We grew up in different worlds in the city.
When I think about my bucolic privilege,
I now view it’s exclusivity with pity,
because I walked, ran and rode my bike
to the park to play
without a single cop in sight.
Some would say, “How fortunate for that,
for a first-generation immigrant kid,”
but that’s just a myth in fact.
Yes, it kept me from a hard knock life
and I’m grateful for that
but that privilege would lead to godless strife.
It was called white flight.
With fear in our hearts, we left
sometime during the night.
Blacks bought our homes
thinking it was step up — an escape route
but then cops roamed and roamed,
and kids couldn’t venture to the park
to run, bike, hike and play —
their unprivileged future looking dark.
So, now here we are
all these years later.
We haven’t gotten that far
in matters of justice, peace and a better way.
But Black Lives Matter
and we all have Divine DNA
and we now work toward that God blessed day
of equality, peace and inclusivity.
Yes, for this we pray.
He drew the rod back and snapped it fast.
Between ten and two, back and forth —
“Will the fly catch Brookies?” he asked.
He drew the pole back and snapped it fast.
Catch or not the wonder will last.
Use finesse not brute force.
He drew the pole back and snapped it fast.
Between ten and two, back and forth.
I don’t think it is a really good
thing to grow up in a house with
clear plastic covers on the living
room soft fabric furniture. It just
might be psychologically unsettling
with questions about parental love.
It’s hard, cold and uncomfortable.
I did and recall looking longingly
through the plastic to the beautiful,
soft, fabric beneath, that which I
could never, ever touch. If I wanted
to take a nap on the couch, I would
put my socked feet (because we always
had to take our shoes off at the door)
on the plastic, only to hear my mother
tell me to get my feet off the couch.
I would say, “Mom, my soft socks are
on the hard, cold, noisy plastic.”
“Don’t get smart, young man. We aren’t
rich and I want the couch to last a
long time.” Yes, it has all lasted a
long time — at least the memory. I
still get chilled just thinking about
lying on that couch even in the middle
of summer. Oh, I’m sorry; that’s when
I slid around and got stuck to the
clear, cold, hard, noisy plastic.
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” Matthew 10:28.
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him” Job 13:15.
They are closing in; they are walking,
running, marching with sticks and
stones to break my bones. Maybe. At
least all the images from January 6
tell me so, and the images are shown
over and over and over to impress upon
me how tentative is my very existence.
And so what am I left to do? Barricade
inside? I’m almost there already thanks
to the virus. Weaponize? Yeah, I know;
there are more accidental shootings from
guns on family than on feared invaders.
Preciado cautions, ”Our disappearance,
though certain, is only relatively im-
minent.” So, take it easy, breathe deeply
and enjoy what time you have left and
even though being called names really
does hurt and sticks and stones may break
bones, yet, will I trust my creator even
as I plead my case before that eternal
lover, the only one who could utterly
obliterate me, but who I trust never would,
so, if they come, open the door, take them
a plate of cookies, but be sure to wear a mask.
No sense testing fate.
The following was forwarded to me by a friend:
As the world fights to figure everything out: Biden, Trump, COVID, BLM, Life…I’ll be holding doors for strangers, letting people cut in front of me in traffic, keeping babies entertained in grocery lines, stopping to talk to someone who is lonely, tipping generously, sharing food, giving children a thumbs-up, being patient with sales clerks, smiling at passersby.
WHY? Because I will not stand to live in a world where love is invisible. Join me in showing kindness, understanding, and judging less. Be kind to a stranger, give grace to people who may be having a bad day, foster or adopt a pet!!! And be forgiving with yourself.
If you can’t find kindness, BE kindness.
Lead with LOVE is my motto
John Winthrop, preacher of the “City on a Hill”
sermon, “claimed the Puritans had a special pact
with God to create a new, holy community. He also
claimed that the rich had a holy duty to look after
the poor.” While “looking after the poor” reeks
of white, Anglo-European paternalism and con-
descension, the Puritans seemingly completely lost
sight of Rev. Winthrop’s “holy duty” admonition.
Condescension ain’t great but the “holy duty” is better
than nothing and we are still looking for that lost “duty,”
but there still is the “Sorry, Charlie,” sign in sign
language at the bottom of the hill for the Indians.
*quote from The Writer’s Almanac, Jan. 12, 2021
Did they not have stories read or sung to
them when they were little, like lullabies
when they were in the crib and colorful,
story books in their little beds? Did they
not hear the fairy tales and later did they
not read Raul and C.S. and J.R.R.? And
the poems, the sing-song poems filled
with fun and wonder? Were they not able
to blend those stories with their emerging
stories? Did their parents not walk them
in nature so they could talk to the trees
and scamper with the rabbits and hear the
melodies of the birds as the beautiful
birds sang their stories? Did they not get
their feet wet in the creek and watch the
fish swim by and hear their parents tell
them that one day they would swim with the
fish? And as they got older, did they not
hear the wonderful stories of faith, the
blending of the eternal verities of myths
with history? Was there no context except
being rocked in the cradle of resentments,
blame, fear, finger-pointing, scapegoating
inherited from those who themselves had never
really heard the sacred stories of life? How
can they ever know the beautiful, glorious
children of love they are without the stories?
*idea from a meditation by Richard Rohr, 01/10/2020
the disease unto death,
the profound illness,
circulates and permeates.
breathe in all the hurt and harm,
all the alarm,
all the fear, the great fear.
let it draw near.
be not afraid
it has been said.
when it is there,
take it in, deeply.
with arms outstretched.
let the devil’s deception
meet open palms reception.
fill your whole soul.
hold it, hold it, hold it
and then let the sin of
the world go
for the sake of the creation,
for the sake of your
brothers and sisters,
for the sake of jesus,
buddha, lao tzu
and, yes, of course, you, too.
and rightfully filled
for without that hesitate,
is a very lonely place
in which to sit and wait.
With no expectations,
he won’t need hesitations;
he won’t just sit and wait;
he’ll get on with good things
to do, without regrets,
before it is too late.
I saw the crazy guy inside the
Capitol Rotunda with his tattoos,
Daniel Boone cap and Viking horns
and it were the horns that really
caught my attention. The guy?
He’s a looney-toon, 32-year-old
actor from Phoenix. The horns?
I guess symbols of white, male
aggression, violence, supremacy.
I am about 50% Scandinavian and
while I have never known very much
about my roots, I have mythologized
what they are and therefore who I
am, but, actually I’m thinking about
the Scandinavia I hear about today —
world’s happiest people, environment-
ally aware, peace loving. Back to
the horns. Symbols of savagery. I
am the son of Gust. I guess that
would make me a Gustafson even
though I was told my name was
Hanson before some ancestor changed
it to what it is today for reasons
never explained. While I love my
long-deceased father, I actually
like my baptism name better —
child of God, brother and friend
of Jesus; you know — Jesus, the
Middle-Eastern, dark-skinned guy
who is the wonderful window into
the universal, inclusive, grace-
filled Spirit of peace and love.
Actually, I think my hornless
father would have liked that.
Probably my long-gone wooden-
shoe wearing Dutch mother, too.