Archive | Country Matters

Summer of Reckoning, Summer of Love

kehinde wiley Astrologically, the heavens right now resemble those of 1969. So why is this the opposite of the Summer of Love? Is everything wicked in our culture–everything rotten that’s been simmering like the worst witch’s stew—coming to a boil so we can recognize it, expel it, brew something better? I incant, I pray, I roll up my sleeves to make it so.

The day after the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, I was riding on a rush hour subway to a Black Lives Matter march to be followed by a screening of the Ghostbusters remake. (An incongruity that underscores how irrelevant I find my work lately.) Around me, shoulder to shoulder, elbow to face, stood the rainbow of New Yorkers that you can find on any MTA subway car at any minute of the day. Everyone looked worn, weary, wary. It wasn’t just me, I was sure of it. If there’s ever been a moment on a New York City subway uninformed by centuries of financial inequities, gender politics, religious wars, and, yes, slavery–and I highly doubt it–this most definitely was not it. Continue Reading →

The Luxury of Discomfort

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 9.23.47 AMMy heartbreak over Alton Sterling and Philando Castile’s murders means nothing at all. It does not bring these men–all the people of color slayed by officials falsely claiming to enforce the law–back their lives; it does not return them to their families and friends. Once again I find myself–this middle-aged white lady in a boiling-over, messed-up major metropolitan area–at a loss about a country that so fiercely protects its right to bear arms and then slays people of color even when they don’t practice that right. God help them when they do. Drastic measures are the only sensible response. The question is: Which ones? When I was young I marched and whined and boycotted all the time. I still honor these actions (except for the whining) but see that something more is required. If the corruption is big–and it is monolithic–we must be so much bigger. We must be as uncomfortable as is required to effect true change. Discomfort is a luxury, for it means we are still alive.

Venus Approaches

The_Birth_of_Venus_by_William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_(1879)

July approaches, and peonies still preside on my bedside table though their season used to end in May. I chalk it up to the unseasonably mild weather, and complain not.

The baby doves on my fire escape are not babies anymore but also are still hanging out, peep-peep-peeping while their mother fusses over them like all the other Brooklyn mommies. Every morning as I drink my coffee I watch her nag them into flying a little further while their father observes from on high. Grace watches too, ears flattened, a burr forming low in her throat. Twice I’ve had to snatch her mid-air lest she hurl at them through the screen window; she seems to have located her predatory instincts quite nicely, thank you very much. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy