Published in Folio Weekly’s September 15th, 2009 edition.
Published in Folio Weekly’s September 15th, 2009 edition.
Dear Jefferson I once again ask for your ear and counsel.
I have been thinking of this country and the terror and fear we constantly live in.
How spree killings and horror are what our media feeds on and swims in.
And I offer a simple remedy for terrorism once and for all.
Effective immediately we force our media to focus only on the GOOD.
We force them to turn away from the bloodbaths and bombings for ratings.
And realize that by covering the terror they are part of this cultural fading.
For you can not have terrorism without media coverage.
For you can not have fear if you are not forced to be fearful.
We need to focus on the good because that is what we need as a country.
And as a culture if this was to happen we would reprogram media consumers.
That in order to get media coverage you have to be great.
In order to be media worthy you have to go out and create
A culture of positive change for yourself and others.
If we were to do this it would immediately take away the terrorists’ power.
They know if they blow themselves up our media will blow up their story.
Killing innocents will lose its invisible glory and power
in this culture that uses violence and fear to make our people cower.
Is this naive, many will think, to focus on the good and ignore the bad?
I believe this is imperative for our culture to survive instead.
If this action is not taken the terror will continue as it is all linked.
For a moment we should all turn off our TVs and begin to think.
What type of culture do we want our children to inherit?
Do we wish our good deeds to go unnoticed and not gain merit?
So I present you this simple solution for many of our country’s problems.
I look to you for guidance as always to help me find clarity and prudence.
On how a step this small and yet significant we might make?
On how we can take the terror out of terrorism for our children’s sake?
The U.S. military is not filled with saints and patriots.
As a veteran myself I saw people just trying to get by and pay bills.
The soldiers I knew ran away from the problems they couldn’t solve.
They clung to “American Values” as a mantra and a cause.
The soldiers I knew would betray you at the drop of a hat.
If it became a choice between losing sleep or another guard duty
They would easily make up a story and throw your name out.
Or drink you under a table and take you out back.
The soldiers I served with were uneducated and scared.
Just trying to get by and make life as easy as can be.
When not playing cards or talking shit about each other
They would shirk their duties and call you a Blue Falcon for caring.
When not playing RPGs and talking about glory
They would smoke pot in the latrine and ask for off duty.
They would often fall asleep on guard duty from hangovers acquired
While drinking till the sun came up over their heads.
The age of the soldiers that I talk about is skewed.
From teenagers to middle aged men it all comes unglued.
When the civilians back home talk of patriotism and heroes
They forget that many of these soldiers are just humans
That couldn’t figure out how to make it on the outside.
That enlisted for the promise of the MGIB and bonus money inside.
Especially in tough economies these promises get greater
Now in a recession enlistment rates are at an all time high.
As folks raise their hand and make that most important of oaths.
They trade their lives for the security they can’t find as civilians.
On this veterans day I remember that today’s soldier is not always noble
For they all have traded their freedom for a paycheck a promise and a lie.
The world changed today as I turned on my TV.
There were random acts of kindness all over the screen.
For the first time in history these things became news for me.
An eagle scout built a nature trail in a local park close by.
A family adopted a child, and gave her a new start and home.
A father was laid off, and was able to start his dream job instead
Where he teaches local teens the values he wishes we all had.
An Israeli and Palestinian family live side by side in peace.
Volunteering has become America’s favorite past time, over sports.
Bike commuting has turned into a movement all over the world.
Healthy fast food joints are being built to fight our junk food courts.
And not a word was reported about spree killings, rapists or pedophiles.
These random acts of kindness were broadcast for all to see.
A new school was built in a village in Africa for girls to get a degree.
Fresh clean water is now available in the countries we made free.
Cancer research is advancing with the use of nanotechnology.
Different religions all over the world are living in peace and harmony.
Hard to believe these examples I’ve shown, but indeed it’s a reality.
Global initiatives on climate change, policy united
from every land to every sea.
Random acts of kindness have begun to be reported today.
To seek out the love and turn away from the hate.
To seek out forgiveness and turn away from vengeance.
To not focus on the fear injected into our culture for ratings.
Random acts of kindness, happen everyday and go unreported.
