The Flame Inside Our Hearts

09/10/19

Flame consumes

Flame destroys

Flame burns the flesh.

 

You ran

Into the epicenter

Into the vortex of fire

Of hell on earth.

 

Fighting fire with the fire of your love

You ran towards the flame

Even though it might consume you.

You saved the innocent

As even you were not saved.

 

Flame explodes

Flame spreads

Flame smolders.

 

You worked the Pile

Inhaled the smoke

That rose like spirits into the sky

Seeking any that fire had not consumed.

 

Like fingers across time

The flame that once smoldered

Reaches out and engulfs you

Snuffing out your life.

 

Flame warms

Flame lights the way

A metaphor for love.

We remember you fallen by fire.

We remember you consumed by smoke.

We fight for you the living

Because of the flame of love burning in our hearts.

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Long before Alexi, Siri, and Cortana, us geeks had a habit of naming our non-sentient devices. Individual mainframe computers connected together had to identify themselves to us humans, so system managers gave them names. In the early years it was cutesy, pop culture ones like Spock, Kirk, Dr. Who. When PCs hit the scene, we, of course, christened them too. I had Attila, a PC who ever day would assault me with error messages in an attempt to take over the digital galaxy. Then there was Excalibur, who helped me cut thought the tedium of grammar and spell checking. Some of my PCs names were a derivative of their brand names: La Nova was a Lenovo, Delilah is a Dell Latitude!

Once the habit of naming devices became part of my life, I felt compelled to name all non-computer ones as well. Jedra is my Jetta VW wagon, before her was Jeffrey, a Ford Focus named after the salesman who sold her to me. Of course my cell phone had to have name too: Turtle, because it wasn’t a fast Smart phone!

No I don’t name refrigerators or stoves, or TVs. Though I did name my digital camera “Casi” which is the brand name emblazoned on its cover. But I draw the line on watches and clocks. However, items I touch, that have some sort of “operating system” that gives it a form of intelligence and can carry out my commands, those get named.

Oh goodness, I just read about a refrigerator you can talk to and which will remind you when you run low on milk or lettuce. Now what should I name it? Maybe I’d call it “Iceberg”.

We are quickly approaching the 18th anniversary of 9/11. This poem was written in memory of all the first responders and individuals who rushed to Ground Zero on that day and died. And for those who died years later from 9/11 related illnesses. 

Their spirits rise like the smoke in the pit.

Like the wind swept Twin Tower’s ashes on 9/11

Their remains are scattered in graves across the nation.

Their memories impaled forever in loved ones hearts

Like the particles that rained down from above that day.

 

They were there and saved lives

In heroic acts of physical strength and bravery.

They ran to the epicenter like moths to a flame

To save the innocent from the devil’s inferno

Caring not that death could be their reward.

 

Some died in an instant.

Some died saving lives.

Some came out alive

Only to face a slow and painful death later.

 

They never asked to be heroes.

They were only doing their jobs.

They were examples of humanity’s

Greatness in time of tragedy.

 

As the years march on

They are remembered

By loved ones and

A few memorials here and there.

 

The sacred ground that was their battlefield

Was rebuilt with a memorial remembering the Twin Tower’s dead.

The names of these first responders appear nowhere.

But heroes never die…

 

As long as one person remembers them they shall live on,

A flame burning brightly in human hearts.

And those still lingering on the doorstep of death

Will remind us, the living, more strongly than a monument

Chiseled with names, the sacrifices they once made.

 

Suicide…if you’ve ever known anyone who committed suicide or had to console someone who lost a love one to it, you know how this word will stab you in the heart forever in time.

However, not all suicides are alike in the pain they create. I’m not talking about comparing the note leaving kind to the “done it to get attention” one. What I am referring to is asking the question “Can any good ever come from this terrible act?” I got to thinking about how some suicides, though emotionally painful to those who knew the individual, bring a good in the aftermath. Others just leave anger, hatred toward the person and negative unfinished business.

An example of the latter is Jeffery Epstein’s suicide this past weekend. No one knows why he did it but speculation has he could not tolerate the thought of being locked up in a box for 45 years. Poor guy…now all his victims will never have closure and never be able to see him brought to justice. He refused to suffer the consequences for his heinous acts so now his bad karma will contaminate the survivors of it for their lifetimes.

On the other hand, we have Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. We also don’t know why this kind, intelligent human being who produced such a great TV show as Parts Unknown, decided to take his life. But his good karma follows him even after his death. His life and his adventures have been showcased in the year since his death even to the point where his friends and CNN created an “Anthony Bourdain Day” this past June to honor him. I am also amazed as to where his name pops up. In my recent issue of Cowboys & Indians magazine, as part of the Editor’s Notes, Dana Joseph referenced him as a person who was a one of a kind artist (cook, chef, explorer, the Aug/Sept issue always focuses on artists) and mentions Anthony Bourdain Day. (There is also a “Bourdain Food Trail” in New Jersey based on the episode in Parts Unknown)

We discover that a word like suicide, standing alone can hurt, heal or have two emotional sides. Now I’m waiting, to see if after decades of “mass shootings”, any good can come from those two words. I believe that anything is possible through prayer and action. So Congress, I’m praying that you move your butts on gun control! That could transform those two horrendous words into something positive.

This poem is dedicated to those who died in the shootings in El Paso Texas and Dayton Ohio

She stands in the harbor
A tear in her eye
As bullets in El Paso fly.

She stands in the harbor
Her torch a dim light
As nine are murdered in Dayton that night.

She stands in the harbor
Stoic in her pain
As more bullets from guns rain.

Her cities turned to killing fields
Littered with mass shooting’s dead.
The river in the harbor runs blood red.

Citizen against citizen no value for life.
Such hatred for strangers in her land;
Is her country damned?

She can’t stop the killing, but someone must.
When will this hatred be addressed?
“Give us your hungry, your tired, your oppressed.”

When we hear or see the world “alien” the first thing that usually comes to mind is an outer space creature like ET. Next the concept of “strange” as in “this is an alien food recipe might pop into our minds.” It also used to refer to anyone not born in the USA.

Today that last use of the word has mostly been substituted with immigrant or refugee. But the use of the word to refer to someone who didn’t live in your village, who was a stranger i.e not from your tribe or clan, goes back to Biblical times.

Thousands of years ago, written in the Hebrew Bible’s book of Leviticus, (the book that contained Mosaic Law to be followed) the Israelites were commanded by God to “Treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; you shall love the alien as yourself” (Leviticus 19:34). And we are all familiar with the teachings of Jesus using the parable of the Good Samaritan (which has taken on a non-sectarian definition and become part of our language’s popular vocabulary) to broaden the definition of “alien” to mean everyone is your “neighbor” and worthy of help in time of need regardless of beliefs or background.

How we have strayed from that! How sad that we now see anyone who differs from us as “others”. How sad that we feel we can change our laws to exclude these human beings from being recognized as “neighbors” not worthy of the same standards we have codified in our “Leviticus”, the Constitution! Perhaps what we need is a REAL alien to visit us and show us how to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” (Leviticus 19:18) ET would you please give a call to our Nation’s “home” the White House and ask our President to “come home” to his humanity?

Quote of the Week

Posted: July 22, 2019 in Quotes
Tags: , ,

“Free speech ends where your fist almost touches the other person’s nose.” – Mike Rogers , National Security commentator, CNN