Thoughts about the 58th Inauguration:

Think about what these men said they would do, the sum of what they did and carefully compare their words to what Trump said today. (Videos below)

Obama: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posttv/politics/president-obamas-full-speech-at-the-57th-inauguration/2013/01/21/255ad452-63e4-11e2-b84d-21c7b65985ee_video.html

Stalin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW9PDj1jqRU

Trump: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prd2RfhF1tM

FDR: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MX_v0zxM23Q

Reagan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LToM9bAnsyM

Mussolini: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciQ6MGU4GV8

Churchill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOQwa73KXbs

Mandela: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJiXu4q__VU

Castro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67ZWBl-66H8

Scarily enough, these speeches, whether from a murderous dictator or peaceful, free-world leader, sound similar in that they speak to the oppressed commoner and promise a voice for those who feel they do not have one. They promise change and unity, at any cost.

At the end of the day, it was others outside of our view that influenced these men more than their own free will. In the end, whether what they did was considered to be right or wrong at any time, we never expected it or predicted it accurately. We never knew what the cost of freedom, change or unity would be. Sometime we didn’t even know if we were the oppressed commoner in need of change or freedom in the first place.

The commoner was still the commoner when they died.
The poor were still poor (or poorer) when their rule ended.

Since 1968, vertical Social mobility was and is still inaccessible to the majority of the American people, even though it is the largest proponent of the American Dream. Even though the definition of success in America has been about profit, many choose to believe that success is doing what they love instead, which fortunately enough, you can still do in America or anywhere you want, if you try.

Despite what others say, I will not let Trump scare me, nor will I let Obama, Hu Jintao, Kim Jong Il, Putin, CNN, or Fox News.

It is the thousands upon thousands of angry people who have been disenfranchised from love and mercy and convinced of their position to fear others not like them, that scare me most.

What a paradox life is sometimes.

Either way, whoever fears me or I fear them, I am proud to live in a time when everyone I know and keep close, does their best to question the status quo and seeks commonality and peace with everyone without assuming status or position. I feel as though that is exactly what Paul described in 1 Corinthians 13.

I know that is the only thing that we can control. Our own individual actions to our surroundings.

We cannot control war, hate or bigotry by stamping our feet, protesting and lecturing every ignorant bystander at every idle comment or shameful action. (While I don’t throw out the belief in the right to peaceably assemble.) The kind of call to action that some of my fellow millennials, Internet intellectuals and passionate yet libelous college professors call for.

As the good doctor once said,”Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Or that angel Maya, “What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”

It is our ability to keep our vision wide and expand in love and care from the inside of ourselves to as far as you can imagine, that will change America.

Not arrogance, ignorance or isolation, if we do that, we’re no better than Daffy Duck.

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Lady Lazarus Takes a Walk

Sylvia Plath does Wislawa Szymborska’s “Lazarus Takes a Walk”

Lady Lazarus Takes a Walk

The poet has died three times now.
After the first death, she was taught to die as an artist does.
After the second,  she learned how to pare her eye pits.
After the third, they even taught her to write,
Propped up by a sturdy Holocaust metaphor:
Let’s take a little walk, shall we, Miss?

The peanut-crunching crowd shoves in to see her following the accident
and yet – will wonders never cease – she’s come so far:
grave cave, skin skull, Jew Nazi, hurt write

One year in every ten, madam?
Nein, says the poet
At least she bleeds
for it was three

Hurt, mud, sit, seashell
But at the garden’s edge, that old cat
neither gold nor bloody
chased away nine times now
Her Herr Doktor, Or so she scrawls – who knows.

She wants to go to Him. Another miracle.
What a shame. She was so close that time.

A White Boy’s Journal on Race -Pg. 1

– White Lives Matter

– Black Lives Matter

As a white, middle-class male with a decent education and sound, safe upbringing in a “low-class” part of town, I have found it difficult to pick a side of this argument.

All Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter, Women’s Lives Matter, etc. – I feel stuck in the middle.

Both sides are angry, Both sides say the other is racist.

They are extremists because there is rarely a concession by them that the actions of a few are not the actions of the majority. I know I have certainly not wanted to shoot any body, nor condone it, of any race.

Taking a life is a crime against everyone, whether it is intentional, justified or not.
But it is the little things that add up. How have I contributed to this culture?

