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Because for Zen surrealism, you can't beat living in the Bible Belt...

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A number of people have asked after me and my family, and many probably aren't aware of what church I go to, so I'm posting this here now.

I am a member of the TVUUC, and was there Sunday for the shooting.

Remember after the VA tech shooting, and people--at least me--were wondering "what would I do if something like that happened to me?"

Well, now I can answer that question from experience.

The answer is: after the first shot, look around confusedly. Was that something big falling over? The sound system shorting out? After the second shot, and smelling gunpowder, you will figure out that someone is, in fact, shooting at people in your vicinity. Then you will dive down between some pews on top of your family, and, as your wife yells, "Dial 911!" dial 911, but pay no attention to your phone as you do your best to scan the area while still keeping your head down. After seeing some members of the congregation go after the shooter, sprint across the sanctuary to where your daughter is, to make sure she's safe. You will remember seeing the shooter's face. You will also remember seeing people you know with blood on them.

Jennifer, Hannah, Zeke and I are fine, if a bit shaken. Jen's father was wounded and is being treated at UT hospital, but is doing well. They may release him tomorrow.

Thank you for thinking of us. It's been... the most interesting day of my life. My son, having heard similar sentiments expressed several times today, observed "This is the worst day of my life." I told him, "Well, that's good, because you're 4 1/2. All the rest of your days will be better than this, and you've got a lot of them coming up." He thought that was pretty funny. I think it's pretty lucky. As my wife pointed out, if the shooter had shot to the left instead of the right, we'd have been right in the line of fire, and wouldn't even have seen it coming. And as she also pointed out--and this is something I can't think about too much just yet--just about all the people she loves most in the world were in that room: me, her two children, her mother-in-law, her parents, and a very close friend who came to the performance.

I also have to say thank you to at least three heroes that I know of. Greg McKendry, one of the two who died, apparently blocked the first shot, saving who knows how many people. After the second shot, several members of the congregation charged the shooter. Among them were John Bohstedt, a history professor at UT, and... well, as a parent I know him as "*** Birdwell's father." There were others. According to Jennifer, the shooter had a lot of ammo. A lot. If he hadn't been stopped, even the 3 minute response time from the police wouldn't have averted an even greater tragedy.

There has been some speculation as to why the shooter did it. Some speculate mental illness--and anyone who would do something like this has to be at least a bit mentally ill--but some point out that we may have been targeted because we are a welcoming congregation. I won't speculate until we know more. I will say, though, that we'd not long ago put up a banner announcing the fact that everyone is welcome in our church, regardless of race or sexuality. If this shooting was politically-motivated, well... it wouldn't be the first time we've dealt with hatred because of our beliefs. Back in the fifties, before we had our own church building, many people refused to rent space to us because we had a mixed-race congregation. We're not afraid to do the right thing, and, even after these events, we will still be unafraid. We are a loving and welcoming congregation, and we are strong.

Thanks again to all those who are keeping us in their thoughts and prayers.
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Here's an interesting meme that I got from jaylake and jenwrites. You copy the disclaimer below, and the list, and boldface the ones that apply to you. Bon Apetit!

 





The list is based on an exercise developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. The exercise developers ask that if you participate in this blog game, you acknowledge their copyright.

 



1. Father went to college  (The folks actually met in college.)
2. Father finished college
3. Mother went to college
4. Mother finished college

5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor  (I have a second cousin or the like (can't keep those things straight) who's a dentist.  His son's an opera singer.  So I think that counts, even if they're not in the immediate family.  And I myself have a Ph.D.  So there's that.)
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers  (This is a complicated one.  We'd been downwardly mobile for about a decade by high school.  I got free lunches and help from Voc Rehab.  So I'm guessing same- to lower-class than them.  But given the crappy pay for East TN high school teachers, it's  hard to say...)
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.  (My mother was an avid reader, so we had lots of books in the house courtesy of the public library, where I spent a lot of time summers and after school.  So while we probably didn't own 50 books, books were definitely part of the furniture growing up.)
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
9. Were read children's books by a parent  (See above.)

