July 4

This first poem was actually written by my girlfriend. Following is my account of the same.

You don’t think I’m scared
You write poems about my perfection
About my untouched simplicity
You say you’re scared
Scared of the things that could come between us
Scared of what we may one day become
I’m not scared
Not of you, not of me
Not of the what-ifs that may dissolve our love someday
Not of anything coming between us
But I am
I am scared for us
I’m scared for us everyday
But my fears are different than yours
Mine aren’t of us, but of others
Of alcohol, testosterone, and closed minds
Of dirty looks, insults, and confrontations
Of attacks, broken bones, and broken souls
You are the surest thing I’ve ever known
I don’t fear our demise, the end of an “us”
For I know the strength and conviction of my love
And every day you show me yours
But I do fear the world
I fear the wrong judge being a witness to our love
His conviction of our “sins” and his own need to punish
Small towns breed small minds
Small minds are quick to destroy
It is the thought of that destruction
That is my fear
So I let go of your hand
I scan the crowds, the smell of liquor strong
I wonder if anyone is watching us
I wonder if anyone can just tell
I wonder if anyone is the guy your co-worker punched
And I realize I don’t even notice the fireworks anymore
Or your eyes staring holes into me, confused by the silence
And suddenly I feel the tears pricking my eyes
I wanted a magical night under the fireworks
But I’m too scared to hold your hand
You know something’s wrong
You ask, and stare, and reassert your love
But how can I tell you?
I, with my out and proud stance
With my “screaming gay” shirts
With my arsenal of lgbt poems
The lines burned into my memory
Ready to remind me to be strong
To face the world head-on
To hold your hand in the face of any oppression
“And we were – from the beginning
Living in towns that frowned at our hand-holding
Folding up their stares like hate notes into our pockets
So we could pretend they weren’t there
You said, ‘Fear is only a verb if you let it be.
Don’t you dare let go of my hand.'”
But I did
And I want nothing more than to fall into your embrace
To shield me from all that’s so very wrong in this world
But I can’t
So I stand there
Muttering some excuse about my back
Which does hurt like hell
But not half as bad as my heart
Eventually you grab my hand and pull me through the crowds
I keep my head down, my heart racing in my chest
It’s not long before I drop your hand again
Filing behind you as we pass families in their yards
Hoping they don’t give us a second glance
But before we make it to your car, you veer off the sidewalk
We end up on a small bench, all alone
The fireworks exploding over the small patch of trees in front of us
And you grab my face, and kiss me
A kiss under the fireworks
Just like I wanted
You always did know how to make everything romantic and perfect
And all I can do is hope that my tears mix with my sweat before you realize I’m crying
Because I’m so far gone in my head
That I can’t even fully appreciate
This picture perfect, amazing moment
Of being here, with you
So I spent the night holding you as tightly as I could
Writing these lines in my head
Trying to explain what I couldn’t say aloud
Because I am scared
I’m scared to lose you to someone’s ignorance
To someone’s bigotry
To someone’s hatred
You always ask me, how people can be so hateful
How they could hate us for our love
I do my best, to reassure you
But really? I don’t know
I don’t know why we live in a world where I’m so scared to hold your hand
But we do
And I am
And I can’t even begin to tell you what a failure I feel like.

My account:

People pulse around the statue of an infantryman on a hot July night.
There are concession stands and children’s games, a dunk tank.
You and I stand side by side, swallowing our fear like gulps of air as the heat takes its toll.
This is what freedom feels like.
I hold my heart in my hands, unsure if I dare attach it to my sleeve or hide it in my pocket.
We are lost in a crowd of children and their keepers;
I look to your eyes and whisper a question you can’t understand, won’t understand.
The fireworks shoot through the sky and rain color on the town.
We are lost in a moment not our own, the town throbbing as we stand stock-still.
I know what you know, what we hope they don’t know, as their ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ sustain them.

We are not free of judgment, of hatred, of intolerance, of rude words spit between the teeth of ignorance. We are not free of the danger that seems to be bred, as if one generation can infect the next.

We are not free.
I stare at the fireworks, significance dripping from the burst of blue like tears;
with a solemn heart, I intertwine my fingers with your own and lead you away.
We turn our backs on the celebration of a freedom that isn’t familiar, the music fading…
“Here in small town USA.”

