a tome of a poem about community

I wrote a poem about community that’s called “Community Autopsy” —pronounce it like psychology because the poem goes on about that, and justice, and our abilities to make life good. It’s exhausting and difficult and not good writing but it was fun to create. It’s fun to feel it, to feel human wellness and to wish for egalitarian community.

a tome of a poem about community.

Image below is a screen grab. The poem itself is so-o-o- long it’s too long for a blog post. It’s several pages, absurdly too long, but someday I’ll try to cull weak parts and gather up what’s fun into a readable celebration of community. 

 

honesty, with breadth

There are plenty of schemes that could federate or safely encrypt our data, plenty of ways we could regain privacy and make our computers work better by default. It isn’t happening now because we haven’t demanded that it should, not because no one is clever enough to make that happen.

we are so many hurt

…an instance of horror can become a trauma, such a tough issue, releasing/erasing, agony revolving day and night, needles inside a skull, ay, it comes to society to be responsible for trauma, it is so often a third-party matter, justice is too rare, all of us are managing the squirm whirling inside the brain… “simple psychological techniques” may reduce hospital claims and jail terms, oy vey, there are so few tools except teaching to watch our mind, to slap our brain around a wee bit, to pay attention to milliseconds, to bugger our triggers, to insert new messaging, to learn mindfulness, breathing, posture, to make a treasure of ourselves, our rare and robust claim for sovereign health… a child here, an adult there, and too seldom put the cause on the community.

heh heh
https://brainhq.positscience.com/
these folks should develop a ‘trauma app’
perhaps help the brain tease away rotten imprint 200 milliseconds at a time
that’s about how long it takes to wound a mind
and may also be how a mind is healed

[snippet below]

It might make the strident assertion that the most important thing that matters in regulating our thoughts, feelings, and actions is their first 100-200 msec in the brain, which is when the levers and pulleys are actually doing their thing.

It would be a nuts and bolts approach to altering – or at least inhibiting – self limiting behaviors.

It would suggest that a central trick is to avoid taking on on the ‘enormity of it all,’ and instead use a variety of techniques to get our awareness down to the normally invisible 100-200 msec time interval in which our actions are being programmed.

Here we are talking mechanics during the time period is when all the limbic and other routines that result from life script, self image, temperament, etc., actually can start-up. 

The suggestion is that you can short circuit some of this process if you bring awareness to the level of observing the moments during which a reaction or behavior is becoming resident, and can sometimes say “I don’t think so, I think I’ll do something else instead.”

name one generation ain’t fools

we are mistakes generations see
patience, dear ones, we are teaching foolishness to each other

tho’ I’m inclined to look for peaks and valleys in human striving,
let’s just say our ol’ earth stumps us every time so I tend to stick with ‘nuts’

MTV Reality Star responded to my craigslist ad to sell my ’54 5-Window GMC

sell-the-truck

came to the house, affable mid 30s, eager to complete restoration, deciding to drive or tow or trailer to his LA home

wife came by later, mid 30s Latina, smiling, warm, envelope of cash, they both drove by the house 2 or 3 days later with a cake and gratitude, they called a few weeks later asking if I was traveling south, to visit, said no

a few weeks later I was driving into Pasadena, phone them, c’mon over
we went out to dinner, talking collector car markets, restoration costs,
he went on and on about MTV and LA TV, so Los Angelees
he went on about gold treks into Baja, the next TV series,
she was integrity, warmth, courtesy, water for my dog Lucky

slept on a wide mattress, family blankeys and Lucky at my feet
awoke about 5AM, some noise, some wall thunder, hitting, strikes
I slammed my bedroom door and attacked down the hallway
I chased him to his fleeing car, ran back to the house

punk sociopath didn’t return,
I stayed to protect a few days
coffee, coffee, some reality therapy, some brutality counsel, steps to divorce,
she went on and on and on about the money in yucca tea imports, gold in Baja,
much relentless income, her data mining, striving is worth a punch or two

years of ambush won’t be solved, punk sociopath pays her bills,
my dog and I went to the beach, drove to the mountains, calming the miles

we are mistakes generations see,
patience, dear ones, we are teaching foolishness to each other

our canoe ride

Take me where the loons are calling
Mist in the morning, smell of pine
Whiskeyjack wake me up
Send me out with a fishing line

Give me a canoe and let me go
Up past Waskesui to the Wabano
Give me a canoe and let me go

Take me where the loons are calling
Lake like glass and a starlit sky
Smell of a small campfire burning
Sit and watch the embers die

…and facing up to our ‰

“In the health-care debate, we’ve heard a lot about useless care, wasteful care, futile care. What we have been struggling with is unwanted care.