10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18      (Do you count high school band as a lesson?  I didn't pay for private lessons--and consequently sucked as a trombone player--so I won't bold it.)

11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively     (The people who dress like me are affable schlubs.  Seth Rogen in Knocked Up, perhaps.  So, I suppose, generally positively.  Those who talk like me are not portrayed, by and large, in the media.  Or when they are, they're the "special gimp of the week.")
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18  Yeah, right.
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs   Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha! 
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
16. Went to a private high school     Bwa ha ha ha ha ha!
17. Went to summer camp  Ha ha ha.  I went to Upward Bound, a summer college prep program for disadvantaged students.  It was a lot of fun, and tremendously influential, but hardly "summer camp," I think. 
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18  Heh
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels   Okay, this has stopped being even ironically funny. 
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18   Not funny at all anymore. 
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them   Sigh. 
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child  Yes!  Yes there was!  But my dad was an artist. 
23. Had a phone in your room before you turned 18
24. You and your family lived in a single family house 
25. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left  
26. You had your own room as a child
27. Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
28. Had your own TV in your room in High School    (I went down the road to my grandmother's house to watch cable.  Does that answer the question?)
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College    Bwa ha ha ha ha!  Okay, the magic's back. 
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
31. Went on a cruise with your family
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family 
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family   (Unaware of the bills, but the heat in my room came from a wall unit.  There were two air conditioners in the house, one in my mom's room, and one in the "dining room" end of the kitchen.  They were hardly ever on--we ran the attic fan to cool the house in the summer.)

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Okay. I'm starting finally to more of my part with respect to this Congress, and in particular regarding the health insurance fiasco. I found on Bitch, Ph.D. that my congressman was on the list of those who voted against. So here's my current salvo:


To the Hon. John J. Duncan:

I learned today that you were one of the representatives who voted against the SCHIP program. I also heard on the news that a new deal between the state and the federal government put a cap on the amount the feds are willing to pay for Medicare (and I believe TennCare). This will be disastrous for Tennessee hospitals, and for everyone covered by TennCare in the state.

I urge you to reconsider your vote if the bill is brought back to override the veto. The urgency is even greater, given the squeeze that's about to be put on the government-insured in the state. I greatly respect your independent voting record on matters of importance to you--like the war. I ask that you show a similar independence in the service of the children of your district.

Thank you for your time.




I find that a tone like that is usually more effective than "Up yours with a toilet plunger and good luck getting into an emergency room to get that taken care of."

Tags:
Current Mood:
angry angry
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Blast me to smithereens! I fergot today was International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Avast, mateys!

http://www.talklikeapirate.com/piratehome.html

Yo, ho, haul together,
hoist the colors high.
Heave ho,
thieves and beggars,
never shall we die.

your pirate name is
Tom Mad Beard

What is YOUR pirate name?

Current Location:
the horizon
Current Mood:
amused amused
Current Music:
Hoist the Colors
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In my life, I have been known to drive down Highway 321 in the rapidly de-pastoralizing Maryville, Tennessee. Near the intersection with Highway 129, there have, in the past few years, been a number of new buildings built. Often, while passing by, I lamented the emptiness of one small but primely-located lot--lamented, in fact, because there had been rumors that a Krispy Kreme was to be built there. Alas. Keep this lot in mind, dear reader, as it becomes important to my tale.



One of the other recent buildings, is a nice, swanky new Kroger supermarket. It's maybe four years old. This winter, obviously feeling the four-year-old builing was running down a bit, the store undertook a remodeling, the primary outcome of which was the inclusion of a small, very small indeed, Starbucks where the old photo-processing counter used to be. (Apparently, some corporate architect/store designer four years ago failed to predict that these new-fangled "e-lectronic cameras" would take off.) The Starbucks seems to me to be desperately sandwiched into its small footprint, situated between the produce/bakery areas of the store and the cash registers. One might venture to call that area a "bottleneck." And observers such as I, after recovering from the sweet reverie inspired by thinking of the necks of bottles, might observe that the addition of a couple of racks of packaged coffee, metallic travel mugs, and chocolate-coated coffee beans only exacerbate that bottleneck. (Such a long, slender neck... cool to the touch and beaded with moisture... Where was I?) But such as we are not schooled in the minutiae of store design. Doubtless it makes sense to someone who's not involved in trying to purchase the produce they've just selected.



