A Moral Tale

There were two children who were told to go play. One child had many toys, the other child had none. The child with many toys would not share any toys with the other, not one! Though the child with many toys had far too many toys to play with all at once, even the unused toys were denied the child with no toys.

Eventually the adults, realizing the child with many toys was not sharing, and could not be taught nor scolded into sharing, gave the child with no toys a few new toys to play with.

Now the child with many toys saw that the child with none was given new toys, and wanted to have some new toys, too. The child with many toys screamed about how unfair it was that only the other child got new toys and not both of them.

The child with many toys then wanted the child who had before had no toys to share the new toys, but still did not want to share the toys that had been there before.  The child with the few toys refused to share because of only having those few.

The child with many toys cried again about how unfair it was that the adults had urged and scolded to share from the many toys, but that the child with a few toys was not only not expected to share, but that the child with many toys was again scolded for wanting to play with the few new toys but would not share from the many toys.

The child with many toys blamed the child with few toys as the reason for being scolded. The child with many toys was angry at the child with few toys for getting away with not sharing. The child with many toys hit the child with few toys for not sharing.  The child with many toys had the toys taken away was put to bed, all the time wailing about how unfair all of this was, and still never learning the lesson.

How many times in life are we the child with many toys.

That’s What I Want

I can’t, I can’t, I can’t
Live in a world
Where there’s no mask
For my face
Of pigmented foundation
And smokey-eye shadow
Lipstick to give me
That luscious full pout
That’s what it’s all about

I can’t, I can’t, I can’t
Give up my caffeine fix
My Mountain Just Dew It
Diet Coke habit
Six pack on my hips
To wash down a bottle
Of diet pills I take
To kill the hungry pit
And make size zero fit

I can’t, I can’t, I can’t
Let my boyfriend’s eyes
Stray to other girls and guys
He might decide
The younger, thinner model
This season’s fashion accessory
Is what he wants on his arm
The centerfold promised lies
Of airbrushed, photo-shopped thighs

I can’t, I can’t, I can’t
Let even a second go by
Where I’m not center stage
My Twitter page
Filled with photos of food
I didn’t eat, but still tweet
From my smart phone ap
Current mood: a bleating sheep
Like this if you’re asleep

 

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Days Gone By

In fourteen-hundred and ninety two
Just a bit before me and you
And yet the repercussions of that year
Echo still within my ears
Each time I hear the news stories
Of Reservation tragedies

The fifteen hundreds ushered in
European trade in black human skin
From ruled to rulers they became
About-face in a vicious game
Intent on turning blood to gold
One nation to the devil sold

By sixteen hundred, Irish, too
Were slaves across the ocean blue
In seventeen seventy-six we see
The lie of a land of liberty
Eighteen hundreds, gold rush days
Chinese labor, and trails blazed

Nineteen hundred, suffrage passed
The other half can vote at last
But only if your skin was white
Another bloody fight for rights
A war that’s waging still today
Unequal schools, unequal pay

Two-thousand thirteen’s almost done
Yet so many fights still to be won
History is replete with stains
So can someone please explain
Why we still nostalgically cry
About the bloody days gone by?

Bastet’s Pixelventures: November 12, 2013

Prompt:  I’m walk down memory lane!  Take a walk down memory lane too and show me something that reminds you of by-gone days!  For those of you who prefer to write rather than snap a photo, you can participate by writing a piece of flash fiction or a poem about by-gone days.

The Ultimate Question

He settled onto the couch to watch the news like he did every night.  I went to the kitchen to make dinner, like I did every night.  I put a pot of water on the stove for the rice and started to chop vegetables for the stir-fry.

“Honey?” he called, “Can you bring me a beer?”

I suppose some people would have had an opinion on that – that I should have told him to get it himself – but it was just how we were.  I never felt like I had to take some kind of indignant stand; and besides, I enjoyed it.   I supposed I’m old fashioned, in my own way.

I made a small tray of sliced meat and cheese and brought it out with his beer to hold him over until dinner was ready.  He gave me a kiss and told me to sit with him for a while but I insisted the rice would burn so I slipped from his needy grasp and went back to the stove; the news was his thing, not mine.  I usually found it too dull or too filled with bad news to be worthwhile.

The vegetables sent up a billow of steam and sizzles as they hit the wok and I stirred quickly before putting the cover on it and checking on the rice.  He had never been much of a rice person before he met me, but I had been raised with it at every meal.  Sometimes the stereotypes are true.  We got the culinary ones out of the way early on; I cooked on our first date.  He teased me about my rice and I said I was fresh out of watermelon.  I asked if he would ever try tofu and he said only if they start making it in fried chicken flavor, and before we knew it we were in love.

