Survive

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/survive/

Survive, they tell us,
On narrow-edged razors
Placed, just so, on a budget 
Of bloodlust. Politics
For the common man, reduced to
Serfdom, where the poor
Are sacrificed for the glut
That wealthy others feed upon.

Survive, they tell us,
On a release of the 
Restricted intelligence,
So that terrorists walk free
After butchering children.
An alarm clock of hatred,
A mocking of decency. 
Unworthy of ordinary life.

Survive, they tell us,
When the crowds surged
Forward, enraged. Engaged,
With the hate, the fear, 
The mongering. My health,
Now a kicking point, for to be
Sick is a crime, a punishment
Given by God Almighty.

Survive, they tell us,
In a century of knowledge,
As idiocy and lies are perceived
As the only truth. Ice caps
Fail, polar bears plunge
Exhausted into Arctic water.
Rivers begin to laugh
As they move towards combustion.

Survive, they tell us,
As children drink lead for breakfast,
As the aware, pushed toward
A long sleep dreamless, give
A sip, a toast, a cheer, propelling 
pushing destiny for shiny heroes,
Forgotten moments later
As their lives deteriorate, wounded.

Survive, they tell us,
Laughing at the confusion
In newsrooms. Truth or Dare.
Truth or Dare. Resist.
I walk on a knife blade
Where time is frozen.
Survival of the fittest,
Now a mortar field of guesswork.
Resist.

 

Pace the Change of Hearts

Weekly Writing Prompt #82

Pace your hate, as you line up for the cause
Of suppression.
Homogenous populations, all the same, in tacky
Red hats that
Support a change to control the liberal masses
And their ideology
Of helpful compassion. They give to others what
We don't have.
Betrayed by life, we blame all of you who want to
Continue Roosevelt's policy.

Heard on Fox news, conflicted and wounded,
Unmade in their beds.
Giving a face globally of self-centered anger,
A movement thought dead.
Those who hate, have buried seed, seed from
Eons hidden from light.
Majority voters, liberal thinkers, compassionate
Lovers of all,
Who are these new oppressed? Your mother, father, sister,
Brother, uncle, niece, aunt.

All liberals want is a chance to be happy, to share,
To be kind and considerate.
This is a crime, signed by a swirly pen, by a old man
With tangerine skin, gibbonlike,jumping up and down,
Red hair dyed so that he cannot be old. A screamer,
A bully wishing to be
King of the swamp, the dark underbelly, anti-regulations
Of protection.
Our new leader, a sociopath, a leader of sociopaths,
Of spies and lies.

This is what the haters wanted. A chance to burn with
Fire and fist.
To force back into the box the godless, the "fairy",
The rebel child.
Force back into the box the librarian who allows that
Filth on her shelf.
Force back into the haze, our global responsibilities,
The cost we should not
Bear, and bare the back without brother, the bible 
Thumper in bunny clothes.

Beware your hate, for you are a candle in the dark,
Beware your match.
Reason is a dangerous opponent on the battlefield,
Where compassion 
Equals hope, hospitals, schools, wells, medical care,
Where a bridge
Is not too far, it pulls, tugs, pushes our knowledge
Of others, like a kite.
Beware the actor, the captain, the ship, who find 
Lie after lie
And tattle to the world. Pace your hate, because I
Will extinguish it.

Microfiction Challenge: The Innocent

https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/2016/12/16/microfiction-challenge-27-rescue/#respond

There was a time when innocence walked the world. With all of the magnetism usually given to heroes, she walked among us drawing the animals and children to her. What was most unusual was the lack of pretense she had  of her own value. Adults in the village thought her simple and childlike. They preferred to ignore her and her gifts. But the children understood that if they stood quietly enough, they would see a miracle. So they stood at her side and waited. Soon a fawn, or mother cat with kits, or a fox would come and sit by her side. When she smiled at the children and bid them welcome, the animals would rise and greet them as if they were equals. Sometimes they would allow themselves to be petted by children.

