Archive for the ‘Words and communications’ Category

It was 1967 and I was 16. We saw our brothers and fathers shipped off to a useless war half way across the globe. We cut classes and protested, peacefully, chanting “Hell no we won’t go.” Does anyone remember that? On the racial front we had Martin Luther King’s words “I have a dream.” Did you think it was just a slogan? Look how many peacefully rallied around him some even willing to die. The decades have passed, slogans have been created and buried, but the great ones, the ones that moved and motivated live on. “Black Lives Matter” now being cried out on our streets in the midst of a pandemic has rallied peoples of all colors and ages to gather together and change the way our nation does business. And I sincerely hope <>Lewis’s “Good trouble” will also be shouted from the rooftops and down the alleys and side streets of our hurt cities.
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Behind these great motivating slogans, uttered by great Americans, there lies a dark underbelly of words. Words spoken by individuals who wish to continue to divide us, take away our Constitutional rights, toss the rule of law out the window. Individuals who wish to convince us that science is wrong, that the pandemic is a hoax, all in order to allow the person running this great country more time to destroy it.
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100 years ago a pandemic raged this country and the globe, just as it does today. But the politics were very different, the scientists weren’t demeaned and discredited, and falsities were not able to spread through social media as truth because there was no social media. Today, more than ever, words matter. One wrong word, one misconstrued press briefing, can spread like a virus via social media. We’ve seen how this can affect the nation thanks how one individual uses his Twitter account. But the sad fact of today is that there is no one can monitor the truth in all these postings, fact checking like in the old days of printed newspapers is impossible. Who are we to believe?
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Words of falsehood and the virus of the pandemic are at an intersection. Both spread unchecked. The vaccine for the virus is still a dream but will eventually become a reality. Sadly there never can be a vaccine created to protect us against words of falsehood. Words matter… I will be writing more about that in future posts.

Yes, it’s tough times but as a writer I can always find something funny to write about. So I’d like to share my essay about my pet and hope that you, too will chuckle while reading it.

Quarantined with a turtle

It’s 2 am and I’m awakened from a deep sleep by a banging sound. It’s not water pipes or the heating system. I grab my flashlight and walk to the corner of the bedroom, shine it into his box and find that he’s totally awake. Sitting there looking at me with those red eyes, begging me for …what?
I take the box bring with him in it to the bathroom, leave, shutting the door behind me and go back to bed. “Banging time” has arrived!
Fritzi is my pet turtle and every year in Spring we go through this. He’s been at it for the last 2 weeks. Hour after hour he paces his small box, tries to climb out, acts like a wound up toy. Oh I know what the problem is, he wants a girl turtle. Nature’s urge to mate has reared its head again.
Hour after hour he bangs. Normally he sits and sleeps, or just looks up. Now it’s never ending. I wish I had his energy! Over the years I’ve tried all kinds of things like letting him run around on the living room floor, letting him dig himself under the pillows on my bed, and even offered him a fake ceramic turtle which he immediately proceeded to hump! But once I put him back in his box, he continues to bang and bang, and BANG.
Right now, due to the pandemic, I’m also caught in a box. I have to “shelter in place,” stay in my tiny apartment and share it with HIM. No matter which room I’m in I can hear him bang, which to me is like he’s screaming “Where is my girl turtle?” Me and him, him and me, day after day.
I’ve read reports that people trapped with other people during this pandemic have wound up hating each other, were driven to drinking, or had an episode of domestic violence. Yes, when Fritizi starts up all that noise, I entertain the thought of throwing him against the wall to silence it. But I do love him and wouldn’t hurt him. Right now he is the only living thing I can hug and even give a kiss to the top of his shell! So my solution is to do a quarantine within a quarantine. He gets banished to the bathroom for most of the day.
The days are long and repetitive. At least as a human I can call a friend or watch a television show. Poor Fritizi can’t do anything except sit trapped in his box. I feel for him. And even though I have no idea when this pandemic will end and they’ll let us out of our boxes, I know that in a few weeks, Fritzi’s “Spring Fever” will have abated and he’ll once again be quiet. He’s lucky in that sense, because being a turtle he doesn’t understand the magnitude of this pandemic so unlike humans he can’t ask “when will it be over?”

 

I am planning to post poems and essays about the pandemic. After 9/11 I discovered that not only writing about my feelings/reactions but also sharing them with others helped immensely to keep me on an even keel. So here is a poem I wrote a few weeks ago:

Life Must Go On

This poem is written in memory of all those who lost the fight against COVID-19 in this pandemic. It was inspired by the Queen song “The Show Must Go On”

Empty places, where have you gone?
Hidden faces, the days drag on and on.
Where’s tomorrow? Just a dream in your mind.
Yesterday is gone, left behind.

Life must go on
With or without you.
Life must go on
We will weather this storm.

Silent places, who are we crying for?
Abandoned places, we’re locked behind our doors.
More have fallen, do we know the score? on and on
Does anybody know what we are looking for?

Life must go on
I’ll face it with a smile.
Life must go on
I’ll go the extra mile.

We have our heroes in this mindless time.
They risk their lives to hold the line.
Outside the dawn is breaking
But inside in the dark we’re aching to be free.

Life must go on
I’m never giving in.
Life must go on
Together we can win.

Hark! A Sonrise
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Through desert and famine,
Through days without rain
Through death and destruction
A path of great pain.
He walked without crying
He walked for our sins
In light then in darkness
Until all became dim.
He took on the crimes
Our cross he did bear
We just turned our heads
We just didn’t care.
He knew we’d betray him
He knew he would die
And in a cold tomb
His body would lie.
But he was the Messiah
This world he would save.
As the Son of the Father
Rose from his earthly grave.