My friends said he was too old; his friends said I was a gold digger.  All our friends said we moved way too fast.  I moved into his apartment at four months, and just after a year we found this house.  It was a little more than we had expected to pay, but we took it; he because it was close to work, I because of the kitchen.  The hardwood floors, two bedrooms, and a view of Puget Sound was just the icing on the cake: it was like a dream.  No matter what anyone said, we were happy.  That’s all that really matters, isn’t it?

From the living room I heard a clatter of the plate hitting the floor.  It didn’t sound like it broke, so I just called out to ask if everything was okay.  The answer I got was him rushing into the kitchen and grabbing me around the waist.

He gave me a spin that had me wiggling to get free and protesting his sudden behavior.  Then he knelt down and took my hand and I realized what was going on.  When said those marvelously beautiful words, I knew what had just happened.  “David, will you marry me?”

I confess, I squealed like a six-year-old girl right before I started choking.  Not like a little inhale that catches in your throat, but the kind of choking that makes you double over and gasp for air.  His eyes went wide and he grabbed a glass of water, holding it for me as I tried to take a few sips to wash out whatever had gotten in my throat.

Then he held me close to his chest and repeated his request, words whispered in my ear and sending shivers up my spine.

“Yes, yes of course!” I said, tears streaking down my face which I wiped at in vain.  “Dammit, William!  Yes, I’ll marry you!”

“R74 passed,” he said.

I laughed at that.  “I would have married you any way.”

“I love you,” he said, and I echoed the words back to him before he caught me in a kiss and pressed me back against the counter.  I could tell what was on his mind.  I think mine had already jumped ahead to who I wanted to invite and where it should be held.

The San Juan Islands were beautiful, and how can you beat a ferry ride to kick off the honeymoon?  I was distracted from impromptu wedding plans by his mouth on my neck and I melted into his touch, letting him carry me off.

Twenty minutes later, the fire alarm went off.  I burned the rice.  But of course, I didn’t care.

“There’ll be plenty of rice at the wedding,” he said as we threw opened windows and fanned the smoke from the stove.

“Oh no, that’s bad for the birds,” I said, trying to salvage something of the meal.  “Bubbles.  Let’s have bubbles.”

He came over and closed his hands around mine, drawing them away from the pans.  “Come on.  Let me take you out to dinner.”

I looked into his eyes and said, “Sweetie?  I want kids.”

He laughed and said, “I’m not sure where they serve those.  How about Thai instead?”

“Okay.  But kids, after.”

“Whatever you want for dessert is fine with me,” he said and grabbed our coats.

Some people don’t get us.  But we do, and that’s all that matters.

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To Each Generation, Trials

The woman behind the counter looked intimidating even before I approached the window.  She looked at me over the edge of her bifocals and waved me forward impatiently as the bracelets on her wrist jingled and the flowery blue pattern of her blouse tried to lull me from thinking of her as the first gate – guarded and barred – standing between myself and a marriage.

“May I help you?”

“Um… yes I-”

“Please speak up!”

“I’m here for a marriage license?”

The piece of paper was slapped on the counter and woman used the tip of her pen to point to various boxes, lines and statements.  “You fill this section out; your fiance has to fill this section.  Don’t leave any blanks.  You both have to sign here.  Read these instructions, check this box and both initial here to indicate you have read and understood them-”

“What if we don’t understand them?”  She gave me a look that said volumes: if I didn’t understand them, I had no business getting this piece of paper.  I swallowed hard and said, “Just wondering.”

She ignored the interruption and turned the page over.  “Here is where your two witnesses sign – they can be of any gender – here is for the person officiating, and here is for the notary public.  The notary must witness the signings.   Bring the completed form and a check made out to the City of Colville in the amount of two-hundred and fifty dollars.”  She thrust the paper toward me.  “Any questions?”

I shook my head and she looked around me.  “Next!”

Slinking back from the window, I put the paper in a folder and tucked it into my bag, leaving quickly.  I knew what assumptions the woman had made just by looking at me, and it bothered me.  It bothered me that she thought she knew who I was going to marry.  It bothered me that if she had really known, she’d have refused to give me the paper.  Even knowing the opposition to it being made legal, even knowing what to expect, it still bothered me.

I walked home, mind too filled with thinking to subject myself to the crowd and clamor of the bus.  I walked passed old married couples rocking on front porches and young married couples with children in tow and all I could think of was wanting to look just like them, wanting that pure, sweet love to be mine.