Rumors of her ability to see the simple but exquisite left the village and found the ears of a merchant. He came to the village and brought her gifts of magnificent beauty. He begged her to marry him, but she refused. Angered by her decision, the merchant went to the town’s mayor and demanded that the woman be given to him. The mayor, ignoring all that the children had gossiped about her, agreed that it was well past time for her to be married, as a single woman was a danger to the balance of harmony in the village. Sending a group of elders to the woman they demanded that she comply with the mayor’s orders. Again she refused. The merchant left, angry and full of lies. These lies spread through the country. Lies that told of her possessing the souls of children and animals. Lies that called her a witch or sorceress, lies that gave her power over the divine, and lies that gave her the power of ensorcelling an entire village spread like wildfire.

Eventually the king heard of the woman, and believing a village in his domain was at risk of demonic possession, sent a squadron of trained soldier to arrest her and bring her back to be tried for her crimes.

They found her in her home, the fawn and mother cat by her side, and bound her arms and legs. They slew the animals. The children screamed and cried, they protested the cruel treatment of their friend, but no one paid heed to them. Those that cried the loudest were also bound hand and foot and were taken to the king to show how the innocent had stolen their souls. The parents of the children now cried out in terror, fearing for the lives of their children. They were ignored as hysterical. If the soldiers had any qualms at all it was because of the innocent’s stillness. For she made no cry or complaint, only turned to the children and told them she loved them.

On the trip to her trial, she waited calmly, sure that no one could find a complaint against her. She was wrong. Arriving at the capitol city, she found that a pyre had been erected in advance, her guilt assumed. The trial began immediately. No time was given for her to freshen or eat. No kindness was extended to her or the children. The chief witness against her was the merchant who spoke of how she had refused his marriage proposal. He spoke of how she had so ensorcelled the town that even the mayor’s orders were not obeyed. He said he only wanted to give her the protection a married woman needed, for no woman was complete without a husband.

The children were called to testify, but were to terrified to do more that speak of her friendships with the creatures of the wild. They spoke only of her kindness and sharing. Enraged, the merchant called out. How dare they speak of something they were too young to understand. Surely the judge must see that they were under a demonic curse, that they were possessed. The judge was a wise old man, kin to king, and of a noble house greatly revered.

“Let the woman be led into the forest with myself to guard her. Let us see what she does to free herself.”

The judge led the woman and a squadron of soldiers to a clearing in the nearby woods where it was rumored that one of the great tigers lived. She was tied to a pole and a cut was given to her arm. Bleeding, she sobbed that she had done nothing wrong. But she was mistaken, she had done one thing she didn’t even know she had done. The blood pouring from her arm was pure of evil and malice, and it drew the tigress from her den where her young ones were growing.

Tigress smelled the blood and was drawn to it like a moth to candle. She entered the clearing, ready to kill this scent, for it was like a forbidden wine and she must have it. Finding the sobbing woman, she paused.

“Why do you sob and bleed the tears and blood of the innocent?”

The woman didn’t reply, but she also didn’t fear the great cat. The cat, coming close, tasted the blood flowing from the woman’s arm. The woman stopped sobbing, and did something unexpected.

“You must go, Tigress, for there is a squadron of soldiers hiding in the bush watching and they will kill you. Flee for the life of your children. Roar at me and run. I am doomed as it is. A man has made false charges against me and I can not prove my innocence for I did refuse him.”

“I am not afraid,” answered the tigress. She continued to lick the bleeding arm until the bleeding was staunched. Then she bite through the ropes that held the woman, freeing her. At once the judge jumped into the clearing.

“Take her now and kill her for she has captured the soul of the tiger.” And on that command, soldiers burst into the clearing fearing not the tiger but that innocent who had no protector to stand before her. Intent on killing her, they did not see the whirl of the tigress and she turned and used her claws to strike down the first soldier. They ignored the death of a second soldier, thinking that the woman controlled the tiger. As the third soldier fell, a spear point stabbed the woman in the abdomen and she crumpled to the ground. Enraged, the tigress stuck right and left until at last only the judge stood before her. He cowered, crying out, “Leave me be, I am a righteous man. It was a fair sentence.”

