Thursday, September 29, 2011

I was supposed to go to work today...

But, I had a strange feeling. A little voice was calling me to abandon my responsibilities as a bill paying consumer so that I could explore my day and interact with my community. Outside it was sunny and I heard a little voice below the humdrum purr of car engines outside. Below the tv newscaster's drone and beyond the cell phone ringing, I heard a voice. Saying come and play. Live your revolution.

Maybe it was the echo's resounding from the WALL STREET PROTEST that are going on. As Revolution ripples across the globe, I feel like doing more than observing the great struggle from the comfort of my laptop, sweatpants and house.

So I talked with my partner. We talked about revolution, exciting and intensifying each others beliefs with each affirmation. Our talk bloomed into a short little manifesto. (Read Below)

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Why are there people standing on the corner begging for change when they could be on Wall Street Demanding Change. There are protests happening on Wall Street In New York City RIGHT NOW! They are protesting the greed that has lead to social inequality and the profiteering that is corrupting societies all over the globe. From the young informed revolutionaries in the Middle East to the Farming Families reclaiming their rights in Latin American countries, to the workers who have been claiming control of factories and their lives abroad and in our very own country; protests are spreading across the globe like wildfire. This is history happening. The people are demanding a transfer of power. They are saying NO MORE! No more will we let our schools go to ruin as the military spends billions on weapons of destruction. No More will we send our sons and daughters to do the killing for people who seek to proffit from pain. No more will we allow our brothers and sisters to be incarcerated because it pays to fill a jail. No More will we allow the planet and our environment to be exploited and destroyed for a quick $. NO MORE! WE are tired of working harder and getting paid less. Now is not the time to come to the government with our hands out, Now is the time to put the tools in our hands to build a better society. Our current economical and environmental crises is an opportunity to sustainably and morally redesign the world we live in. It is time to let our voices be heard, do not be afraid to say "REVOLUTION". Stand up for something or your downfall will be for nothing. WE ARE THE PEOPLE! It is time to wake up and realize we are the overwhelming majority. We have the power and the right to shut down corrupt systems, and more importantly, we have the power to create more fair, compassionate, and productive systems.

So we printed this little inspired manifesto out on pieces of paper and went down town. We tacked it to benches and placed it in front of the Wall Street Journal at newstands. We talked to the homeless and disenfranchised traveling street kids and handed them the manifesto to pass on. As we did this work, it was very empowering and healing in that we had to embrace and overcome our own fear to approach strangers and engage with them in political, revolutionary dialogues. Also, we did not inspire any outrageous or glorious moments of protest. Much work needs to be down to make this revolution omnipresent. However, it was a step in the right direction.

Thank your for reading this blog comrades. May the revolution grow from your heart and flourish all over this great globe we call home.

Peace, Love, Joy, Wisdom,

Monday, September 26, 2011

Poetry Is Dangerous

Chances are, you won't see any poetry in today's newspaper. Nor yesterdays, or even tomorrow's newspaper. You won't see poetry in the magazines that clutter your attention in grocery store lines. And poetry hardly ever, makes the New York Times Best Sellers list. Why?

Maybe it is because Poetry is difficult. Poetic language is packed with meaning and images. Poetry demands attention, it says, “look at me, remember the first time you got naked in front of the one you loved.” Or it asks us “to see a world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.”

All that imagining, thinking and feeling is hard work. It burns calories. We are a busy people, a tired nation of peoples juggling work and family responsibilities. Therefore, poetry is difficult. I'm a poet and I shudder at the thought of sitting down and reading a whole book of poetry from cover to cover. Reading poem after poem is exhausting. The mind eventually wanders, disengages, and poetry is really boring, to the distracted mind.

Reading one poem at a time, however; can be like 'holding a shotgun to the head'. Yes poetry is dangerous to daily routines and scheduled thought patterns. Poetry poses questions that cannot be answered by the status quo's of our minds. The structure of society can be ruptured by such thoughts.

Maybe this is why we keep our poets poor. We keep our poets behind counters making sandwiches and selling pamphlets on the street so that they may speak for the nobodies. Which is to say the everybodies. The lot of us whose stories aren't pictured in celebrity gossip magazines or depicted on reality television. The culture industry does not want poetry. It's not profitable to an economy fueled by fear. Poetry asks us to love. “Even after all these years, the sun never says to the earth, “You owe me.” See what happens with a love like that: It lights up the whole sky.”

Poets ask us to look at that sky. These poets are often, “expelled from the academies for crazy and publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull.” But the people do look up at the sky, they tell their friends and families about these visions.

Poetry preserves the history of the people. Not the history we read from books in high school. Not the history of wars, political hero's and corporate miracles. But rather a history of what it's like to be alive. There is a difference between chronicling the cold casualties of war and
“I saw the debris and debris of all the slain soldiers of war,
But I saw they were not as was thought,
They themselves were fully at rest, they suffer'd not,
the living remain'd and suffer'd, the mothers suffer'd
the wife and child and musing comrade suffer'd...”

The difference is passion, life lived, by people who breathe, bread, and bleed.

By facing the dark depths of death and despair poetry can help us remember what it's like to be alive. Langston Hughes once wrote,
'The rent was due.
The lights were out.
I said, “tell me, mama
What's it all about?”
“We're waiting on Roosevelt Son.
Roosevelt. Roosevelt...

Sound Familiar?
What if we replaced Roosevelt with Obama?

By describing the particulars, the unique artifacts of culture, the spoons, bruises, spider webs, first kisses, paychecks, underwear, and sheet stains of a people, poetry becomes universal.

