Autumn’s First Child

when an equator
crosses the center
of a system’s star
the balance
is temporary

those born but a day after
an autumnal equinox
are a winter conceived
descendant of darkness
carried through spring and summer

knowing all too well
life’s end
and its own
while sensing
more than enough

blessings to you
little one
still carrying
a heart of warmth
into settling cold

Pro-social

There are anti-social crimes. “Social” here means under the power and control of the group currently in authority. Those who most benefit from the already established economy get to set the limits on what does not benefit them. Such limitations take place at every level of granularity, which appears in instances where the same “crime” may be committed, but it is defined in one way for those inside the system and differently for those on the outside. Those who steal by way of the pen and legislation (white/white-collar) are judged and sentenced less harshly than those who do not have the levers of power available to them (Black/blue-collar).

We have few examples of pro-social activity until the above becomes egregious enough for sufficient numbers to gather in complaint. Those pro-social activists participate in one form of protest or another—usually a multi-generational movement. “Social,” in this context, means a rebalancing of what common good or general welfare might mean for all in the society. Social becomes another word for justice.

By the time protest becomes labeled as anti-social, it is recognized by those in power positions as dangerous to their continuing to live in the manner to which they have become accustomed.

It is very difficult for a culture to build-in pro-social safeguards for such retard the kinds of division that entitle one group over another—losing track of individual gifts, in favor of one perceived advantage, such as racism, or another.

An easy attack on pro-social activity is to label it “socialist.” If you can think of a pro-social activity beyond protest, it will aid future generations if that is enacted today, and again tomorrow, and again…. Boldness to you.

Black

“Black is the color of my true love’s hair” carries the famous parody with it – “Black is the color of my love’s true hair.” With this shift of one word, the sentence and sentiment changes.

With the shift of one word, we move beyond a parody’s fondness to a blunt instrument known best in its negative form – propaganda. Replacing “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter,” there is the continued attempt to disappear a specific subculture of many subcultures.

Black is an evocative description of a creative beginning. James Weldon Johnson’s “Creation” begins with an inaccuracy of G*D stepping out on space before there is space. There is a better accuracy describing such a moment – 

Darkness covered everything
Blacker than a hundred midnights
Down in a cypress swamp.

Risking the loss of an anthropomorphic arm to a yet unnamed crocodile, G*D is said to smile light into existence and beckon, “Bring forth!” Whereupon all manner of life assembled.

Described as “lonely still,” G*D’s next act is born out of a deepening loneliness yearning for something closer than simply light and multiplying things. Blackness is again entered—this time from the bottom of a clay deposit. A close encounter of the first order was released and kneaded into a mirror, more than dim, blacker than nano black – darker than Carlsbad after the tourists are gone. A non-reflective mirror holding ever- more-creation continually present.

Black is the color of G*D’s true image. This is not the imaginary category of race, but the making of way when there is no yet-way.

Protest Contest

let’s have
a protest contest
pitting a protest
against a protest
protesting protests
such a contest
is nearly always
won by
those who have
the most power
the most to lose
from the loss
of what little
advantage they have
mostly economic
bolstered
politically
legally
an unequal contest
worthy of contesting
with a protest

Location

Location, Location, Location. So runs the mantra for real estate. The same runs true for my writing, for I am not a systematic writer, disciplined to use my time at perfecting a craft.

Different locations have a significant influence on whether any writing gets done. I need solitary space to slowly allow a thought to proceed and wander where it will, including doubling back to its starting point. Words change tense. A bird or word flitting by changes the trajectory of where I thought I was headed. That little beauty seems worthy of following for a bit. Squirrel! is all too present. A conversation overheard is an attractive distraction from the difficult task of translating synapse activity to a little scribble so wan on the page, a caged wildness instead of a tamed fox.

Arriving too late for a favorite table at the Library means an adjustment before attempting a next tale from where the table and I were, is more dramatic than appears on my outside.

A person wandering by can seem to be a literary spy judging whether this scrawl is worthy of being stolen. It is time to double down on hiding a nugget in a tripled allusion.

O to know what I thought before seeing it on the page—even if it is encoded in language rudely lifted from the past and unintelligible until tomorrow.

All this to note, I am writing in a new-to-me location. Maybe next time, I’ll be back to an unversed stanza or opaque suggestion.