The tigress was disgusted. How had all of the adults missed the sign of a goddess on earth in human form. She turned to the woman who was dying. The last thing she expected was about to happen.

Opening her eyes for a final moment, the woman blessed her and her offspring. “Thank you for your protection. I will be with you in the afterlife to protect you and all of your species for your kindness. I ask only one thing. Please escort the children who were stolen from their homes to a place of safety. Make them part of your litter and care for them as  you care for your cubs. Children deserve wonder in their lives and should not be deprived of it. My mistake was to let others know that kindness was a virtue. Forgive me, Tigress.”

She died, as all true heroines must. But the tigress having heard her words, called  upon her people to join her in taking the children from the soldiers as they were being returned home. Striking with great violence, the children were liberated and given tiger back rides to the forest where they met their new brothers and sisters. No one saw them again, but it is said that if you wander into the woods and sit still and listen, you can hear the shouts of joy as the young of both species played together with great respect for each other and with kindness to all they met.

Innocent died but others came that taught over and over that kindness was a virtue. The tigress still waits for us to learn that lesson.

Political Confections

A ribbon of ignorance surrounds
Those suffering Dunning Kruger syndrome,
They laugh and drink deeply
Of their own inadequacies spread
On toasted political muffins.
The chef knows he must deliver
A masterpiece of gullible cakes
Frosted with fanfares of gilded
Sweet sugary confections
Calmly set before a house of cards.

Midnight

Dark lies and webs to hold us.
Lightless with 1,000 legs
Tap-dancing upon
Delicate nerves, paired for tango.

Shh, the monster comes
Bringing phobias your way.
Under the bed lurk
Newspaper headlines. Beware!

Poison pens fill ink wells
Draining the pens
Of life and liberty,
Only to find no way to speak.

Blotches, spots, three toed frogs,
A witches’ brew.
Drink deep and worry.
Everything will kill if you drink enough.

Go to sleep, my beauty,
I’ll bottle your nightmares
and sell them to a poet,
So that your sleep is sweet.

Hamilton, Musical, Powerful, Soul Imprinting

Don’t believe that you can truly understand more than one thing at a time. Not 100 percent if you are multitasking. Not even mothers will have 100 percent understanding as they deal with work, commute, screaming child, sick child, obnoxious child who learned how to blow chocolate milk through his nose. No, each of those things can balance the others, some outbalance the others, but you can’t experience the whole picture. If most cases, you don’t want that whole picture. But then there are musical performances, books of a pure truth, insights that leave you momentarily undone. So it is with Hamilton.

It’s the sound, the pulse that bleeds into your awareness. Music is the novel of passion, played upon a stage that requires your ‘mind’, body and soul. Great operas ripped the tears from the ones who got it. Madam Butterfly, The Telephone, Bernstein’s Mass, 1776, Westside Story, these will catch you and leave you breathless feeling that you have felt or learned something great. They are stories. Novels.

With greatness that we miss in our busy days filled with office, school, ball games, little league, ballet lessons, commutes, and tae Kwon do, because we don’t pause to see. Great novels make the soul weep. Flowers for Algernon, the first time I read it out loud to students ripped into my consciousness and left me crumpled in front of fifth graders. When the principal walked in on the weeping, he backed out and never said a word. The Reprieved Reformation about a safe cracker who found a reason to change, to lose his greed and save his humanity. AS I Stand Here Ironing, a look at a mother, whose daughter once again is in trouble. Whose teacher wants the parent conference (hear the drumroll of fate calling), but who is HER daughter, HER creation.

Hamilton, a poor boy, orphaned, witness to plagues and treasuries, a man hated and reviled, clung to by women and worshipped, a man against odds, the man who created the treasury, and a duel. It plays like a Shakespearean Novel on the top 20 list of the BOTM  (book of the month) club. And it’s the presentation.

