Is this art
How I love you
To put you in a frame
On my wall
Stare for days
At your beautiful mind
Wrap my lips around
The color of your eyes
Brush up against
Your fine lines
It's like magic
The way you dance
Around my existence
Make the world disappear
Reflections from Tonga.
So much of what lies on the ocean floor looks like brains. It’s no wonder the sea takes on the essence of a living, breathing thing. It is. A monstrous one, massive and powerful, deep and secretive. Here in the Pacific, it’s absolutely clear. So clear that even when you’re floating in it, you can forget there’s water there, save for the coolness against your skin. It’s as if you’re flying, looking down at the way the sand folds snake across the earth. You don’t even have to put your head under. When the sun is shining, the Pacific is as clear as air.
I was floating this way today, watching the sunlight’s dancing patterns against the distant sand, wondering how deep the water was. I grew up with such a phobia of the ocean, I never could have swum so far out before. Especially on this island all by myself. But these blues are so warm and peaceful, my body so buoyant in the salt. It didn’t bother me at all. The realization made me smile. Then I saw a fish dart by. One small fish, so white it was nearly translucent, a bit of yellow dusted across his bottom fin. I watched like a child as he came closer to me.
Then there was another, maybe a big brother, and together they circled me. Suddenly there were five. Ten. An uncountable school came flowing in an endless stream from the deeper water. Was something bigger chasing them? Were they chasing me? They didn’t touch me, but they formed a ring around my floating body, swimming in circles at a steady pace. I tried to count them, but I couldn’t keep track of these fish that all looked the same. I swam, and they followed me in a long, thin line until I was able to stand. I grazed my hand across the water, and they responded with a dance below.
Carry on, carry on -
There's no need for perfection
Where you're going
You can leave that bag behind.
Travel lightly as you travel blindly
Beyond the preconceived prisons
Of your mind's eye.
Those lies belong to a past life
But you and I -
We transcend the rigid contours
Of those black lines
Etched into white paper.
Evolved and enlightened,
First we are erasers
And then we are the makers,
The creators, the rearrangers,
Magical travelers of the cosmos
Guided by divinity, we are the lone rangers
The life tamers, the risk takers.
Only lost can we ever be found
Feet rooted in Earth,
Head floating in clouds.
Take a look around,
Take another breath in
And without a doubt in your heart
Carry on, carry on flying.
I’ve been trying to figure out how to break my silence after a too-long hiatus from this blog. I figured a really amazing poem or short story or hilarious comic would come along and I’d be back on track. But you know, there is a much greater, much scarier, much more devastating silence that needs breaking right now. And I’m very grateful to a friend and brother for opening a dialogue with me after seeing a post I made on Facebook about the atrocities in Charlottesville this weekend. It turns out I had more to say, and I feel deeply the need to share it. Thank you for reading and please do keep this conversation going. With me, with each other, internally within yourselves. Our reality right now is devastating, painful, terrifying, incomprehensible. It is big and dark and ominous. But it is not hopeless. Did you read that? We don’t dare give up hope, brothers and sisters. Stand up. I am standing with you, for you, come stand with me. There is no choice now, there is no time to cower and lick our wounds. I’m standing, are you ready? Come stand with me, I’m standing with you.
It's a hard truth to swallow, that the American dream is a lie. A wicked line of marketing we are brainwashed to believe since birth. That this country is a beacon of light, a place of equality and freedom for all.
But let us not forget that the United States of America was founded through genocide, stolen from a greater people. And we do forget this. There’s not even an honest dialogue about our tragic history so that we can say sorry, forgive, move forward in a way that is actually in line with the quotes of our founding fathers.
Instead they “teach” us in school that the Pilgrims arrived, and there was a peaceful dinner with the Indians. And we call it Thanksgiving. As children, they would dress us up as Pilgrims and Indians to reenact these lies. Too many people swallow that pill, grow up and believe it forever. They wrap the flag around these gaping wounds and call themselves patriots.
But last year on Thanksgiving Day, Native Americans peacefully protesting the re-stealing of their sacred land to build pipelines were blasted with water cannons and rubber bullets in below freezing temperatures. On Thanksgiving fucking Day.
Fast forward to the election of this ignorant-in-every-sense-of-the-word, white-privileged, racist, hateful, narcissistic, evil, little man we are now disgraced to call President: He is the match that has lit a tremendous fire, but do you know what's burning? The rotten, ignorant, racist, hateful, bigoted, inequality that has been sitting here festering beneath the surface of this nation since the day it was founded. Tucked behind shiny signs and inside big houses and packaged nicely and presented as a promise-land.
Flying home I was reading my passport, there are quotes on every page you know. Thinking fuck, this should be mandatory reading for President Trump. For everyone. This is the American Passport, one of the most powerful little books in the world.
“The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or a sect, a party or a class — it is the cause of humankind, the very birthright of humanity.”
Yes, my brothers and sisters read that line again. Go open up your passport, take a look at the idyllic, patriotic passages on those pages. I mean, it sounds so good, man, so RIGHT. How can we not stand behind the ideals that this great nation was founded on?
Because the truth we are afraid to speak, so deeply programmed against speaking, is that none of it was ever really true. It never really meant what we read it to mean, and how could it in it’s essence in light of how this country came to be? The land of the free soaking in our Indian brothers’ blood. Freedom for all was freedom for the WASPS who came to take over, with the help of their slaves. The freedom they were granted: to consume, consume, consume. Mindlessly consume and pledge allegiance and wave our flags, sing the national anthem and forget the utter hypocrisy of it all.
And as ugly as the face of our reality is now, THIS is the true face of America. It’s what’s been hiding behind all the shiny advertisements all along. And as much as it burns and hurts and cracks your heart open to see it out there in the open, it is about fucking time we see it for what it is. And the world sees it for what it is. So that it breaks down totally, burns up, whatever has to happen in order for us to rebuild it from the bottom.
Rebuild it into the place they lied and said that it was. Free for all. A place where we can dream and be and live together with love and acceptance and forgiveness.
We cannot do that without things getting really ugly first, uncovering all that evil shit that has been bubbling under the surface poisoning the air for hundreds of years.
It's going to hurt and it's going to tear people apart. This shit is real. I repeat, this is not a drill.
And what we need to do now is join together, here at the bottom, in the burning pit of it all and hold on to each other. So tightly that we forge together and become the foundation. And when the smoke clears and we sweep the bodies and the broken dreams away we are still here, standing together, ready to rebuild.
Also from our passports:
“That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of Freedom.”
“What a glorious morning for our country.”
Chicago-born citizen of the globe, rich in the things that really matter. Let's get weird.