Poetry asks us to face our fears and embrace our dreams. We forget that Martin Luthar King Jr's “I have a dream speech” was a poem. Yes, reading a poem can be difficult. It's also difficult to live with the one you love, or make a meaningful and positive change to society. Difficult challenges create deeply satisfying rewards. It is ironic that every city has a Martin Luthar King Jr Blvd. And most of these blvds are ghettos. Yet, poetry realizes this irony and asks forgiveness for it's limitations. Poetry will not save the world. But poetry just might inspire you to save yourself.

As it was said in the movie Dead Poets Society, “We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But Poetry beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Trembling - A Poem

You tried to talk to me
but I wasn't listening to you
I was feeling like an alien
instant messaging, texting, multi-tasking
surfing google earth
searching seeing craters carved in the face of our creator
by nuclear bombs,
I was thinking
civilization's playing russian roulette
so it's a brave new world
This is the Age of:
digital dollars and radioactive rainbows
stem cells and cell phone's
bionic limbs and genetically modified potatoes
Think, thousands of years spent rubbing sticks to stones to create fire
Now I sit in my warm home with a microwave one button away from my desire
Where the cost of convenience is
oil spilled in an Ocean named after Atlantis
a city destroyed when it's people couldn't handle their technological advances
This is the age of the absurd
where 1000's of dead birds, cried from the sky
in the world wide whirl wind newspapers die, printing in their headlines the disasters
are happening faster and faster
So everyday another town gets tornado torn flood drought tsunami or earthquake
And I stop and think,
Those people, those animals, that suffering is real,
while I'm here struggling to pay my bills
It's the run of the mil, the rat race
it's a treadmill, I'm running in place
so after a hard day
I want to escape, space out, through chinese food and hulu
I'm pirating Wi-fi though, so its an hour to download a 30 minute episode
after my salty greasy fried rice, I split the cookie but its unfortunate
our decedents, will be living on styrofoam mountains
its like I'm dreaming of a stable tomorrow
but waking up in the same quick sand bed I woke up in yesterday
Then I looked over and I saw your face
and I felt grace,
So I want to hear what you have to say,
but first I need to pray,
This is the age of love
when the world is trembling, it's time for remembering
We are blessed
Before we speak
may we take a deep breath
we know we're both stressed
beneath our smiles, our teeth are clenched
May beauty be born when we hug
so that we may touch god
may Love be our refugee camp
where we gently stamp our carbon footprint
as we dance to the rhythms of nature
May we know hate is just love in pain,
May we help this world to heal
but this world is not ours to save
maybe the climate will change Greenland into a tropical paradise
May we embrace our life
so we can die
with a sparkle in our eye
as we witness the light
may we know
this globe is our home
Humanity is our family
Love is our religion
may we keep livin'
listen learnin' wishin' workin'
as the earth keeps turnin'
now, what was it you wanted to say?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mantra of Determination

I have the ability to accomplish my dreams, because if I didn't I wouldn't be dreaming them. I believe in myself even though pain and doubt may exist in my heart. I trust that I will overcome my limitations and expand the boundaries of what's personally possible. I do not know what lies around the corners and over the hills on my journey, but I do have a vision. And I will walk towards that vision, with a steady stride, and open heart, and a soft smile. This is my journey, I walk it for myself. That being said, I enjoy sharing my ideas and stories with the world.
I have the power to not accept unproductive criticism and the courage to accept criticism that helps me grow. Furthermore, I am not attached to criticism if I am doing my best. My best is beautiful in it's imperfections. This knowledge liberates me to play and enjoy traveling my hero's journey.
I believe in my ability to take each step through valleys and peaks. For what better belief is there, then the belief in oneself.

CALL TO ACTION: What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th: unforgettable memories and progressive movements

On this Sunny Sunday morning, the 10th anniversary of the "Terrorist" attacks on September 11th, 2001 May we dedicate a moment to ALL of the lives lost, on both sides of the fight, in the 10 years  since that unforgettable day. The day that burned into our collective consciousness like those towers, dropping the vials of our trust. I can still see the television replaying the incident ad infinitum in my mind's eye. I still remember that morning, I was on my way to school, a naive 10th grader who although sad over the loss of life was hopeful that this attack would change our foreign policy. (Where were you?)

And change our foreign policy, it did. Unfortunately the change from the top down was worse. We did not quite middling in other countries affairs, instead we started "the War on Terror". Our foreign policy in the middle east, if anything became more aggressive. And look at where that has gotten us. 2 un-winnable wars, thousands of lives lost, millions of dollars spent. Is the world any safer? Who has profited? 10 years we have been engaged in this war on terror. For 10 years I have had to take off my shoes at the airport (although on a minor note, I have heard that airport security is getting a little less extreme while still emphasizing safety.)

Like a shinning white dot in a blanket of blackness, like yin to the yang, it hasn't all been bad since that day. Those towers falling were like alarm clocks awaking many of us out of our unconscious consumerism. Many of us remembered our voice, many of us found our voice (myself included) in our attempt to react to that sublime and major cultural milestone of an event. We started asking questions and looking for answers. Sometimes we didn't like the answers we were given and we had to learn to create our own truths. I am inspired to think about the Youth over in the middle east, who connected by a cause and the internet have been able to start, lead, and sometimes overthrow tyrannical rulers in the middle east. Yes, Revolution is spreading like Wildfire.

So as we dedicate a moment to the lives lost on the "war on terror" let us not forget to dedicate another moment to finding a solution. And after our meditative moments, may we dedicate many moments to turning these thoughts into actions.

Peace, Love, Joy, Wisdom,

P.S. Here is a link to a Song I created on the five year anniversary of September 11th. It was written at a time in which I was a philosophy student digging deep into religion and society trying to understand such concepts as: Holy Wars, The Collective Conscious, Georg Hegel's historical dialectic, and conspiracy theories.

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