To sum up, I thought the addition of a tiny Starbucks in a Kroger was a bit excessive, but relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. Oh, my reader, the fates were not done with me yet.



Last week, I noticed that construction had been occurring on the formerly-empty lot near the Kroger. Though my heart gave a quick Krispy-kreme-fantasy flutter, I knew from independent sources it would be no Krispy Kreme. Little did I know what lay in store for me. Lay in store, in fact, for the whole town of Maryville.



You may have heard of Lewis Black, comedian and sometime contributor to the Daily Show. If you have not, I recommend him to you. Not only because of the beautiful execution of his apoplectic social commentary, but because he is brave. He is the first of us to have confronted this phenomenon, one which might surely drive a lesser mind mad in the manner of a desperate Lovecraftian narrator. This is the nameless horror which he faced:

A Starbucks built across from another Starbucks.



Yesterday, driving by the formerly-empty lot near the Kroger, I saw, unimistakeably, nearing completion, a Starbucks. I am not an expert in distances, but I'll say that this new Starbucks would be approximately 200 yards from the Starbucks in the Kroger. It is, as Lewis Black pointed out, the end of the universe. I could feel my mind twisting, folding in on itself, the actual lobes of my brain attempting to wrap themselves around this concept. I consider myself a man of the world, an urbane, William-Powell-esque chap on occasion, and I can state categorically, that if not for the brave, brave work of Lewis Black, I would have begun drooling and run my car into the median. A Starbucks. Across. From another Starbucks. The only other protection my wailing mind had was the fact that at least the two Starbucks were not directly visible one from another. The psyche can only bear so much.



There are more horrendous implications which I will detail in my next post, but let me leave you, quailing reader, with this: THIS IS NOT UNIQUE. Bear up as best you can.

Current Mood:
indescribable
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Alright. The confluence of several things in the past 24 hours has made me leave off grading for a bit (twist my arm) and post this.

First, there's been a running discussion across a couple of blogs, starting with Dana Goldstein on Tapped pointing to a NYT article which contains the startling statistic that 90% of parents choose to abort a fetus with Downs syndrome. Scott Limieux responded, pointing out the likelihood of the anti-choice movement using such things as fodder. Then Atrios picked up on it, noting first that such a strategy might not work, and then clarifying who it might not work for (fence-straddlers). Way back at Scott Limieux a link was made to Michael Bérubé, who has written extensively and accessibly on the topic of disability rights. What bothers me about the back and forth is the speed with which disability issues disappeared from the discussion. While I agree with various bloggers that a central question is whether you trust women or not, there's an unaddressed issue with whether you trust persons with disabilities or not.

In the comments (particularly on Atrios), there's been a lot of "Oh, but think of the caregivers" justification for abortion. As Bérubé's writing points out, caring for a person with disabilities is no walk in the park, but neither is it being locked in a cave. It depends a great deal on the individual cases involved (as this Bérubé essay points out). What rarely gets brought up in these discussions is the rights and quality of life of the person with disabilities. it shows how invisible disability rights is to many on the left.

And in the middle of all this, across my email comes notice of this little gem from Penn and Teller:
Penn & Teller expose the BS behind handicap parking and the bureaucratic nightmare that is "The Americans With Disabilities Act."


Great. I kinda like Penn and Teller, though I haven't seen Bullsh*t. But this is just what we need--let's get rid of the ADA, which is already poorly enough enforced. Yeah, that's just what I need: two magicians telling me that I'm silly for wanting laws to exist that respect my personhood. One of these guys, it occurs to me, has made a long-running shtick of being mute. Thanks, Teller. Are they going to do another episode on how, since African-Americans sometimes lose the right to vote through felony convictions and vote-suppression tactics, we ought to rescind the Civil Rights Act?

