I wrote this almost exactly a year ago. Some things don’t change (need for coffee). Some things seem even farther away than last year (feline litter box, patriarchal litter box). Mrs. Claus, save us!
When the world turns weird though the sky stays sapphire
Fear finds its F-stop capturing crashing crystal.
Glass crunches underfoot sanctuaries no longer safe.
These are the times that try weary women’s souls.
Now every nation, even ours, shall tremble, tremble,
Awaiting wickedness, war and all the caustic casualties
Of hatred let off its long leash while we, the warrior women,
In mud up to our ears and angry struggle to stand up, shoulder to shoulder,
And face the fray—fearful but determined and diligent—
Knowing this is the uncommon hour our pasts have prepared us for.
More timely words from our pal Dina Honour. She is saying the things I can’t even, just yet.
While in Prague recently, friends and I toured the Jewish Quarter. We stood among thousands of crooked and wilting headstones dating back to the 15th century. We silently absorbed the names of the 80,000 written in simple script upon wall after wall. Prague Jews who never returned home. We toured the Spanish Synagogue and meandered through a well […]
More wise and exhausted but necessary words from our buddy Dina Honour over at Wine and Cheese (Doodles). Dina, I’m #WithYou!
Dear Women: I didn’t choose this fight. This fight chose me the moment I was born and the doctor announced “It’s a girl!” Trust me, my life would have been a lot easier, my voice less hoarse, my husband less harassed if the damn ERA had passed the first time and we were done with […]
Today is Veteran’s Day, commemorating the end of the War to End All Wars. If you don’t know much about World War I, I strongly recommend two books: Barbara Tuchman’s Guns of August, nonfiction about how we got from the end of 1910 through the first 30 days of the war; and Jeffrey Shaara’s, To the Last Man, a fictional account that shows how people from the bottom to the top of the military and political establishments throughout Europe on both sides made the devastating and heroic and deadly decisions that the war forced on them
War is a bizarre human endeavor that brings out the worst and the best of the people engaged in it on both sides. And our poets help us make sense of it. So in the troubled days ahead of us now (please, God, not including war), when you feel embattled and outnumbered, remember what Shakespeare gave us in Henry V, Act IV Scene III: 18-67.
WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!
KING. What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin, Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is Saint Crispian.”
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.”
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words—
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester—
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered–
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
Some hard thoughts from our pal Luther Stiler.
Got that one wrong.
Like a lot of white people, I keep wanting to write things like “I did not realize I lived in a country this hateful.” I already Tweeted that my main mistake was underestimating the number of assholes in America. I genuinely didn’t think there were enough white assholes to elect Trump. That right there is a failure of empathy on my part; people of color and LGBTQ people and any number of others who aren’t straight cis white people have been telling us this for years, and while I thought I was listening I clearly wasn’t. America isn’t any different from what it was a few days ago. There’s just a whole lot of white people who can’t deny what America is any longer. The proof just got rubbed in our faces; it’s going to keep getting rubbed in our faces repeatedly for the…
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So this is the poem I wrote about voting on Tuesday, or actually, waiting in the playground before we got into the school to vote: anticipation.
Election Morning, Nov. 8, 2016
Alexander Hamilton Elementary School
Bodies order themselves in circles, concentric,
The newest arrivals on the inside, protected:
One step forward. Stand. Watch each others’
Nervous faces, watch the selfies on this
Historic morning. Another step forward. Stand.
This election has kept us guessing, neither able
To watch this boor go up against this white-clad
Suffragette, nor able to look away, alas.
One embraces the thought of war—he’s a fan,
Apparently; the other considers him deplorable.
The circle moves incrementally, a lazy dragon
Shifting forward one step at a time, waiting to take
A stand on the issues, to fill in small ovals
With a black marker on a slightly shielded shaky
Table. But not yet. For now, take a step forward.
Stand. I hear a woman say, “This is like that
Catholic thing in the garden.” Oh yes. The living
Rosary. People stand in a circle, each saying on prayer
To our mother to save us. Three rounds: Joyful,
Sorrowful, Glorious mysteries. Pray for us sinners.
Yes, this is a circle like that one. Taking a step forward.
Standing. Remembering the joys and sorrows of
The last eight years. Hoping against hope for glory
To come. Twelve hours later we sit and wait for hope
And unity to win, take another step forward, stand.