I performed in Bernstein’s Mass (what does a Jewish composer know of Catholicism?) where the priest who loses his faith, his congregation and his soul was portrayed as a young priest starting out and the disillusionment, the delusionment, the despair he felt that tore him to shreds balanced on notes that are harmonic in their disharmony. It tore us as performers apart, it silenced the audience and they left quietly, thinking. I saw it at the Kennedy Center the same way. It was beautiful and framed perfectly. I saw it at Lord Albert’s Hall where the priest was portrayed as a pedipiile and that WAS WRONG. It made me sick to watch or listen to it. The tenor changed the entire message. He was a tenor. Really. A European, a German tenor with a skeptical look at any chance of purity in the Church. A tenor who thought that Bernstein was mocking the church. No really, a German tenor trying to understand a jewish composer’s view of the catholic church as the congregation took and used…never mind, it just didn’t feel like what I had performed and seen performed. Granted I am from the upper MidWest where even the atheists have a feeling of respect for some concepts of church and community, except for pedipiiles.

That’s what we are trying to do, isn’t it? Trying to effect our readers and public with our vision of the world at that instant. Music takes the instants and compounds the eyes with ears, the blood with pulse, the soul with wonder, fear or hatred. I should have put my two careers together before this, the narration of exploring a saga by pace made so much clearer to me now.

I’m an intellectual, know as a nerd in this time and place, and I am attempting to write the great novel of my time. Arrogance in the least application. No, not arrogance. I want to be a writer to leave a footprint that I understood something beyond what I am now. I want to be for the future to seek guidance from and to turn that which is bloody and awful to a tale told by a fool about the purity of man.

It’s the sound, the pulse, the overwhelming focus on one incredible thing at a time. It’s a message that must speak of itself. It’s the dark calling to the nightmares, setting them into patterns. It’s why children put their noses under the covers while their eyes search the shadows.

Then the man from Hamilton speaks of his upbringing in Puerto Rico, an American territory. He tells of the tragedy of poverty, of exploitation by hedge funds who now attempt to topple the people by placing demands for payment against a government not allowed to file for bankruptcy. He speaks in the language of the musical Hamilton. He appears on shows including John Oliver’s. We know John Oliver as a man of intelligence and integrity who has a campaign against cigarettes internationally with Dave, a diseased lung. We know him as the exposer of lies and corruption. That he sides with Hamilton in his pursuit for justice for his home gives it credence.

The sound of children crying from hunger, orphans, health care costing twice for the same system we have on the mainland. They became a territory as a result of war. They have an honor roll of US Veterans of War and believe in the US as part of their nation. They still see the our hope as theirs. So we walk away and leave them adrift in a world of greed where teachers can’t teach because there is no money.

Hamilton. Novels, Operas, Comedies, Lies, Justice, Defeat. Ultimately, in order to understand life, you have to stop and focus on just that. You have to let go of what you think and what you feel without the experience and open your heart to the message. Hamilton has a focus for today. It’s powerful. I hope to write a novel with that kind of power of exposure someday.

Poisonous Political Concepts and the Common Man

I have difficulty dealing with the concept that compassion and charity are a sign of weakness. Watching the pundits play with the future of the American public has given me no small amount of distress. It isn’t the first time in US history that this has happened. Our government tends to work while holding onto the pendulum of widely varying public opinion. This pendulum keeps swaying back and forth, back and forth, until someday it will stop. Stopping will be at a median point on the swing. Being in the middle without the influence of left or right will mean that the public no longer cares.

Voting is a privilige and a right in the US. But rights are being disregarded by those who spout conservatism, wealth acquisition, bullying, lying, et al. No one seems to care that libel is committed every day. We have libel laws. We have laws against sedition. They aren’t being enforced. Remember “truth in advertising?” They made the Keebler Cookie Factory change its commercial because cookies can’t be made in a tree, they have to be made in a real factory.