Advertisements
July 4

This is true equality.

I received the following as a forwarded e-mail. It sums up a great deal how I feel regarding equality and the like in this nation.
A new high school principal in Colorado gave this speech; along side him were Sara Palin and Tom Brokaw who were also guest speakers they did little but nod and agree with him.
A Speech Every American High School Principal Should Give.
By Dennis Prager.
To the students and faculty of our high school:
I am your new principal, and honored to be so. There is no greater calling than to teach young people.
I would like to apprise you of some important changes coming to our school. I am making these changes because I am convinced that most of the ideas that have dominated public education in America have worked against you, against your teachers and against our country.
First, this school will no longer honor race or ethnicity. I could not care less if your racial makeup is black, brown, red, yellow or white. I could not care less if your origins are African, Latin American, Asian or European, or if your ancestors arrived here on the Mayflower or on slave ships. The only identity I care about, the only one this school will recognize, is your individual identity — your character, your scholarship, your humanity. And the only national identity this school will care about is American.
This is an American public school, and American public schools were created to make better Americans. If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial or religious identity through school, you will have to go elsewhere. We will end all ethnicity, race and non-American nationality-based celebrations. They undermine the motto of America, one of its three central values — e pluribus Unum, “from many, one.” And this school will be guided by America ‘s values. This includes all after-school clubs. I will not authorize clubs that divide students based on any identities. This includes race, language, religion, sexual orientation or whatever else may become in vogue in a society divided by political correctness.
Your clubs will be based on interests and passions, not blood, ethnic, racial or other physically defined ties. Those clubs just cultivate narcissism — an unhealthy preoccupation with the self — while the purpose of education is to get you to think beyond yourself. So we will have clubs that transport you to the wonders and glories of art, music, astronomy, languages you do not already speak, carpentry and more. If the only extracurricular activities you can imagine being interested in are those based on ethnic, racial or sexual identity, that means that little outside of yourself really interests you.
Second, I am uninterested in whether English is your native language. My only interest in terms of language is that you leave this school speaking and writing English as fluently as possible. The English language has united America’s citizens for over 200 years, and it will unite us at this school. It is one of the indispensable reasons this country of immigrants has always come to be one country. And if you leave this school without excellent English language skills, I would be remiss in my duty to ensure that you will be prepared to successfully compete in the American job market. We will learn other languages here — it is deplorable that most Americans only speak English –but if you want classes taught in your native language rather than in English, this is not your school.
Third, because I regard learning as a sacred endeavor, everything in this school will reflect learning’s elevated status. This means, among other things, that you and your teachers will dress accordingly. Many people in our society dress more formally for Hollywood events than for church or school. These people have their priorities backward. Therefore, there will be a formal dress code at this school.
Fourth, no obscene language will be tolerated anywhere on this school’s property — whether in class, in the hallways or at athletic events. If you can’t speak without using the f-word, you can’t speak. By obscene language I mean the words banned by the Federal Communications Commission, plus epithets such as “Nigger,” even when used by one black student to address another black, or “bitch,” even when addressed by a girl to a girlfriend. It is my intent that by the time you leave this school, you will be among the few your age to instinctively distinguish between the elevated and the degraded, the holy and the obscene.
Fifth, we will end all self-esteem programs. In this school, self-esteem will be attained in only one way — the way people attained it until decided otherwise a generation ago — by earning it. One immediate consequence is that there will be one valedictorian, not eight.
Sixth, and last, I am reorienting the school toward academics and away from politics and propaganda. No more time will be devoted to scaring you about smoking and caffeine, or terrifying you about sexual harassment or global warming. No more semesters will be devoted to condom wearing and teaching you to regard sexual relations as only or primarily a health issue… There will be no more attempts to convince you that you are a victim because you are not white, or not male, or not heterosexual or not Christian. We will have failed if any one of you graduates this school and does not consider him or herself inordinately fortunate — to be alive and to be an American.
Now, please stand and join me in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of our country. As many of you do not know the words, your teachers will hand them out to you.
This is true equality.

“The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.” Oscar Wilde

Okay, so we all know YouTube. We’ve all experienced wandering from one video to the next and seeing what we could find. So, as it is Friday and I have some free time, I’ve been doing just that. I thought I would share some of the videos I stumbled across that I found particularly moving, or in some cases, disturbing.

