The dawn greeted our hermit
Cool it was
Wind swam through the thorny vines
and tall tree shadow lines
I dreamed of the absentee’s return
The whisper of the path which led to me
The window held my vision
As my eyes drifted
Sand crept into my shoes this morning
On my trek away from isolation
In the dark
The Star illuminated
Though still dim, they tasted￼
Of potent potions, salt, fantasy oceans
The chapter I began today
Spoke of caution, beware
Of self-neglect – dear hermit –
Let that light be your guide
I am the gift to which I bestow
To you my love
Feeding your inner glow
Only when you re-member
The missing pieces
Can affirmations be upheld
Love increases and releases
Bless you my sprite,
I’ll hold you in the dark
And foster you
The world is in upheaval (COVID, police brutality, White silence, literal lynchings in the streets…) more than I have ever seen in my lifetime and I’m a bit overwhelmed by it. Some days it’s all I can do to make coffee, feed the cat and scoop the litter box. The rest of the time, my eyes are tired from staring into a screen abyss of politics, activism, hatred, inspirational, revolutionary moments in time for us social justice warriors. My teaching job is exclusively online now also. The screen is the new daily norm. I’m also heartbreakingly bearing witness to those who are clinging to the banks of the river of change and they seem like dogs who have also been chained, but by their own illusions of superiority. I believe deep down they know the difference between right and wrong – humanity from hatred – but they’ve never been able to access it for a vast many number of oppressive reasons.
White supremacy and power is an imposed bigotry system. It gives poor White people the notion and perpetuates the belief that they are in some way superior to people of color, regardless of how poor they may be. People of color were perceived to have been (or deserve to be) dominated and defeated, enslaved and incarcerated. White people in poverty do not have the slightest clue that they too are incarcerated in an insidious way, by their own ignorance and subsequent hatred, by a system which benefits by feeding them White supremacist lies.
Poor White people are fragile because deep down, they know the experiences of all Black, Brown and Indigenous people of color are indications of grave sins committed by White power. Even if they haven’t consciously tapped into that notion, they are fighting to save what little they have in an effort to maintain a sense of their own right to exist. They have been convinced, over time, that their lives mean something more than Black and Brown people, because they aren’t “getting into trouble”. They are kept from the truth of the thin line which keeps them safe, but only in the moment – until they can’t pay for their cancer treatments, they lack the money to buy their children what they need, their car breaks down and can’t be fixed, addiction kills a family member, they lack true protection from police even if there is sexual abuse or other atrocities in the home, they lack the ability to save their children from dying of diseases which could be treated with access to money. They have no idea that the color of their skin makes all of this heartbreaking reality just a little bit (if not a lot) better for them. President Lyndon B. Johnson once said, “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” Poor White people are, in all senses of the term, appeased. They are complacent and comfortable enough to swallow the messages of their racist and bigoted churches, their right-wing news commentators, they’re whispering racist coworkers or military regiment brothers and sisters, their parents’ or grandparents’ “generational” ideas about race and gender inequality…
“By most accounts, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 couldn’t have become law when it did had not LBJ personally wheedled, cajoled, and shamed his former colleagues in the House and Senate into voting for it. One of the secrets of his success was the ability to speak the racially insensitive language of his fellow Southerners. (For two decades in Congress he was a reliable member of the Southern bloc, helping to stonewall civil rights legislation. As [biographer Robert] Caro recalls, Johnson spent the late 1940s railing against the “hordes of barbaric yellow dwarves” in East Asia. Buying into the stereotype that blacks were afraid of snakes (who isn’t afraid of snakes?) he’d drive to gas stations with one in his trunk and try to trick black attendants into opening it. Once, Caro writes, the stunt nearly ended with him being beaten with a tire iron.) He (Johnson) understood them (Southerners). He understood their reluctance and in some cases downright refusal to tear down the walls of racial segregation. He knew racism from the inside, and he knew well the role the rich and powerful played in promulgating it.” (https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/lbj-convince-the-lowest-white-man/)
My point in all of this is in attempt to say this: those poor White people who believe themselves to be superior to Black and Brown people of color are imprisoned by their ignorance and inherent privilege. This is poor White people everywhere – Southerners are not alone in this. They are blinded by the imposed class structure so much so that their struggles, financial and otherwise, are not seen. Therefore, their reality is not shared with minorities who have similar experiences, but theirs are even worse comparatively and statistically. Poor White people can’t imagine giving up anything in order to allow for Black and Brown people to come forward because they don’t have anything to give – that they can see. This is why the argument of privilege is so unpalatable. They do not see their own struggle in those to whom they subjugate. They are systematically prevented from feeling empathy or understanding. It is impossible for a White person to understand what it is like to be a person of color. I struggled with this specific concept in my own experience in developing an anti-racist praxis coming from a working-class, poor White family. At one time, when I was around 2-3, my mother, father and I lived in the back of a beat up Grand Torino. I was sexually abused and physically abused as a kid and young adult. I knew hunger, neglect and I hated/feared police because they never saved me; they didn’t put my abusers in jail… if all this is part of my identity, then what do I have to give? I had (and continue to have) a lot to learn is all I can say.
The insidious nature of racism cannot be understood by someone in terms of privilege if one does not see their own yet, it can only be taught relationally, the process and idea of imagining oneself in someone else’s shoes. The sacred concept of critical thinking isn’t bestowed upon people who go to public schools. “You may have experienced all those things, but you’ve never been Black.” says a White, anti-racist advocate Alice Sarti. What an amazing way to put it, how simple, how understandable! Knowing deep down that Black and Brown people have had no stick at all, instead of the short end, that’s the part Poor white people got. This concept is simply and finally understandable. Poor White people can only understand the privilege of their existence through the example of relationships. Somehow, honoring Life (not just White lives) has escaped the awareness of hateful, White supremacists. That a Black person’s life has value, or a Lakota has the right to this land or the Guatemalan or Mexican person is a human being has been intentionally manufactured as unrecognizable realities.
I see a way to begin this conversation with someone. It starts by making a relational statement, as I did with my grandmother on Sunday. “Put yourself in the shoes of George Floyd’s mother, his grandmother. How would you feel to watch that happen to him? What if he was your grandson? Imagine little Kevi (my nephew, her oldest grandson) under the knee of that police officer and even worse, remembering intrinsically that your entire family knows it could’ve been one of them on the ground that day. That’s how prevalent this kind of violence and police brutality is for the Black and Brown community. Imagine seeing little Joey’s face (our youngest nephew/grandson) sticking out from under the police officers knee and recognize that it happens all the time. If this had not been filmed – there would not yet be people of all colors outraged in the streets.”
White people had to see it to believe it. Even though we’ve seen it before, somehow, thank God, there has been a breaking point, emblazoned by technology and the Black and Brown community saying “We will take no more. Our lives matter too”. Imagine that Maw Maw… Then I read to her statistics about disproportionate numbers of Black and Brown people in prison and she asks “So they’re not just getting into more trouble, they’re being met by racist system?” “The system which teaches cops”, I added, “by design or inadvertently, explicitly and implicitly, that Black and Brown people are more dangerous and therefore deserve to be targeted.”
Yes. I had this conversation with my grandmother after she said this: “Please don’t misunderstand me and think that I am intentionally being prejudiced (or something like that), but shouldn’t all colors be included? They (Black Lives Matter) should change their slogan to ‘all lives matter.'” Our conversation was civil and respectful. My grandfather, sitting to my right, seemed a bit less enthused about my perspective and was quiet for much of the conversation. However, when I told them about the White professor asking her mostly White class to raise their hands if they would want to be treated like Black people in the United States. I explained that no one in the class raised their hand. Then I shared that the professor then asked, “What are you all doing about that?” My grandfather retorted, “Sounds like she’s just an agitator.” Sorry Paw Paw, looks like you’ve got an agitator for your granddaughter… I love you.