That’s far more concerning.
That’s not avoidable care.
That’s wrongful care.

“I think that’s the most urgent issue facing America today, is people getting medical interventions that, if they were more informed, they would not want.

“It happens all the time.”

 

leadership is restraint

I have no right, by anything I do or say, to demean a human being in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him; it is what he thinks of himself. To undermine a man’s self-respect is a sin. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

we so orthodox radical silent

Jason Pontin at MIT declares what cannot be said in polite society in 2013: 

“The non-legal constraints upon free speech are real and, in many cases, justifiable. The number and range of ideas about which I may not speak or write and still hope to be employed or loved are large and various, and continually expanding. In the middle-class, heterosexual, educated-but-essentially-philistine milieux of knowledge workers in Boston, the Bay Area, Seattle, New York, Washington DC, and London such unmentionable ideas include belief in innate racial differences or the superiority of men at any mental activity; the sexual attractiveness of young adults or the delights of sadomasochism; the inalienable property or privacy rights of corporations and the State; and the justice of the Confederacy’s cause or of a Jewish state. Without opprobrium, I cannot say that fat people are disgusting gluttons or transsexuals fetishistic self-mutilators. I may not write that marriage is a grim gulag or children boring barbarians. Under no circumstances may I express the fugitive thought that the only things other than our fellow humans that matter at all are novels, poems, plays, paintings, and sonatas, and a handful of very beautiful mathematical proofs, scientific theories, and computer programs. More generally, it is unacceptable to speak or write about many ordinary events in human life, including abortions, disease, depression, the experiences of real poverty or wealth, or how our loved ones actually die. Without specifying, I have believed a few of these ideas, and experienced most of those events, but I cannot be candid.”

free.speech

baseline citizenry

There’s too much to learn to do anything other than learn. Sometimes I’m imagining zero spending for everything we can cull, raw elimination of all adornment, hallways but no hotel lobbies, dimming all street lights, do not repair paint on walls, in order to impose education to history’s new top. States were spending $8500 per college student, now it’s $5500. And a pittance dribbles to ubiquitous floaters or dropouts. What about $30,000? $50,000, $100,000? Hold on! The US already spends enough on aid to cover tuition of every college student in the country. Why isn’t college free? You see? I’m not crazy. This study asserts we can triple our GDP; that lousy learning means we’re losing more than $50trillion….

Will any society survive or prosper until the first thing we are doing is learning? Ahhh, he breathes, a fleeting thought.

in search of tickling a paradigm or two

Sebastopol, California, about ’76 or ’77, I learned midwifery from two obstetricians and one glory-be midwife traveling out from their homes at The Farm commune. Sessions were 8-10 hours every day for maybe 2 weeks, 14 or 16 young students, covering anatomy to emergency but focusing on supporting newborn, mother and home, in that order. Other than the two traveling docs, I was the only male. Later, when I set up weekly classes in Marin entitled Male Midwifery I knew I’d encounter no great worries about medical practice. Of a handful of men that would appear, the curricula for men would be comparatively easy, not medical procedure but supporting newborn, mother and home, in that order.. Recently I caught a few snippets of a radio interview of The Farm’s glory-be midwife Ina May Gaskin…

Los Angeles NPR affiliate KPCC

Listen here to Sara, Mary with Ina May on the Patt Morrison show.

http://www.sevenstories.com/news/ina-may-gaskin-on-the-diane-rehm-show/  

http://birthstorymovie.com/ will be available soon.

on the way back

Eliza Bayne writes:

I decided that I would only spend my time with people who support and love me. It was a pretty short list. But I stuck to it.

Since then, there have been some pretty lonely times. So I wrote.

There have been very painful times. So I wrote.

There have been some happy times. So I wrote.

And with each time I wrote, I began to feel warmer. I slowly began to feel my fingers again – and my hands and my eyes and my heart.

It was like Spring had finally started to melt all the ice away. And I still wrote.

Now, after a year, I have almost completely thawed out.

But I am not the same person.