This is serious. Bérubé observes in another essay:
As Jamie reminds me daily, both deliberately and unwittingly, most Americans had no idea what people with Down syndrome could achieve until we'd passed and implemented and interpreted and reinterpreted a law entitling them all to a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. I can say all this without appealing to any innate justification for human dignity and human rights, and I can also say this: Without a sufficient theoretical and practical account of disability, we can have no account of democracy worthy of the name.


I'll say it plainly: The left has a problem with disability. The right, of course, does as well, but I ain't on the right, and they can take care of that themselves.

Bérubé puts it in metaphor:
Imagine a building in which political philosophers are debating, in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, the value and the purpose of participatory parity over against forms of authoritarianism or theocracy. Now imagine that this building has no access ramps, no Braille or large-print publications, no American Sign Language interpreters, no elevators, no special-needs paraprofessionals, no in-class aides. Contradictory as such a state of affairs may sound, it's a reasonably accurate picture of what contemporary debate over the meaning of democracy actually looks like.


No one seems to ask about the failures of the state in providing adequate support to caregivers, and how that might factor into the decisions that these parents make to abort. That simply never comes up in the equation. The discussion as I read it never really got past, "They might use this tactic." "Yeah they will/no they won't." Wouldn't it be worth it to ask how we might remove that particular playing piece from the board? Couldn't the left make a case for expanded caregiving support by the state for things like childcare, care for persons with disability, and eldercare as a practical and moral priority? (And wouldn't that alleviate a number of the practical reasons for abortion in the first place? )

Doesn't the lack of shock by any of the bloggers, and certainly by any of the commenters, about the 90% statistic indicate a problem? If it came out that 90% of any other demographic were being aborted, wouldn't that be taking-to-the-streets time? But it's okay, they're just disabled. They'll be a burden. One thing disability studies articulated for me when I discovered it was that each of us was, is, and shall be a burden on all the others. It was the final crack in the shell of independence that I'd so carefully crafted as a good American all these years. The sooner we all clue in to this insight, that each human being is fundamentally interdependent with others, the sooner we'll be able to achieve what Bérubé provides as a fundamental principle:
a capacious and supple sense of what it is to be human is better than a narrow and partial sense of what it is to be human, and the more participants we as a society can incorporate into the deliberation of what it means to be human, the greater the chances that that deliberation will in fact be transformative in such a way as to enhance our collective capacities to recognize each other as humans entitled to human dignity.


I wish the magicians could do a dazzling stunt and make discrimination against those with disabilities go away. But they can't--it will take "millions of intricate moves" to quote a William Stafford poem. And that's assuming the magicians don't use their smoke and mirrors to make even the little bit of justice we have now disappear.
Current Mood:
aggravated aggravated
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I"m Duke Ellington!
I'm Duke Ellington!
Take Which Jazz Musician Are You? today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.</p>
Just like the greatest of American composers, you see the big picture. You make the most of your resources by arranging them just so. A calm, cool demeanor on the outside is often just a front. Capable of a wide range of emotions and a prolific need for something new, you are at heart a whistful dreamer.
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Just heard this on Countdown: Imus just lost Roker: " Yet, Don Imus needs to be fired for what he said. And while we're at it,his producer, Bernard McGurk needs to be canned as well. McGurk is just as guilty, often egging Imus on." (I agree, by the way, that McGurk seems to have gotten a free pass on his role in the debacle, so far.) Do you know what you have to do to piss off Al Roker??? I mean, look at him!




How do you piss off this man?





Well, other than making racist statements.




I couldn't find the image Countdown used--but it was a pissed-off Roker. Where do you even find that picture? Somebody must've just caught him turning around, and that was a fake pissed-off look. As the wife pointed out, it might not have been Al Roker at all. Just an alternate-universe Bizarroker.




I love my wife.

Current Mood:
silly silly
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Let me start with one observation: to those who think that the reaction to Imus's comments about the Rutgers Womens' Basketball Team is actually an overreaction (Bill Maher, alas, on Scarborough seems to be in this camp, if the previews are to be believed), let me point out something:



When Al Sharpton was 1 year old, Emmitt Till was murdered in Mississippi.



Jesse Jackson was just a few feet away from Martin Luther King, Jr. when King was assassinated.



