The Future Captured in a Heartless Fist
Somehow it is left to us
This most hopeful of generations
We do not need to have given birth
To the children
Who are being destroyed
To know they are our children
Not only in the present and the past
But certainly in the future.
All children are connected at birth
To all the others ever to arrive.
Their faces turned upward
Toward the parents all grown-ups were meant to be.
How can you separate your child
Little one, they have captured you
And placed you in a cage.
What are we to make of this?
Are we supposed to see you
As an animal?
Though animals also do not deserve
Are we supposed to think
That you are, at five years old,
Already a “terrorist”?
Are we to believe you deserve
To stand alone in this tiny jail
Obviously constructed with you in mind
While grownups stand around
And frighten you?
Who paid for this cage
You are Palestinian
You are also Earthling,
You are Every Child.
By most humans of this planet
You are beloved.
But in this moment,
So hard to own
As what any parent or grown-up
Could desire or wish
You are The Future
Captured in a heartless
I had never seen Bodyform feminine hygiene product ads until they were described to me – I didn’t think the song could be as bad as I was warned about. But they were worse. I include the ads here because… well, I don’t understand what the hell is going on with period product advertising and never have. Certainly nothing as direct as the poem below.
I remember sex before my husband
as a vague, vagrant landscape
of taller, darker men, all thick hair
and hands, the full lips of the rich past.
And sometimes, when I’m taking a sidewalk
full tilt, my heels chipping
the glittering cement, I feel their eyes,
their sweet lost fingers
tugging at my clothes — the one
who fell behind just to watch me walk,
to see me as a stranger might,
then caught up to catch
a handful of my hair, turn me around,
pull me back into his body’s deep folds.
They all come back, tenacious
as angels, to lean against me
at the movies, the beach — a shoulder
or a thigh pressed to mine, lashes
black and matted, and always
naked, clean and pure as souls slipped
glistening from the body’s warm wick,
like my husband’s fingers when he dips
into me, then lifts them
to his face, heavy with glaze, the leaves
crowded against our window, shivering.
It will surprise exactly no one to learn that failed Theranos‘s failed founder, Elizabeth Holmes, is the daughter of a former (failed in the biggest way and should have been a cautionary tale but isn’t!) Enron exec. Haha. I’m about to read Bad Blood, the saga of the rise and fall of Theranos, thanks to being reminded of it last night by my good friend JEB. But before the reading for enjoyment, there’s the rest of this week to get through work-wise and school-wise. It’s too easy to fall behind with just a slight turn in the schedule.
This time last week, I passed my thesis project in the neverending saga of my 2012-begun master’s program. Many people asked if I felt relief, or possibly even that sense of emptiness that often follows finished projects that have occupied so much time and space in our lives and brains that their completion leaves a (disappointing/disappointed) void. But I find I don’t even have time to feel much of anything. I have ongoing real work and schoolwork (for the current degree program) and another thesis coming up. No time to rest in the void.
There are things you cannot change until you accept them. I have always hated the moments when people are deluded about themselves and their time. Protesting, “But it will be calmer soon…” or planning for some illusory moment down the line when they’ve organized themselves better, when this or that thing is finally resolved, yes…. then there will be time. Then they will embrace the life they really want for themselves. But that time never comes. Because this chaos you wade through now is your life… and without accepting it as the norm, you can’t find a sustainable way to step outside and change that norm.
I am not immune to this behavior – it just depends on the cast of characters. With most people I bend over backwards to put them first, dropping everything to be there for them. We’re told, after all, that what matters in the end – and should matter all through the journey – is people, right? The people we care about. So if they are most important, I am going to treat them that way. But that only considers that these are the people who are important to me… there are still people who demand attention or time, but if I don’t perceive them as important, I am just as guilty as everyone else of putting them off with the endless protests of, “It’s so busy right now but it will calm down when…”. And it’s never going to calm down – first because I keep taking on more and more stuff that I want to do but also because, whether I like that person or not, they aren’t atop my list of beloved-important-people.
On the other side of this equation, people who are most important to me may not feel that I am important to them. Sometimes I feel this, even if it’s not true. Mostly because if you’re not a squeaky wheel, showing that you need attention or time, you’re probably not going to get it.