In the end, I think my grandmother began to see what I was explaining. I asked her several times, like the teacher I am (she was also, for 32 years), “Does that make sense about George Floyd’s grandmother and the prevalence of police targeting, brutality and institutionalized racism?” “Yes, it does.” she said.
TuesDay NewsDay Vol 3, Issue 7 – May 26, 2020
Dedication: This week’s edition of TuesDayNewsDay is dedicated to Amy Alexander and her family. Here is her obituary and HERE. We said goodbye to Amy on Saturday after she passed on last Tuesday. Last Tuesday, in lieu of a newsletter, Bruce and I did a memorial livestream on the Facebooks which you can see HERE. It is more and more difficult to speak of her in the past tense. Ryan and I had a talk about that. I have so many unutterable feelings. All I can express right now is my gratitude for her. I could never be more grateful for her presence in my life as a substitute mom. I love you Ma.
This is Amy, Loren and me:
This was us (the family of Alexanders and friends) at Thanksgiving last year:
This is Amy and her oldest son, Josh. Everyone knows him as Skip. I called him Skippo. He called me Stinkie. They are together on the other side now and to quote my post about this earlier this week: “My thoughts also drift to our brother Skip during this time. Time slows down when I think of him. There is something strangely comforting and tragic knowing that they’re on the other side together now.”
The week before last, another friend passed over the rainbow bridge, Paul Vasquez (the double rainbow guy) and I made a memorial video for him live on the Instagrams. You can see that HERE.
Quote: “WILD KINDNESS” by Jack Kerouac
“By practicing kindness all over with everyone you will soon come into the holy trance, definite distinctions of personalities will become what they really mysteriously are, our common and eternal blissstuff, the pureness of everything forever, the great bright essence of mind, even and one thing everywhere the holy eternal milky love, the white light everywhere everything, empty bliss, svaha, shining, ready, and awake, the compassion in the sound of silence, the swarming myriad trillionaire you are.”
Song: “Don’t Be Shy” , by Cat Stevens » “Love is better than a song… love is where all of us belong…”
Cat Stevens says, “Don’t be shy just let your feelings roll on by, don’t wear fear or nobody will know you’re there..” Today, as we lift our heads to the heavens all around us, it is with acceptance and grace that we move through grief and mourning those souls who have gone before. To be real as can be, this last year has gifted many opportunities for pause and reflection, gratitude and silence, reception and art, Spirit messages and an outpouring of gifts we can only begin to imagine. This may seem folly, overly light-hearted, or flippant – but please, know I say these things with extreme reverence in the midst and acknowledgment of the pain and suffering in our world right now too.
As I sit here on this magical rock, a direct connection to the heartbeat of this earth, I have no choice but to breathe and sigh, sit in awe of the moving spectacle of the water coursing through my toes, the sunlight pouring in through juvenile leaves of Summer. The Elm and Sycamore, the Box elder and Tulip Poplar are my Sacred canopy. The bees gently buzz in puddles left from the latest flood. I have been blissfully swimming in poetry and space, gifts of song and tears, all the while mourning and then once again, with dry and damp eyes, tapping into the divine through connections with others, these plants, the garden soil, growth, and my dearest buzzing, singing, trumpeting beautiful flying beings.
No, I cannot complain. Yes, there has been much loss. Yet, I am making my own type of peace simply by surrendering to what is. Supplication to blessings, even if they hurt. Nodding my head and heading in the direction to which I am called, without an ounce of regret or hesitation.
I love you all. Thank you for Being. Thank you for being there, being challenging, being real, being You.
Shows: Ha! I’ll do a live stream tonight on Facebook at 9pm! Here’s the link to my FB music page, that is where the live stream will be going on. Anita Lorraine Moore Music on Facebook
Visual aids and insights from Life:
Hey yall, It’s Tuesday. The Earth turned into the Sun again today. The clouds parted so that we may feel the warmth of that Sun too. For those things and more, I am hella grateful. Please see the passage below. I am re-reading this little book called Practicing Peace and it speaks to every ounce of what is happening in the world right now and how we can all choose to evolve through these times. Pema on Racial Injustice
Dedication: To everyone. All the people. All the animals. All the plants. All the Spirits.
