This kneeling for the anthem row is ridiculous when facts are considered.
“The flag is a symbol of this country and all that it stands for.” There is a lot that this country stands for that is horrible:
On the race issue, blacks make up 10% of the US population is black, yet blacks comprise 40% of the prison population. The US prison system houses 25% of the prisoners in the world, meaning that 12.5% of the worlds prisoners are black Americans.
Some 53% of convictions are for non violent crimes such as petty drug possession. Drug use is a persons choice with their own body–others may not like it or approve of it, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are disallowed personal freedom of choice on a daily basis. It is legal, however, to take some of the most insidious compounds known to man because they’re prescribed by a “doctor,” or to drink ourselves dead and fill our bodies with “approved” poisons sold in every store and fast food restaurants, which lead to more grave health issues and deaths than illegal drugs.
The entirety of the US economy is designed to favor the wealthy, with lower tax rates and giant tax rebates for corporations, as well as ridiculous government subsidy. It’s to the point that farmers who benefit from subsidies on corn (80% of the corn grown in the US is inedible, and a large portion of that is plowed under because the subsidies pay better than the harvest) and tobacco, for example, then turn around and scorn those on public assistance, sitting right alongside corporate fat cats– who pay lower tax rates than the majority of Americans– who do the same.
Our military budget is larger than that of the next 11 countries combined, yet we have not had a direct foreign threat of any magnitude on US soil since the Spanish American war, which the US started over greed.
Citizens of this country are, by and large, more interested in getting the swank new iPhone and tripping over what celebrity got plastic surgery last than with the marginalization of others. “I’ve never had any problem with cops,” people say. That’s great, for you. For the average minority it is simply not the case.
It’s too far into the present now to say simply that the imbalance is created by “cultural differences.” When the system is designed to put more of one race in prison, the “cultural differences” are foisted upon them. When a person can do life without parole for petty drug possession or petty theft, and the sentencing of minorities is most often harsher than that of whites, there is a problem.
–note: I’m not even going bother chiming in on health care issues.–
So the big issue here comes from “disrespecting the flag and what it stands for.” For millions of people in this country the flag stands for hatred, slavery, subjugation, duplicity, hypocrisy, ignorance, fear and murder. And before anyone says, “if anyone doesn’t like it they have the right to leave,” let me just say that this viewpoint is completely dismissive, diversionary, and ignorant to the actual facts of traveling–especially expatriation.
So, basically, the honor of an inanimate object is more important to many than the honor of an individual, or justice in general. “America” is not a country which stands for freedom or justice, it “just plays one in TV.”
This kneeling for the anthem row is ridiculous when facts are considered.
Time is relative to contentedness.
“When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.”–Albert Einstein
One who is accepting of, and grateful with his lot is like one in the passion stage of love.
One in love is unaware that the future could be snatched away at any minute. Far from filling him with dread he is hopeful, for he knows that the opposite could be true as well. He knows that there are more good times ahead and he lives for them–he literally lives for/in the future.
One who is grateful, happy, and content, however, is like a child. It is not a beautiful girl he is courting, it is a beautiful life. The knowledge that it could be torn away at any moment causes him to appreciate each moment for itself.
In appreciating each moment for itself, his focus is changed. He is literally living for/in the present. By measuring time on a different scale, he has altered the speed of thought as his focus is not on some far off temple, but rather it is on the temple he lives in.
The one who is not content: He moves space and time, deletes memories to drop weight; in dread he puts his focus on the future of “what could happen,” and races toward it in an attempt to keep the bad from happening. Instead of letting his focus be in the present that is, where he really makes his choices, he concentrates on what he will choose in the future invented by his mind.
With his focus on the future, he fumbles his choices in the moment, and does stuff he never would have chosen to do were he conscious of the choice. He cannot repent of his sins because he is unable to see them with the same gravity–he didn’t even appreciate them when they happened.
With his focus on the future he condenses milestones in time to travel it faster, and life races right by.
For one who lives for/in the moment, the timeline is stretched. All accomplishments and choices are more clearly seen, though fewer are in sight. He is like a child who learns from his memories to choose, instead of an adult who, because he is worried the past will repeat, fears he will have to choose.
