Look in the Mirror

Look in the mirror, people.
Look in the mirror.
Tell me, what do you see?
One who prefers the paper or the tree?
Does the reflection care for a starving child?
Or animals surviving in the wild?
Does he aid the sick and feed the poor
or keep the money so he can buy more?
Does he want all to find a better life –
one without poverty and without strife?
Does he see the troubles in the world today?
Does he make a difference or turn away?
So many answers only he can give,
and within his soul they will always live.
Look in the mirror, people.
Look in the mirror.
Tell me truly, do you like what you see?

It’s Just a Vote

(Win at all costs)

it’s just a vote
not a man
who can take a stand
fill him with dope
and steal his hope
not a loving wife
clinging to
her precious life
let her die
and i’ll take mine

it’s just a vote
a flip of the switch
take from the poor
give to the rich
sell them lies
no need for alibis
promises in
promises out
fill their heads
full of doubt

it’s just a vote
win at all cost
you have the power
but the country you lost

We Are Not What We Were Yesterday No. 2

{The Global Perspective}

We are not what we were yesterday in the time before the wars. Simpler days have been set aside; our lives reaching beyond the shores. We are part of a greater responsibility; one that cannot close the doors. We are not what we were yesterday, for what is mine is also yours.

We Are Not What We Were Yesterday No. 1

{The Democratic View}

When will this administration learn that we cannot go back to the way we were? It’s nearly (if not completely) impossible to undo everything that has been accomplished over the past 70 years. And even if we could, do we really want to do that? I mean, Bannon touts the 1930s as our golden age. Seriously? The Depression is the best we can do?

Sure, everyone sort of banded together as a country, but that’s only because they had nothing else to hold onto. They were broke, jobless, and homeless in some cases. People were living in shanties on the outskirts of cities.

My dad grew up during The Depression. They ate potatoes and cornbread every night. Not that he minded, it was his favorite dish. But the point is that it wasn’t because it was his favorite dish. They couldn’t afford anything else.

What was happening, though, was the the richer were very rich and the poor were very poor. It was a time of great disparity. In other words, the corporate leaders and savvy businessmen (you know, the ones that were mucking up the swamp as our President once said) were rolling in dough while the poor scraped for food to eat. Sounding familiar to anyone? Is that what we want to return to? I don’t. But our current administration does. Something to think about.

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We Are Not What We Were Yesterday No. 1

We are not what we were yesterday
and never shall we return
for the good ol’ days
weren’t good for all
our lessons we have learned

We are not what we were yesterday
for the change has already come
a freer land
with certain rights
makes us greater than our sum

No, we are not what we were yesterday
and now our future is at hand
with dreams of progress
we defeat all fears
and together we will stand

A Confederacy of Wildflowers

A poem in honor of globalism, immigration and foreign aid.

A confederacy of wildflowers
gathered ranks around the gate.
The manicured hedges standing guard;
The roses discussed their fate.

“This is how flowers grow –
You have your spot; I have mine.
Look at them without borders –
no structure or design.
We cannot teach them how to live,
nor support them with our wares.
We will continue in our way
and watch how they will fair.”

But wildflowers are wise,
spreading knowledge to and from.
Something’s always on the horizon;
a change will always come.
Soon the gardener passed;
the only water came from rain.
The roses dropped their heads;
the hedges’ strength began to wane.

Still they kept a watchful eye
on their brethren in the field.
But one wildflower after another,
they stormed the pristine guild.
Eden’s soldiers stood in fear;
their future now in doubt.
But wildflowers don’t seek destruction,
nor to weed others out.

Wildflowers are built for survival
and lend a helping hand.
The soil no longer shifted;
the rainwater sustained the land.
All of the garden prospered;
both the wild ones and the tame.
And although everything was different,
the garden’s beauty remained the same.

Instinct (Away from the Storm)

A poem for those in Central and South America seeking refuge or asylum in the US.

She sits upon her branch,
a storm rumbles in the east.
The winds of change are blowing;
she knows it’s time to leave.
Food may be sporadic,
and predators may await her.
But she’ll fly a thousand miles
for a chance to be safer.
One day she will return,
but for now she’s heading north.
As the rain begins to coat her,
instinct sets her forth.

The Significance of Me

One people, one world, one destiny.

Lately I’ve been thinking about what’s going to happen to our planet over the next four years. If you believe the scientists, and 90-plus percent of folks do, then we’re on the brink. We’re about to implode (not literally … but then again) from global warming. Animals will die. Plants will die. Some cities will be under water; other areas may turn to dust.

There are two things that connect the people in this world. It is love and the planet we all share. When we get down to it, nothing else really matters. If we don’t have a sustainable planet, we don’t have anything. We don’t have air to breath. Or water to drink or food to eat. Natural events – tornadoes, wildfires, droughts, tsunami’s, what have you – will likely increase and destroy more homes and families.

Come on, Georgia is having wildfires. We don’t have wildfires. Maybe a few here in there when we had severe droughts, but wildfires are becoming pretty common place around here. And something else is changing. We have huge trees here in Georgia. Most of the north part of the state is a national forest. But now if the wind blows a little more than usual or we just get a normal rain, our trees just fall  over. 100-year-old trees just tip over roots and all. That didn’t happen before, but it’s happening now all the time.

