Life Is Not A Ploy

Though there would be

immediate disagreement in one,

quiet satisfaction in another,

in the final hour,

one would realize if they did stop

to glance,

a world beyond their own device,

would, might

still exist,

and in that social fabric ignored,

a pain,

a fighting soul

whose rapture not found

might emulate

the sorrowful nature

of a discompassionate ploy.

 

Yes, simply a game,

beyond the reality of our terms,

defined by the human condition,

a banter of

despondent disregard

favors

only the regarded one …

or two, or three, or miles of more,

so difficult it is to understand

the lemings at my door.

Advertisements

Different Set of Eyes

wallup.net

Yesterday morning, while sitting in a writing lab with a student, we both received notifications at the same time, about the Houston tragedy – Tragedy in Texas – and we talked for a minute or two of our sadness. We exchanged the usual, it keeps happening, oh that’s scary, terrible, any number of coined phrases that are now attached to school shootings. But then I turned to her and I asked her,

“How do you feel about that?” and I looked her directly in the eye.

She paused for a moment, and then replied, “I’m sorry, but the first thing I think about is White people,” and she tried to restrain a natural smile, not one of happiness but one of timid reality that she lives in every day. See this young woman is Latina, and her mindset does not comprehend such an acceptance of school shootings. She believes the ‘mental health’ attachment is just another way of protecting the White community.

I looked at her and said, “You’re right.” But I was just beginning to think about the reality of her words. I couldn’t get past it the rest of the day. In my class later on in the morning, when the subject came up, there she was again, and this time her response was that society just allows it to happen because they can wrap it around a ‘mental illness’ label. I wondered if the rest of our society might see it as clearly as she does. I thought about her world.

In her scope of reasoning she has other concerns. Number one, she lives in a world where ICE is constantly knocking on her door, her friend’s door, family, acquaintances who every day wake up wondering if this is the day – will someone today lose their rights and feel the anxiety of having their family, lifestyle ripped apart. Certainly, it is a different measure than the immediacy of a school shooting leaving the slain to disrupt the lives of their family and friends, but hers is a unique pain.

I honestly don’t believe there is a concern in her world that anyone she is close to would ever resort to bringing a weapon to school and gunning down anyone in their presence. But I do think she walks around school, with her observant insight, wondering what next. What will be the next offense that will bear down on her society.

I’ve thought about my conversation with this young woman for the last 24 hours. She has given me new insight into what it is each of us thinks about every day, what are our central concerns, who do we worry about, and rather, when we think of an emotional commitment, what end holds confidence in our survival? Where she might be in constant motion trying to balance her world, her education, her work life all in a genuine effort to survive in America as a Latina woman, I’m on the other hand thinking about what plans I have for the weekend, and how can I pace my grading through the end of school year.

I don’t worry about losing my family to an immigration sweep. I do worry about school shootings, and I am constantly confused by how it continues to occur and how our society is gradually hypnotized into this absurd level of acceptance. She on the other hand holds a very sharp and poignant answer that when the rest of us stop and think about it, reveals a posture in our society that seems easily put aside.

Perhaps we are erring when we simply call it mental health rather than privilege.


photo taken from Pinterest

I Am Affected

I am affected by maybe one, perhaps two,

often it might be you,

the state of mind I carry through my day,

coordinates with how I feel, how I say,

I’m doing

just okay,

and then the hours creep on by

until later in my own quiet solace,

I realize the two, maybe one,

maybe it is you,

I’m still reeling over trying to segue

into a world without the influence

of a demon,

of a skeleton,

of all that is built upon shame and addiction,

on the throes of our own sacrifice,

I’m affected,

by the simple notion of hurting someone

beyond myself,

based upon some silly luxury of

self abasement,

the notion of realizing just how human

our frailty in life,

has become,

has warranted some rediculous

attention upon the here and now,

even though just a second

ago,

just minutes before the letters even hit

the tablet,

the idea of a beautiful evening,

startlit with sweet mystique

seemed to matter more than any one

judgment created by the simple

anxiety of a singular

emotion.

Some Times While Waiting

Easily we might understand the loss of time,

when we did hope there would be some remind

of a sweeter revenue

in the gifts of our humankind.

 

So often is it true when we wake

from a lesson learned,

an anxious melody of circumstance,

and gathering our senses seem surreal.

 

Walking along the avenue, we notice

a person lost inside their own reality,

yet to the onlooker,

for deep within we know not their serenity.

 

Cast a shadow upon this my truth,

while the world around me does

restore me some time to when in my youth,

I knew only love, only peace … in my youth.

Depression Is A Reality

A frozen state of mind,

clear headed

yet,

stone-walled by fear.

 

When they speak of racing thoughts,

it seems fruitless

trying to slow down that progression,

instead the eyes close.

 

While the strength of depression

wreaks havoc upon vulnerability

the body waits,

an eventual light goes on.