There is a deep dissatisfaction these days. Everything seems tainted by cruelty. People rally so that they can control others. Insurance companies have a tightly held fist on making sure they are first in line for profits, and last in line for protecting the rights of humans. There are loopholes for everything. News reports flood the airwaves with non-essential cute news stories alternating with the current murders. Rarely an in-depth researched piece on economics from an impartial source. Foreign news lacks. We are Euro focused if anything and even that is rare, unless you wanted the cute robe that Harry’s young son modeled for Mr. and Mrs. Obama. The Middle-East news is carefully screened so that the watcher won’t be offended. And Asia, what is going on in Asia. Poor VP Biden with all of his hope for the improvement of the world. He works well with Kerry. We only get the complaints about what they are doing.

Bernie Sanders was subjected to a Facebook whiteout. So many trolls got on the site and spammed that the sites were temporarily blocked. Even when the administration of Facebook reviewed what had happened, those doing the spamming weren’t punished for hacking a feed. People are being hired just to be mean on the internet. GoldmanSachs is feeling oh so good about the increase in profits they are going to get. Trump will fire Congress (someone should tell him it doesn’t work that way.) Cruz will step all over the work the LGBT community has put forward. Fear of going to the bathroom reigns in North Carolina. “A safety issue” is proclaimed about which bathroom a transgender person should use. “We need our privacy” is shouted. My answer to that is, “SHUT THE PARTITION DOOR.” Yes, I yelled it. We stand in line for hours at women’s bathrooms all over the US. The doors to the toilets give some privacy, that is if you shut them. I don’t know how someone transgender could be a danger while washing his/her hands. People seem to just want to hate. Hate travels. The brain likes stimulus, and some people like the rush they get from fear or hating or blaming. They feed off of it. They consume it like chocolate, and then blame some more.

I don’t know how to fix this problem. As long as people are interested in anything other than the overall health of this nation, it’s going to get worse. Simple compassion, sharing, helping life others, ending the blame game and facing issues head on are so important to us as a nation. Ben Franklin must be spinning in his grave. John Adams would blink and ask if you read that document that the Great Little Madison composed. You might remember it as the Constitution of the United States. I’ve read every word of it. There is nothing about using public office to push a religious agenda. In fact, it’s the first amendment for a reason. Separation of church and state allow for individuals to believe in their form of religion without being dictated to by the government or other religions. Madison was governor of Virginia, the first of the states to push through a non-discrimination bill. He had married Dolly Madison, a Quaker. They were from different religions and under the old colonial law, they would have been fined a hefty amount and faced jail time. They even reigned in their own son when he put profit ahead of public service. A town named Woodbridge grew where that bridge that he charged hefty tolls to cross. Your only other option was to hire a ferry across.

Washington’s genius was in getting people to work together. Diverse people whom he respected. He established US 1 as the first highway, found money for canals, stopped armed insurrection with his ability to speak to the common man as an equal. Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, Adams Jr, the Roosevelts, Kennedy, Johnson, Ford, Clinton, and yes, Obama all have one thing in common. When they acted, they were doing their best so that people like me could grow, be safe, be involved, and have the moral fortitude to say, “Enough is Enough.”

Enough IS Enough.

When enough people get hurt by the actions of our politicians, maybe they will do what Jefferson recommended. “A little bit of revolution” can be a good thing. That revolution needs to happen on a national scale in the voting box. Our voting needs to be  changed back to the inclusive rules that we fought for throughout the history of the country. Affirmative action isn’t a bad thing at all. The right to get to the point where you can stand out needs to be returned, instead of dumping debt on people who went to school to become better at dealing with life. Our children have personal debt. To scream and shout that they should have known their place is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Oh, hard science majors are in demand again. But those in the so-called soft sciences or administrative area are still suffering from under-employment.

If we could only be paid like pro-athletes, and have the power of judicial review returned on the same time table as they use in baseball games. Wishful thinking. Someone needs to get that candidate for Supreme Court up and running. To hold us hostage is criminal.