In my mind, I chastised myself saying I already had it.  I had that love; I just couldn’t show it like they did.  I wasn’t allowed to.  Most might just look the other way, but it was those few who wouldn’t just be angry, they’d get violent – those were the ones you always had to look out for.

It wasn’t enough that they had their wives, they had their 2.3 kids and house with white picket fence and 40-hr per week jobs and a car in the driveway.  It wasn’t enough that they had everything they wanted, they still had to keep it from me.  Through their speeches of “You can love whoever you want, but don’t make me agree with it.  Don’t let my kids see it!  They might grow up to do the same thing; you’re corrupting our youth with your unnatural ways!  You can’t call it marriage, it’s an abomination!” they tried to shame me, threaten me, prevent me from living my life just as they lived theirs.  I still didn’t understand how they could feel so threatened.

Was it only my imagination that I felt their eyes on me, judging me even now as I walked faster to get home?  My heart throbbed in my ears until I had shut the door, leaning back against it to shut out the invisible assailants.  And there he was, my David.  Everything in the world I wanted, everything that made my eyes light up and my life worth living.

He scooped me into his arms and kissed me and for that moment, the world was right and nothing else mattered.  But as always, moments pass, as did this one, and I took the folder out of my bag and took the paper out of the folder.

“Are you still sure about this?”

I nodded.

“I love you.”

And that made it enough.  We filled out the paper, checking all the boxes and filling in all the blanks.  Tomorrow it would be legal.  Tomorrow we’d go to the courthouse.

Nothing could ever have prepared me for being in the middle of that angry mob.  I had seen it on TV in other places, but nothing can really make you understand what it feels like to be in the middle it; like standing in the midst of a dry forest that hasn’t seen rain in years, and you can feel the torches closing in around you, a breath from setting you ablaze and nowhere to run.

I had worn a new dress, done up my hair, put on a little makeup and polish, and looking in that mirror, I felt beautiful.  It wasn’t to last.

The crowd was already there when we got out of the car, walking toward the courthouse doors.  There were two police officers by the doors, but it was clear they had no intention of breaking up the mob.  My eyes were fixed on those doors, though, and I gripped his hand as we started to walk.

There were signs telling us how much God hated us, how we’d burn in hell.  Signs saying we were abominations.  Women screaming insults tried to block our path but I just kept walking forward.  Someone spit on me, someone poured a drink over my head, someone hit me with an apple.  I kept walking.  Someone ripped the veil off my head, someone tried to hit me.  I knew the whole time he was getting it worse, sheltering me as much as he could.  I kept walking.

By the time we reached the doors, I looked more like a victim than a bride.  The crowd stayed just at the edge of the steps; seemingly they had been warned ahead they could abuse us as much as they wanted outside, but if we went inside they had to stop.  Looking back at the crowd, I couldn’t help the tears that formed as David urged me inside.

The police stayed at their positions, but I could see the contempt in their eyes as we passed.  It was hard knowing that if I had been marrying another woman, they wouldn’t have cared one way or the other, but because I was marrying a white man, I might as well have been the devil himself, and then remembering that only sixty short years ago, they were where I was.  I didn’t understand why they couldn’t support us now, why they had forgotten already how hard they struggled for their own equality, only to help in denying us ours.

I prayed that my children would be raised in a nation where it didn’t matter the color of your skin, it only mattered how much you loved one another.

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Mother Earth

nrhatch‘s suggestion:

Challenge: Take one of these paintings:
https://creativemetaphor.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/weekend-watercolor/

And write a short essay about it ~ include at least one quote for us to ponder and mull over.

Irish Mother Earth by Eliza Murdock

Mother Earth

There are several cultures who view or viewed Earth as being a goddess, a mother, a living thing which gave us life.  I would say it is a shame that we’ve lost this wonder and see the world instead as merely a rocky planet with an iron/nickle core and accidentally capable of sustaining life.  We take, use, exploit – in the most graphic of terms, we rape the earth for our own needs in seeming ignorance that we have no where else to go when we’ve ruined this home.

I am fully convinced that mankind was happier 5,000 years ago.  I don’t like all the documentaries that show imagined scenes of our ancestors as being fearful, dreary, bent over from hard labor and strained from a life of struggle.  Do I believe their lives were hard?  Undoubtedly they were in many ways.  But what every single one of those re-enactments failed to remember was they were still human!  They laughed, they played games, they were probably happy!