 

Symptomatic to asking

reality to step aside,

while in the moment the struggle

remains the only …

 

So, we fight,

our bodies eventually

find a way

to step off the merry-go-round.

 

As simple as that might seem,

the revolution will never careen.

CBS Sunday Morning News Gaffe – April 15th, 2018

Melissa DePino - Starbucks - Philadelphia

Melissa DePino – Philadelphia – Starbucks


I’m disappointed in the CBS Sunday Morning news article on the Starbucks empire this morning (April 15th, 2018). Clearly, when the producers first put together the article on Howard Schultz’s successful coffee career, correspondent Mo Rocca didn’t anticipate an incident in Philadelphia would overshadow his focus upon the success of the Starbucks entrepeneur.

(At this writing I am not able to find a link to the Mo Rocca article to share).

When Kai Ryssdal, the CBS Sunday Morning host this week, introduced the article, he initially took the time to report on the ‘breaking story’ of two African-American males being removed in handcuffs from a Philadelphia Starbucks for what appears to have been two Black men sitting in the coffee shop without making a purchase. Further research, NPR article  would suggest they were waiting for a friend to arrive, and when asked to leave, declined, and police were called.

From there the incident blew up and a young woman, Melissa DePino, caught the entire incident on her phone – thus creating this viral video, none of which was covered in Mr. Ryssdal’s initial introduction on CBS Sunday Morning.

Here is where my issue arose. The host introduced the already in place article with a controversial telling of an actual Starbuck’s incident in Philadelphia that in my eyes trumped (sic) the fanfare of the Starbuck success story. Discrimination is not successful, and it is also not talked about. Instead, it remains an afterthought.

I believe this was a missed opportunity by Kai Ryssdal, despite his attempt to include the incident, what was his motive? Was he told by the producers of CBS Sunday Morning News that we must include this incident before running the article on Starbucks, or did he do it on his own? I think the issue of priority raises serious questions about our society and how we choose to neglect or emphasize topics that do touch on sensitive issues versus those that will satisfy the majority of a news article’s listeners.

In her own retelling of the incident, Melissa DePino states in her interview, this would not have happened to her. In other words, because of the color of her skin, she would not have been asked to leave the store without a purchase. Personally, I agree with her, and being a frequent coffee shop connoisseur I can speak frankly and say I have had many meetings with people in coffee shop where either myself or my associates did not make a purchase and in all cases we were never approached to leave – certainly the police were not called to intervene. That would not happen.

In looking at the story and the incident itself, the two men removed did not protest the directives of the police and left without incident while the shop patrons all watched with concern, question and interpretation. Since, Starbucks has issued an apology on Twitter, and the men have been released and the incident is under review. That is all fine, and all should happen, but it still brings me back to my frustration with the CBS article and more specifically how we handle such situations in our society.

We don’t.

We choose to focus on moving away from important dialogue rather than facing it head on. Perhaps this was a golden opportunity for Kai Ryssdal to address the issue of discrimination and make this week’s news story a commentary on the continuing issue that occurs and impacts people of color throughout our society.

I am convinced had Rysdaal rather than run the article on Howard Schultz and his successful career, instead turned the next five or six minutes into a discussion and commentary of the Philadelphia incident there would have been controversy. Producers would have changed jobs in the coming week, and Rysdaal might have risked his own opportunity for further hosting opportunities in Jane Pauley’s absence.

My question is why not take the risk? Why not say we’re going to run the Starbucks story next week, because we have a situation that merits discussion today, that has more impact on our society than we would like to understand. I guarantee there would have been a ratings spike of viewership that would have stayed, rather than change the channel after Ryssdal slapped a band-aid on the discrimination and jumped immediately into the cacao fields of the Starbucks empire.

I’m disappointed that when we see opportunity we choose not to address the important issues of our society that are relevant. I’m saddened by the reality that the dialogue on discrimination continues to take the backseat to anything that will allow us to quickly move away from the issue rather than face it head on.

Let me be clear, until this last paragraph I have not used the word systemic to describe an issue in our society that clearly exists, but I did today watch a major news outlet – CBS News – pass by a wonderful opportunity to recognize the need for dialogue in our extremely mosaic world. The conversations if they cannot occur on a national or international level certainly will be far more difficult to create on a local level. However, they need to. Today Kai Ryssdal and CBS Sunday Morning missed an opportunity.

Where do we begin?

 

On The Occasion of Equality

What would happen,

to jealousy,

to envy,

to wanting more,

to wishing that one were less inclined,

understanding the difference

between yours and mine.

 

What would be said,

when questions arose,

about the ludicrous nature,

of those with a nose

for finding fault in their neighbor

rather than

atoning their own yard.

 

Where would we go,

if no one would regard,

we are the same …

oh wait –

that’s where we have been

for so many years,

so how is it we finally find

some avenue to recognize

respect is a word,

not simply a thought,

a word we can listen to,

practice, believe with a buy in,

that settles all trivialities

those incomprehensible

travesties

keep us yards apart

from unity.