So, it’s 2:30AM in the morning and…guess whose up? Old dog bladder I think was the culprit, I believe she did the cold nose trick to wake me. As I’ve learned over the course of the last few months, I have two choices, get up out of my warm bed and let her out, or wake up in the morning and mop up pee in the kitchen.
So here we are, her now by my side on the rug at my feet, both of us with an empty bladder, in my nook, awake, as I swig the warmed up java from yesterday morning, perusing twitter, seeing what the pundits and politicos I follow have to say about all that transpired yesterday.
Being awake this early isn’t so insane, least not for me, considering my work hours can be so extreme, from up well before the crack of dawn for work at 6AM one day, or the afternoon to close the next, and so after 3 years of that my internal clock is now completely outa whack and, well, here we are. I have the next couple days off and can nap when I want, so, pft.
Sometimes I just stay awake, like today, cause I have stuff in my head that I just can’t shake. Stuff that’s been whirling and swirling for days, out on the periphery, ready to be heard, written, acknowledged. Everything happens for I reason, I suppose.
When I was young my go to was mom, she was the one I downloaded all my stuff to, sometimes in a purge of passion, maybe gulping tears at the meanness of my peers, their bullying because I was strange, quiet, but with a strength inside I think that scared them, cause it scared me.
I knew things they didn’t, I believed, I saw the brighter lights, the way, the things they feared, like being alone, I had conquered, yet the places they would go I feared to tread, so I never fit with any of them.
So when she died my conduit died with her, least for a while.
I suppose, or maybe if I hadn’t been up I may not have seen this, and yeah, maybe that’s it. But I do get it, understand all too well, this complicated mourning.
I’ve never seen the term before, but man do I know it. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, and it’s now a rag I used to wipe the kitchen floor.
But this new sort of grief, with this man in charge down yonder, and every day since he was elected has been one thing more than any grief I had before. It was shocking for many, but for others, it can be only maybe, or best described, as a sort of grief. A loss.
Grief at having illusions shattered, delusions even, of where America was and what the future held. And then one day a madman is allowed to ascend up onto The Hill, and so while we were all busy praising the forward movements of change that Obama both represented and fulfilled, our dreams of a better world for the many were being manipulated and shattered by this racism, greed and cruelty that would rip us from our delusions, divide and conquer.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”― Anonymous, Holy Bible: King James Version
This racism whitewashed as nationalist white pride, America first, and they all go ….what???!!! Gay pride, white pride? What’s the difference? They say… dripping wet in an all too familiar American way. And all kinds of other pablum that soothed the dying breaths of a sort of racism many, myself included, had actually thought was sniveling in defeat in that rare corner, down there in the south, maybe a smattering across the Midwest, but I was wrong, we were wrong.
I remember that night he was elected, as I’d gone across the road with BealArt guy to have a few brewsques and, you know, be there for when a woman finally became President.
Ha! Yeah, had that idea shattered rather succinctly as the polls started to come in across America, and with a bar full of shock and uh!?, the man ascended to the highest office in the land of our neighbours to the south, and you all know the rest.
Stumbled back across the road after the dust had settled, and awoke to the crazy train, the chaos in chief, the reality star fraudster is POTUS???!!
At first, I didn’t write about it, just a smidgen here and there, but I was afraid since politics hadn’t been my thang, far from the focus of this blog. This was more memoir than op-ed, more a stream of poetic consciousness, maybe a photograph, musing prose, but nothing in the realm of any deeper thoughts, certainly not political thoughts.
“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”― Shel Silverstein
I was born in North Carolina, but I was raised here in Canada from 2 1/2 years old when we came back up to live with Grandma. Dad was being, well he was being a bit of a drunken dick wad, and Mom left with me on a jet plane, and never went back; Dad came up with his tail between his legs a few months later. We went down to visit, at Christmas, in the summer on vaca, but my heart and soul, if not my passport, is pure Canadian.
Oh, and my father voted for Trump.
Then…then there was a day, a moment, I was cleaning the gunge that had collected on my apartment door, sitting there at my front door, wet cloth in hand, listening to my favourite version of Simple Gifts, performed by Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krause, and so these tears began to stream down my face.
‘Tis the gift to be simple
‘Tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be
And when we find ourselves in the place just right
It will be in the valley of love and delight
*Songwriters: Carol Tornquist / . Dp
When true simplicity is gained
To bow and to bend, we will not be ashamed
To turn, turn, will be our delight
‘Til by turning, turning, we come round right
Simple Gifts lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Songtrust Ave
With her beautiful voice and his gorgeous violin, and there was something in that song, the old melody and those lyrics, the history inside me they somehow awoke, of that American in me, and all I could think of is…what happened? And I realized I mourned my illusions, my fantasy of what I thought America was.
