America the Great

I was inspired by all the great speeches the past two days, so I wanted to say my piece.

 

It’s not hate that drives our country to succeed, but our ability to overcome hate and look beyond our differences to create success together. It is our ability to persevere in the shadow of darkness and a refusal to give in to tyrants.

Hate was not the unifying bond of our founding fathers. They were bonded together by their drive to create a country of religious freedom, a country where one person did not have all the power, where people could feel safe and secure to be themselves. They relished change, they were inventors, and educators who invited progress, hoping for a brighter future for their children. And if you consider yourself a true American who knows that we live in a diverse melting pot of opportunity then you cannot let yourself be swayed by a person who tears down the very fabric of our country every chance he has. Who asks our foreign opposition to hack our country and is willing to commit acts of treason to secure his presidency. Who tells Americans that they do not belong here because of their religious beliefs or the color of their skin, when our country was founded on the immigrants who came searching for opportunities and helped to create this land as we know it now.

Maybe you feel this does not affect you because of your privilege and class. But, you cannot call yourself a Republican or a Democrat if you are willing to overlook these atrocities that are being committed by this man. Republicans and Democrats are Americans and no real American can condone this slander on their beautiful country in good faith and good conscious. It takes faith, hard work, and democracy to build a strong country like ours. And it can take one man to prey on the fears of the weak and ignorant to break it back down. Do not let history repeat itself. I have seen, and felt what happens when one man blames a people for his country’s problems. My own family has felt these repercussions for generations. It is not the Muslims, the Jews, the African Americans, the LGBT community, the Women, the Military, or the Mexican’s fault for our country’s problems. It is our inability to embrace each other, move past our divisions and create the effective change needed.

Until we stand together once again united under a flag of hope, promise, and drive to do good, America will remain torn by a man who’s goal is to incite fear and hate into the soul of every individual. If you choose not to vote it will be a choice that condemns our great country and makes allowances for one man to terrorize our people. That is not America the Great.

“United we stand, divided we fall.”

 

 

Dear Mom (Mommy),

It’s been ten years. Ten years ago, this week, you turned 42. I don’t remember what we did for your birthday. DId you like it? Was it special? In fact, I probably was not even there. I was at the university going to school, hardly aware that it would be the last birthday we would celebrate. Did you know then that you’d remain 42 forever?

A decade is a monumental amount of time to be absent. I lived through my twenties. Jacob and Maddi spent their teen years without you.

Ten years. In ten years I’ve lived in another country, traveled to more. I biked around an active volcano, bungee jumped, and went on many road trips. In the last ten years, I became a teacher. Like you. I bet you never thought I’d want to follow your footsteps. I even got a Master’s degree. Ten years is so much time. Maddi went to nursing school. Jake is almost out of college.

In another decade, ten more years without you, I’ll reach your eternal age. What will I have to show? A handful of accomplishments and a room full of milestones. But you’ll miss those too. Because, you will remain forever 42.

The world keeps moving, minutes tick, hours ache, and we live. A blink, and the time has passed. But there is something missing, and each year it is becoming more difficult to remember. Your voice. Your Yell. Your laugh.

Ten years. Although your life ceased a decade ago. You’ve never really gone. You are the ink in my pen, the shadow in my step, and the beat in my heart. So, for the tenth year continuing, happy 42nd birthday. You are in my soul. Everything that I achieve is because of you.

I love you always,

Your Daughter (Me)

A Thought on Syria

I have to say something about this whole situation on the Syrian refugees. I just read an article that claims that Syrian or Muslim refugees are not like Jewish refugees during WWII. Their claims are that 1. there was no threat of Jewish terrorists during WWII.  I will give them that claim. However, I feel like this is such a hypocritical statement. (by default they are insinuating that these refugees are terrorists or we will let terrorists in by letting refugees in) I know, that one ideal that Jews want people to believe is that over in Israel it is only the extremists are the ones bombing Muslims and vice-versa. So, how can anyone claim, that by letting in refugees, we are letting in terrorists. Are you saying that all of these people are extremists? That is ludicrous.

