Posts Tagged ‘voice’

It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to.

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Although honestly I don’t actually feel like crying. I did that yesterday when I woke up to what certainly felt like the end of the world as I knew it. The dawn of a new world helmed by a misogynistic, bigoted, fascist, racist, hate-spewing, violence-inciting, completely unhinged orange despot-elect.

But then I got mad. I got together with my tribe of strong and powerful and brave women, with my men of quality who do not fear equality, and I made a commitment to raise hell. To say No More. To stand up for a better world, a kinder world, a more open and connected and curious and inclusive world. A world that embraces Love and rejects fear. This is what I will fight for what I will work for, what I will pray for–for the next four years and the next four decades and however long I have breath.

katniss

Change is coming. This election, this crisis, this unbelievable unfolding of events has awakened the Katniss in me–and in thousands and millions like me. We are not sitting this one out, crying and scared in a corner. We are standing up. We are marching forward. We are linking arms and  raising voices and moving mountains. Hope trumps fear. Love trumps hate. Even now. Especially now.

I worked on this poem for 4 months, earlier this year and finished it about 4 weeks ago. It feels more true and more powerful now than it did when I put down my pen.

2016 has been an almighty shitstorm of a year. And maybe we’ve just barely seen the worst of it. They say things get worse before they get better, don’t they? But here today, on my birthday, I–the natural-born pessimist–am saying that I BELIEVE it will get better. Because we will make it better. We will.

 


 

SWEET CHILD OF MINE

I want to give you the world
but not this one.

Not the one where a boy
with dirty fingers
can stuff you with leaves
behind a dumpster
and get off easy
because he can swim 200 meters
in a hot fucking minute.

Not the one where a man
with a grudge and a gun
turns a dance floor
into an abattoir
where rainbow lights pulse
on the tortured limbs of dying men
who came out for the music.

And those bullets, oh child,
you have to dodge them everywhere,
take care, take cover
at the office
at school
at concert halls and cafes.
Even first graders here
know how to cower in a closet
while their teacher lays down
her body as a barrier.

Not for you, a world
ruled by moneyblind megalomaniacs with
big fears and small minds
and small hands
and small opinions of women
of poor people
of gay people
of brown people
of people in general.

There is no equality here
so don’t expect understanding
if the gender gifted you at birth
makes your very skin crawl
and you require stitches and knives
to make it right.
Don’t expect impartiality
if you share a bed
a live
a love
and genitalia, too.
That rainbow flag waves
in defiance here
more often than joy.

I want for you no limits
not the size of your curves
or the shape of your smile
or the purity of your unsullied sheets.
I want for you the assurance
that your sex does not determine your worth
or your health or your wealth or your freedom
of choice.
of voice.
Because this world does not want to listen, child,
this world will not give you ground and I

want to give you the sky but not this one
where dispassionate bombs
fall from the blue
obliterating schools
and hospitals
and hope.
Death delivered by remote control.

And people flee that death
and horror, that loss and
ruin unleashed by all the powers that be.
People run and they crawl and they swim
and even as their children sink beneath waves,
we won’t let them in. There is no room in this world
for the war torn
for the foreign born.
No vacancy for the burqa bearing.
No clemency for the keffiyeh wearing.
One whiff of otherness and
the door slams in your face.

I want to give you a window
to crawl through. I want to give you
wide open space. I want to give you
the ocean-deep depths. But the water
is choked with plastic and the prairies
are plundered for oil and
this place, child, this place
is headlined by blood by bullets by bastards
Every.
Gods.
Damned.
Day.

I do not want for you a world
where a cop fires his gun into a car
regardless of the
Baby on Board
because
the man behind the wheel was black
and then he was dead
and he was unarmed
and then he was dead
and his hands were up
and then he was dead.
And white men kill black men kill white men kill people
kill sons kill fathers kill sisters kill mothers kill brothers kill daughters kill people
kill kill kill.

And still
tonight
another man in blue will strap on boots
and his badge and his wife
will wait red-eyed by the window
while across town a black man slips on shoes
and his wallet and his wife
will wait red-eyed by the window
because this world, sweet child,
this world is ruled by fear.

I cannot give you this world, child.
Not the world that makes me
want to lie down and die
day after day after
24-hour news cycle.

But for you, for you
I will get up and go on
for one more day
and then another.

For you I will stand
and fight
for you I will kneel
and pray
for you I am woke
I will speak
I will vote
I will write
I will see
I will love
I will hear
I will hope.

For you, I will.

06.09.16/09.21.16/10.02.16/11.08.16

voters

-Lo, who found her voice.

Upside Down

Friday, February 8th, 2008

zandersMood: Heavy
Drinking: Not

This week brought some heavy news, and for days now I have been weighed down with the kind of sadness that leeches color from the sky.

A very dear friend of mine, Dieter Zander (pictured here at my book release party last May with me and his wife Val) suffered a large stroke earlier this week and is still in the hospital, his prognosis uncertain.

Dieter and Val have been a special part of my life since I met them in Chicago back in 1996. Safe to say I would not be the artist — or the person — I am today if I had not met them.

Dieter saw something in me the first time he met me, and he didn’t just say “I believe in you” — he gave me a stage, a place in the real world to use my voice — and in doing so, he changed my life. And Val, with her grace and steady strength, befriended me and in our lengthy heart-to-heart conversations, gave me a safe place to dream as she imagined with me the woman I could become.

Over the years, I’ve shared many meals with the Zanders and their three sons. They moved to San Francisco two years before Boy and I did, and were here to help us settle in and make a home. Dieter officiated at our wedding, and Val helped me choose the poems for my first book.

The Zanders have been to me mentors and friends, big brother and sister, inspiration and sounding board. I have just taken for granted the fact that they are and always will be part of my life.

So I have been shocked, I have been shaken to the soul by the news this week of Dieter’s stroke, and I feel ultimately helpless in my ability to make any of this better or less difficult for the family I love so much.

Many of you who read this blog know the Zanders, or at least have heard of them. I know you’ll want more information and updates about Dieter’s condition as the days go by, so please bookmark this website: http://zanderupdate.wordpress.com/

Whether you believe in prayer or good karma or healing thoughts, please take a moment today to send one skyward for my friend Dieter, his wife Val and their sons Kyle, Conrad, and Christopher.

I pray that his voice does not stay silent for very long…

-Lo, who has a hundred things she should have said.