Recognizing Who We Are Today! (a draft)

We experienced a tragedy in (our community) last week. We lost a young man as the result of a traffic accident. He touched many hearts. The city, the district, the students were all impacted by the loss of (student), a student known by many for his affectionate and charming persona, an infectious personality. I listened to a couple of students the night of the tragedy talk about the immediacy, how quickly a life is taken, that we cannot quite comprehend the confusion such a loss leaves us when just hours before they were standing right next to the young man, full of life. We are all surely saddened by tragedy, yet, we are also enlightened by the way the students rallied around the celebration of this young man’s short life. In an intrigue, this experience speaks to an aspect of the beauty of our lives in (our community) as we recognize the diverse nature of our community.

On Friday, as the news flooded social media the night before, the students all wore white to honor the young man. I was amazed to look around the school and see nearly 90% of the student body dressed in white. The sight provided a welcome contrast to the negative image our district has attained in recent months. Here’s why.

What happened inside our school buildings on Friday mattered to the students, they were the ones being represented and cared for, and they responded with more unity than I have seen in my career as a teacher. I watched a school that put aside curriculum for the day, and reasoned with the reality of the human condition in every step of the way. In mid-day, there was a service, known as a ‘smudge’ provided by the young man’s family – his Native American heritage celebrated – and in attendance easily hundreds of students witnessed a cultural phenomena with open arms and respectful intrigue.

I said to a friend of mine late Thursday night, that (young man’s) loss would be a unifying force for allowing our students to recognize life as a whole rather than an individual need for survival. I watched kids from every walk of life hug one other, speak kindly to each other, and embrace grieving in a thoughtful and beautiful manner. (young man’s) death was responsible for that coming together of a school district.

Even more intriguing, I attended a football game that night, a ‘Friday night lights’ experience during which both the visitors and the home team wore white to symbolize (our community) tragic loss. It was remarkable to watch the unification of two school’s students who all recognized together the beauty of life and the tragedy of loss. But together they created and expressed a natural silver lining. Ironically, several schools around the region also showed unity and compassion by wearing white in a symbolic gesture of support. My boss said to me today, ‘It’s a small world’ when I shared my delight in the actions of many.

This weekend we celebrate the loss of a beautiful young man, one that I did not know personally, but understood to have touched the lives of many, including many students in the drama program, for which I am an advisor. The lesson learned from this weekend’s start of the healing process, is that we as a district do embrace the beauty of a unique population of student body that do and can believe in one another if given the proper resources. We as a community need to do our part in assuring our students that we can go forward together.

I think (young man) is imagining how special our world is given his new perspective, and his engaging smile is suggestive of our need to recognize his gift and not forget the message his role in the circle of life provides us all.

*names withheld to respect the student and family.

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The White Out

In a sudden state of conclusion,

a confusion,

an interruption of our

ultimatum,

we were in a stirring rendition,

of love, of fun, of childhood,

when simply in the notice of our soul catcher,

we were told it is time to go home.

 

Now in the quiet of the day,

when laying back in my bedroom,

the familiar walls, the sounds,

static realities of my existence …

Now I can stand alone,

notice hanging on a wall nearby,

a dreamcatcher follows my eyes,

I suddenly do understand why.

 

A multitude of personality

spoke the knowledge of a few,

only to find some solace,

in the calm,

the storm that surged last night,

lays down a peaceful blanket,

a security to know we are never alone,

and instead just part of the circle,

that place where our lives,

measured amongst their lives,

and the lives of anyone whom nearby,

can hear my shout, her tear, his solemn plea,

we are all inside this dream catcher.

 

In matters of the soul,

we can cleanse our hearts in the grief

of our confusion,

in a thankful paradigm,

we might suggest,

perhaps another day,

because tonight everything is so fresh –

there is an ultimatum

in the sweet peace of love.

 

There is a cathartic happening today,

meant to suggest love,

in the confusion of wondering why,

it is his soul chosen today.

For all of our heartfelt passion,

for life and the responsive nature

of letting our lives speak loud,

for the loss of a mechanical truth,

suddenly surreal in His sensual sky,

we do know love today,

and the Creator has sung song today,

in the eyes of this Elder is the compassionate way,

we know love, we know love, is this day.

Episodic Rituals

There are times when in my real life I cry,

it is sudden,

something I cannot control,

watching the illusion of our reality,

in the episodic nature of historical fiction,

the retelling of the reality,

we would all like to pretend is

that fiction.

 

And yet,

when I cry there are real tears,

I feel my body heave,

my eyes begin to well,

I listen to the story of the abuse of a society,

and I am immediately enraged,

by the many facets of discrimination.

 

Today DACA,

yesterday the Mexicans,

the Muslims, Blacks, and disregarded

sexual identities.

 

We all watch it every day,

wait for the movie to premiere,

we imagine our own lives,

and wonder about a personal connection,

until it become passe to care about anyone outside of ourselves,

any more.