I have taken a couple of college classes. I have seen the data laid out:

The staggering numbers of Black and Hispanic/Latino men in prison (not jail) without conviction compared to white men. The Crack vs. Cocaine debate. The clash of politics, criminology and sociology on single Black/Latina/Hispanic mothers. The suspicions of vagueness when statistics of race in relation to deaths by police during arrest are presented. The history of civil rights in this country in relation to others.

I have seen how the census has shaped our idea of race over the last century. I have ancestors that come from indigenous tribes whose records were destroyed by white men.

I grew up in schools and neighborhoods where the majority of my friends and role models were Latino. My family tree contains Irish, Welsh, German, Italian, Navajo, Choctaw and Cherokee. As an American, I am left with the imprint of all and the cultural identity of none.

As a musician, I have played the music that white musicians stole from black artists.

And I have also played the music that white musicians credit to black artists.

I have been told by some that Race is an invention.

Others, say it is real and something to be proud of.

Others, it is a crutch for the anonymous.

Others, say that race determines your socio-economic status and criminal record before you are born.

I have heard white people tell me they wish that all people will be held accountable for their racism. As if “reverse-racism” is a real term.

I have heard white people say “Well, they wouldn’t be dead/shot/arrested/in prison if they hadn’t committed a crime.”

I have heard white people say, “They grew up that way, they can’t help it, they grew up in a family of criminals/gangs.”

I have seen Latino men, senior to me in age and experience, stay silent and obedient when the white boss gives me a promotion or a raise before them.

I have been threatened, called racist terms casually, had trash thrown at me and even one time punched just for being white and wearing “fag clothes” in the “wrong part of town, guero.”

The Internet with its memes, tweets and posts has plunged me into an abyss of cultural ethnocentrism and relativism simultaneously. People standing up for people, standing up for people, with words alone.

I have watched documentaries on black prejudice and the triumph over it, some of my favorite books and poetry was written by Maya Angelou, Dagoberto Gilb, and Alexander Dumas.

I have listened to friends and family of all races, ethnicity, cultures and nationalities tell me their differing stories and opinions.

They have so much in common and live such different lives.

I have heard racist things said all my life, as an adult I cringe at them, but when I was young, it was my impression of perfection and adulthood.

Where do I fall? Where can I rest so that others will be satisfied with their level of rights in comparison to my own?

It is hard to see when your culture is different than others. To recognize your privilege and recognize when you are taking advantage of it regardless of the injustice you feel individually.

I believe no one can say the pain or burden their label gives them is more or less painful than another’s. That in and of itself is a form of prejudice.

However, it is a daily task to fight color-blindness and prejudice and to be aware of your actions and words. To reach into the core of who you are, the individual untainted by society. To reach past the way you have been trained and socialized since birth and reverse certain perspectives and ideologies. To be open-minded yet unplayable, to look for the ways that diversity has actually improved your life.

I know this only: Because of our history and our debt of love to each other, in America, it is a daily job and a duty for all white men to put themselves into the shoes of their fellow peers, friends, colleagues and citizens before they stand up for something or make a statement about what is right.

I will let you know how its done as I struggle and fight to get there myself.

Here’s a great article recently that i’m going to implement: https://medium.com/@keeltyc/how-to-easily-be-a-white-ally-to-marginalized-communities-fb0ff326e7ac#.k65016m98

A Madman with a Box Describes His Companion by Means of Shades of Time

At times, my lover is an artist who doesn’t grasp she is an artist
She is abstruse
and indistinct
but to me, at times, she is concrete

At eras, she is the lone sunflower,
reaching past the others,
arching in the dusk,
yellow, black, purple, and blue

At epochs, she is a Gemini,
an Aries, and a Libra
a Capricorn by nature
yet a Leo by appeal

At spells, she is a neo-pagan witch
the black lace adorning a Bay area bar
tattooed like perdition
a pale, moonlight hand serving straight whiskey to a man
with a scar across his eye
and a naked lady on his neck

At stretches, she is a model in a black and white sweater
in a crimped, VOGUE page
near a white coffee cup
filled with beige cappuccino
on a white linen sheet

At stints, she is a little girl in a field of irises
still for a moment, lost in Kentucky
she will return to her endless procession momentarily

