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.

The Circle of Life?

A friend of mine posted a video of a rat killing a pigeon in NYC, and it started automatically playing on my Facebook page and I couldn’t stop watching even though I wanted to. And the images are haunting me. On the one hand, it’s survival of the fittest between two animals that are generally considered pests, and on the other hand, it’s a ruthless killing of one living being by another. And the action of the human that recorded the rat killing the pigeon without stepping in at all… I wonder what that person is like in life. And I wonder what it says of humanity overall that we have that tendency of not being able to look away from something brutal. It’s like people slowing to a crawl on the highway to check out an accident scene, isn’t it? And maybe it’s silly of me that the death of a pigeon is hanging around, especially when I’m still a meat-eater (albeit I try to be an ethical one as much as possible). But brutality is brutality, in any form, and it’s that I tend to try to avoid in my life.

I am concerned about the audacity and aggressiveness of the rat to kill a pigeon in broad daylight on a city sidewalk. I was a history major, and there are documented cases of people on ships or in the slums of busy cities having to have someone keep guard during the night or otherwise getting bits of their noses, eyelids, and ears nibbled off by aggressive rats. They are smarter than most humans give them credit for, and if the NYC rats are this brazen now, we could have some problems.

I also couldn’t help thinking “Oh no, Penumbra is coming true! The rats and the pigeons are at war!” And the inspiration for that part of my story actually came from my experience in Long Beach, CA. When I first started grad school for my MFA, there was a rat problem that had been an issue for years in the building. These rats were smart. The school had laid down adhesive traps, and one of the other students in my program had placed a piece of food in the center of one of the traps. A rat flipped the trap over into the dust, then walked across the dust-covered adhesive (thus no longer sticky) and taken the food. We saw the paw prints the next morning. But my second year in the program, there was an increase in cockroach activity in the city of Long Beach and the rat problem diminished, so I hypothesized that the cockroaches and the rats had done great battle, and the roaches had won. Maybe the pigeons and rats in NYC are doing the same now.

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death and Fighting Our Personal Demons

I don’t normally post when a celebrity dies. It always has struck me as rather crass, as though certain human beings have more value just because they are in the public eye. But I couldn’t go without posting this time. Beyond the sadness for his wife and children, left to pick up the messy pieces he left behind; beyond the sense of something missed, knowing there will never be another character brought to life by him; I just feel sorry. Here is a man who has fought his personal demons and lost.

I know a lot of very talented, very creative people, and regardless of the level of skill or raw talent or stage of success they are at, they (and I) seem to tow a very fine line of managing personal demons. The price you pay for being an artist, and thus moving both deeper in and floating above regular life? Maybe. But I fear for some of the people I know, because I can see the intensity building. And I can’t help but think – what if I didn’t have music and dance growing up? What if I never loved reading and wasn’t able to hide in other worlds when my own mind got too intense? What if I didn’t have my affinity for animals and my love of water to soothe me? What if I had never developed my group of friends who are closer than family and we didn’t have each other to turn to when we experience the long, dark tea time of the soul (yes, a Douglas Adams reference)? What if I wasn’t so overwhelmingly stubborn and determined?

In the end, we all make our own choices, but the choices aren’t always easy ones to make.  And sometimes the weapons we choose to battle our demons end up destroying us instead of making us stronger.

American Hypocrisy and the Death of Nelson Mandela

From the top of the US government down to random postings on Facebook and Twitter, it seems that many people in the United States are marking the death of Nelson Mandela.  As we should be.  The man did so much to further human rights and equality.  He lived an exceptional life, one that should be celebrated and honored.  But not in a ten second reblog or inspirational quote.

We have, here in the United States, so much social injustice in the lives around us.  Race, class, gender, sexual preference, education… any chance we get to create an “Us vs. Them” mentality, we seem to take it.  Racism now is often insidious, as in the online criticism raised over casting a black man as the role of a smart scientist in Catching Fire.  But it also still exists blatantly out in the open, like Wisconsin’s incarceration rates.  So, it seems to me, everyone that is marking the death of Nelson Mandela needs to really keep in mind how far we still have to go in our own backyards to even begin to show the level of respect that should be shown to this man.

John Boehner is quoted as saying this: “Nelson Mandela was an unrelenting voice for democracy and his ‘long walk to freedom’ showed an enduring faith in God and respect for human dignity. His perseverance in fighting the apartheid system will continue to inspire future generations. Mandela led his countrymen through times of epic change with a quiet moral authority that directed his own path from prisoner to president. He passes this world as a champion of peace and racial harmony. I send condolences to the Mandela family and to the people of South Africa.”  The mind boggles, that such a man could say this with a straight face!

I’m meandering a bit, which I am apt to do when I get passionate.  I just feel such a growing disgust.

In memory of Nelson Mandela, examine your daily life for the social injustices that are right next to you.  Study your heart for any prejudices that you may carry, some buried so deep you can’t even see them except out of the corner of your eye.  And speak out when it is necessary.  A man spent his entire life fighting to make a better world. Surely we can manage a few minutes every day doing the same.

Necessary Unplugging

My life has gotten crazy-busy lately with my day job and trying to finish up my holiday gifts that I’m making for people, and we’re going through a lot of transitions right now with my son which means emotional changes and even less sleep than usual.  Then the school shooting happened Friday in CT and I just had to shut off part of my brain.

As a Virgo, I want to put everything in neat little boxes in my head, and this won’t be contained in a mental box.  At least not yet.  So I’ve built a little pen around it, I go a few days without looking at the news and then catch up a little and cry, and then I put those feelings back in its enclosure.  My heart breaks for those children, both those killed and the survivors.  I mourn the loss of so much potential in those little lives cut short, and I feel the sickness of our society growing by the day.  It touches me even more deeply as a parent now, because my son is a piece of me.  I told my mother that this raises my desire to homeschool, and even if some madmen goes on a rampage in a mall or something, at least then I have a chance of being killed with my son.  Because I don’t want to know if I’m strong enough to live through a tragedy like that, or live through it with any shred of sanity remaining. 

That being said, I am also disgusted by the hurt some people are causing as they discuss this issue.  You can’t pinpoint one thing that led to this event and fix it, and we shouldn’t be reactive in coming up with solutions.  We should be able to have honest dialogs with each other and for once actually try to look at the big picture, but the problem is the big picture sometimes feels too overwhelming to fix, so we narrow in on single issues.

As for what we can do individually, I said this on my crunchy mom facebook group: “I think that something is just so broken in our society – the rise of those with mental health issues (all along the spectrum) coupled with the rise of immuno-diseases (again, all along the spectrum) has GOT to be tied with our diet, our lifestyle, our focus for life, and the chemicals we are exposed to in the products we can’t live without. Not to mention the generations raised on formula instead of breastmilk. You can’t pinpoint or fix just one thing, which makes it seem hopeless, but I think we can live each day the best we can, as lovingly as we can, and influence those immediately around us, and that CAN create ripples that change things for the better.”  We can also urge our corrupt government to pass legislation that actually is for the benefit of society, whatever that may mean.

I am retreating again, probably at least until Christmas Eve.  I need to process this more and also maintain some holiday cheer by burying it a little more.  I have opinions forming, but they are still nebulous.  I may have some rather dark artwork to come out in January too, as a purging of these emotions I’m still burying.