In the 14th station Jesus is laid in the tomb. He had the power to escape the rock’s confines but for the unjustly incarcerated asylum seekers ,whose only crime was to flee from oppression, their detention center becomes an inescapable tomb. (and now in 2020 they are dying from the coronavirus!)
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1CH 29:15 We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope.
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When Will We Be Free?
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We came here,
To the land of the free,
To be free
From oppression,
Pain,
Retributions.
We only wanted safety,
What we couldn’t have
In our homelands.
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You chained us
Branded us as criminals
All we wanted
Was to be free.
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The sun sets on another day…
Endless they are in this tomb.
No one to save us;
Will there ever be
A sunrise in our lives?
A savior to redeem us
From this hell?

In the 13th station, Jesus is taken down from the cross, broken in body, dead. In today’s world we have so many “broken” individuals. Their spirits, their lives are in pieces. They have become the outcasts in our society.
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Is 53 7 and 9 “When he was cut off from the land of the living, and smitten for the sin of his people, a grave was assigned him among the wicked and a burial place with evildoers, though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood.”
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You Cannot Know the Depth of My Pain
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I looked into his eyes
Deep blue like bottomless wells.
He sat there wringing his hands
Shaking back and forth.
His clothes tattered and torn
His shoes caked with mud.
“Where am I?” he asked
In a voice so smooth
Surely he was a man of intelligence.
He tried to stand
And crashed to the floor.
From his pocket fell
A vial of pills.
Now staring numbly at me
I helped him back to the chair
His hand was warm and smooth.
Picking up his meds
I realized the bottle was full.
“Did you take any?”
His reply was a howl.
A heart broken by circumstance,
A mind turned against itself;
Chemicals coursing his bloodstream.
Life had him crucified
And smitten for no sin of his own.
“Who will save you?” I thought
“From the unmarked grave of emptiness?”
For he was cut off from the land of the living,
No one would be here to claim him.

The tenth station depicts Jesus is Stripped of His Garments with only a loin cloth remaining before he is nailed to the cross. I made the comparison with how today’s electronic devices, cameras everywhere, airport searches, invade our privacy and create the potential to strip away our human dignity thus leaving us naked in another sense. This has lead to social shaming and suicide.
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ISA 47:3 Your nakedness will be exposed and your shame uncovered. I will take vengeance; I will spare no one.”
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Shame On Them
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With no place to run
With no place to hide
Your life’s an open book
To all outside.
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They find you in bed
They find in jail
Recording each moment
Is their holy grail.
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You’re naked and bleeding
You’re stunned by the crowd.
No private moments
Anyone’s allowed.
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Cell phones catch weeping
Blogs follow your life
Stripped of  human dignity
All remains is this strife.
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Before them you’re naked
Your sins are exposed
Your shame leads to suicide
The story still not closed!

At the ninth station Jesus falls for the Third Time. The earth, which God created in love and beauty is now being crushed under humanity’s mishandling of the earth’s resources and the dispersing of pollutants that have created climate changes, famines, and disease. (note: I wrote this in 2017 three years before this coronavirus pandemic. I cannot recall why I used China as where it all started except that they were a global polluter of insane magnitude. So along with the quote from Leviticus this is almost like a prophecy about what was to happen in 2020)
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Lev 26:5 I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands.
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The Butterfly Effect
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It flapped its wings in China
As the smoke billowed from the stack.
Now a gentle breeze across the ocean
Turned into a storm on its way back.
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The rain fell in California
El Nino lifted up and blew
To capture all the sulfur
From Chicago’s car plant stew.
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The winds with all contaminants
Met southern breezes light
Knocked head on with Canadian
Cold air in dead of the night.
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All things are connected
On this planet Mother Earth.
The forces meeting over the shoreline
Gave the superstorm its birth.
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The moon was in ascension
The tide was rising high
What started out around the globe
Ended in a destructive sigh.

In the 6th station, a woman Veronica, uses her veil to wipe the blood from Jesus’ face. My poem for this station asks, where are the Mother Teresa to help the poorest of the poor? Have we become afraid to touch the “untouchables”? Ironically, today with the virus pandemic raging, it’s not just the “filthy” homeless who are physically avoided. It’s ALL of us as we could be a potential carrier of the virus!
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MK 1:41 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.
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Please Touch Me!
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When I was young
And beautiful
You touched me all the time.
This curse of sickness
Ravaged me
Deprived me of my prime.
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It made me ugly,
Made me smell
Repulsed you to the bone.
You turned your face
Denied your touch
Tossed me from your home.
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Deep down inside
The me you loved
Still needs a tender hand.
But all of that can’t ever be
When physical love’s
Been banned.

In the 5th station a bystander called Simon helps Jesus carry His cross. In my poem, We Must Stop the Destruction, I compared what we’ve been doing to our planet as the cross that she must carry. The green movement is helping this planet and its poor people but it is not enough to remove the weight of all the destruction humankind has done.
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ISA 41:17 “The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them
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We Must Stop the Destruction
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What have we done
To this place of our birth?
Contaminated water
Contaminated earth.
Wrung dry the rivers
Squeezed out the lakes.
From others less fortunate
The rich nation takes.
Can we reverse it
Can we atone?
Give food to the starving
All skin and bone.
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The green movement’s trying
But is it too late
To shore up our planet
Make the destruction abate?
Is anyone out there
Who will carry the cross
Turn sadness and hunger
Stop all this loss?
The ozone’s depleted
The soil’s dust and dry.
Can anyone stop it …
Will anyone try?