Archive for the 'quote of the day' Category

CHANGE

January 8, 2023

CHANGE

“Into the Racism Workshop”

For Alma Banda Goddard

my cynical feet ambled

prepared for indigestion

& blank faces of outrageous innocence

knowing I’d have to walk over years of media

declaring we’re vanished or savage or pitiful or noble

My toes twitched when I saw so few brown faces

but really when one eats racism every time one goes out one’s door

the appeal of talking about it is minuscule

I sat with my back to the wall facing the door

after I changed the chairs to a circle

This doesn’t really protect me

but I con myself into believing it does

One of the first speakers piped up

I’m only here because my friend is Black & wanted

me to do this with her

I’ve already done

300 too many racism workshops

Let it be entered into the Book of Stars

that I did not kill her or shoot a scathing reply from the hip

I let it pass because I could tell she was very interested in taking

up all the space with herself & would do it if I said a word

They all said something that I could turn into a poem

but I got tired & went to sleep behind my interested eyes

I’ve learned that the most important part of these tortures

is for them to speak about racism at all

Even showing up is heresy

because as we all know racism is some vague thing that really doesn’t

exist or is only the skinheads on a bad day or isn’t really a crucial problem

not as important certainly as queers being able to marry

or get insurance for each other

When they turned to me as resident expert on the subject

which quite honestly I can’t for the life of me understand

or make any sense out of

I spoke from my feet

things I didn’t know I knew

of our connections

of the deadly poison that racism is for all of us

Maybe some of them were touched

but my bitch voice jumps in to say

NOT MUCH!

I heard back that someone thought I was brilliant

Does that mean that I speak well

Or that she was changed

It’s only her change

I need

–Chrystos

Chrystos, a writer and artist, identifies with her father’s Native American ancestry, a background that is an essential part of her writing. The other dominant aspect of her work is her identity as a lesbian. Works by Chrystos include Not Vanishing (1988), Dream On (1991), In Her I Am (1993), Fugitive Colors (1995), and Fire Power (1995). She is also co-editor of Best Lesbian Erotica 1999. Her poems have appeared in a number of anthologies and she was the winner of the Audre Lorde International Poetry Competition in 1994 and the Sappho Award of Distinction from the Astraea National Lesbian Action Foundation in 1995.

Quote of the Day: MEDITATION

December 1, 2022

MEDITATION

The purpose of meditation practice is not enlightenment; it is to pay attention even at unextraordinary times, to be of the present, nothing-but-the-present, to bear this mindfulness of now into each event of ordinary life. To be anywhere else is “to paint eyeballs on chaos” [to quote Dogen Zenji].

— Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard

photo by Subhankar Banerjee

Quote of the day: VOTING

November 8, 2022

VOTING

When the haunted house catches fire:

 a moment of indecision.

The house was, after all, built on bones,

and blood, and bad intentions.

Everyone who enters the house feels

that overwhelming dread, the evil

that perhaps only fire can purge.

It’s tempting to just let it burn.

And then I remember:

there are children inside.

—Kyle Tran Myhre, “Voting as Fire Extinguisher”

Quote of the day: OPTIMISM

November 8, 2022

OPTIMISM

An optimist isn’t necessarily a blithe, slightly sappy whistler in the dark of our time. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

–Howard Zinn

Quote of the day: UGLY TRUTHS

October 20, 2022

UGLY TRUTHS

Why has the big lie stuck? Maybe it’s because Donald Trump made it appear more plausible by attaching it to a truth. And that truth, for the blue-collar white men among his base, is a powerful sense of loss, suggested by the last word in the slogan Make America Great Again. Red and blue states increasingly represent two economies, with Republicans turning more toward agriculture, extraction and manufacturing, and Democrats toward high-tech and professional services. The gap between them is widening: Between 2008 and 2018, the nation’s Democratic congressional districts saw median household income rise to $61,000 from $54,000, while incomes in Republican districts fell to $53,000 from $55,000. They have suffered other losses too; white men living in Republican counties have higher death rates than white men living in Democratic counties, and the gap between those rates increased more than sixfold from 2001 to 2019. Poor rural white Americans also report less optimism about the future than do equally poor Black or Hispanic ones.

From “loss” Trump has moved the emotional needle to “stolen.” The right to work and remain maskless during a pandemic, stolen. Story of heroic America, stolen. Statues, stolen. Culture, stolen. White power, stolen. Old-time manhood, stolen. Election, stolen. With “stolen,” as opposed to the more circumstantial “loss,” it’s much easier to assign blame. For the stolen election: the deep state, RINOs, Democrats. For stolen white livelihoods: China, immigrants, minorities. And one thing more, many MAGA enthusiasts say to themselves: Donald Trump will save us. The Democrats are preventing Trump from saving us. He is being stolen from us. And Trump has moved the needle from “stolen” to “steal me back”….

Whether a grievance, or a promise, is based on fact can come to feel beside the point. A former coal miner in an Appalachian county where 80 percent voted for Trump in 2020 told me he had recently gotten back on his feet after losing his job and falling into drugs. “When Donald Trump came to town in 2016, he told us he was going to bring back coal,” he said. “I knew Trump was telling me a lie. But I felt like he saw who I was.” The storm is here, Mogelson’s important book warns us, in the threat of public violence and at the ballot box. It’s here because a loss has for too long gone unrecognized, and because a lie that ties itself to this loss can feel more compelling to some than a truth that ignores it.

–Arlie Russell Hochschild, reviewing Luke Mogelson’s The Storm Is Here in the New York Times Book Review

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