The moment becomes beautifully and vividly illustrated. A laugh of a friend in joy is like a choir of angels singing for an eternity–and conversely, the cry of a friend in pain is an eternity of torture. By living in, appreciating, and being content with the moment, one brings heaven to earth.
“The command is not hidden or far off, it is not in the heavens that you should have to say ‘who will go and get it for us so we may hear and do it?’ …The matter is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart.”–Deuteronomy 32:12
“The command,” here is the entire Torah spelled out in a heartbeat. The entire Torah is this: learn from the past to make better choices in the present; make the choices–and perform them–better by fully seeing them; in choosing/performing better being more content with your choices; , in being more content with your choices of the present, trusting in yourself to choose better in the future, and as such releasing yourself from dread; releasing yourself from the dread of the future allows you to more fully appreciate the moment; appreciating the moment to the fullest returns life to be paradise; living in the paradise of the moment gives an infinite number of them; having an infinite number of moments makes you immortal, and because you are happy, grateful, and content with the moment, you live in heaven.
This is why jesus said, “Be like a child.”
This is the how to what Buddha said, “release yourself from the wheel of suffering.”
“See, I have set before you life and death, good and evil.”
By choosing every moment, one chooses life. By choosing life, one chooses to be infinite. By choosing to be infinite, one lives “in the kingdom of God.”
The air wore the subtlest crisp, but the sun supplied a gentle reposte, as we three feathers floated down the Belfastian streets in the late morning.
As we meandered our way to the shoppe we had sought, we spoke of matters large and small: ambitions for the coming years of education, and further in life; whether the rubbish bin we passed had caught of its natural volition, or whether it was a mischievous arsonist who had kindled a fire in the ash receptacle which capped it.
I, having the outrageous fortune of accompanying these twin beauties who had joined me from their Lone Star, gloried in their veritable ballet of debate, and–through even their exposition that no malice presented itself amid their bickering, I–was thoroughly enjoying the well practiced match they presented. I felt, in a word, home, not because of their assurance, but because of the rather personal display of familial exchange which I had been invited to rest within.
Inside the bazaar, were vendors of handcrafts, food–both raw and prepared–booths in sufficient quantity and quality to activate the Pavlovian response in our salivary glands, and music of a skill quite appreciable for we the gentle masses to enjoy.
Returned to the quieted street, it was after all a Saturday morning, we turned our promenade to follow the the smell of the water, and the flight of the seagull–those giant cockroaches of the skies, whose brazenness seemed to know no bounds as they snatched food directly from tourists hands on the beaches of Brighton but three days prior, and here practiced restraint, or perhaps simply manners, the likes of which thought unknown in this “lesser” species.
A stranger danced upon a rail, and inspired us to our own flight, which we practiced for a score of minutes before moving along.
Hunger commencing to gnaw at our hearts, we returned to the bazaar to procure the necessary supplies for a feast to be made upon our return to our Vagabonds lodging.
We cooked. I offered a spoon of vegetable salad which I fed to the angel beside me as she cleaned her dishes, at once being accepted intimately and feeing as if we had known one another for several years or perhaps lifetimes, as opposed to mere hours. I danced and sang through the preparation, as is my custom, and sat we down to eat. As a pair, we enjoyed the unique closeness that can only be provided by eating directly from the same vessel, while we reacquainted ourselves with each other after our souls’ long division.
Others joined, and tasted of my handiwork, and we enjoyed group discussion and familiarity.
Exiting to the rear garden, Sophie and I enjoyed a solitudinous exchange of life which can only be seen by those beyond sight. I wondered at the texture of her lips, and I peered into the sea of truth that was her eyes. She wondered, it would later be revealed, at the texture of my hands, such tired and well used tools of this artist which lay beside her, but as it would transpire, we both wondered in silence to each to the other. For what reason was our silence manifest, perhaps neither of us can say in truth, but led us forward did such silent questioning into the evening, the arrival of more lodgers and friends, and the inebriated challenge of dexterous showcase whose name is the ever simple, “table tennis.”