I am better.

the world is repeating itself

If we pay no attention to words whatever, we may become like the isolated gentleman who invents a new perpetual-motion machine on old lines in ignorance of all previous plans, and then is surprised that it doesn’t work. If we confine our attention entirely to the slang of the day, that is to say, if we devote ourselves exclusively to modern literature, we get to think the world is progressing when it is only repeating itself. In both cases we are likely to be deceived, and what is more important, to deceive others. Therefore, it is advisable for us in our own interests, quite apart from considerations of personal amusement, to concern ourselves occasionally with a certain amount of our national literature drawn from all ages. I say from all ages, because it is only when one reads what men wrote long ago that one realises how absolutely modern the best of the old things are. -Rudyard Kipling in A Book of Words

push that thing

“We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.” -Wendell Berry, The Long-Legged House

some will tell the truth

the late Maurice Sendak spoke of letters from children:

When [children] write on their own, they’re ferocious. After Outside Over There, which is my favorite book of mine, a little girl wrote to me from Canada: “I like all of your books, why did you write this book, this is the first book I hate. I hate the babies in this book, why are they naked, I hope you die soon. Cordially…” Her mother added a note: “I wondered if I should even mail this to you—I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.” I was so elated. It was so natural and spontaneous. The mother said, “You should know I am pregnant and she has been fiercely opposed to it.” Well, she didn’t want competition, and the whole book was about a girl who’s fighting against having to look after her baby sister.

BLVR: You find the unvarnished truth consoling, even if it’s vicious and painful.

MS: If it’s true, then you can’t care about the vicious and the painful. You can only be astonished. Most kids don’t dare tell the truth. Kids are the politest people in the world. A letter like that is wonderful. “I wish you would die.” I should have written back, “Honey, I will; just hold your horses.”

people prefer reassurance to research

“One of the biggest problems with the world today is that we have large groups of people who will accept whatever they hear on the grapevine, just because it suits their worldview—not because it is actually true or because they have evidence to support it. The really striking thing is that it would not take much effort to establish validity in most of these cases… but people prefer reassurance to research.” —Neil deGrasse Tyson

alt-distraction

“People use drugs, legal and illegal, because their lives are intolerably painful or dull. They hate their work and find no rest in their leisure. They are estranged from their families and their neighbors. It should tell us something that in healthy societies drug use is celebrative, convivial, and occasional, whereas among us it is lonely, shameful, and addictive. We need drugs, apparently, because we have lost each other.” —Wendell Berry

as a child of the Enlightenment shouldn’t

Vaclav Havel via his 1978 essay called The Power of the Powerless. [pdf here]

Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world.

It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them….

…it enables people to deceive their conscience and conceal their true position and their inglorious modus vivendi, both from the world and from themselves….

 

This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.” –Preface to Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman (1855)

some rants are literature

It took years of indifference and stupidity to make us as ignorant as we are today. 

Charles Simac:

Widespread ignorance bordering on idiocy is our new national goal.

It’s no use pretending otherwise and telling us, as Thomas Friedman did in the Times a few days ago, that educated people are the nation’s most valuable resources. Sure, they are, but do we still want them? It doesn’t look to me as if we do.

The ideal citizen of a politically corrupt state, such as the one we now have, is a gullible dolt unable to tell truth from bullshit.

An educated, well-informed population, the kind that a functioning democracy requires, would be difficult to lie to, and could not be led by the nose by the various vested interests running amok in this country.

Most of our politicians and their political advisers and lobbyists would find themselves unemployed, and so would the gasbags who pass themselves off as our opinion makers. Luckily for them, nothing so catastrophic, even though perfectly well-deserved and widely-welcome, has a remote chance of occurring any time soon.

For starters, there’s more money to be made from the ignorant than the enlightened, and deceiving Americans is one of the few growing home industries we still have in this country. A truly educated populace would be bad, both for politicians and for business.

our essential national purpose

Where does our humanity begin?

The USA is in 25th place among best countries to be a mom.

What will a teacher say?

“Though they can be as opinionated as the adults that surround them, most children are more willing to open up to new ideas, to be fascinated by conflicting information, to make an attempt to learn a new skill or be beguiled by a new concept. They are quick to dispense hugs and they love to share.”

Stephen Talbot points out:

“There is one high promontory within the sprawling panorama of life on earth that does indeed afford a perspective upon the whole…

“…where the living creature not only acts out its own significant existence, but is capable of contemplating this existence along with that of all other living things.

“…where life’s own power of survey blossoms and reaches its fullest fruition: the understanding consciousness of man.”

Show me wild new ways