The calls for Imus's resignation or firing may strike some as being overwrought, but think about the choice that African-American leaders and their allies face:



  1. Call for action and face the charge of overreaction
  2. Do nothing, and by silence enable Imus's stumbling apologies to be sufficient to atone for what was, at best, an unbelievably clueless re-statement of some truly atrocious racial stereotypes.
How do you stand by and do nothing? Many of those calling for Imus to be gone remember "the bad old days" quite well, and know that time's arrow does not always point onward and upward. Things looked pretty good for African-Americans in the 1860's didn't they? How about the 1920's and the Harlem Renaissance (and the developing economic position of African-Americans in the north)?

And what are people so concerned about? I mean, what's the big deal? It's not like there's any history behind that "nappy headed hos" statement, right? (All links to the Authentic History Center.) He's just calling them what they call themselves, according to what he said on the Today show.



Every time it's appropriate in class, I teach the minstrel show, or at least Spike Lee's Bamboozled. People need to know where these images came from, and how they became so widespread in American popular culture. And why black people are so pissed off when they show up again. It's not about Imus as a person. I believe him when he says he thinks he's a good person. Would he suit up in a white sheet and burn a cross? Of course not. If he were working the polls in Mississippi, would he ask to see proof of literacy? I doubt it. Would he fail to hire a black person for a job once he found out the candidate was black? Unlikely. But that just makes the racism more insidious. It doesn't matter whether Imus is racist: the racism speaks through him. He doesn't need to be racist for the epithets to hurt; that's the secret and source of their power. Like the blackface memorabilia in Delacroix's office in Bamboozled, they move with a life of their own.



The other thing I think is interesting, and I've seen no discussion so far of this, is that the whole thing actually started as a sexist comment. I mean, really, why are you commenting on the basketball team's looks? They were a good team--a bit outclassed by the Tennessee Vols (ahem), but only a bit--and as their coach pointed out in the press conference today, they've achieved something great. And the all-male comment squad is focusing on how they look. Perhaps they should all have had manicures before the game.



Had Imus and his cronies avoided the sexist comments, they'd've avoided the racist ones as well.

Current Mood:
pissed off pissed off
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Cross posted from Daily Kos:

Mix #1: So today I managed to vote for Harold Ford at the same time that I cancelled out his declared vote in favor of the anti-gay-marriage amendment. Bittersweet.

Mix #2: So I'm in line this afternoon at the courthouse in this redder-than-red county in East TN--of course it's at the last minute, knowing me, but at least I've got a chance to volunteer on election day now--and it's a HUGE line. Huge. It was huge at the primary, too.

So, passing the time while waiting, conversation strikes up. The guy behind me is asking one of the poll workers if any women had been in today who were born before the 19th amendment. He says no, not that he saw. And it'd be unlikely: She'd have to be at least 87. But what I'm wondering is a little more realistic: How many people voted today who had to pay a poll tax fifty years ago? And here we are with the chance to elect the first African American senator since Reconstruction.

(And if nothing else, we should learn from history: what we have in Iraq isn't Europe under the Marshall Plan--it's the South under Reconstruction.)

I'm thinking about my students, my freshmen. I asked them the other day after showing the anti-Ford RNC ad, whether they thought it was racist. God bless 'em, they didn't understand the question. I hated to be the one to tell them about Emmett Till, but I did. "So there is," I explained, "Some history to all these 'wild' charges of racism. The odds are good that your grandparents were kids when Emmett Till was killed." (That may be stretching it a bit, but I don't want to think about how old I'm getting.)

Unmix #1: The conversation continued.

Poll worker: "But there was one guy earlier today. He was a Columbian. Just got his citizenship and was voting for the first time. When he came out, everybody applauded."

Guy behind me: "Yeah, I work with a guy from Cambodia. He was out the other day--we all knew he was getting sworn in with his citizenship. So the next day, we had a big red, white, and blue cake for him. And I guarantee you, he knows more about the Constitution that most people in this line."

For me, that's pure, straight-up misty eyes. America: It does sometimes work, doesn't it?