One thing after another, dismantling that, saying this, saying that, and after a while I just found I was consumed with this sort of frustrated anxiety at what I saw, even here, in the Great White North, and that white nationalist, racist, extremist right, we want our way and [email protected] you mindset began to seep over the border, and more and more I found myself unable to write about anything else, I had to get it out.
See, I am a dyed in the wool hardcore idealist, injustice makes me almost irate, and all this transpiring down yonder in the land of my birth had become too much to just stand by and watch, I had to DO something, anything. So, this is my something.
After a while, I saw there was more and more every day, a whole faction of those out there who had begun to turn away from the horrible spectacle, as the fear and anxiety began to feel like some waking nightmare, and they tuned out, turned off. I thought, damn, they’re winning.
At first, I wrote because I had to get it out, after becoming a bit obsessed with the latest news, I’m not one to tune out or turn off, just not in my DNA.
And, just like with this blogs beginnings, and so I wrote, more and more, and eventually I found it touched people. There were others like me out there, in the wild, dazed and confused at what they were seeing. Watching a president of the United States kowtow to the Russian foe? Make friends with despots and dictators? Advancing the agendas of a foreign power? Is this what I’m seeing? Really? And no ones doing anything about it?
Then the drip, drip, drip of charges from the SDNY, from Mueller, court filings, indictments, of Russian trolls and fixers and frauds and money laundering fools who surrounded Trump began to be exposed, and one after another of the original cast of the White House staff and admin were kicked out or walked out, until the man had no one beside him but crooked loyal pansies with nothing to lose.
And, so I write. I write for the same reason I did in the beginning because I’m grieving. But not like the grief after mom’s death, hers was simpler, sadder, and I cherished the gifts I had.
No, this grief was complicated, like my grief after Tim died, just as strange, as potent. And let’s just say that Tim and Trump share this malignant narcissism that I had no idea existed outside of serial murderers and psychopaths, I had no idea how manipulative, how lying is like breathing to them, and how they can mess your head up so badly you question even whether the sky really is blue. The prey on the vulnerable, as I was after mom was gone, with no one to tell my secrets to.
So I navigate this new grief, different in some ways, familiar in others. What I can contribute to the cacophony of others, I’m not sure. But maybe just that when even the facts are faux and truth has been obscured for some in a fog of chaos, I am out hunting the light, the veracity, verity, sincerity, candor, honesty, the genuineness of what I see before my eyes. Not what HE wants everyone to see, not the lies and cover-ups, but what is, that’s it and that’s all I can do, all I can be.
I seek truth, because it is something I know how to do.
Ever since I was young I have wanted to, oh, dare I say it, change the world. I grieved as a child that people died every day for cancers that could be cured if only there were more money, and I balked at that; I struggled to wrap my youthful innocence around that truth. I still do, even though I’ve lost so many to cancer, Tim, Mom, friends, I still find that fact just as cold and just as hard.
Before that day at the door, before Trump, before, I looked down yonder to the country of my birth with a mix of pride and confusion at their complexities, the Jazz notes, its blues, its history, its news, its radical views. Along pockets of rabid racism, traveling down i95, through Pennsylvania, passed Washington D.C., onto Maryland, and cross the Mason-Dixon line, and so forth, from the plains to mountains and down we drove, blackened sooty metropolis’ passed by, and then off the highway to Pitt County, North Carolina, past tobacco barns and cotton fields, back to where Dad came from.
And still I grieve the loss of the illusions I had, of truths I thought were etched into the very fabric of the place, and I cried at the loss of what I thought I knew.
So now I watch all the talking heads, read the articles, watch the documentaries, the sometimes dry or sometimes astonishing details unfold so that you don’t have to, or something like that. And, for me the act of this, the breaths I have to take to collect my thoughts, you know, the ones to follow after I, again, scream YOU FOCKTARD at the rectangular box again, to get past that, dig into, look back, and forward I gather truth and hope, muster my nerve, and write, or purge.
Even all the way up here, across the great lake, I feel the ground shake, the weather change, as storm after storm swirls, as Putin it is now suspected bought himself his very own U.S. President, and Maddow says… do not lose faith… because 11 republicans’ broke ranks today, and that’s something new, something… true.
Do not lose faith.
“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring