Is this what the birth of a regime and the end of a democracy look like? I don’t intend to be melodramatic with that question. I ask it honestly. This week our government began deleting web pages. These weren’t just “position” pages. They included actual science and study. Now they’re gone. This week our government […]

via Is this what it looks like? — Thoughtvomit

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There is an art to choosing
the day when students
recite the words of great

writers, knowing Fate
will say, “No.” Or is it winter?
Twenty-one below with wind;

no kindergarten and all else
must wait. And so, our contest.
Mittens, scarves, boots

will be late. No snowballs
will fly. Organizers
email judges, contestants,

Performers – all – to say
Poetry is once again delayed.

Poets are the unacknowledged legislatures of the world.

~Percy Bysshe Shelley

 

Spray paint it on the wall, black

can and a stencil worthy

of the death penalty.

 

Art, when illegal, is the only force

that’ll get us through. Williams

and Shelley knew well the danger

 

of the word. When words

penetrate a scull

fortified by propaganda is

 

(lies, and repetition, and fallacies)

antipoetry. And

the men with the guns

 

and the butter

 

will clomp a menace up the stairs

to your carefully decorated apartment-

right out of an 80s music video on MTV.

 

Then, will you hide behind gauzy

drapes or greet them

with your machete of words

and watercolors?

Not a word written. 50,000

behind. I missed the roar

of 3 million fingers

racing on the keyboard –

 

my competitors; my companions.

No thick manuscript –

200 pieces of fresh copier

paper – speeding through

 

that printer finish line.

Regret. But there are others.

Novels complete

or hanging mid-sentence.

 

People I’ve birthed,

waiting for climax, dénouement,

a conclusion. Ever stuck

in rising action. Do not

 

regret that no new plot

twists developed on the screen

and page. (There were

 

plenty here on the ground.)

Make sure former characters are

well-rounded, not flat.

Get back to writing that.

All you have fought for is

Threatened by a choice.

I just keep thinking

Of Rome burning

 

While Nero played.

In history the little men –

The classic narcissists:

Hitler, Napoleon –

 

Could not understand public service

Means in the service

Of others.

 

Vanity leads

His followers to doom

As those who know

The past

Watch in terror;

Their cities spark and boom,

and flare and crackle,

As he throws  on gun powder

And lighter fluid.

 

Buildings lit with amber

Fold in on  themselves,

Towers crumble like we

Have seen before.

 

And the narcissist

plays his trumpet

and strokes his ego

like a pet.

article by Rahel Gabreyes via huffingtonpost.com In a great stride for representation Tuesday, nine black women were elected to become judges in majority Democratic Jefferson County, Alabama, The Birmingham Times reported. The black women who came out on top in the district and circuit courts, Javan Patton, Debra Bennett Winston, Shera Craig Grant, Nakita “Niki” Perryman Blocton, Tamara Harris […]

via Jefferson County, Alabama Elected 9 Black Women to Become Judges — GOOD BLACK NEWS

In 1991 my husband, Doug,was enrolled as a Plant Science and Conservation major at the University of Maine in Orono. He walked into the first day of his Soils and Vegetation class that fall a little early. A few other male students had also arrived. When the professor, an older male, walked in he looked around the classroom noting that none of the female students on his roster had arrived yet and declared, “Oh good! No sluts here yet.”

Doug didn’t speak up at first, but sat in horror as each young woman entered the room, notebook and pen in hand, and ready to learn. When the class ended, he immediately went to the Dean of Life Science and Agriculture to report the incident. The Dean informed him that since the professor was close to retirement, they would take no action against him.  I would like to think that today, twenty-five years later, we have made enough progress that the school would do something when a young man steps forward as an ally to the young women with whom he is sharing an education, but I’m not so sure.

This fall my daughter, my niece, and many of my female students will start college in the United States where each of them will statistically have a  1 in 4 chance of being the victim of sexual assault while a student there.

When Donald Trump refers to his recently leaked remarks about women as “just words” or  simple locker-room talk and when others defend him and claim that all men talk like that, they are doing damage to more than the orange tyrant’s campaign. Words spoken from the podium have power not only over how young women view themselves, but  over how young men view them as well.

The other day in my high school English class, Hillary’s Mirrors ad started before a Youtube clip that I was about to show to my students. As the commercial played a few boys in the class said things like, “Yah, Trump’s the man.” As I tried to pause the commercial, I failed to address the incident in a meaningful, teachable moment sort of way; these days, the political realm is so contentious, teachers are afraid to discuss the election. I now realize, however, that not only did I let down every young woman in that room, I also let down those young Trump supporters as well.

When I return to school this week, I will address not only what happened in class, but the ways in which words like those spoken by Trump are harmful to our world and have long reaching effects on the ways that women and men view themselves and each other. They must understand that actions such as domestic violence and rape can result from such contempt. The Representation Project

We need to teach young men to not only respect women, but to stand up for them when they can. Each time a man nods and smiles or laughs at disparaging comments about women without speaking out against them, he’s condoning them.

Where I teach, our feminist club is advised by a cis-gender, straight, male teacher. What a wonderful modeling of allyship for the girls and boys we educate. As much as some are claiming it, it is false that all men talk like that. Some do. Others listen to it. And some speak out against it and work with us to make things better for the women of this world.

Oniel’s Car Service: Excellence at Every Turn!

“Baltimore is a beautiful city. The trouble with Baltimore is the people.” ~ Oniel

Agony means something

Different to each person,

Who sprays the word

With intentional black strokes

On the overpass.

 

The Congressman Who Drives the Cab

Gliding through Baltimore, he says,

Voice thick with African French

and a London education, “What

you guys take

for granted, is luxury

to me.”

They do not mention

Disney, just

next door to this;

 

49 absolute human

beings chopped down,

last call after the drag

 

queens had wiped off

their make-up and gone

home. No one is

 

waiting in line for Ariel’s

autograph or in the dark

cavern of Space Mountain

 

anymore. Sons texting from rest

rooms never

to be dropped off

 

into the gift-shop

at the end of the ride, where Mickey

waits in welcome.

 

Now, blood leaks

under the door of Pulse,

runs down Main Street, USA,

 

contaminates the slow stream

sliding through Pirates of the Caribbean

and pours down the face of each

 

princess. Eisner, Iger, heck,

Walt, himself, knows – every tragedy is

worse hitched to the Magic Kingdom.

It was magical to be back in the bubble, indeed. Thanks, Darren, for making it happen.

Thoughtvomit

Trees retreat group shot

How do you make magic?  Since I don’t have a cauldron or a wand, and I am unfortunately all muggle, my method was less Prospero and more Field of Dreams.  “If you build it…”

This past weekend, twenty some odd writers gathered at a one hundred fifty year old farm house in the rural north country of New Hampshire.  It was the first reunion of Southern New Hampshire University’s MFA alumni.  These writers traveled from Oklahoma, Michigan, New York, Tennessee, and one even sneaked in from Canada.

The magic was not a slow build.  It did not need to percolate.  It burst upon us and just gained in power like a flywheel hurtling at maximum speed.  People who had not seen one another in years, or had never met, immediately curled into chairs and nooks and shared writing and ideas.

We called our grad school residencies “the bubble.”  In the bubble we were not…

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