Thursday, July 23, 2015

Death is a Kiss Goodbye

Death is no black-robed demon
Or agriculturally inclined skeleton
There are no raven wings
Or beckoning fingers
You shall not pay the ferryman
With those pennies on your eyes
Death is a deeper darkness
Dancing at the edges of your desires
The monster lurking
At the edge of your consciousness
Waving gently
From the shores
Knowing that your ship
Will eventually come in

Death is not a passage to a better place
Or a promise to see those who went before
It will not be the smiling face
Of a sister
Or a lover
Or a friend
The sky will not open up
And there will be no choir of angels
It is simply an ending
The proverbial blown-out candle
Sleep's beautiful cousin
Beckoning from the grave
Death is not grim
Nor is it painful
Pain is the business of dying
And dying is not part of death
It is part of life
A  peaceful inevitability
Death is not a monster
Death is a goodbye kiss
With closed eyes

Friday, July 3, 2015

Finding my Muse

I've tried to speak to you
But your stoic silence gives no reprieve
From the screaming world
Or the ache within me
I hesitate to touch your face
To feel any part of you
But your expression never changes
And there is no warmth in you
So I falter
Trying to find ways to reach you

I would like to write a poem
To tear the breath from your lungs
Like a blow to the chest
And turn your blind eyes
To my sorrowful ones
But you don't care much for poetry anymore
So I'll leave the words
Hastily scrawled, as I eat alone
On napkins
To never be seen
Only to be discarded

Perhaps I could write a song for you, instead
A sweet melody
To ensnare your senses
And let you see the world
Through the ever-shifting key
Of my artistic vision
But I don't remember ever hearing you sing
Even to yourself
Besides, you never have the radio on
When I walk into the room
Or seem to listen to the notes
I've always played only for you
So I'll leave the chords
Unstrummed, unheard, unloved
To never fall upon ears
Which would be deaf to their beauty

So I set brush to paper
And let my muse flow
From my heart to my hand
Handily leaving my head
Out of the picture
So I can't overthink
Instead, letting vivid love
Adjust your focus
To share my perspective
Through the tender strokes of brushes
On canvas as pale as your face
But you never spare a second glance
And the colors look dull
Through your eyes
As if everything around you
Is fading away

So I took your picture down
Understanding that you
Could not see me express my love
Through the glass which protects our last memory
I would take a new picture of you
If you were here
But you're not
And I don't care much for that anymore
Since the last picture of you
Is likely the most beautiful one
I'll ever take
So my camera sits untouched
Among your things
Locked away
Lost in a time when the world could sing

And I go back to set these words to paper
Because I remember
That you loved my words, and my songs
Even my terrible painting
And how you used to love my poems most of all
And I bring you flowers
Because you always loved flowers
Setting them on the ground
Though I know you will not see them
And my hand rests upon your stone
Which I know you cannot feel
And I'm sorry that the world
Lost so much color, and sound, and meaning
But the world was never as beautiful
As when we had you

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Mini rants on current events

Okay, in light of recent events, let's throw out some knowledge and perspective for you

-The flag more commonly known today as the confederate flag has been adopted as a symbol of a historical period and mindset where people of color were seen as inferior at best, inhuman at worst, by a large number of hate groups. Also, nobody cares if you want to use the image personally. However, corporations have a right to choose what they provide for goods, and misrepresenting history AND contemporary symbolism are intellectually dishonest. The flag has no right to be flown on government property, and nobody has an obligation to respect the confederate flag OR what it stands for. More than that, you can't claim ignorance of what the flag is seen to stand for. No reasonable adult can be expected to believe that you don't understand that the rebel flag is seen as a symbol of racism and hate. Everyone knows this. Also, any argument that the USA had slaves longer under the stars and stripes blatantly ignores the fact that it was under the stars and stripes which slavery was abolished. One of those things is progress, the other is the confederate flag. By no means will anyone be tearing these flags off your house, or banning them from your trucks or jackets. But the government has to acknowledge that the symbol is not endorsed by the government, and businesses can recognize their lack of desire to be associated with the symbol. Furthermore, before you try to apply this to not serving LGBTQ couples, remember that ideas have no right to be protected, but people do

-Racism is a systemic issue in our society, and trying to pass it off as anything else is to misrepresent the facts or ignore the big picture. Other factors play into it, sure, but most of these can be shown to be a downstream effect from the years of systematic racism in our current culture and society. There is a huge racial double standard which exists, and we need to, as a society, respond to it reasonably, and with our eyes set on equality. 