The night for me would end too soon, my wondering being placed upon a shelf for later discovery, as I would extract myself to complete my journey already a quartet of weeks passed–five sheets to the wind, propelled at full sail, influenced by the juice of the barley–and stumble to the rendezvous location where my steel coach lay waiting to direct me onward, to the great metallic eagle which urged my return to the reality I had lovingly misplaced for a short time of life.
Within the sound chamber of my lyre-like heart, was the knowledge that it would not be the last meeting with the two angels who had graced me with inclusion for that day–that day which was but an unknown blip in the waveform of time…but which, within the light of my soul, felt as an eternity.
The fields of auric cereals dance in the summer breeze.
The skies are brimmed and teaming with undulating billowy blackness which gives way to grey and white and patches of blue.
A prisoner could be I perceived,
Or a corpse, in a steel casket meandering its way through this countryside,
But though for the uninitiated this they see,
My voyage, rife with blessing and hardship, shall never I deride.
I am not a prisoner, but a noble, borne upon the strength of fire breathing dragons which pull along my carriage.
As in myth and whimsy a young Pendragon united the disparate kingdoms of the land,
Or our David, brave and belovèd of the Holy One, unified different clans within his hand,
So too am I a king in gestation, waiting for time and place to emerge,
My kingdom is the world and my banner is love,
My buckler the blessing which streams from above,
Which allows me to tap a well of strength
When the world chooses darkness and I the light,
And gives me the power to, at great length,
Continue to love and to lovingly fight.
ive been having a bit of a bad day since I woke up not feeling well this morning. A friend said when this happens to him, he reads my poetry and it helps.
I wrote the poems, so the same doesn’t work for me–but I can write.
I don’t usually name my poems, but obviously, I did this one.
He was a mighty king, and he knew it. His effect was felt in all eight directions, throughout his kingdom.
It was his very existence that kept his subjects awake, alive and thriving, and the unique light which he shone was indispensable to the world–just as for each person who inhabits it.
Every morning, he blushed at his renewed duty to his subjects, and he felt himself the luckiest in the universe to have such an obligation. Truly, he was different from all others in this respect, as obligation was to him not a burden, but a joy, and he would rise with the crow of the cock to greet each morning with intensity and vigor.
Each day, when he reached the height of his majesty, he would begin to shrink back–little by little upon his throne–and the longing would begin. He longed for more time in the day, he longed for better conditions for his subjects, he longed for them to be happier with their days; but mostly, he longed for his queen, who had departed from him long ago.
Wished, had he, that she would stay, but she was blinded by his radiance. She felt, constantly, that she could never reach her full potential with a king so brilliant and loved, so late one night she left a note to her love.
“My dearest sweet and loving king,
Too long have I languished in your shadow.
I do not wish that you should bring
Upon me pain and sorrow for thou art great,
Noble and fair and I feel that with this ring
Have I at once given seal to my blessed fate,
But my dearest wish I ever to lovingly sing
Of the blessings which I shall surely rate
Within our life or without is all the same,
There are things that coupling cannot give
And wish I to hearken to mine own name
And in death of our union to truly live!”
What a horror he must be, thought the king, for his one truest love to wish to depart from him. How could he have been so blind to let it be unseen to his own eyes that within his life she could not live?
And so, every night from the point of the letter and onward, the king would die, and in the morning be reborn.
And every night from the point of his death, his queen would rule in his absence, her unique light spreading far and wide, and giving respite from the sun of the day, as well as well as a silvery glow in which the romantic could play.
A perfect arrangement it was not as shown, but to die as oneself for the sake of your love to live,
truly a greater love has never been known.
The spire of luminaries beckoned to us and sparked our curiosity–what did it look like up close? So in we piled to two cabs and proceeded in our ascent of the mountain. Armed with the aperitif of the barley and the cactus, we charted our course for the unknown.
It was already well past midnight when we arrived. The lights had been, to our dismay, extinguished upon the antique edifice.
In a turnout of the meandering road we drank, talked, sang, and walked–we danced and joined our souls in a ballet of joyful, if inebriated, light, in an attempt to replace those which no longer shone from the church.