Furthermore, the article claims that these people have multiple Muslim states that will take in these refugees. Whereas the Jews had no state to take them in. While that may be true that the Jews had no state to take them in, the states that these people can go to are just as bad. I HAVE worked with the children from these war torn countries. The things that they have been through and seen is horrendous. If they have the ability to come to our country or any country that is not in the Middle East, safely and legally, why deny that opportunity? When you hear these stories, about how their little sister was killed while in her school. Their father was told if came to get her body, he himself would be killed. Then, they were chased by their own army while being shot at, into Syria. When Syria became unsafe, they tried to go back to Iraq and were almost killed. Does this sound like Muslim countries they should be forced to live in? I think not.

So no,  they may not be in the exact same situation as Jewish refugees during WWII, but it is pretty damn similar. And, I feel just fine making that claim as a Jew myself. So, they have other countries, so there are extremists on their side. But, there are also humans, men, women, and children, being killed, tortured and thrown from their homes with no place to go. It is our job as humans on a side that can help to do just that, help. It is not our place to judge every person for their religion, race, or country of origin. They cannot help that they were born in Syria just as we cannot help that we were born in whatever country we originate from. And if America, or England, or some other country was in their position, I know that we would want help from whomever would offer it to us.

 

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

~Martin Miemoller

Looking for contributors

Hey everyone out there in WordPress land! I am using my blog as a platform today, so please forgive this break in my normal poetry/short story posts. However, I am looking to start-up my own zine online. I would love to find some contributors. The topic is going to be geared toward LGBTQ youth. So, if you know anything about gender, history, fashion, coming-out, and would be interested in writing a 200-500 word article for me. Well, you know where to find me. I would love to have enough articles for the inaugural issue, and be ready to publish by the end of the summer. Please share this with your friends and other writers. Anyone that you know who would be interested in writing. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I will share my email with those who would like to participate. Thank you!

My Christmas Spirit

I wrote this piece awhile back. It is for someone very important in my life. This person, even though she thinks I dislike her most of the time, I really don’t. It is true when I was younger, I thought she ruined my life. But really, she made me a less selfish human being. My sister graduates college on Tuesday, and will be all growed up. This is for her.

My Christmas Spirit

                 Tip toe, tip toe. There is no stumbling or fumbling as I make my way into a sea of darkness. This house, this place is mine. I learned to walk, talk, read, and love here. These white walls that surround my bedroom crawling with late night shadows are held up by my memories created here, the good and bad. I wander out into the blackness with purpose, blinded, but eyes wide open, adjusting. The darkness carries me; a guiding hand in my secret mission.

Quietly and quickly I creep across the entry hall. A lonesome, wooden cactus guards the front door (his years have now taken toll, as he’s been demoted to living room patrol). Falling stealthily against the kitchen wall; smells of fresh baked pie still cooling on the stove greet my nose, cherry and apple, I think. Earlier festivities resonate in my memory, but there is no time for that now. I have business to attend to. Searching the kitchen, empty counter tops leave no sign of life. The dishwasher light blinks monotonously at me, begging to be emptied. I can see a few dishes in the sink, clinging to remnants of turkey dinner with a think layer of film forming across left over gravy. Then my eyes approach the kitchen table, I see it. Crumbs scattered across the plate, half a cookie left, maybe. Yes! I think to myself, Santa does like Chips-A-Hoy. I was worried, I’m glad he didn’t take my mom’s pies.

Missing cookies was my cue. I scurried across the kitchen floor, almost tile surfing on my socks. First, I peeked cautiously around the corner of the other kitchen entrance catching just a glimpse of the tree in the corner and the flicker of the lights shining. They lit up my first Christmas tree ornament, other I hand crafted from kindergarten and first grade. Popcorn strings, I had insisted on decorating the tree with, hugged the branches. There she stood in all her glory, tall and proud, in the dark of night- like a piece of family artwork. My eyes fell towards the floor as I stepped into the living room, not before almost bumping the TV cabinet running along the wall on my left side. Recovering, I looked again, because that of course was what I had come for. The bike, orange, pink, and green, towered next to the Christmas tree. A two-wheeler at last! I had only waited my whole life! (All seven and three-quarter years) But, just as quickly that my joy came, it faded as my gaze slowly wrapped itself around the tree. It was a mound of presents dressed in pinks and pale yellows. Suddenly that mound look like Mt. Everest. I would never be able to conquer it. Waves of jealousy swept through me. I knew it had been a disaster from the beginning, when ten months ago, two words were uttered across my mother’s lips. Now, I was being haunted by ghost gifts that had taken form in Santa’s presence.