-Purity and modesty cultures are super fucked up. Women and girls are not objects, and men are not helpless wild animals. Sexuality should be embraced as a facet of healthy living. It should be done with consent and safety, and enjoyed as much as desired whether it be with a monogamous partner or in a more casual sense. Stop trying to police the bodies of others

-Related note: stop shaming people for their bodies, their clothing choices, their dietary choices, or their interests. Stop creating these false spectra of value, and stop trying to moralize every behavior set so that you can feel self-righteous about it. Nobody needs your vapid bullshit. Stop treating other people like shit just so that you can feel better about yourself. Note: call out bad ideas, and call out people for having them. Criticizing an idea, and vocalizing that to a person who holds the idea is an absolutely necessary option. Being a huge douche about it? Well, the only people who deserve that are the ones engaged in direct harm of other people.

-Gay marriage is legal now, and it is about damn time. Your arguments against it stand only to mark you as ignorant, or a bigot. For instance, marriage as a religious idea is not solely the creation of Christianity, nor any of the Abrahamic faiths. So that argument about "traditional" marriage makes you look both scripturally ignorant and willfully stupid. There is no evidence from reputable sources to suggest they will have less fulfilling relationships, or be worse for kids, or literally have any negative impact. It certainly doesn't invalidate your marriage to know that someone else is allowed to express their love and devotion to their partners. So save your straw men, slippery slopes, and appeals to emotion for something that won't make you look moronic. Giving other people the rights which you claim for yourself isn't being oppressed. 

-Christians need to stop acting like they're being persecuted, because as the largest religious demographic in the country, they are anything BUT. In fact, the way the idiotic American conservatives seek to deny people rights while using their religion as justification is shameful and deplorable. (and rather un-Christlike). Muslims are profiled and mistrusted en masse in this country. Atheists are legally denied from holding office in multiple states. Furthermore, intolerance of intolerance is a necessary facet of standing against the legislation of bigotry disguised as righteousness. Your mythology is not enough to deny anyone their basic human rights, and giving other groups the same rights which you claim for yourself is called equality, not oppression. I think maybe you all need to pick up a dictionary. 

-I like guns. I've always owned them, been around them, and used them. I like responsible gun owners. I dislike the American gun culture. I dislike the people who think that wanting more accountability from firearm owners is a bad thing. It's not just an issue of misrepresenting the 2nd amendment anymore (you're not a militia, you won't protect against a tyrannical government, you just like guns). It's a public health issue now. Deal with it.

-This country is not a Christian nation. Many of the founding fathers were, at best, deists, and understood the need for secular government in a society which is free to worship how they please. Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion. To that end, either share the space with other religions when you erect your religious monuments on government land, or accept that they have no right to be the sole religious monument there. It's that simple. Not understanding history doesn't make you right. Also, it's 'e pluribus unum' not 'in god we trust'

-The Gay Pride recreation of the Iwo Jima flag raising is an homage to the power of that image, and what it meant for the American people. It does not demean the original image. In fact, it acts only to show the progress we've made since then. (Not to mention the fact that the image being recreated to sell beers, etc. never raised a stink, so you are either a huge hypocrite or a bigot masquerading behind something else.) The idea is that this was a major victory for the LGBTQ community. And it was. 

-Same sex relations are a natural biological occurrence, not a choice (unlike bigotry and religion) so take some time to educate yourself before you let your superstitions or prejudices get in the way of facts and human welfare. A number of species (and cultures) practice same sex relations without issue.