Ethical Reading

The largest effect on political division would come from a wide-spread — might one say, universal — revisiting of ethical reading and viewing. The skills needed to address writing and visual/aural presentations would go a long way to appreciating differing view-points on models of a current economy or present governance.

Among the first signs that a political conversation has broadened from the location of an individual within an economic or governance structure to a question of how things are working for those most disadvantaged within the current ways of operating is if those concerns occur across more than one generation. Multigenerational exile from participation in the levers of power indicates there is a structural weakness that, historically, will always grow and contribute to the downfall of any present organization of interlocking systems. The very attempt to stabilize a present moment increasingly endangers it over time.

To lift us from our current camps, there needs to be an acknowledgment that there is value in other ways to experience human life and life other-than-human. If the setting of another story or treatise cannot be affirmed as carrying a valid, even if a strange-to-us way of engaging the pitfalls and foibles of the everyday, we will soon end up with the Great Either/Or — where my Either is required to abolish your Or.

When we can’t trust the narrator or even a trickster narrator, there is no going further. When a reader has no curiosity about the characters and plot, that whole world is put out mind, placed in our personal landfill with no hope of becoming compost for nurturing intellect and relational growth.

Ethical reading and views are critical in an age of revisionist history, alternative facts that aren’t, and fear-based decisions in either economic or governmental settings.

Wanted: Partnership Story

For the moment, presuming Mark’s gospel was written in the aftermath of the Roman re-occupation of Palestine/Israel and its scorched-earth policy attended its army’s march to sack and salt Jerusalem and, along the way, untold numbers of Galileans and Judeans were enslaved or killed—what new gospel is now needed, in a time of another American pre-civil war, that will surface a common point of healing, lest we simply change one empire for yet another?

This long-winded sentence (if that is what it is) sets a challenge large enough to ask about our enthrallment with bigger barns and how Mammon’s material blessings keep stopping a larger honoring of each gift brought by a human or other-than-human experience.

What is the usual calculus we do to set artificial limits on what is real and easily shunted into categories of irrelevance, invisibility, and worthlessness?

If such becomes discernible, able to be turned to a story without an artificial pausing point that blocks its flow, there will be an even more difficult question of assisting one another through consistent disciplines that change our DNA from genetic survivalism to mutual appreciation and individual satisfaction. Included in this is how to evaluate and deal with mutations—some of which run counter to either or both communal and individual expressions of thankfulness and purpose, some of which are not immediately discernable.

What partnership story (rather than that of a single hero) will assist us in countering an intentional rush to civil war so insisted upon by some while dreaded by others who have no analysis or strategy to deal with the drumbeat of division and malice.

Garbage

garbage out
can only be checked
by the amount
and quality
of garbage in

sewer systems and landfills
are downstream
measures of economic
ratios imposed
on the discounted

so much output
reveals how much
input is hidden
from view
and never nourishes

economic diets
need to see
their empty calories
from dirty coal
to polluting plastic

Worth dying for

Authorities choose self over the well-being of others. Even when enhancing the lives of others, they bolster their own situation. No term limit or seeming eternal rule seems to change this dynamic. If I’m going to do good for you, I need to be in charge of you.

I am intrigued by models of consensus-building that attempt to the power-of-one out of the equation. Even so, peers (like children of all ages) do have rankings as individuals press the limits of group dynamics to favor them. Such rankings need to be defended from those below and tested regarding those yet above. Consensus is not exempt from manipulation. Even here, conspiracy stories arise to justify what currently is and to filter progress for the advantage of those presently enjoying whatever size perquisite they might have.

Whether the working paradigm is a divine-right, majority-rules, or some form of consensus, authority, like gravity, always needs to be a part of the equation.

A choice between harder and softer authorities is constantly being voted on by actual votes or the economic/intellectual system currently in vogue. It doesn’t matter if we are facing an autocrat of one persuasion of another, dictator of government, religion, or home. School and work bring their own rankings, as do any peer group (intra- or inter-group).

To work outside of a recognized authority is dangerous, as well as oddly satisfying. A question in this is—Is mutual care is worth dying for? Particularly when the evidence is overwhelming that, in short-run games, cheaters are the team to bet on.