Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof

Archive for the ‘United States’ Category

The First Memorial Day

In United States on May 26, 2009 at 12:04 am

My friend, Kelvin Holland, who works as an editor for a history publisher near DC sent me this account of the first U.S. Memorial Day. It’s from by David Blight on Common-Place via Kevin Levin’s blog, Civil War Memory.

After Charleston, South Carolina was evacuated in February 1865 near the end of the Civil War, most of the people remaining among the ruins of the city were thousands of blacks. Read the rest of this entry »

Inauguration Day

In United States on January 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm

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If politics is the art of the possible, blogging is the alchemy of the impossible. In the four years and two months I’ve been blogging I have seen Americans talk to Iranians, Palestinians talk to Israelis, Japanese talk to Chinese, FMLN Salvadorans talk to members of ARENA and more. We have not paid attention to what is possible and so very little has proven impossible. So today, on which the first black president of the U.S. is inaugurated, we should acknowledge that this is our day too. On this day what should be possible is become actual.

What will happen next? Will we have a Mexican-American woman as our president? An Asian? A Jew? And in a decade or two, will the U.K. have an Anglo-Indian Prime Minister? Will France’s presidency be held by a Maghrebi Arab? Will Russia elect an ethnic Mongol as its Prime Minister?

Yesterday was a day of criticism. Tomorrow should be a day on which we exercise our skepticism. But today we fought for and it is ours. We dreamed it into being. Some of us did a great deal more than that. Don’t be credulous, but today, don’t be cynical. Not out of habit, which is the reverse image of a dream. It is easy, and safe, to engage in cynicism. Because rest assured, Obama will fuck up. He’s the president of the United States. When the president screws the pooch it is an operatic mess. So it’s no testament to your “realism” to march about acting smug to those who have been elevated on the wind of a dream-made-real. Today, put it aside. Making things better is a disappointment-strewn journey. The safest thing to say is that you can’t. But we can. Every now and again.

I started an inaugural poem. It isn’t finished but then neither is this “dream” we keep hearing about. Here it is. So far.

We thrum, vibrating like the words we are.
God has spoken us; he speaks us still.
Stilling as unwillingly as stars,
Each word is water, drawn from an endless well.

Like a colony of cells, we join, adhere,
A charge moves through us and we grow,
As meaning flows through aggregated tones,
Or cities rise when stone is stacked on stone.

But poets sometimes rearrange their words
And builders disassemble what they’ve built,
Our bodies will repurpose broken roads
And gardeners will tend the seed they’ve spilt.

Approach the verge and opposites align.
We are both pilot and the vehicle we drive

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