Cross My Heart and Hope to Write


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sandy Hook Reaction: Tête-à-tête UPDATE

There is a tragic epidemic spreading across the United States. I'm not quite sure where it began or how the infection started, but it appears to be growing. It is characterized by intense violence directed at your fellow man.

The atrocious events that took place a week ago in Newtown, CT have brought to the fore issues that have been teeming at the heart of this outbreak for quite some time. The brutality exhibited is tied into other circumstances surrounding American culture today. Why, with so much technology, are we so alienated from one another? Why do we choose to communicate through a screen rather than face to face? Bullying is nothing new, but when it is exhibited on the internet, it becomes property of the world, leading to an all new breed of anxiety. Suicide runs rampant. The pathways in place to keep us connected have drawn us apart. An older gentleman told me he used to hitchhike everywhere in the 1970's, but now he wouldn't dare set foot in a stranger's car. What the hell happened to us?

The politics in place on the television and on our radios only mask the true issues at hand. The way in which media networks have reported on recent events attests to our addiction to entertainment. We are becoming crueler and further alienated from one another. We are surviving off of stigma, force fed dramatized reality, being lobotomized by primetime televised genocide, and it is corrupting our genes.

We must, together, persevere to reverse this growing calamity. No amount of diplomatic bickering and institutionalized rights can alleviate the American people of responsibility. We must collectively embrace our identities as human, as American, and work together to save each other, from each other, from ourselves. There is a civil war occurring in our hearts and it is spilling out into the streets. The only way we can win this war is through love - Love for ourselves and our fellow human beings.

Tête-à-tête: A Reflection on School Shootings in Two Parts 

There are few things that I hold unjustifiable.
Few acts persist with purity
As inarguably heinous
As the senseless murder
Of the innocent…
The helpless and
The defenseless
In public places.
A mall,
A movie theatre,
A church,
But none more despicable
Than a school.
There is nothing more tragic
Than when utmost ignorance
Conquers a safe haven of education,
As if chains had suddenly conquered their keys.
The only time books and bullets should share the same space
Is in a social studies book;
The only time a child should have to smell gunpowder
Is on the Fourth of July.
No one should have their innocence
Ripped away from them;
No one should have to die
In a classroom.  
I sympathize with the mentally ill,
The delusional,
The misinformed,
But I cannot sympathize  
With those that deliberately take the lives of students  
In a violent act of self-aggrandizement.
I cannot pool my pity
For this monstrosity;  
For the purity of evil it distils.
The thought processes required
To compel a human being
To massacre children and young adults
Is an infectious adulteration
That strikes at the crux of a person’s humanity,
Transmutating them into something
Far more vile,
More disgusting than I think any one of us is capable of conceiving.
But anger…
And vengeance,
And hatred
Are not the answer.  
This is not about gun control
Or mental health issues,
This is about the worth of the human character.
This is about the need to act,
To quell the spread
Of this infectious disease.
To save the lives of the innocent
We must save the lives of those who seek to kill them.
We must stop the beasts
Before they feed.
Realize that
The shooter was innocent too once.  
We must learn to support each other,
Through love and acceptance.
We must learn to read the signs of danger
And to act on them,
To save the perpetrators from themselves.
They will thank you…   
We can no longer be afraid to help one another,
To fear the stigma,
The backlash.
It is a chore that must be undertaken by each and every one of us,
To winnow out the demons that possess our fellow man.
Build a gun that shoots bullets of compassion…
And we can blow away this mess. 

I am so sorry
For what has happened here…
So sorry
For what your fellow man has done.
The love that binds you
To the loved ones you have lost
Binds us all together
In the wake of this tragedy. 
The memory of their beauty,
The grace with which they have touched our lives,
Will no less persist
In my mind
And heart
Than in yours.
Let us,
In our collective sorrow,
Reflect on them
With the confidence
That their death  
Will ensure the world is made
A better place.
I am so sorry
For your loss…
For my loss…
For our loss,
For the loss to humanity.
I am so…
So sorry
That my poem
Cannot bring them back.   

This poem is dedicated to the memory of all those who have lost or given their lives as a result of a mass shooting. My love and my words go out to the families of those lost and anyone else who is connected to or has been affected by a public shooting. 
God Bless America  

A recording of this poem can now be found on the ReverbNation profile. Check it out and share it with your friends! 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Call For Submissions to "The Hearts Series"

I need your help. 
Some of you may have noticed, here on the blog and on the Facebook page, that I have a photo series entitled "The Hearts Series." The purpose of the series is to capture heart images in everyday life so that we can each learn to appreciate the little miracles that surround us. 
I am calling upon my readers and fans to become a part of this lovely project. All you have to do is take pictures of hearts that you find in your day to day hustle and bustle and send them to me at Picture quality does not matter, iPhone or Canon, as long as people can tell what they're looking at. The only requirement is that they have to be FOUND: They can't be made by you just for the sake of taking a picture. A few of my friends have already contributed to this project, and now I'm opening it up to everyone!

Email a copy of your pictures to along with: Your name and a short description of the photo (what it is of and where it was taken). I will desplay the pictures on the Facebook page along with the name and short descriptions you provide.   

I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys turn up, so get out there and find those hearts!   

Saturday, December 8, 2012

What's the Harm in Fantasy?: Concrete Balloon & Cloud Cover

To be a good writer, you have to know how to pretend. You have to be willing to talk to yourself, to act out a scene, to think abstractly, and to experience things that cannot be experienced. You have to be an expert in the world that you create. You have to be its God.

For the most part, life isn't very concrete, if you think about it. Certainty is, itself, a fantasy. It is the illusion of certainty that keeps us comfortable, but every so often something comes along and jars that comfortability. I think good writing taps into this uncertain aspect of life. That meager "What if?" that persists is played upon in the act of reading, and a good writer can make it feel real. Indeed, sometimes, the more abstract something is, the more concrete it feels. We can impart onto it any meaning we want and make it a part of ourselves. The more ludicrous the premises, the more attractive the conclusion.

A good story gives us the gift of flight. It gives us the ability to fly to someplace beyond our everyday existence. It is a vacation taken between two flyleaves; page trekking, if you will. And the writer is your tour guide. No one should be punished for daydreaming a little - That's how writers workout! The mind is a xanadu, if you furnish it well. We need fantasy to set goals. Our ideas of the future are constructions of something that doesn't yet exist. And I strongly believe that to reach for the stars, you have to put your head in the clouds.      

Concrete Balloon

When you fall into my eyes
I feel like I can fly,
As if awakening a sleeping dream
Inside a concrete balloon.
Beestings hold my soul together,
But I've been pruned.
You plucked my final feather
And how my wings will carry me now,
I can only assume.
My shoes are coming loose,
While these fragile wings flicker,
To be harvested from my back
And chewed.
I curl my limbs in
To stretch the skin over my eyes.
As gravity absconds me
And leaves the ambiance to hang like a noose,
I drag my concrete balloon.
Drowsy eyes you tumble through,
Shattering and smattering
My mind with you.    
Shards of glass protrude
Through perfect skin,
Through blood and bruise.
Outstretch your hands to catch
The ground and drown in the swoon.
Let the sky dilute
All of you.
You and I
We fly like concrete balloons.

Cloud Cover

There is an endless sea
That lies beyond the sky
Where every little mistake
And hurting
Are cast aside
Where the wooden hulls of happiness
Never crack
Where the heart-shaped waves
Never break
Where the shores of pain and longing
Are never met
And where the highflying sun
On the wings of love
Never sets

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