-Fanatic patriotism and nationalism is super creepy, and blind hero worship is disgusting and unfitting for adults. Our military and law enforcement personnel have difficult enough jobs without being idealized by he media and the people. They are human beings first, just as flawed and corruptible and dynamic as any other. Furthermore, the systems of these organizations put them in a place where they are under stronger scrutiny. They do difficult jobs, but neither the organizations or their members are above scrutiny. Chris Kyle was a troubled man, and he did a difficult job which very few could hope to do. He was also a racist bigot and a liar. Not all police officers and soldiers are good people, just as not all are bad, and these groups need to internally police themselves. 

-Women deserve the right to make choices involving their reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy. Denying those rights to women is to give them less bodily autonomy than we do to corpses. If insurance can pay for your viagra, it can pay for a woman's birth control. Related note: women are more than baby-rearing kitchen slaves, so why don't you come into this century?

-Refusing to serve a person for their inborn traits is wrong. Refusing to participate in a person's hate speech is not wrong. That's why refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple makes you a shitty bigot and refusing to write slurs on a cake you're willing to make for someone is a reasonable stance. Get your perspective right, or stop pretending like it's anything more than having your feelings hurt by people being aware that you're a douchebag.

-If you think all abortions are murder, you need to tone down the emotional appeals and instead examine the biological facts. (Which, coincidentally, your feelings don't get a say in). Also, stop pretending that it has anything to do with love for the children, because the same people against abortion also have no interest in taking care of children after they are born.

-Alright, a big one for me: Dr. Tim Hunt and his sexist statements. Even if we ignore the questionable nature of the journalism that brought his statements to the spotlight (and the fact that it may not have been framed as anything more than a self-deprecating joke and made clear as such to the audience) let's just look at the abso-fucking-lutely moronic response. So, of course, the media outrage lead to a firestorm and the complete decimation of this man's career and reputation. Even in light of what he said, undeserved. The thing that strikes me as the worst, though, is the faux-activism which arose in the wake of the incident, wherein we saw people in the scientific community rally around the idea of shaming and insulting a human being instead of challenging the ideas they expressed disapproval of. I saw a lot of people bashing Dr. Hunt for being a terrible sexist pig (again, despite the questionable journalism behind the situation) and very few people actually addressing the issue of institutionalized sexism in the scientific community. They took an opportunity to tackle a serious issue and turned it into a bunch of schoolyard bullying

-Vaccines are safe. Fringe 'researchers' and idiotic celebrities will not change the inherent safety and efficacy of vaccines. Get over it and vaccinate your kids. 

-GMOs are safe. If you don't understand the science, educate yourself before you start your insipid fear-mongering. Remember, the more beneficial technologies which are denied to developing nations because of privileged first-world ignorance, the more blood is on your hands, and you are actually awful human beings for denying life and health-saving technologies from anyone.

-If you read a cool headline about science, it the reality likely isn't nearly as cool... more often than not, it's not even close. This applies to a lot of media types, sure, but especially science.

-Climate change is real. Humans are impacting it greatly. We need to do something about it. Once again, educate yourself, or ask someone who actually knows what's going on

-Ditto on evolution.Biological fact. Get over it

-A fringe scientist challenging the accumulation of scientific knowledge is not a rebel, they are a fraud. They are not being suppressed by any system. They're just simply not being taken seriously because they've begun to abuse their apparent "expertise" in an attempt to peddle bullshit. Chopra has an MD. Dr. Oz too. Ditto for Wakefield. Seralini has a PhD. What do they have in common? They sell bullshit to gullible, misinformed people, with the key being sell... the motive is financial, and idiots eat it up because they have the letters after their name... all of this in spite of the fact that orders of magnitude more equally or more qualified people say "no, that's actually a huge load of bullshit"

-Fox news, The blaze, natural news, the food babe, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Oz etc. are not legitimate sources of news or advice. For anything. There isn't an ounce of intelligence or critical reasoning between any of them. Hell, you can barely trust half of the "reputable" media sources

-Monsanto isn't evil. Big pharma is not hiding a cancer cure. Chemtrails aren't a thing. 9/11 was a tragedy, not a conspiracy. Take the tinfoil off your fucking head.

You're welcome. Let me know if I missed any big ones.