[originally published A Sense of Place, 12/04/14]
The ‘news’ of late is grim–here in Amerikay.
Societal values expressed by those in power seem far from the ones I desire. I know that acts of beauty and kindness occur daily in this sprawling nation of states, but word of them won’t generate click-throughs or ad revenue. This constant drone of fake voices and fleeting fame, of hyped reality and oligarchy, of the dehumanized market Place of rot and superficiality, was such a relief to flee
to escape from
when I lived across the sea.
America…you tire me.
Yet – we have the power and privilege to change the story
which is why so many
work so hard
to distract us
with the shiny, the new, convincing us we are
Yes, they seek to distract, and for unnatural cause. Yet we also tell ourselves the story of the hidden day-to-day, hand-to-hand sweetness of life here in these … 50 united states. We tell ourselves that people are still people, and friendships are true, and that community is possible, while we also scroll facebook, clicking through to sensational articles written only to capture our attention and heighten our anxiety. We tell ourselves and each other these beautiful stories over text and skype and email, while our day-to-day, hand-to-hand lives are too busy to sit in the company of each other without entertainment or the promise of excitement. We tell ourselves that people are still people, and friendships are true, as we hide in our protected spaces after the pummeling we have the privilege to receive in exchange for a dollar, or two.
Yet there ARE places, just not these 50, where parents are supported, where news is just that….the news of a community, bright and dark, shared by a human that looks and sounds like me, not one trained to numb and sedate with intonations that drone on about hate and violence in a never ending loop. There are places where the first word uttered when meeting someone new is NOT “what do you do?” but “what’s the craic? what’s the news with you.” There are places where humans still stop to chat, without looking at a watch or worrying that they might be late to something … somewhere … because the person standing in front of them is the now. There are places where nectar and marrow are still sucked by everyone, not just a wealthy few.
There are places that don’t make me so tired, that don’t require me to fight, always fight, just to live my life.
America, I’m tired … of you.