This video is about the impact parents and other adults have on children. It definitely gives you a more concrete way of seeing that impact.

This video is incredibly disturbing and upsetting. I believe the point of the video is demonstrated in the “Pay attention or pay the price” claim it shows, but wow. It shows a lot of incredibly traumatic events.

Now, this video is…well, different. I sure wouldn’t want to be in this kind of situation!

For a whole new outlook on safe sex, I recommend this.

I’m a big fan of motivational…well, anything. So it’s only fair that I throw this one in the list.

Those are a few random videos I found. As for the rest of my time? Well, I spent it jumping from one spoken word artist to the next. I don’t know if you’re a fan of spoken word poetry, but I am. And if you haven’t seen it, then you need to. My first exposure, who is–to this day–my favorite spoken word poet, was Sarah Kay. But by all means, explore. Find someone you really enjoy listening to. You’d be surprised what these people you have never met have to say. It’s pretty great. It’s really great. It’s a pick-me-up on a down day. It’s a reassurance when life doesn’t go your way. I enjoy it.

Oh, and a bit behind the title quote: I’m reading The Importance of Being Earnest for my English class. I knew Oscar Wilde by his quotes–he has some incredible quotes. But, now I have a chance to read his writing as well. It’s not as bad as it could be. 😉

“The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.” Oscar Wilde

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Mohandas Gandhi

I very much enjoy this YouTube video.

More and more I am coming across questions of religious understanding, religious practice…religiousness in and of itself.

I am a Christian, in essence. I believe in God and I believe in Jesus. I have not read the Bible. I’m not sure I ever will. I like to think I have a pretty good understanding of what is or isn’t moral…more so than a bible could provide me with.

That being said, see this video.

What is religion anyway? Spirituality, isn’t it different? Can’t I believe in religious ideals yet practice differently? Religion is by definition up to the interpretation of followers. This being said, is it wrong for certain zealots to preach the Bible and throw verses in the face of others? Not at all. I am have nothing against those who are truthful in their condemnation of others lifestyles and behaviors if they do indeed follow the scripture by word on everything.

Few people do such a thing. In fact, very few actually do such a thing.

Organized religion is a joke to me. Sure, there are certain aspects that are vital to religiosity. But who has the right to judge others, to decide what is right or wrong, to set forth rules and regulations about religious practice?

What do you think?

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Mohandas Gandhi

“Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” John F. Kennedy

I like to challenge my beliefs. My ideals. My knowledge and my understanding of the world. I like to feel that spark of something more. That gut reaction of hey, this is new. Take it and run with it. I like to hold my mind open, and I like to adapt. I am a draft. I am revised. I will always be revisable. The day I decide I am a final copy, I will be of no more value to myself. What value can one serve if it is to deflect what novelties are hurled at you?

So I seek out things that do this. That challenge my view. My world. It only allows growth. Allows an opportunity to further my world and make it larger.

With that being said, check this out. You don’t have to read the whole thing if it isn’t your style. But, whatever. I’m a sharer. There’s the sharing.

“Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” John F. Kennedy

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Benjamin Franklin

So too understand the eye of the soul: whenever it is fixed upon that upon which truth and reality shine, it understands and knows and seems to have intelligence, but whenever it is fixed upon what is mixed with darkness–that which is subject to birth and destruction–it opines and is dimmed, changes its opinions this way and that, and seems to have no intelligence.
Say that what gives truth to the objects of knowledge, and to the knowing mind the power to know, is the Form of Good. As it is the cause of knowledge and truth, think of it also as being the object of knowledge. Both knowledge and truth are beautiful, but you will be right to think of the Good as other and more beautiful than they. As in the visible world light and sight are rightly considered sunlike, but it is wrong to think of them as the sun, so here it is right to think of knowledge and truth as Goodlike, but wrong to think of either as Good, for the Good must be honored even more than they.

From The Good and the Allegory of the Cave by Plato

Intro to Ethics class (=

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Benjamin Franklin

You Tell Me How To Be A Girl In 2010

From the book I am an Emotional Creature by Eve Ensler.

Questions, doubt, ambiguity, and dissent
have somehow become very unmasculine.
Authoritarian maniacs are
premiers, czars, and presidents.
Each one is more righteous than the next.
Each town they bomb
each human they kill
is done for “humanitarian” purposes.