How could I know that?  Surely I have some romanticized view of ancient peoples based on a general disillusionment with modern society and if only I could really experience the hardship of blah blah blah I can’t even finish that train of thought.  No, this isn’t just wistful speculation, I know.  I know, because of tribes of people who live in Amazonian jungles whose lives are probably unchanged since 5,000 years ago, and they are happy!

They are happy in a way we never can be, because they don’t have mortgages and alcoholism and the stresses of modern expectations – a complete disassociation with the world around us beyond what we can take from it or build on it.  Do they sometimes die from what we consider preventable causes?  Yes.  I’m quite sure they don’t have advanced heart surgery techniques – though I would argue they also have less need of them.  Do they sometimes die from conflicts within or between tribes?  Yes.  Do they sometimes die because we are destroying their way of life, their cultures, the environment upon which they depend?  Sadly, yes.

Do I want to run off into the jungle and live like them?  No.  I admit it, there are things that, having been born into a world where they exist, I would not want to now leave.  I like my computer, all my friends live there!  I like traveling to see other places, I love learning about things that I would never have even known about had I no access to modern technologies and scientific discoveries.

But I do fear that we have placed such a moral superiority upon what we call the modern western way of life that we don’t just try to impose it on others, we think that those who don’t follow it are actually less intelligent, less advanced, and in a way we consider them less human.  But they are the ones who have lived for thousands of years, and we are the ones fast-tracking ourselves to destruction.

Intelligence isn’t what we know, it’s our capacity to understand.  Ancient man was just as intelligent as we are, they were just as human, they had the same emotions, the same desires, the same drives; and they lived in a far greater balance with their world.  Not perfect balance, but far closer than we.

Ancient man remembered who their mother was.

Yo momma so fat, she is capable of sustaining all the life that she has produced, if only we would humble ourselves, denounce the greed of money and power, and act in the best interest of all our brothers and sisters.  White, yellow, red, brown, black: we all have the same mother.

Sure, this may all seem like idealistic drivel, but if we can’t aim for the ideal, how ever will we reach it?

PS: I used “we” because chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re part of the ‘we’.

First Down and Genocide

Sorry for the football reference, tis the season here in the US.

I’m going to go through all your suggestions from yesterday one by one – for the Daily Post Challenge: And Now For Something Completely Different (which, this is the first time I’ve decided to broach social and political issues so it counts as something completely different) – and I’ll be starting with Tammy‘s suggestion of:

Try documentary poetry about a current event.

Which works out really well because it’s also another season, when we “celebrate” the “discovery” by Christopher Columbus, that ambitious Italian who sailed for Spain, searching for a short route to India and instead landed in the Americas.

However, the problem with this is that not only was he not the first person to land in America (HELLO, Native American anyone?!) but he wasn’t even the first European to set foot in the Americas – that distinction is generally granted to Leif Eriksson.

In fact, today is Leif Eriksson Day.  Let’s observe that, instead.  (I propose the following to observe the day: don’t be dicks to people you meet, give to local charities, and then drink copious amounts of mead and praise Odin that at least one of our ancestors wasn’t a complete douche-wad.  We’ll decorate with Celtic knots and watch the movie Thor, based on Marvel comics, based on the bastardization of Norse mythology.  It’s horribly inaccurate, but the actors are delicious.)  Hey, maybe Leif was  dick, too, but at least *he* didn’t slaughter 90% of the people he came in contact with.  Much better first impression.  Too bad the subsequent impressions weren’t so good.  The remains of his settlement in Canada have been found.

Back to Columbus… Columbus was a dick (<- If you don’t click on any other link in this entire post, click on this one.)  He wasn’t your average, everyday white explorer dick like, say, John Smith.  Oh no, he was a very special kind of dick on the level of Hitler and Pol Pot.  Even some of his own people were horrified at what he did, and the attempt to arrest him for his crimes was thwarted by the fact the King and Queen of Spain were growing quite fat on the gold with which he was filling their coffers.  Within 50 years of landing in the Bahamas, he had managed a complete genocide of the native population.

So, to Tammy’s request to write a documentary poem about current events, I wrote about this.  But Eliza, you cry, this isn’t current events, this is history!  Well, so long as we continue to celebrate and honour the man responsible for beginning the genocide across this continent, it will continue to be current events.

Who Discovered What Now?

In fourteen-hundred and ninety two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue
But history class, it was the worst
‘Cause Leif Eriksson landed first
Except, no wait, that’s still not right
Neither men were first to sight
The continent of North America
Cause there were already people here – DUH!
Sorry, Columbus, I know you tried;
You started a 500-year genocide.
So how can history open our eyes
When we’re just taught a bunch of lies?