Quote: Practicing Peace by Pema Chödrön. “War begins when we harden our hearts, and we harden them easily— in minor ways and then in quite serious, major ways, such as hatred and prejudice—whenever we feel uncomfortable. It’s so sad, really, because our motivation in hardening our hearts is to find some kind of ease, some kind of freedom from the distress that we’re feeling. Someone once gave me a poem with a line in it that offers a good definition of peace: “softening what is rigid in our hearts.” We can talk about ending war and we can march for ending war, we can do everything in our power, but war is never going to end as long as our hearts are hardened against each other.
What happens is a chain reaction, and I’d be surprised if you didn’t know what I’m talking about. Something occurs—it can be as small as a mosquito buzzing—and you tighten. If it’s more than a mosquito—or maybe a mosquito is enough for you—something starts to shut down in you, and the next thing you know, imperceptibly the chain reaction of misery begins: we begin to fan the grievance with our thoughts. These thoughts become the fuel that ignites war. War could be that you smash that little teensy-weensy mosquito. But I’m also talking about war within the family, war at the office, war on the streets, and also war between nations, war in the world.
We often complain about other people’s fundamentalism. But whenever we harden our hearts, what is going on with us? There’s an uneasiness and then a tightening, a shutting down, and then the next thing we know, the chain reaction begins and we become very righteous about our right to kill the mosquito or yell at the person in the car or whatever it might be. We ourselves become fundamentalists, which is to say we become very self-righteous about our personal point of view.
…The next time you get angry, check out your righteous indignation, check out your fundamentalism that supports your hatred of this person, because this one really is bad—this politician, that leader, those heads of big companies. Or maybe it’s rage at an individual who has harmed you personally or harmed your loved ones. A fundamentalist mind is a mind that has become rigid. First the heart closes, then the mind becomes hardened into a view, then you can justify your hatred of another human being because of what they represent and what they say and do.
…If you look back at history or you look at any place in the world where religious groups or ethnic groups or racial groups or political groups are killing each other, or families have been feuding for years and years, you can see—because you’re not particularly invested in that particular argument— that there will never be peace until somebody softens what is rigid in their heart. So it’s necessary to take a big perspective on your own righteousness and your own fundamentalism when it begins to kick in and you think your own aggression and prejudice are reasonable.
I try to practice what I preach; I’m not always that good at it but I really do try. The other night, I was getting hard-hearted, closed-minded, and fundamentalist about somebody else, and I remembered this expression that you can never hate somebody if you stand in their shoes. I was angry at him because he was holding such a rigid view. In that instant I was able to put myself in his shoes and I realized, “I’m just as riled up and self-righteous and closed minded about this as he is. We’re in exactly the same place!” And I saw that the more I held on to my view, the more polarized we would become, and the more we’d be just mirror images of one another—two people with closed minds and hard hearts who both think they’re right, screaming at each other. It changed for me when I saw it from his side, and I was able to see my own aggression and ridiculousness.
If you could have a bird’s-eye perspective on the Earth and could look down at all the conflicts that are happening, all you’d see are two sides of a story where both sides think they’re right. So the solutions have to come from a change of heart, from softening what is rigid in our hearts and minds.”