I moved a little further inward, the carpet warming my feet below, looking across the room my rocking horse was sitting in the corner playing in the shadows. My heart skipped a beat when I saw by my rocking horse, the baby swing- lingering music. My breath became shallower to a point where I thought I’d pass out. The tantalizing smell of cinnamon was my rescuer. Faintly traceable from the kitchen, the scent reached up into me stretching and driving forward finally settling inside; heightening my sense and awakening my Christmas spirit.

In that moment I realized just how beautiful the room looked at this late hour. The lights from the Christmas tree were dancing across the room as if someone had just finished the Nutcracker Suite when I walked in. The moon was shining through the glass doors, gliding along the floor creating a lake of light. It was magical.

I spun around to go out of the living room the other direction near our old leather couches when she caught my eye. She must have been there the entire time. Light was just barely glowing around her as the held a bundle in her arms tilting a bottle to it.

The room was serene. Time has stopped while I stood there watching as everything came together, the guardian tree, lights twinkling over them, just enough so their faces were in shadow. The moon looked on from a distance, protector of all things small. I felt if I had dreamt anything, or wished anything at this moment it would have come true. But, I didn’t have to because anything I had ever wanted was all right there before me, witnessing this great magic. I walked over and gently kissed the bundle on the forehead, knowing what I had really waited my whole life for, contentment radiating from every pore.

“Go back to bed Alex,” whispered my mom.

A Brief Whisper

In other news: I’m officially moving to Portland, OR on June 1! Because of this, I am going through everything, and I happen to stumble upon some writing I did for my college writing class. So, I am putting it up. Hope you enjoy.

A Brief Whisper

                           The kiss I thought I had been waiting my whole life for broke apart.

                           “I don’t feel the same,” she whispered.

                           Her spearmint breath permeated the room and assaulted my senses. I looked up; she stared back at me, her blue eyes deep and foreboding, met mine penetrating right through me. She saw me from the beginning. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t want more. I quickly glanced away staring back behind her; the desk litter with various items. I spotted the lifeless orbit wrapper lying there, used, like a piece of roadkill left for dead. It was always there; that I could count on.

               We had gone to a friend’s party reluctantly together. She lived next door to one of my classmates who had become a good friend. However, that girl had been out of town for the weekend and arranged for us to go together. Three or four beers later and some terrible dancing we seemed to be on better terms. I followed her into one of the bedrooms where hookah was being smoked. Her long blond hair was falling on either side of her face, and in my drunken stupor I was enamored by her beauty. The hookah became an interesting affair when we began blowing the smoke in each other’s mouth. our lips briefly meeting in a whisper of a touch. It was enough for me to know that I wanted more. We walked home that night arm in arm to keep one another from falling. I grudgingly went into the house next door leaving her at her doorstep. I knew that I had to get to know her after that night.

              There were late night volley ball games with our friends, dinners and target trips. I thought I would bust with collected information. We sang eighties music and blasted country with our friends. We watch the Suns and UofA basketball religiously, calling each other on the phone to congratulate the other if the Suns  won or console the other if they lost. The way she would look at me with such intensity when I had something important to say, I knew she was truly listening. It was these small things that pushed me more. She lingered in my mind.

                    Then, the insane camping trip came about when everything came undone and altogether at once. We were jamming to The Joker, a favorite song, roasting marshmallows, and playing Frisbee. But, I tumbled over the edge with everyone else. A pandemonium broke out of dramatic irony. Everyone had feelings for the ones they weren’t with. However, I was left on the edge of this cliff. Even when she knew my real feelings, and I made my statement, it wasn’t enough. I still lost. We weren’t meant to be; even two orbit loving, Steve Nash fans, can only ever hold hands on the surface.

Kannel-2008