People don’t own the water in their own village
and they certainly don’t own the diamonds and the gold.
Millions are forced to make dinner out of garbage and dust
While Russian businessmen and movie stars
are buying 500-million-euro villas on Cote Sud.

Bees have stopped making honey.
People are drilling in all the wrong places.
The U.S., Russia, Canada, Denmark, and Norway all claim the Arctic
but none of them seem to care that the polar bears are drowning.

They are fingerprinting, photographing our licenses and teeth.
Big Brother is now in our phones, our pods, our PCs.
Not even one of us feels a little safer.
New Age mental health providers turn
out to be former war torturers with beards.
And the pope in a dress showing off his
ermine trim and cuffs
is telling everyone that
people kissing people they love is the greatest evil.
A woman running for U.S. vice president
believes in creationism
but not global warming.

Why is everyone so much more afraid of sex
than SCUD missiles?
And who decided God wasn’t into pleasure?
And if the hetero nuclear family is so great
how come everyone is fleeting it
or paying their life savings just
to sit in a room with a stranger and cry about it?

The Iraq war cost nearly $3 trillion.
I can’t even count that high
but I know
that money could have
would have
ended poverty in general
which would have canceled terrorism.
How come we have money to kill
but no money to feed or heal?
How come we have money to destroy
but no money for art and schools?

The fundamentalists now have
billion-dollar private armies
The Taliban is back
but never went away.
Women are burned, raped, bludgeoned, sold,
starved, and buried alive
and still don’t know they are the majority.

Water is clearly nearly running out
but even in the desert where there’s serious drought
the golf courses are green and lush
and the swimming pools are full of water
for the twelve rich people who might decide to come.

Special people adopt hand-picked babies in faraway lands.
Their flights there cost more
than the babies’ parents made
this year.
Why don’t they just give it to them?
Slavery is back
but never went away.
Just ask anyone who’s been whipped
how deep the legacy.
Six million dead in the Congo
and they never made the news,
and don’t tell me it doesn’t have
to do with color
and minerals.

Poor folks are dying first
From hurricanes
Shame
Tsunamis
Radiation
Pollution
Floods
And neglect.
Rich folks
just put up fancier super-electrified gates
on their private perfect cities.

Everyone’s having “benefits”
and throwing fancy parties
with lots of swag
so the rich people feel good about giving
away the tiny little bit of the whole lot they have.
But no one really wants to change anything.
If you really want it
you have to give something up
like everything
and then those that have, wouldn’t,
and then who would the be?
And that’s too complicated
so they write checks
and keep doing the same old things.
Selling change.
Making revolution profitable.
Corporations own everything anyway
even our hippie jeans, memory cells, and rain.
Why do so many woman leaders look like Margaret Thatcher
and act even meaner?
Why doesn’t anyone remember anything?
And how come rich bad people
get paid lots of money to give speeches
and poor bad people are tortured
and in prisons?
Is there anyone in charge?
Or is this whole thing spinning out until it explodes
or dissolves?
And if there is something we can do
why aren’t we doing it?
What happened to fury?
What happened to accuracy
or accountability?
What happened to not showing off your wealth?
What happened to kindness?
What happened to teenagers rebelling
instead of buying and selling?
What happened to teenagers kissing
instead of blogging and dissing?
What happened to teenagers marching
and refusing
instead of exploiting and using?

I want to touch you in real time
not find you on YouTube,
I want to walk next to you in the mountains
not friend you on Facebook.
Give me one thing I can believe in
that isn’t a brand name.

I’m lonely.
I’m scared.
Girls younger than me are giving blowjobs
in homeroom
and they don’t even know it’s sex.
They just want to be popular
and get some respect.
Most girls my age are taking pills
or not getting out of bed
or eating or starving
or getting nose jobs or implants
or getting cut
or twittering away
or covering themselves
or desperate for a way
to be awake without faking
to be alive without freaking
to be serious
to be true
to even think of loving someone
when we’re already doomed.

You tell me how to be a girl in 2010

I say let’s go for it
if it’s all coming down.
I say let’s speak it
let’s fight it
let’s right it
there’s nothing to hold on to
if it’s already gone.
They left it to us.
It sucks but it’s true.
It’s you and me baby.

You Tell Me How To Be A Girl In 2010