Stay Woke

There is much I could say about what I’ve learned from this election season, but most of it doesn’t pass my test.

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Here’s what made it past the censors.

  • It seems like we are not just losing the ability to see other people’s points of view, but we have lost a common set of facts from which to work.
  • Long after the race ends, I believe we are going to figure out that the worst effect was how we expanded our definition of normal to include some very abhorrent behavior.
  • I knew there was ugliness lurking in our dark corners, I had no idea how much. I also have no idea where that’s going to go on 11/9.
  • The unity talk has already started. We have to put aside our differences and move forward together. I might feel that way eventually, but I don’t right now. I’m harboring bitterness toward some of my neighbors and as of right now, believe my world is better off without them. I’m not proud of that and I will work on it. However, until I get to the other side, I’m not going to pretend I have.

On the other hand, these words absolutely improve on the silence.

A Ritual To Read To Each Other
by William Stafford

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider–
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe–
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

1 thought on “Stay Woke”

  1. What perfectly fabulous poem. Great post, my friend. I so appreciate your thinks and feels. “I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
    to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.” Oh, my, yes. xoxo, Kathi

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