If you think we’ve got problems now, wait until everyone is scrambling for water and food and trying to get away from wildfires or tornado zones. It won’t be pretty, I can tell you that.

We’ve got one planet. It’s all we have. Mars? Maybe a possibility 100 years from now. But we have to make it to that 100 years and we can’t do that if we pillage our land or hate one another to the point that we ignore what’s happening to our planet. No matter what race, religion, nationality you are, we’re all human beings. We all have to care for one another and for our planet or we will self-destruct.

I saw the video below when I was reading about the environment. It’s too bad we can’t all go into space and have this experience? Imagine what a better world it would be if we could.

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The Significance of Me

It is a fragile life we lead, under our delicate, gossamer veil. Star walkers know the secret and whisper it in our ears. We are significant in our insignificance. Our differences are inane. We’re all cells of a cosmic body; save our soul to remain. One cell communicates to another — is it harmony or rancor? Shall we save what connects us or divide until we’re cancer? Either way it starts with one – then grows into millions. We are significant in our insignificance, and our destiny begins with me.

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Other resources on this topic: 4 Astronauts Who Had Spiritual Experiences ‘Up There’ and Communion on the Moon: The Religious Experience of Space

My American Dream — A Life Among Immigrants

Growing up I never dreamed of marrying a boy from my hometown, building a home near my family, and living around the same people I had known my entire life. No, my American dream was always a little different. When I was small, I wanted to be a ballerina who performed with dancers from all over the world and learned all of their traditional dances. I dreamed of moving to New York and meeting a nice Italian boy from a big Italian family, who still spoke Italian and still had all of their old world traditions. We would eat spaghetti every night … because that’s how you think when you’re a kid.

I didn’t realize it then, but my American dream was to live a life among immigrants. That is what America represented to me back then — that Great American Melting Pot from Schoolhouse Rock. And honestly, that is what America continues to be for me today. I still aspire to have friends and perhaps even boyfriends who bring something to this country from other parts of the world.

That is why I am saddened and disappointed in the direction our country is heading. We are all immigrants or descendants of immigrants. Many of us would not exist if that melting pot did not exist. We’re one-quarter this and a third that. It’s those bits of family history most of us are excited to share as we develop new friendships and build families. Entire businesses have been developed around determining exactly what kind of immigrant heritage we have, and many of us, myself included, are eager to learn those aspects of ourselves.

So how did we become so afraid of “the other?” Most of us are part “other” from another time. Irish, Italian, German — these immigrants all faced challenges coming to American in the past, but today they are part of the collective American dream. And yes, the world is changing faster than some of us like, and change is not easy for everyone to accept. But that change is going to happen regardless. It always does, and it always will. In our hearts, we all know that. The world doesn’t stop because we want it to stop. We have to keep moving, pushing forward, accepting change. Otherwise, we fall behind, and we miss out on new opportunities.

I grew up in the rural Georgia Mountains. Besides a handful of African Americans, everyone was white, Christian, Anglo-American. I remember when the first Chinese restaurant opened in our town by a Chinese family. I was excited and ate there as much as I could. And as time passed, more and more people began to go there. It became part of the community, and people were happy to eat there. We received a small taste of the great big world in our own backyard.

That is what immigration does. It brings the world to your doorstep and a little spice to life. You get to enjoy other parts of the world in the comfort of your own environment. No travel is required, no luggage or expensive flights. You walk into a restaurant, and you get a sample of another place. To me it is such a beautiful experience, even on the smallest scale, that I cannot understand why we are pushing so hard to limit it.

Growing up where I did, I was blessed with experiences that helped develop my dream. I had substitute teachers who came from France and taught us phrases and songs in French. I hung out with the exchange students – Anka from Germany, Jorgen from Sweden and Naomi from Japan. I remember their names because they were important in my life — even if I only knew them for a year and only shared a class with one of them. I learned from them. I respected them and their bravery for coming to another country at such a young age. I grew because of that experience. I started finding myself and what I wanted. I became a magazine writer and moved to the city, meeting people from all walks of life in both my work and day-to-day living. I traveled and experienced new places and people. I ate new cuisines. I enjoyed international festivals. I continued to grow. I dated men here from various backgrounds. So in some ways I have lived my American dream. I have lived a life among immigrants, and my life is fuller because of these experiences, and I hope my experiences are not over yet.

While I understand that this is not everyone’s dream, I also know that there is a little girl somewhere in America who dreams of being a scientist discovering new solutions with people from around the world. And one day, she hopes to meet a nice boy from a nice Mexican family, who still speaks Spanish and still has all of their traditions. And they will eat tacos every night … because that’s how you dream when you’re a kid. And I can’t imagine there is anyone who wouldn’t want her to realize that dream, and I hope that she does.

¿Cómo se llama?

They call me filth,
but I don’t respond.
I just focus on the work
they pay me to do:
cleaning their homes,
putting food on their tables,
serving their meals,
and constructing their offices.
I build their homes,
and take their calls,
lining their pockets much more than my own.
Today I wait to clean the site
as they scream more names into the crowd:
Rapist!
Criminal!
Killer!

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In response to Jeff Session’s comments at the US border regarding South and Central American immigrants.