Better be Moving Along

Better be Moving Along

“That’s Merced,” after three years, I still use these two words to brush off the reality some people I experience leave on my psyche. It is like the series Twin Peaks you should not expect anything resembling normalcy here in Merced. For example:

My two dogs and I started out for an early walk before the hot weather imprisons us in the house for the rest of the day. I visit the park often to chronicle the still falling Eucalyptus trees. Somebody, online,  actually rated the park  4 stars, he commented, “a great park with three felled tree bridges and one man-made.” Was that meant to be a joke,  but it is true?

After running their free spirits away, my tired dogs and I started the walk home. A few seconds after this photo,

Buddy and Mitzi
Heading Home

I clipped each leash back on their leads; Mitzi tends to not like to share the park. Sure enough, here comes Merced, she was about 24 years old, 150 pounds, 5′ 8″, and broad at the hips.  We noticed each other.  She swayed her shoulders side to side. The “I’m bad” double step many Mercedians do. Without fail, I look straight down at my phone so that she knows I care less about her performance nor her presence.  I looked back up as Mitzi started to growl so I pulled her in by the lead until she was within three feet to my left side. The girl gangsta walked past Mitzi who then barked, and to my WTF, the girl kicked Mitzi in the ribs; an abused shelter rescue dog under my care was kicked for barking. Mitzi howled in pain and ran behind me whimpering. The girl stopped and I stood there giving her the death stare.

Past experience had taught me there is no heated argument, interlude, nope. You skip that and go right into getting beat up. Having been attacked once for being vocal in Merced, I knew better not to say a word. Yet I felt my heart beating and begging for me to say something. My stare never wavered until finally, the girl said, “I’m a wolf, a wolf, I eat shit like that for breakfast.” “Well, my! Guess we should be moving along,” I said as I created some distance between wolf girl and me.

Looking back I felt she was far enough away that I could run if necessary. So, I let my rage out with my face raised to the sky I howled like a wolf over and over, adding, “I’m a wolf.” I laughed as I heard her profanities echo through the trees across the park.

When I called my girlfriend in Colorado later that night she replied, “I told you not to irritate the natives.” I just cannot keep quiet. If I see something I inherently know to be wrong, you will hear me speak.

Consequence of Causality

Consequence of Causality

I married a handsome man wearing an impressive suit
that he had stolen from a telephone booth
Though he was a fraud, a shame
I remained committed to the game
Because, because

Not to deceive nor deny with lies the degree of my grief
that conceived defeat in the seasons void of reasons
My dreams were shattered and no longer did they matter
Because, because

I accepted life’s reprimands for the failure
of my plan to toss in that bad hand
to become greater than I am
Because, because

Measured treasures are now lost
the cost of brutality in a reality
that is about to blow
and I do not care who knows
Just because, just because

Silenced by the Machine

Silenced by the Machine
gaza-israeli-graphIsrael routinely launches missiles into Gaza without concern of what or who the missiles blow up. The graph shows the stark imbalance between Israeli and Palestinian deaths, which one could claim as Israel’s mass killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Israel deliberately targets schools and hospitals just like in Aleppo, but you don’t hear about Gaza.
Husband/Father – Gaza City
On the night his house was bombed he was working as a security guard for the agency U.N.
My neighbors came to tell me what had happened. I didn’t know if my children were alive. Straight away, I went to the nearby hospital. I found my wife, my son, Diya al-Din aged 14, my daughter, Rama aged 12, my four and a half-year-old son, and my second daughter one year and three months old. All of them were torn apart, they were all dead.
The Mousa family, Sabra District – Gaza City
On January 14th the father, the mother, three sons, and one daughter were killed inside their home when it was destroyed by Israeli missiles that dropped from the sky. The neighbors said, suddenly we could hear a plane coming down a bit and then going up again and then we heard the rockets. All the neighbors gathered to say, there is an attack on Abuwalo’s house.
Husband/Father – Khaled Abed Rabbo – East of Jabalia, Gaza
His mother, wife, and his two sons were ordered out of their house by Israeli Soldiers. Outside were three Israeli tanks. A soldier in one of the tanks opened fire on the family group. Two-year-old, Jamal, was shot nine times, seven-year-old, Salud, was shot twelve times. The father told delegates from Amnesty International, I wish the Israeli Army had taken my blood and not the blood of my children. They left me watching my children dying. I appeal to all of the human rights organizations, I appeal to the free world, and to everybody who has a conscience to treat the cases of the children with humanity.
A teenager who had witnessed the carnage asked, what is our sin? There are no rebellious groups in our neighborhood. Why are they (Israelis) harming us? We just want our rights, just that. We want to live like any other girls, any other women, any other man in any other country. We want to live like them.
In the twenty-three days of the conflict, 1,400 Gaza civilians were dead, including 300 children. In the same period, 3 Israeli civilians and 6 Israeli Soldiers were killed.
What country funds Israel so it can (as the graph shows) launch purposeful attacks into Gaza and overkill civilians without ill-repute? Of course, the United States, to the tune of $10.3 million dollars per day. Every day, $10.3 million U.S. taxpayer dollars is given (NOT LOANED) to Israel. Support #FreeGaza #BoycottIsrael

Daughter of Mine, It’s Mom

To explain why I am writing this now is that the actions of the heart do not come with statutes of limitations. My thoughts of my actions have passed through my mind for many years, but I didn’t have the courage to think about them and they moved on to other passing thoughts. Now, I realize by doing so has allowed my guilt to deepen so that these feelings are ever-present. Please allow me to express what has bothered me for weeks.

Although my behavior confirms I was calloused and selfish there is no memory of the causes. And, I cannot believe I was inattentive to the emotional needs of the one I love most, you, I must acknowledge the truths of this matter.

The issue is that when we went to the doctor to inquire about the option of abortion, I was proud you chose what I was hoping you would. Afterward, we did not speak about your position, your plans or what I could do for you. The next memory I have is learning on your Facebook page you gave birth to Damian.

There were many times over the months of your pregnancy I wanted to come over to Mario’s but I was too ashamed. I felt Mario’s large family would judge me as a neglectful and inadequate mother. I was embarrassed to show my face feeling that it was my fault that my seventeen-year-old daughter was in the position she found herself.

Therefore, I was thinking only about myself rather than your need for support. As your mother, I had a responsibility to protect you, especially as a teenager. The realization that I never saw my daughter in her pregnant state, that I didn’t get a call when she felt scared, nervous, possibly unsure or when the baby turned over and kicked for the first time is devastating.

Of all my thoughts, the worst is not getting that call when you went into labor; to not be present at my grandson’s birth brings me to tears. When I combine all these truths I have expressed above my chest fills with grief and guilt and a flood of tears speak of my profound need to apologize for what may be unforgivable.

Presently is my need to bring closure to this open wound as such pain of the heart, if not addressed, will continue to ever be present. So, with these confessions, Daughter of Mine, Emily, Emily Esther, Emma, Z, Z-Be, Zeeb, Little Love, Muffin, I’m very, very sorry for not standing by you.

Love you always, Mom.

Terrorists Strike Israel

Terrorists Strike Israel

Gaza > The people with loathing black hearts cannot see the ancient forest for the trees. They buried their dead youth killed by gunfire for throwing stones. They buried their innocent children after incoming bombs destroyed their hiding places. They became homeless when a bulldozer destroyed their home.

Israel > The people with loathing black hearts cannot see the ancient forest for the trees. They buried their neighbor after the old man was stabbed while standing on a street corner. They buried a loving mother of five after she was stabbed in front of her young children.

Two Palestinians killed four Israelis and the Israeli Army will retaliate and kill fifty or more Palestinians. Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and murder them, there won’t be any trumpets blowing come the judgment day and on a bloody morning after perhaps one tin soldier will ride away.

She Has Many Names

She Has Many Names
Two weeks ago, for a change, I turned on the television. CNN News was broadcasting from Syria. What caught my attention was a large number of people walking in the middle of the dirt road going in the same direction. The men carried bundles on their backs and the women held the hand of small children or carried babies.
A British journalist was reporting on the refugees fleeing Syria. A young girl, who appeared to be around 7 years old, wearing clothes too big for her small frame, was standing alone in the mix of adults who passed her by. The journalist approaches the girl and asks what her name is. She half smiles and looks at the reporter’s face before shrugging her shoulders to suggest she can’t remember. The reporter next asks the girl where her father is. She answers that he is dead. As hard as she tries to keep her eyes fixed on his face, she looks to the ground and back up and again to the ground, just for a moment. She’s struggling to keep the friendly smile on her face as the reporter asks where her father had died? The girl doesn’t answer, and the question is repeated, she mumbles the name of a city. In her brown eyes, I could see a hint of pain that she didn’t want to show. I could sense her mind was filtering images of her father. The girl continues her stare at the reporter’s face when he asks, “have you eaten anything today, anything for breakfast or lunch?” The girl breaks her stare and looks to the ground one more time before her smile disappears before she brings her hands up to her face and silently begins to weep. The reporter turns from the child to look into the camera and says, “This child is in shock, she can’t even remember her name.”
I had many questions when CNN cut to a commercial break. Though, I haven’t seen her face again on any related footage. I figure out her name, child victim, the war orphan, unwanted refugee or collateral damage. I think of her often, her brown eyes and the brave facade she held in place just like a frightened soldier.

Reminded by Forever Blue

Reminded by Forever Blue

I used to hit the bathtub in those dead moments of depression only to find the stillness brought on more anxiety. Keep moving, keep moving my brain would signal. Standing up, I would turn the knob to the shower position, bow my head, and listen to thoughts that I felt were not my own.

Hot water pours over my face, across my bent shoulders, and down my aching back until the moment brings the same result. Tears, tears running down my face, dripping from my chin to be caught up in the drops of hot water pouring from above. I keep listening to those thoughts unable to picture a tangible form, sinking lower in the fluidity of emotions flooding over me like the hot water to be swallowed up by the drain and taken to the recycling center.

The emptiness of my being, my numb flesh, and my shallow breath these are the things I knew for certain. And under the weight of the water, in the darkness that I could not abate, I would surrender one more time, thinking…I’ve gotta get out of here!