I’ve had a TiVo® for year (thanks Dana) and it makes teevee tolerable for me as I just create my own programming. I am working tonight, validating a months long migration project that hopefully will be successful (looks like it may be with some small caveats), but sitting in a hot apartment under two fans alone clicking on things isn’t really what I want my Sunday night to be necessarily.
So I turn on the boob tube (which oddly I don’t actually use to watch boobs) and see I have 5 Bill Moyers shows in my queue, the most recent of which “Going home with Maya Angelou” and I think, “this should be lovely and profound” and I start playing it.
Of course, within the first couple of minutes I realize I really haven’t thought this through, but continue watching anyway. Maya and Bill stop right before walking over the the railroad tracks into the old “white section of town” where she never felt safe because anything could happen and that at least on the black side she had “an idea of protection” and Maya hesitates and says “I really don’t want to got across the thing, I really don’t” and Bill says ” I understand. So what are you thinking right now?”
And Maya says “You still on my side. We both be safe.”
So… now I am a weeping mess, blowing my nose, heart happy and achey all at once and can’t concentrate for shit.
I would rather live in this state of thought and reason, emotion and connection far more often than I am able to. Maybe some point before I lose my ability feel this way I will figure out a way to do so.
even if you are “good guy”
you must realize
that you still have a privilege
you still exert influence
even if you are not trying
you don’t get an award
for not raping
you don’t get a special status
for respecting a no
you aren’t a good guy
because you didn’t take advantage
you are only
not being awful
and you must recognize
that not being awful
is an aberration
you are a minority
because the majority
act in awful ways
do awful things
and it is for this reason
that all men
even the so called not awful ones
will always be suspect
change our society
to one of respect
(Brief note- I have received over 150 350 responses already (within 36 hours) from people around the world so far in support of my short piece and it’s message and I am floored. I will write more after the NATO/G8 events- I am far too emotional right now to do so. Thank you all you lovely people <3 )
[The Listserve] "You Will Hang" and Other Things you don't want to hear on a Saturday Afternoon
In 1987, I was at a civil rights march in Cumming, GA (Brotherhood March II). I was grabbed by a coordinator towards the end- I was told to flank the woman next to me who was with a child in a stroller; there were people on the ridge next to us throwing rocks and bottles and screaming obscenities. As I tried to turn my body into a shield I directly faced these people screaming the most hateful and violent words I have ever heard uttered. I thought I had understood racism and prejudice. I understood nothing.
I was becoming enraged. I wanted to fight back. As I began looking for a rock or anything, a chant was growing in the stream of marchers; I expected a confrontation until I heard what they were chanting. To fight the shouts of "Nigger Lovers" and "You will Hang" was a chant of "We Love You" in return.
I didn't understand. How can people met with lifelong hatred and discrimination act in return with Love? In the face of people threatening to kill you, they reply with "I Love You".
I broke inside. I collapsed. The people around me grabbed me, pulled me up and helped me to my feet. I heard the words beside me "It's okay brother, I have you" and I regained my footing and made it to the end.
There is a picture of me sitting on a curb shortly afterward looking exhausted and dazed. 25 years later I am still exhausted and dazed.
I try to inform everything I do in my life with this experience- the morals I raised my three amazing daughters with, how I still to this day try to make changes in this ever-broken world of ours.
There are so many awful things that humans do to each other. I truly believe they can only be resolved with a genuine love and caring for each other. Unequivocally, everyone should have the same opportunity to equal treatment under law, clean food and water, safe housing, health care and good education. And mutual respect. I have not ever heard a single argument to lead me to believe anything other than this.
This is the underlying theme of the Occupy Movement. It's about everything really. But most of all, it's about love and respect for us all.
Email me if you want to read some of my poems.
Much Love and Respect to you all
John Lennon was my first real hero. He was imperfect and messy and at times ridiculous and he understood that and embraced it. He was also brilliant and beautiful and genuine.
I was sitting in my room in Monsey, NY listening to what I believe was a Jets game on the radio when the announcer cut in and said John Lennon had been shot and wounded and rushed to the hospital. I turned my dial to WNEW and spent the next several hours listening to Beatles and Lennon’s music on the radio as the reports got grimmer and finally the worst news of all. I for some reason had the presence of mind to stick a cassette tape and record the news reports and music.?
I think I still have that tape. I brought it to school the next day and one of our teachers, I can’t recall who, had set the day aside to talk about what happened. I think it’s the first time I cried openly in front classmates and friends. I couldn’t stop. I brought the tape with me and had it in class. Someone asked me why the hell would I think to tape such a thing and I replied “Because this is important.” I didn’t really understand how so, but I knew it was. I was also called a faggot for crying. Something that I was already used to for other reasons.
Part of my soul shattered that day and it is a sadness that I have held and will die with. The world went from what was already a scary and unpredictable (Energy Crisis, Iranian Hostages, etc) to being terrifyingly so for me, 15 years old and madly in love with John and the Double Fantasy album. I remember biking down to the record store and buying it as soon as it came out. I still remember the feel of the cellophane as it peeled off the album cover John and Yoko kissing. I wanted my life to be that life– incredibly interesting and prolific and artistic and crazy and doing good things and what I wanted and all the time in love.
That evening Scottso (Scott Muni) played a recording of when John had stopped by the WNEW offices a few years earlier (I believe) and spun some of his favorite music– mostly obscure R &B and Be Bop tunes. It dawned on me that were was so much I didn’t know about Lennon or anyone for that matter. A complexity of life started to reveal itself to me.
I can still touch the exact feelings of horror and incredible sadness when the doctor at St Luke’s Roosevelt pronounced his death. My heart caves in upon itself, I feel the world spinning uncontrollably about me and I find it hard to breathe and see through tears.
The world broke that day. What I’ve learned since is that it never really worked right in the first place.