 

I wonder sometimes about the cruel nature of our lives

why it is we suggest we have compassion,

when around the corner,

the examples await our reaction,

in the shadows,

while the world continues to expand,

the narrow nature of

racism,

continues its

by society’s terms,

ridiculous plight toward

validation.

Sitting In My Personal Space

Getting ready for the school year,

planning lessons,

rearranging books and files,

adjusting to a new physical classroom.

 

I wanted to complain tonight,

my room still needs desk,

35 kids coming in a week,

no ac, the temp was 110 F.

 

I sat out in the hall,

parent and student open house,

lots of people walking through,

new construction, ceilings missing tiles.

 

I joked how I was too exhausted,

the heat, couldn’t touch my room,

decided until tomorrow to rearrange,

as tonight I would surely break a sweat.

 

We have a beautiful new space,

expanding the student opportunities,

new carpet, walls, designs all meant

to enhance the students’ education.

 

The space isn’t complete,

I need desks in my room,

I haven’t got any a.c.

no wireless, and vacant walls.

 

I went home tonight exhausted,

and then suddenly it all became real,

I no longer cared about my classroom,

I watched the news tonight in Houston.

I Have These Friends

usa-police-protests

ABC News – Baton Rouge

When they walk out the door,

they have natural instincts,

look over their shoulder,

keep a skeptic eye,

they constantly watch their step

while they attend,

make time to be in,

express a similar value,

as do I,

when I go about living my

regular, normal, daily life.

 

I have these friends,

keep their feeling close,

share their values internally,

in such a manner,

we don’t ever see it,

we only hear about it,

when in a time of crisis,

they are asked how to react

when the world they believe,

crumbles with a menacing force

of vitriolic rhetoric,

aimed toward destroying lives,

for the sake of ignorance.

 

I have these friends,

share love and passion,

a desire to respond to beauty,

have an elegant outlook on life,

they smile, they laugh, they support,

the true responsive nature

of the human condition.

These are your friends too,

in fact,

they belong in everyone’s world,

rather than an exclusive gathering

to showcase their humanity.

 

I have these friends,

they are truly more forgiving,

than you and me.

I’m Struggling to be OK, and other “Trump is my President” Anxieties

Last night I listened to 45 basically implode or become ‘unhinged’ as most news agencies reported, except for one I suppose. I walked into my home and my wife was exasperated with his demonstrative ranting at his Arizona campaign rally. Then I listened more as he defended all of his bigotry and ‘fake news’ accusations, to a rousing crowd of visible support. It felt just any campaign rally we witnessed in the year leading up to his election.

Here’s my problem. Today, I listened to Trump give a very sobering and prompter lead speech to the National Convention of the American Legion in Reno, Nevada. His demeanor and focus was a complete contrast to last night’s ranting. He didn’t comment on Charlottesville, there was no braggadocio of the ‘lack of protesters’ outside, he stayed on point, and received mild applause for key statements, that no one could ever disagree with. I was disappointed because I wanted him to go off the rails with his speech, so that he continued to support the critics accusation that he is not fit to hold office. But he didn’t, he stayed on topic, and finished with gracious applause. He was the President a lot of America has been waiting to see.

Trump has done this a couple of times, most recently his proclamations of strategy to deal with Afghanistan earlier in the week – sober and television prompter driven, which gave a calculated impression of steady leadership. But, 24 hours he lost it all in Arizona, and then less than 24 hours later, he returned to the television prompter POTUS.

Where does that leave us as concerned Americans about this man’s leadership. If we were to listen to CNN, we would come away much focus on his unraveling. Then if we listened to FOX news, we would probably hear accolades. So, is the real issue the President, or is it something else?

I sat with a friend today, and spoke of the ills of social media. I cannot get away from the feeling that CNN really wants this guy’s head on a platter (no honorable connection to Kathy Griffith) and that is the network I gravitate toward because they seemingly are focused on good news reporting. But today, they spent a couple of minutes talking about the sobering speech to the veterans, and then the majority of their broadcast spoke to yesterday’s news – or in other words, the blatancy of Donald Trump tendency to dramatically look like an idiot in a position of leadership.

I have to say today, I’m nervous; however there is no news agency helping to ease my anxiety.

Validation

Is it a want, a need,

a purpose,

defines the living soul,

the eyes of which,

a world may rely upon

to assist

simple understanding.

 

The manner we posture,

a walk, a glance, an utterance,

measured by one,

thought of as many

aspects –

how an introduction

might manifest

an outcome.

 

If by allowance,

a human being may

settle personal desire

within the structure

our normalcy suggests,

would might that insecurity,

begin a confidence,

well managed

in peace.

 

For a desired response,

to our musings

our careful scrutiny,

a passion to rather than pretend,

more assuredly demand

a satisfaction,

validation,

aforementioned affirmation,

perhaps provides,

sweet energy,

in life,

a determination

met by all eyes,

their eyes,

everyone has

many sets of …

 

I’s.