Tag Archives: poetry

Maintaining a voice

Schuy plays guitar

As a child, the defiant songs
of the 60s and 70s declared
we could change the world.*

 

As an adult, the songs
of the 80s and 90s mused
“If I could change the world.*”

Now, in passive voice I hear
“I’m waiting, waiting on the
world to change.**”

Were there never things we could fight for, but I thought there were?

Were there things worth fighting for that no longer are?

Are there things worth fighting for that I don’t have the energy to fight?

The “truth” that Harry Potter (and now The Golden Compass) suggested to me is that only youth truly believe they can change the world. Eventually we “grow up” and try to protect what we have and who we have—and look many other ways than the uncomfortable truths. Youth hasn’t given up yet—there’s a fire there that hasn’t been squelched or stomped or merely faded to embers for lack of more fuel.

I once read a quote: “Will all those who feel powerless to influence events please signify by maintaining your usual silence.” At the time I felt it convicted others. Now it convicts me.

schuy speaksAnd as tired as I am of the tagline of the college where I taught–having seen it “thumbprinted” in so many places that it made me sick–it is positively provocative: create change. Creation is change. Seedling as it may be, it can grow. So I’ll sow.

*Eric Clapton, **John Mayer

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Positive and negative

born negative

“Liberals hate it”
shouts the red-white-blue billboard,
Talk radio claiming fame
for who’s not listening.

born positive

“Anybody but “Bush”
chants the red-white-blue electorate
Elections fought solely on
who should not lead.

Liberals as non-conservatives
Conservatives as non-liberals
Independents as neither-nors
All swim in their own
Abysmal relativism.

Being this, makes me not that,
yin makes me not yang.
This binary world,
forsakes polynomious “ands”
for monomaniacal “ors.”

Lost in Zeno’s paradox
We stand for
standing for standing for standing for . . .
something infinitely removed
from collective conscience,
something long-corrupted to self-survival
in a zero-sum world.

Even as “This I believe”
is resurrected for NPR,
to parse the pervasive logical “not”
for singular statements of conviction,
some still spurn the positive and declare
what does not exist.

Even as my world
seems an abyss of what is “not right.”
I search for something dimly there
to help fire my soul to be:
and find I at least believe
in belief.