We The People

This week has been… well, it’s been, hasn’t it? We’ve been confronted with a lot of ugly truths about the United States, and looking them full in the face is necessary if we are ever going to have a chance of surviving as a society.

Biggest truth of this week for me – there is no collective “we the people”. If you look at the voter counts, it is so close to 50-50 in so many areas of the nation. There is no true will of the people at this point. And for those of us who care about other people, that is hard to bear. We haven’t reached the tipping point of the population giving a damn. And we don’t have a whole lot of time left to reach that tipping point.

I know we’re all exhausted. Some have their hopes pinned on a change in the White House being the key to everything,, but it is only a first step. The work is far from done. We need to process, hold people accountable for their actions, hold ourselves accountable for our own, and do what we can in the communities we are a part of. And that looks different for everyone, so don’t compare yourself to others. Just take a moment of quiet reflection every day, and do the best you can with what you have. Rest when you need to. Then pick up the load as soon as you can to drag it a little further. Complacency is a luxury we were never entitled to have.

Annual election day posting of the poem “Crumbs”

Crumbs

We squabble over crumbs on the floor

While the big pile of money… oops… food

Sits on the table just out of reach.

We eat self-help slogans

Never acknowledging that this game

Of life is rigged against us.

Slogans offer little sustenance.

We dance as the puppet masters

Pull the strings.

We follow the magicians’

Sleight of hand

And allow ourselves to be astounded

With their misdirection.

We obsess with details

Refusing to ever see the big picture.

And we are amazed that we remain

Forever hungry.

Copyright 2013, Kat Micari

I will post this poem every year until things change in the United States for the better. I feel like this year has allowed more people the time to really reflect on what type of society we should be growing toward. The structures need to be dismantled, and we need to be a population compassionate and active citizens. Will we ever get there? I don’t know.

Supporting the Insufferable – The Choice is Ours

I am disgusted by U.S. politics as we go into the election year, and the debacle of the impeachment hearings. So much so, that I just haven’t been able to talk much about it. And yet, I find myself thinking of a few personal incidents that have happened at home in my reading choices and drawing some parallels to the larger stage.

A while back, when we finally unpacked all of our books that had been in storage for years, I thought about rereading The Mists of Avalon, a book I had picked up at a used bookstore when I was in undergrad along with The Firebrand and had read both one time through and had picked up the sequal to Mists at the library. Truth be told, I was less than enthralled with the writing style, and I felt a vague discomfort reading some of the scenes. But I remembered how much some people cherished the books and Marion Zimmer Bradley, so I was ready 15 years later to give the books another try. Until I read up on the allegations her children made against her, and I had to come to terms with how I felt. And I decided to donate the books to my local thrift store, because while I couldn’t bring myself to destroy a book, I also did not want them on my shelves any more. My husband, more recently, learned about an author that he grew up reading, David Eddings, being jailed for child abuse for a year, seemingly unapologetic about it afterwards. As my husband was in the middle of rereading The Belgariad, he had to think long and hard about whether to continue or not. In the end, he did decide to keep the books and keep reading, in part I think because the specifics of the case aren’t readily available.

Apply this to all that has become apparent in both entertainment and politics. We, as consumers of both in this capitalist nation of ours, need to exercise our responsibilities more. We need to think critically about our choices. It cannot be about creating a cult around someone and following them forever. It cannot be about pouring our hard-earned dollars away to a horrible human being, no matter how talented or how much they appeal to you. The ends can no longer justify the means because that is not how we the people survive in the long run. One of the few ways we can exercise our freedom in this society is by choosing what we pay attention to, what we give our time to, what we spend our money on. We have choices, and we have to wake up to what those choices actually entail.

I don’t know how many political posts I will be making this election cycle. It’s hard not to get discouraged. We co-create our reality, and it seems like so many are still willingly to limit themselves to mere existence instead of actually living, and as long as their “team” wins, nothing else matters, not even how dead and numb they are inside. It is really sad. I maintain hope for the future, for my children. I try to remember that growing pains are really, really hard and painful, but I’m also anxious for the next stage to come to pass. I’m not sure I will get to see it in my lifetime though.

Crumbs – an election day poem

Crumbs a poem by Kat Micari about our societyI said that I would post this poem every election day until things really changed in this country, and here it is again. Originally from The Little Book of Insurrection or the Poetry of My Discontent. And you can also see me doing a reading of it here.

I know this isn’t a very exciting election cycle nationally, but your vote counts more locally, and it is through making changes on the smaller levels that we can get more change at the higher levels. If you choose to vote, vote for your convictions, not for the almighty dollar or for the corporations. Unless your convictions are to worship said money and corporations, and if so, I might have some questions for you.

I want honesty and integrity and all the muck out in the open. I want civic leaders to be true leaders, examples to the rest of us, and not repugnant filth that I wouldn’t want my children to go near. It shouldn’t be too much to ask. But that’s not how the game is played. My solution, as always, is to change the game.

Fire in the Minds Of Men

book cover James H Billington Fire in the Minds of Men Origins of the Revolutionary Faith

I just finished reading James H. Billington’s Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith. It took me a while to get through as it is quite dense, and I took a break halfway through to re-read Neil Gaiman’s and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens after watching the Amazon miniseries as a little palette cleanser. But there is so much food for thought in Billington’s book.

As someone who drastically wants to change the structure of our society, and as someone who is so far from actually laying down her life for any kind of group cause (and is, in fact, exceedingly wary of group think), I find myself fascinated by the history of the revolutions leading into and during the Industrial Revolution in Europe. What drives people to an act of terrorism and violence, what it takes to direct others to violent acts.