Song: I Want To Be Here – by Neko Case, here’s the video Bruce and I played for today with this song, recorded by my awesome roommate, Andrea. InstaVideoSongPost
The excerpt from above means a lot to me. I wish I could somehow transfer this sentiment of softening our hearts to every human on this planet. Some people know this already, but some people don’t and would never agree… so we’d have to sneak it in while they were sleeping. We could send a little whisper of Love into their ears via magic fairy dust or something they couldn’t successfully shake out or wash off in the morning. I don’t have much to say that Pema didn’t already about all that’s happening out there in the world. I wish everyone rest and a calm heartbeat. I wish everyone food in their bellies and enough resources to provide for what they need. I wish for marginalized people to have some peace of mind and heart. I wish those in power would use it for the betterment of society instead of to its detriment. I wish for people’s hearts to soften and to feel what it is that could truly save this world, Love. (and 6 feet of temporary personal space…) Goodnight y’all.
At this moment, all that exists in my sights are the darkness of the night sky through the window, the golden light of a candle glimmering in my periphery and the glow of this computer screen. Of late, I have read many stories by writers about their influences and writers whom they adore. The most compelling stories depict how the main inspiration was the author’s own life, their own experiences and hardships were their teachers and the stories told themselves, their fingers were merely a medium.
Songs seem to come to me this way. Ideas for paintings, projects, special studies… they all jump into my mind and slam the “Go” button, yet, it wasn’t my choice to press it. Once, I was asked to write my autobiography on one page. That was horribly prohibitive. It takes a half-hour just to get started when telling about my life. Perhaps I am simply detail-oriented or lack conciseness. I see everything as bleeding into everything else, just like a watercolor painting which starts with too much water. Except, in life, those bleeding tales need no judgment, at this point, of too much or too little liquid. Those tales exist only in the memories of my body and when I think back to them or something reminds me of them; I can only experience them in the moment or in a dream. At times, I become overwhelmed with the sound of my heart beating and shortness of breath. Other times, the need to sleep or eat suddenly tips me over and makes me weak in the knees. In more extreme cases, fear fills every pore, unexplainable in the present moment as to why and I find myself floating above, as an outsider looking in, disassociating. Somehow, I can become a shadow when the worst moments resurface. I get lost in the replay and the mountainous weight of knowing there is nothing I can do to change the stories. In those dark and tremendous moments, there are veins reaching into the future, into the people I love, into the choices I make, into the way I look in the mirror, into the way strangers look at me… All this is happening under the guise of a smiling, confident, albeit sometimes distracted, woman.
Imagine what it would be like if those moments disappeared. What would happen if those shocking and depressing moments no longer plagued those of us who share them? There could be a light, a blinding light, swirling out of my forehead. I see light emanating from my fingertips and from each strand of hair. There is no memory in my body, from the earliest of early storage drawers of visions, that does not have a tinge of sadness. I cannot remember ever feeling completely light, free, and without judgment. Fear permeates every facet of life. I could be beaten for not finishing my dinner or having an accident potty training. I could be abused or taunted by any man who walked by. I could be ridiculed for being imperfect by any movement, decision, performance or by simply existing. Simultaneously, I was treasured and praised when I was approvable. In public, I was the gem of the show. I was “the rock”. The undeterminable atmosphere of our home, the lack of comfort, the affectation of normalcy, the quid-pro-quo nurturing, the unending sarcasm, perversion, and the predatorial context into which my sister and I were forced to exist has created, in me, a person who needs to come to terms with the impact such a life has had on my body. The lives and bodies of millions of people in this world are all carrying scars on their beating hearts from childhood. They learned about their lack of importance, their prescribed stupidity and their lack of control so early, the notion that such things don’t HAVE to hold them down may never be realized in their lives. They may never individuate.
I have the privilege of a new awareness of how my body, heart, and mind are all interconnected and I proclaim that the marks carved into my being are going to be brought to light. Immunity to sickness and dedication to health are the core of my focus now. The amount of time it will take to begin to feel whole and happy again may be lengthy. Yet, I am here. I am learning. My body is going to heal. I have magnets in my heart and the celestial bodies and our beautiful, magical planet are connected by those same forces.
I am filled with grit. I am the softest green moss of the forest floor.
In some corner of my mind, I have yet to unearth, there is the North star of hope.
I am seeking Spirit by this river’s shore and in my inner flame’s ashes and smoke.