Walking by the River, the Morning After

Joe Biden was declared the winner–

across the river, they danced in the streets
and horns honked. Here, it was quiet,
geese sailed serenely; their own squabbles settled
with brief in-your-face trumpeting and posturing—perhaps
not so different, as they fall into formation–and yet,
I watch them take turns leading, caring for each other,
soaring in a victory V, circling. Then
as dawn laughs, and the water blushes,
the horizon, foreshortened, expands,
Philadelphia emerges from the fog, the sky
much bluer than it was.

I missed Peter’s dVerse prompt on Tuesday to write poetry bearing witness to our local neighborhood, so I’m linking to the dVerse Open Link Night, where Linda is hosting.

Watching, Waiting

Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield, November. ©️ Merril D. Smith, 2020

Ask am I crushed?
Ugly tongues and the elaborate-haired fiddler screech,
while the dead cry in a thousand aching hearts

~but dream shadows sing in blue, waking~

I watching the light whispering if
to pink-shimmered water,
recalling how time flows, after moon to sun

The Oracle always knows. Just as I was about to post this, news came that Joe Biden will be our next president! YES!

Walk and Talk

“but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

–Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird

 

No harm was done

(just talk).

Walk and talk,

Tic Tac talk

(and looming walk),

no deep thought,

(just locker room talk),

boys will be boys talk,

(that’s what they say),

but they might stare,

and grab,

so best beware,

take some care,

(though it’s just talk).

Hate-filled words

(incite some action).

Obscene gestures

(from small hands)

Obscene thoughts

(from small minds),

Dog whistles and gas lighting,

talk’s just talk

(even if it’s frightening).

But if it prevails

(the repulsive talk,

the racist squawks

the bully stalk)

It’s all our loss,

(It’s not just talk.)

 

This poem is for Secret Keeper’s Writing Challenge.

The prompt words are: Harm/Deep/Act/Stare/Loss

And here’s the kind of “walk and talk” I like. With a president I like.  Vote!

 

The Past That Wasn’t And Is

Monday Morning Musings:

“The blacklist was a time of evil. . .no one on either side who survived it came through untouched by evil. . .it will do no good to search for villains or heroes or saints or devils because there were none; there were only victims.”

–Dalton Trumbo, Laurel Award acceptance speech delivered to the Writers Guild of America West, The Writers Guild of America Newsletter, April 1970.

“Until now, we scientists have only seen warped space-time when it’s calm,” Dr. Thorne said in an email. “It’s as though we had only seen the ocean’s surface on a calm day but had never seen it roiled in a storm, with crashing waves.”

New York Times, February 11, 2016 

Gravitational waves have been heard

A chirp, hitting Middle C

Einstein’s theory confirmed

Space and time moving,

Collapsing,

Causing waves

A cosmic sea

Moving,

Ever changing.

 

We watched the movie, Trumbo

My husband and I,

We missed it in the theaters

But saw it “On Demand”

Yay, technology.

And science education.

Without it, you wouldn’t be able

To stream your shows

Or read the latest gossip news.

Do you think this happens by magic?

 

During WWII,

When Franklin D. Roosevelt was president,

Radio was important.

Sound carried by waves.

Imagine that?

He talked to the nation through

“Fireside chats”

And told us that December 7, 1941

Was “a date which will live in infamy.”

Which it was and is.

That was the date of the attack on Pearl Harbor

By the Japanese military.

Two months later,

February 19, 1942,

FDR signed Executive Order 9066

And with that order

Japanese-Americans,

Citizens of the United States,

Were forced to leave their homes,

And placed in internment camps.

Did you study that in school?

Fear took over.

People were profiled by their ancestry,

By the way they looked.

Locked up.

Does this sound familiar?

 

A political candidate called for

Banning all Muslims from the US.

He wants a wall built to keep

Mexicans out, too.

No matter that it would costs billions of dollars.

Mexico will pay for it, he says.

He thinks Mexicans are all criminals, rapists.

People believe what he says.

 

But back to Trumbo.

Remember, I told you we watched the movie?

It’s about Dalton Trumbo,

The screenwriter

Played by Bryan Cranston

Many people have never heard of him.

Trumbo, I mean.

Perhaps they’ve heard of some of the screenplays though.

He wrote:

Spartacus,

Roman Holiday (a must-see, Audrey Hepburn, in her first big role,

And the always wonderful Gregory Peck.)

Exodus

But those are just a few.

Yet Dalton was not credited with writing these movies.

At least not at the time.

Though they won awards.

Because he was blacklisted.

So he wrote them under other names.

He was one of the Hollywood Ten.

He—and many others–served time for standing up to HUAC,

The House Un-American Activities Committee.

That’s right, the 1950s were not just “Happy Days,”

There was Joseph McCarthy and the FBI

Knocking on people’s doors.

Witch-hunting of communists.

Arthur Miller took the witch part literally

And compared the time to Puritan Massachusetts

And the Salem Witch Trials

In The Crucible.

It was a shameful time

Of fear

The Cold War.

No, the US is not a theocracy,

Though there are people who would like it to be.

But that is not OK.

The separation of church and state is guaranteed

By our Constitution

Our Bill of Rights.

Also, guaranteed is the right to free speech.

So you have the right to

Say what you want.

And I will defend your right to do so.

But I have studied history,

And I can read and fact-check.

I know it is not against the law to be a communist

Or a Muslim.

So it would be fine for our president to be one,

Though he is not.

You can believe the Earth is flat, or

That humans have not been to the moon.

I know those things are not true.

You can believe

That building walls is a good thing,

I have a right to believe you are wrong.

I want to believe

Not in conspiracy theories

But in the value of education

To believe that everyone, men, women, and children

Of all races, religions, and social class

Have the right to learn

To read

To explore

To understand that the past repeating itself

Is not always a good thing.

History,

Water under the bridge

That flows one way only?

Or does it travel in a loop

Splashing like a waterfall

Into a river where it flows

Peacefully until the next storm hits?

An endless cycle.

Space and time

Warped

Disrupted

Changed?

Hate,

Fear,

Walls built,

Walls torn down.

So many people and places gone.

So many crimes repeated.

So much to learn.

 

I can’t imagine never wanting to learn.

I feel sorry for those who fear knowledge.

“Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It’s knowing you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

–Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird