From Paris to Columbia, Beirut to Selma
Today, I heard about the dead in Paris,
innocence at a concert, the soccer game, sitting in local cafes.
Yesterday, I heard about Beirut
and the ones who died at the market.
Last week there were suicide bombings in Iraq.
So many die, as I sit in pine-paneled bars,
where TVs bring stories into our evening
on this remote shore of Lake Huron.
No one notices, and when I express horror
they turn and shrug,
these stories far from the truth of their lives.
Last night I watched the movie Selma,
reminded that those who hate rabidly are here too.
In Columbia, Missouri some have been harassing
black people who share the campus, fellow students.
Instead of teammates rooting together,
they are an “us” and “them”.
Pain arises because policemen
look at young black men
with fear instead of promise,
and kill too often without reason.
My heart cracks on these tears,
wondering if there is no end
to vulnerable and afraid turning hard and hateful.
Helplessness wants to destroy, to kill,
to disappear anything that is “other”
so there will be nothing to defend against.
What is being defended so valiantly,
with bullets and blood, bombs and hatred,
and even they say love, is a mystery to me.
When we sink deeply we find
the same tender pulsing flesh,
always vulnerable to death
and the end of this thing we call “I”.
This is where equality begins!
We are born together into a slow march
or a quick run to our deaths.
We all belong to this dance on a planet,
some of us denied hope for futures and basic rights
while others stand upon our shoulders
pretending to keep this common end at bay.
But really we all love.
Even when it sours into hatred,
the seed begins with love.
Today, I want to welcome all.
The hard hatreds grown from seeds planted in despair,
the hopelessness of ones who have no future,
others who blame and can’t step through the door
that opens hearts to the wonder of flesh
pulsing with breath and blood.
This too is me on this planet!
I am every person who stands here,
all born to plant our seeds,
shallow or deep, in hope or despair.
Today, there is no other.
No hatred inside for the ones who are privileged
or the ones who kill in their hunger
for power in a chaotic world.
This dance between us is power full,
cracking the box that holds us tight,
a world locked in definitions of
dark and light, us and them, hatred and love.
There is no you without me, no light without dark,
no love without hatred.
There is no either/or.
The future is both/and.
Each of us called to step forward, to open our hearts
to each “other” as our own.
These words are what I offer
to the pain, to the horror,
to the incredible joy and privilege
of being human,
this gift of love.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith.
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