Mega-mix: The aforementioned long line. I'm passing time looking at people in line (as I think Sandy from Signal commented in another diary), trying to suss out who are the D's and who are the R's. It's not too hard--this part of TN was a nice bright crimson a couple of years ago. But there are a lot of question marks. A tousle-haired 18-year-old right in front of me, reminding me of what it was like to vote for Clinton in 92. (Boy, the world was shiny and new, then, wasn't it? Don't stop thinkin' bout tomorrow, indeed.) That guy in the sweater with the gray moustache--retired Democrat from Wisconsin? Or local business owner? The redneck--and I use the term lovingly, coming from good redneck stock--woman in front of him, complementing the kid, saying her two sons never follow politics at all. Am I happy or sad that they don't? The guy in front of her, in his blue work clothes, dirt stains on the left shoulder and right waistband. Good ol' boy for Corker, or union stalwart for Ford? In front of him, a longhair like me: redneck or hippie?

The poll worker comes down the line again, asking if everyone's voted on the new machines yet. He pulls a small group aside and runs through how to do it with a demo model, so they're ready when they get in. At 4:30, the line doubles up as they pull everyone in from outside so they can close the doors. We're in what was once the prisoner unloading area: "SALLY PORT MUST BE CLOSED BEFORE PRISONERS EXIT THE CAR." It's a little disconcerting to hear the rattle as the gates get pulled down and we're all shut in. And ironic that I'm exercising my franchise in the place where so many other people have had it taken away.

And even though I know that, statistically, more of these folks are here to vote for Corker than for Ford, I still get this long-forgotten feeling, this fondness for the forms of the Republic. Even if I hate the result, we seem to be getting the kind of turnout that at least guarantees that the process is working. That people, again, are speaking. And even if I dissent from the overtones of that voice, the fact that this voice is heard at all, in this day and age, with all that's going on in our country, is a precious gift.

Maybe this year, of all years, I'll like the results from this part of the state better than I think I will. I'd be ecstatic if a solid third vote against Amendment 1--it'd be nice to look around me and think that no more than 2 out of the 3 people in the room are, unfortunately, bigots. The odds are good, though, that I'll be disappointed again, and that the magnitude of The Work to be done will crash in on me. And this is why I have so little patience these days with those people who slam the South, damn the South, we can win without it, and say they won't cry for Ford. Maybe putting the South down lets you forget that Jewish families are being chased out of Delaware, that Amadou Diallo was shot 41 times in New York City, that everyone in Boston gets along swimmingly, or that a significant number of people in California are working their damndest to legalize discrimination against Latino/as there.

The South has problems from a liberal perspective? Don't you think I know that?
Don't you think that Eleanor A, and R o o K, and GoldnI, and Sandy on Signal, know that?
We wake up every morning in the damn South. We know full well what it's capable of. And still... we love it.


Jack Gilbert, the spare and unrelenting poet, has a poem called "A Stubborn Ode."

All of it. The sane woman under the bed with the rat
that is licking off the peanut butter she puts on her
front teeth for him. The beggars of Calcutta blinding
their children while somewhere people are rich
and eating with famous friends and having running water
in their fine houses. Michiko is buried in Kamakura.
The tired farmers thresh barley all day under the feet
of donkeys amid the merciless power of the sun.
The beautiful women grow old, our hearts moderate.
All of us wane, knowing things could have been different.
When Gordon was released from the madhouse, he could
not find Hayden to say goodbye. As he left past
Hall Eight, he saw the face in a basement window,
tears running down the cheeks. And I say, nevertheless.


So this is a stubborn ode, I guess, to the state that wounds me every day, the nation that every day falls away from the grace and glory that it might be. In the foothills of the beauty of the color-dappled Appalachians, people vote to deny others their basic civil rights. A mile or so away from the Constitution, President Bush signs the Military Commissions Act, and all the blast doors and bulletproof glass in the world won't save it. As I write this, somewhere a man in some concrete room smelling of piss and fear is hanging his head, after being "aggressively questioned." He's been put there by Americans. Back in Tennessee, people are voting on the man who represents the city where Martin Luther King was shot--the year before I was born--and some of them, even after all this time, will judge him not on the content of his character.

All of it, I say. Nevertheless. A precious gift.
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