It is also interesting to read Billington’s dualisms of intellectual/worker and nationalist/socialist. I had an interesting discussion with my husband about the split in the revolutionary spirit of those wanting social change and those rallying behind a national flag, and how difficult the two sides had in communicating with each other, and how that parallels a lot where we are in America today. We have those that fervently believe in the nation as symbolized by the flag and the idea of freedom and democracy being more important than actual freedom, and we have those that believe in social justice and equality even if it means dictating to others (as in a form of control and tyranny) to get there, and it’s these two extremes yelling the loudest and playing off one another.

As a musician and artist, it was especially fascinating to consider the role opera and music played in revolution. Billington discusses this and the role journalism played in both inciting and then pacifying/distracting the public.

I do disagree with Billington on his dismissal of the faith of the revolutionary that a secular order being able to overthrow traditional order. I just don’t think we as a species are necessarily capable of handling that level of responsibility yet. But that doesn’t mean that it is implausible or impossible.

If you consider yourself a revolutionary soul, I recommend reading this book, even if you aren’t used to reading histories. It’s well worth the effort for the amount of thinking it will make you do.

An Open Letter – by Kat Micari

Vessels, a black and white pen and ink illustration with nude pregnant woman in profile sitting next to cracked large vase, art from The Little Book of Insurrection or the Poetry of My Discontent by Kat Micari

An Open Letter

To Whom It May Concern:

I am not a cow
Nor a pig
Nor your slave.
I am not chattel.

My womb is my own.
I have felt the quicksilver movement
Of early life within.
Life I created with my partner.
Not you.
Life I nurtured, that I endured hardship for,
By my choice.

It is true that
Women are vessels
For unborn children.
But if something is wrong with a vessel
Or what is stored in the vessel,
What would you do?
If you had a clay pot with cracks in it,
Would you try to store water?
Or would you dump out the water
And patch the cracks
Before trying to use the pot again?
If you had grain stored in that same pot,
And it became moldy,
Would you keep the grain in that pot
Until it returned to dirt?
Or would you throw away the grain
And hope for a better harvest next time?
It is the same for woman and unborn child.

Yes, it is true that
Women are vessels built for bearing children.
But a woman also has free will
And the ability to judge if her body or mind is cracked,
Unable to be used for this purpose.

Again, it is true.
We women are vessels.
Our bodies are designed for carrying children.
And being mostly men, perhaps you don’t understand
The symbiotic nature of mother and unborn child,
The psychological and physical connections that
Manifest itself in strange and wonderful ways.
So you can’t know the torture of carrying a dead or broken child within.
You can’t even begin to empathize.
Why, then, would you think you can decide for us?
Force our bodies to your will?
Lock us away for the crime of being a woman?
Drive us to deeper and darker depths of our souls
In the name of your supposed Christian family values?

I understand that you are afraid,
That the world is shifting around you,
That light is being cast on all the lies you have built your life around.
I understand that you feel your power is slipping
Like sand through your fingers.
It is frightening to have the very core of your being
Shaken.
I understand, and I sympathize,
But I do not tolerate.
Your eyes WILL be opened by Truth.
Your worldview WILL change or you will be drowned in the rising tide.
You will NOT control my body or the bodies of my children.

I am a woman.
I am not a cow,
Nor a pig,
Nor a man.
I am stronger than all of these.
And we will prevail against you.

Image and poem from The Little Book of Insurrection or the Poetry of My Discontent 

Copyright 2013 Kat Micari

I really hate that this is still relevant in our society.

Don’t Speak Ill of the Dead, a poem

Don’t speak ill of the dead
Or of the lies they said
Be ready to forgive it all
Don’t challenge their glory
The official story
Is all that you need to recall

Don’t speak ill of the dead
Forget all the bloodshed
And the dirty deeds they have done
Feel deep shame and remorse
For questioning their course
And the wars that they have begun

Don’t speak ill of the dead
Give thanks to them instead
And wipe the slate clean of the past
Don’t you dare to bother
On sins of the father
Or the legacy that will last

Don’t speak ill of the dead
Or think what lies ahead
Just keep on shedding those sad tears
Keep it all buried deep
Keep on acting like sheep
And don’t worry about your fears

Copyright 2018, Kat Micari

Can you guess whose death this was written in response to?

Also, I feel like this could be developed into a song maybe. We shall have to see.

Normal, a poem

Have you ever noticed
There is so much that can be made
‘Normal’ and ‘livable’?
Survival mechanisms played
By master technicians,
Musicians of the human mind,
And we let ourselves be
Instruments of uncommon kind.
Played out, worn down, broken,
Barely able to keep the time,
Forced to play others’ tunes
Instead of our own sweet sublime.
We keep running that wheel
Made by those who manipulate
Bodies so bent and weak,
We easily capitulate.
It is then trauma starts,
And we don’t know how to act.
We let fear burn our hearts.
We respond not knowing all facts.
Then we bury it deep
To go on yet another day,
Feeling something so wrong
But never knowing what to say.
We try to live happy
As commodities, money slaves,
Future collateral
Damage, we work to dig our graves.
We feel something is off
And think it must come from inside
Because the disconnect
Between us is so very wide.
Truth still remains within
Down in the depths of our being
If we let go of fear,
Open our eyes and start seeing.
We are all in this mess
And together can become free.
Let’s take back our power
And make ‘normal’ what it should be.

Copyright 2018, Kat Micari

Annual Reposting of My Poem Crumbs

Crumbs

Don’t forget, last year I put a video reading of this poem up on YouTube, if you want to see me get a little fired up. I will continue posting this poem every election day until I feel like the American people have made a real shift.

Crumbs is from my collection The Little Book of Insurrection or the Poetry of My Discontent, which is available on both Amazon and Smashwords.