An Upsetting Time

Stunned, a brief awareness,

then disbelief, then horrific, ugly,

insane realization.

My people, your people, we people,

all of us trying to

breathe.

We are told to

‘look the other way’

in a manner of speaking only because we still have

compassion.

We are asked to pass judgment upon soul driven desire

across the divide we see only torment,

now on the other side,

resentment.

What world do we live in might refuse admittance,

what scheme, grand design are you trying to sell me,

how should I respond,

when where I lay my head, the roads, paths,

the forest beautiful in all her natural innocence

begins to question

anyone.

What does freedom mean to …

would the real world please stand up.

The Message of Camelot and high school theatre

Today, I am reflective. This weekend our students performed Camelot on the Shakopee High School stage. This is a show that has been with me since as a child, my mother brought me to see my first production in Wausau, WI as our neighbor was performing in the ensemble. I remember being immediately drawn to the atmosphere, the nuance, the beauty of the stage. I knew at five years old, the stage was where I belonged in some capacity.

I have always wanted to perform this show, and now we are blessed to have the gift of such a talented group of students, to afford the opportunity to attempt such a prolific musical. The dialogue is eerily timeless in our era of border disputes, and haunting terrorism that merits a world misguided by fear, greed and envy. There is a dialogue profound to our needs today. “We are civilized” in the words of King Arthur.

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As we endure the pain of Paris and all of the hotspots of real torment in our world today, I take pause in knowing that theatre allows us to imagine the illusion of a peace that is attainable, is though far-reaching, within our grasp, if we might take the time to ‘think’ as Merlin tried to instill in King Arthur. I wish only love and peace to our neighbors and that we do understand the meaning of a borderless world brought on by an inherent grace in our lives today.

When writing these words, I am immediately drawn to notions of my mother, Jane Amundsen, who taught me idealism as a child and through her spiritual guidance today. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful group of students to bring these ideals to the stage, if not for the span of a few hours of our lives. I hope all of you can find the time to come and see Shakopee’s production of Camelot on the high school stage.

~

*photo credit – author

The Next Day (Why Paris?)

When sun arose to widen sleepy eyelid

A calm begun soon turned memory horrific

We wake shadowed in darkness, a slow embrace

Shattered dreams begun inside stranger despair.

The news however distorted cannot rid

Crying heart, confused eyes, reality’s prolific

Mastery of human nature’s fallible race.

Once thrive her eyes this morning lacking air.

No longer are minds able to disappear

Find shelter beyond the torment of confusion.

Instead again it is sadness, our tears release

That city of lights, extinguished incessant fear

Will rule the day, while gathered in circular motion

We wander, wonder, watchful, gasping for peace.

When Northern Ireland Spoke

war

When they were kids they threw ‘dirtballs’ in acts of war,

their way of showing the offensive and winning battles.

There was a visit that year from Northern Ireland. Belfast

was sending children to freedom’s roots, a symbolic gesture.

my the stories they told,

living in a war zone,

surviving while playing

with molotov cocktails.

we announced a dirtball fight at the construction yard

picked our teams and built our walls, stacking bundles

of clustered clay balls nearby our home ground.

The Irish kids as we called them sort of stood nearby,

a little laughter, and perhaps

some polite mock surprise.

A reaction to the fear and cry

of one of our eyes being hit by

dirt

pain

limbs

blood

shattered glass that remained remnants

outside her bedroom window as she went

to sleep on any given day. She always

wondered whether this might be the day,

brother lost earlier,

parents always tired,

the streets a war zone

the streets a war zone.

Today, children in markets with suicide bombs,

young girls running frightened to their detonation,

This is a new generation of pain and fear,

Pakistan, Nigeria, and Paris, under the lights.

We are the reason for this,

our human personality,

we didn’t just suddenly

become a violent species.

We’ve spent centuries in vicious practice

learning just how far our evil can seek bliss.

Freedom of Speech 2015

speech

We were tested today, is word allowed

to speak in utterances, scream aloud

our freedoms, our ability to breathe

in energy evils presently seethe.

~

Remember as a child when first we learned

civic responsibilities, speech earned.

Tomorrow, next week, again, we honor

human lives. We must destroy dishonor.

~

‘War’ donned my Stop signs across the city

we wanted to speak out loud our pity.

In order to be heard we took a chance

some laughed, calling it spoken elegance.

~

12 dead, more wounded, violent release

the freedom of words, belittled, sweet peace

Paris – Evil Speaks

A bullet's impact is seen on a window at the scene after a shooting at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper,

We must recognize

this is not our home,

yet, their home is ours as well.

We must realize

our world is inter-connected

their pain lays dead in our street,

We must remind

ourselves that our freedom

was just desecrated by the strong arm

of evil, it lurks, around us, anywhere it chooses.

We are asked

to understand

Charlie Hebdo is satire,

in violent terms their point is made,

yet we cannot laugh,

only mourn,

for those souls that lay dead on the tiles,

are us, are you, are me, are human beings.

Tonight, the sun has set on Paris,

people will not sleep,

people will worry, hold one another, walk in confusion.

Tonight across the globe,

we know again,

the pen wields a powerful angst,

yet,

we must also respect,

human lives could not ever deserve,

their legacy to be defined by a bullet.

Let’s pick up our pens and continue

to fight, to maim, to expose

evil.

Let’s mute that voice of evil

while we pray,

while we wrap our heads around,

the unnamed victims,

that tomorrow will be identified,

sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, friends, cousins,

people, human beings with a passion for laughter,

with a desire only,

to suggest that life deserves laughter.

Let’s drown out evil,

with the memory of sweet humor.

Let’s chuckle,

a positive, horrific, peace..