News media began to focus on the love and forgiveness that we can achieve.
So we may remember the good in life that is happening everyday.
Of course this is a fantasy, but one I’d rather live in and believe.
Moments in time like quick footsteps.
Flying by throughout your mind and sometimes
One must look back and think of
the path they have taken and what was learned.
I have lived recklessly and taken chances.
I have not treated my body like a temple.
I have been close to the edge and found my footing.
I have lived with no heat and not much to eat.
I have been part of the dot com boom.
Thrown myself under the dot com bust.
Raised my hand after 911 and made an oath
and was willing to die for vengeance and lust.
Lost my father and found my wife
who has birthed us two delights.
And through it all I have learned that
there is no destination to this journey.
That friends and family are all you really have.
That material wealth and fame will kill happiness.
That technology and data can enslave the mind.
That freedom is a luxury that is sold as a commodity.
That it’s okay to be wrong and apologize.
That listening is a virtue that is not valued enough.
That a position of strength need not be defended.
That it is okay to show all your cards and let down your guard.
That you can grow stronger from sickness.
That when life gives you ivory build a tower.
That lifelong learning is our obligation to living.
That accepting ignorance is the first step towards knowledge.
I have been twice broken and learned to walk again.
I have lost my faith and sanity and found it countless times.
I have seen death and learned to live with it as a companion.
I have greeted life and believe in you and me and all of humanity.
The Soul of Mankind
Hangs from a line
That is held in place by you and me.
As it floats in the eternal sea.
The rock that it uses as a boat
Is floating through our universe.
This soul is the only thing we have
As we argue over the words we see.
There can’t be a God.
There can’t be a soul.
These words are outdated.
And totally inflated.
You must buy more Gold.
The dollar is devalued.
We must have freedom for all indeed.
This is the mold we cast.
Our soul is dying inside when
We have nothing but
Our facts are just symbols
We place in a temple.
As we raise them up we deny ourselves
The mystery inside of we.
You are a miracle
Made from stardust floating through space
With all the potential you want to be.
If only we could see this miracle
Inside ourselves and believe.
This miracle connects us to the everything.
Apart but together. Separate but whole.
You are the soul of infinity.
We are too big to fail, my dear Thomas.
That’s what we have become.
A country hooked on media.
Fed by our appetites we succumb.
To the false idol of the dollar
And what we think it is worth.
Binary code floats through our space
Hoping to make its place.
Into our virtual bank accounts of Hope.
We have nothing but today, and yet
We throw it all away for the fear of not
living to see our children grow old.
As our dollar becomes devalued.
As our debt grows greater each day, we must
remember when it was all just a concept.
That currency was supposed to grow Trust.
I think of our friendship and how we have grown.
How we have fought side by side together in past
New York subways. Sang our songs of Amazing Grace
for not a penny we would take to own.
We were young men back then and we wanted
so much change. You were always able to hold
your tongue as I grew more than one.
Because I wanted all to know that all we have is now.
That the truths are not self evident that you proclaimed.
That freedoms are won by the blood of man’s destiny.
And yet we sit here, our revolution seemingly won.
Grown gray we have and yet we stay on.
In the fight for what we know to be true
That we should wake each day and be in tune.
With our right to care and want better for our grandchildren.
To seek the truths from which the lot seem to be immune.
I write to you, dearest of Friends so that we might
amend the legacy before our pens. We were blessed
to have met through this challenge again. It would have been
a fallacy not to continue to seek truth after all our strife.
So as I sit here writing you today. I want you to know
that if it was all for this friendship then it was enough for me.
We might not see liberty or justice in our short lifetimes.
But we have sought it and to me that is fine.
As I think of you and all you have achieved
I remember the young man I met when we were learning to see.
For the rights of our citizenry. For the rights of humanity.
May we cherish the truth seeking yet to be.
When no one is looking and no one is around.
Walking home from school, at home, at a game or around town.
Our children disappear in a second and are never to be heard from again.
If we are lucky they are found in a few years after having lived through hell.
These predators are all around the places we live.
Stalking our children and making us live
In a state of paranoia not able to trust
Our own neighbors or family that we know the best.