To Magdalena Andersson,

My name is Candice and I have been living in Sweden for about thirteen years. It is a privilege to live here but my home will always be earth. I believe that we are all connected and it is only through the formation of these vital, human connections that we can hope to save Ukraine and the planet as a whole. Right now Europe is wracked with war and it is devastating and it is terrifying and I, like so many others, feel confused and helpless. On the one hand, it feels like humans have regressed. War is savage. We should know better than to abuse our neighbors, our wild, precious planet, our humanity, our resources, our culture wherein there exists so much creativity, passion and diversity. We can do better and yet here it is, a war in Europe. On the other hand, you have the courage of the Ukrainian people and all those who are willing to fight beside them, whether it is with weapons or words or resources or ideals. I have been impressed with Sweden’s willingness to help other countries in need, particularly in times of crisis and I am proud to live in a country that fights for the welfare of humanity as a whole. I am both an American and a Swedish citizen but first and foremost I am a human being and I know that we cannot live in a world where human beings are divided. In times like this we have to work together, we have to believe that the goodness in humanity is greater than the fear which precipitates hunger and misery.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke. Can it really be for peace that we allow the hunger and the fear of one man (or a group of such individuals) to dominate and dictate our actions? Is it not also fear that silences us and ties our hands together? I am not a proponent of war and I believe that revenge only serves to perpetuate cruelty. We have a right to defend ourselves of course but the goal should always be for the betterment of humankind. I don’t have any solutions unfortunately but I will say that at the end of the day when we are lying in bed, unable to escape ourselves, it is a comfort to know that we have stood for something, that we have believed in something, that we have focused our efforts on love, hope, freedom, creative expression, and peace. Love might not conquer everything but I would rather invest in love, than terror and fear. So keep standing up. Keep raising your voice. In the midst of war be the one that shelters. I can’t speak for every citizen but personally I would rather live in a country governed by compassion. So provide whatever support you can and know that in saving one nation, you save us all.
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Undecided

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I have floundered

Between extremes

Unable to identify

The herald

Of my departure

To whom or what

Do I bestow

This wreckage?

For what reason

Do I seek

The truth

In contradiction?

When contradictions

By their nature

Incite rebellion

How will I

In searching

Find peace?

*

For the static

I cannot hear the melody

That contests within

I know not to which

North to align

My vagarious limbs

I am lost

The withering light

Of an intermittent satellite

Finds no synapse

Through which to illumine

And voice alarm.

I fear the absolution

Of Nirvana

*

I write as if each syllable

Were a dirge

If not my hands

Than let my words

Grow callused and formidable

Let my poems

Metaphoric and fragile

Rise up from the ash

Of a repercussion wisdom

Growing Pains

quote-Anais-Nin-there-are-very-few-human-beings-who-102556

Every lesson I’ve learned

Has come with expenditure

I’ve eaten

Of sorrow’s lurid fruits

I’ve wiped sweat and tears

From a shadow-woven visage

I’ve suffered

And in the nucleus of strife softened

I’ve worn the faces

Of countless women

And the shoes of fellow drifters

I’ve faced both mirror and metronome

With a resolve to live and become

I’ve wasted and cherished

Chased laughter through open fields

Loved as if gripped by contagion

Sinned and served

Morals for which no law

Need profess and for which no law

Could deter if I determined

The deed in circumstance just

For I have the sense to know

Without threat or damnation

The ethos which governs my soul

I know that rebellion is essential

When governing bodies oppress

That true peace conceals

Neither arsenal nor agenda

I have failed

Despite endeavor

And in failing

Surpassed limiting contractions

Like can’t and won’t

I have survived

With the inconsolable notion

That survival

Is not enough

I have struggled forward

Knees, elbows, nail beds

Unclean

Every triumph

No matter how infinitesimal

Stacked on a foundation

Which I have built

Mudra

huge

Survival propagates all existence

Inhale, exhale, devour, exclude

My purpose lies not in the plumage

In the masquerades of a subtle inquiry

But in the beak and talons

Of an intractable curiosity

I am not enlightened enough to say

That I live fully but I live by my design

*

Inky and indecisive my lips retreat

Into the asylum of inarticulate verbs

Beguiled by the scent of incense

I reposition my hands

Palms alabaster and rose

Like lotus blossoms

*

Heart a blackened canary perched

In starless holes of sophic exhaust

Colors mute and amorphous

Underneath a domesticated flesh

I abandon somatic concerns

*

The eyes summon scarlet and sea

A mechanical muse oiled for insertion

I know these verses, these doubts

The way they churn deep within the tracts

Of an invertebrate spine

I let them flow through me, unbroken

*

I don’t want to write of loneliness

Of those absences which elongate

Into chasms murky and fathomless

*

I don’t want to speak of genius

Of scantily clad memories

Rolled into the cylinder

Of a festering cigarette

*

I don’t want to turn another page

To calcify another sacrificial heart

With the sympathetic saline

Of a shared humanity

*

I just want to drift shapeless

On the periphery, noncommittal

Observing without accusation

*

A moment held selfishly

Underneath the tongue

Conversations with self

Too intimate for composition

=

Today I didn’t feel like writing or reading, I just wanted to be. I am in a quiet, mellow, and meditative mood