statues as a sort of hip décor,

When inside a human being despaired.

 

I tried to tell you that quiet morning,

When reddened your eyes

Wouldn’t change their hue

We no longer, well I didn’t

We hadn’t been whom we knew.

Only The Glow of My Laptop

midnight

It is a summer night now to be sure

My mind is beyond always elsewhere here

I wonder listen to the bullfrog near

Lily pad in fiction’s eerie picture

 

I wait for the silence of night rhythm

Tells me of some other creature nearby

A passing wolf, perhaps more fox in sly

Quiet wood serenade in Nature’s hymn

 

Sheltered in a structure deep in forest

A man imagines life is elsewhere now

Though tell me natural sound like this how

Often we forget this simple task best

 

There’s a beaver pond outside my window

Tells me life begins well beyond my know


Photo – Pinterest

Listening, As Bullfrogs Might

Outside my window,

The sky black in twilight,

No breeze to offer an anxious

Tear into a calm evening.

 

Except the bullfrogs near

Must be a dozen at least

A three sound utterance

Shared by another nearby

 

Three times that’s all,

Perhaps the pitch might change,

Another again will chime in,

They’ll all be together in sound

 

I wonder about the simplistic strife

Surrounded alone in a pond of afterlife

On Being White

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NEA stock photo


I have lived my entire life in a predominately white society. Growing up as a child I lived in a white community, later when going to college, more of the same, with a smattering of people of color entering my life gradually until moving to the Twin Cities in the early twenties. Even then, I still lived in an obviously white community, hung out with white friends, worked in places whereby most of my colleagues except for a few were white as well.

Along the way, I met people of color in various situations, college primarily, a few opportunities in the theatre and the occasional co-worker in hospital work. Actually, it was the workplace I met my first true black friend. He and I tested each other out for several months until we came to the conclusion we liked a lot of the same things, sports, politics and women. At work we became fast friends, and we supported each other through many difficult situations. We worked in a psychiatric hospital, where dealing with mental illness was a requirement of the job, skills learned taught us ideals of acceptance and tolerance in many tenuous situations. I think the importance of that relationship has a lot to do with how I would go on to treat people in all walks of my life, with an ultimate focus on respect and a desire to know about their lives and how they might impact my own.

So why do I choose today to speak of being white? I spent my morning and afternoon at the 2018 Conference on Racial and Social Justice, sponsored by the National Education Association, NEA. I knew well I would probably be a minority at the gathering, given the nature of the focus to be on its namesake, breaking down the barriers of racial injustice at the hands of a predominately white society, with a central focus being how educators handle themselves and treat their students in the classroom.

The irony of today’s session with the current events of the news is daunting in its clear connection to the atrocity of the recent Supreme Court Janus ruling and the immigration chaos happening on our border. In the conference which hosted over 800 attendees there was a general feeling of anger and frustration with the current focus toward public education, especially union driven ideals when it comes to protecting the interest of both the student and the teacher in the classroom. Couple that with the issue of racism as it permeates our society, and the break out sessions held much intrigue. I chose to sit in on a roundtable exploration of being a white teacher in a diverse classroom. This seemed readily appropriate because that is the demographic of my own classroom.

I specifically focused my day on sessions dealing with being that white teacher in a diverse setting. During that session I told a story of my own racial bias that blossomed into a heavy discussion of white privilege and the idea of whites needing to at one point, as called out by a member – figure out their own racism before they can address other issues. I immediately felt discomfort, but I was supposed to, this was all meant to be part of an all day learning session. The adage of how do you learn with disagreement and controversy holds well here. I wasn’t looking for a Kumbaya session, and it didn’t occur.

As the talk came to a close the moderators asked if everyone felt ok, and acknowledged hoping there were good takeaways. There were around eight of us at the table. I immediately said, ‘I’ve never felt more uncomfortable in my life.’ I meant it, but not in a negative way. I meant it as a moment of growth. People naturally asked why, and I told them that my feelings were that I am so wrapped up in my own privilege being a white man I have a long ways ahead toward figuring this out. My next statement then proved to be the pivotal learning moment.

I said to the group that this has been awesome, and I will take the next few days and process this, write about it, think about it and gradually come to terms with what my struggles are. A woman at the table then said to me, ‘I’m glad you’re uncomfortable. You get to go home and process this, and take a week, however long, and maybe write about it and feel better down the road.’ She then said, ‘I’m going to deal with it tonight, and in the morning and all day tomorrow, the next day, and every day as I have been my entire life.’ She was speaking from experience, she was African-American, and she was smiling, and I never felt more welcomed into a learning moment in my life. My whole pitch on what my takeaway should be, or needed to be, or ought to be, immediately shifted. I was grateful, and afterwards she and I had some time to talk and I shared a couple more stories, and so did she, and I walked away a little head blown by the moment.

So why am I suddenly having this revelation even though I’ve walked around thinking about these various aspects of racial discrimination and injustice most of my life and throughout all of my teaching career? My only answer is that I don’t experience it directly, and if I am going to be an ally for racial and social justice in my local and national society, I need to continue to listen in these moments rather than talk through my rationalizations.

This was one experience in a conference that filled me with a new knowledge of what injustice truly means to our society and our constantly changing world we live in today in both America and throughout the globe. There are many experiences ahead, and I do plan to keep listening.

We Took A Beating Today

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I read the news,

it was awful,

filled up with views

made me want to ‘manafort’

 

my breakfast, lunch and dinner,

so I chose not to eat

the garbage being spewed,

drank clean water all day instead.

 

We watched a conservative rally,

full arms and gusto

no more of this sally

way toward democracy bust-o.

 

I wonder about tomorrow,

the next day, thereafter

how do we get past the bullshit,

this scenario we are so not after.

 

Whose the minority now,

who’s pulling the strings

one clown with orange hair

seems awfully happy to be king.

 

I stole away from my anger

stood outside in the breeze

looked to the stars for an answer

a Strawberry Moon was my gaze.

 

I only bring this up to say good night,

beyond the hypocrisy of the day,

when we do look out into the night

sky we are all dependent on the same light.

 

Cast your eyes upon the moon,

for forever will be yours too soon.