At periods, my lover is a minimalist painting of two people kissing
genderless, sexual, provocative, risqué
yet impersonal

At intervals, she is a student in a café,
pen in her mouth,
legs crossed,
hair up,
glasses at the edge of her nose,
her gentle, white hand resting on the edge of a laptop

At phases, she is in control of everything except her ability to love.
except to let her eyes talk and restrain her words
except to slit her wrist for a vampire
accept apparently

At moments, she is a girl resting her cheek against pastel foliage
staring with unconsciousness
pale yet feverish yet stunning

At stages, she is a glass and brass chandelier
hanging above a black velvet couch
in a room with no walls in it lacking
in old, delicately scented books and macabre, peculiar curiosities

At occasions, she is the groupie with no boundaries
staring up at the stage in her denim jacket
angling her face in the limelight
so that her eyes and hair look
syrupy and ravening

At instances, she is a ragamuffin,
resting her sunburned face against my shoulder
devoid of the burdens of possession or belonging
sitting in front of a gas station
in boots and dirty clothes

At days, my lover is the purple and green knolls
bending, reaching, stretching
shrouded in mists, caressing the rice fields
she shelters the pagodas in a little town in Japan from the rising sun

At seasons, she is a brunette on a boardwalk in blue jeans and a white t-shirt
no fishing pole, no cotton candy, no sunglasses, no man
exposed and smiling
like Mona Lisa

At seconds, my lover is the aurora,
detached and buoyant,
turquoise and cerulean,
an image of the image of the sun
gliding like stardust does
behind the white alps of Alaska

At minutes, she is a match
in a dark room
stretched before kerosene
above newspaper
and swaying like a drunken ballerina

At hours, she is a queen
strategically striding through her bastion
up stairs adorned with wooden thatching and golden cupids
She pauses often
to sigh and to stare up
at the stories that belief and time have painted
above and before her

At weeks, she is an always bridesmaid
an always servant
an always mother
and always wife
yet often mercenary

At months, she is a cosplay geek
grinning like Dante and laughing like Marceline
buying and consuming
yet always aware of the mandatory metaphor she represents

At counts, she is a double entendre
meaning what she says
and saying what she means
having an old friend for dinner
she’s figuratively a man-eater

At years, she is a bohemian adolescent
leaning against the green wood of the storefront
flicking her ashes on the ground
one foot forward, the other back
sipping coffee and cream black
with “The Bell Jar” in her hand

At tempi, she is Suzy Parker in Paris
O’Keefe in the desert
Hepburn in New York
yet Stevie Nicks dancing with a bonfire

At schedules, she is the woman in the subway
the one with the red lipstick
the one with the black pencil skirt
staring out of the window with wet eyes
and perfect mascara
suspending her briefcase with one finger

And quite often, she thinks “beautiful” is a lazy way to describe her assets
so like a A Madman with a Box
I am counting the times
she is, she was and will be
So that at any moment,
she remembers
she is everything
to me

The First Signs of Happiness 

My white shirt is pink 

From the wet sand, there are rivers and streams of blood 

Like a soggy road map, the waves keep rebuilding the highways 

Your arms locked in the crook of mine

You drag me into facing the sun

And you say little to nothing I can hear 

But pay my wounds undue attention 

I have been so tired

And have given up to the ocean

Blood or water, one

Will eventually let me back to where I belonged

Where an angel touched my lips

And I will know nothing again 

I do not remember how I got here with you awake 

But we are speaking of books and psychology 

Over tea and coffee 

And our conversation drifts to past lovers

The man who lives in your island home 

has forced you into the trees

And in your tree house, you look out at the leaves 

When I inquire of him 

Your neck is the wrong color

And your eyes are always numb 

Being wild and young was all you’ve known 

And I appear to be there still

You ask about my wounds 

And I tell you stories of a James Dean character who doesn’t read poetry 

Of the ever clear in my veins 

You watch me tip back the last of your rum from the jar

To prove it

I am always singing pretty things to you, but they sound like songs written about dancing women 

You’re suspicious 

I am saying the nicest things you’ve heard a stranger say to you 

Yet I tell you, my kindness is a crutch and a mechanism 

The truth spills from me, when your silent fingertips reach out and untie my bandages 

I cannot stop speaking when delicately you trace the edges of my scars 

Because for you they come with the first signs of happiness