Overhead in that tranquil vault, stars shot across the heavens, recalling to us the initiation of all that was and is. Upon the vegetated earth, was a stirring…into our field of view came a wild sow, startling us with her subtleness as well as reputation.
The church itself was closed to visitors, so after inspecting the situation Ismael and Khalil heralded the way around so that we could go up atop the building, and from there gaze out upon the beauty of Barcelona at night.
In a few hours, we would descend upon a playground and, afterward, into a private train carriage who’s sole purpose was to carry us down the hill to regain our habitations. For this brief window of time, however, we seven would find ourselves kings and queens of a night so uniquely ours that there could be no duplication.
The nightclub was what you may expect: overcrowded, overpriced, overvalued, and unable to deliver. From the Apolo, however, to the beach was an easy issue on the skateboard.
The early morning air was delightfully cooler than what had been in the previous day, and with the absence of sun there was no reproachment from nature–as if nature suggested the swapping of day and night for human activity.
Along the promenade, I met four friends and we walked together, eventually resting with an Australian guitar player, as I sang to his accompaniment and we pulled more passersby in for an impromptu street party.
Saying our goodbyes, we continued toward the beach.
There in the great sea, I watched as the rising sun just peaked over the horizon, casting brush strokes of a brilliant crimson to contrast the blue-silver flicker of the waters surface. There, wearing not a stitch and floating in the primordial spirit of the water, no thoughts and all were united in grand synchronicity.
This stone is what will recall this moment in time for the rest of my days.
Lunch was served on the piazza of a small restaurant, along an alley in a quiet section just away from the bustling tourist centre of Montpellier.
The poet returned his pen and paper to his attaché, as he prepared his table once again to be eaten from. Nothing, however, could prepare him for the cacophony of flavour, the utter symphony of sumptuousness which awaited him.
As he placed the first tender morsel of salmon and spinach in his mouth, he savoured it’s perfection with rapturous enjoyment. He closed his eyes as a choir of angels sang an aria to the Master of the Universe, the Endless One, the Holy One who had blessed him to be at this place, in this moment.
Perhaps he could be fortunate to find again the same restaurant again, but the sustenance would never be the same, the singular moment of perfection having passed, and all others becoming simply a substitute, an interpretation, or a poorly drafted and misshapen twin of that impossibly delectable moment plucked from the sea of creation, for which no compliment could suffice.
So, eyes closed and recording every jot and tittle of inscription into the book of life that he had thus far been fortunate to view, he for once held a vast appreciation for the artist who had created such an incomprehensible perfection, with the simple name of “lasagna,” as if it were sufficient enough to describe its qualities, and he basked in the glory that was the moment–that single second within time which marked the breath between that which was and that which had been or will be.
I’m having a hard time readjusting to being in the U.S. Partly this is due, I’ve no doubt, to the shear lack of responsibility and obligation that I had on my trip, but there seems a much different energy as well. I am very grateful to see my kids and friends again, I just maybe wish we could all be “over there” instead of here.
Maybe this is one reason I didn’t like the UK as much as spain and Italy. Although he Brits seem to be much more social, it’s still a culture similar to the U.S.
In contrast, the italian and Spanish culture and society seems to be more about a healthy balance of work and play. That’s the way I am as well. I work to live, as opposed to the other way around. I live in a small house (which is still too large much of the time), I don’t have AC except in my bedroom, and had I not had my friend staying here in the house while I was gone I probably wouldn’t even have installed that unit before I left. I cook with basic ingredients, in a basic kitchen, without all the fancy appliances and gadgets. In the grocery store yesterday, I was very happy to choose the spanish option in the self check line. This is something I’ve done before as well, but it was comforting to me this time.
As I look around my house, I feel it’s time for a change. Often I feel like changing careers as well, but then a job comes up in which I end up making a lot of money in a short time, and I question my logic!
I would like to use public transportation more, skateboard around more, and drive less. Unfortunately, the public transportation infrastructure here is almost nonexistent, I can’t afford to live closer to the city center–and even if I could, there are services still unavailable within walking distance–and in the states everything is so spread out that nothing seems to be convenient to anything else.
I don’t know what the solution is, I just wanted to write, I guess, about what it has been like for me these last couple of days back in the US.