I Know the World is Bruised and Bleeding

I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence … Toni Morrison

Welcome to November 2023, Dear Ever-Growing Circle of Beloved Rascals.  October has been a helluva month and most of us have been around long enough to not be so naïve as to believe we’ve seen the last of it. Our country and our world is far from letting go of the stubborn lack of imagination that seems to make violence the answer to every challenge. But even today there is a spark of light, if only we choose to look closely enough to see it.

In my last post I quoted Jessica Craven who reminded us, in the face of the horror unfolding in the Middle Eastwe can grieve, and, in fact, must if we want to retain our humanity. But to despair is to decide that there is no future worth fighting for. 

Again, from Toni Morrison:  “This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.”

Here are words from Maine’s governor Janet Wells, who spoke so eloquently at the press conference on October 25th about another factor involved in healing:  I know that the people of Lewiston are enduring immeasurable pain. I wish I could take that pain from you, but I promise you this, we will all help you carry this grief …  I know it’s hard for us to think about healing when our hearts are broken, but I want you to know that we will heal together. Going forward, struggling as we may, let’s wrap our arms around one another, and offer comfort and solace and love. 

After that (and not to draw comparisons of horror, but perhaps of attitude) I couldn’t help but think about the aftermath of 9/11 2001 when I wrote this poem, which later became part of my first poetry collection, Words That Dance.

It seemed inevitable then, that the focus of this post would be an invitation to consider poetry, art, music, and theater as perhaps the most empowering form of Activism …  a viable alternative to despair.  

Kwame Dawes, in his essays about political poetry, says things like  … All poets are political…by our noise and by our silencemade me wonder about what the revolutionary poet would look like—what the revolutionary poet would write … writing in the now asking tough questions about the current political landscape … I realize that I am partial to poems that have something to say—something immediate, something urgent.

Reading his words, I realize too, that I am partial to poems with something to say, and theater performances too, like the Oregon poet & dramatist, Cindy Williams Gutierrez’s In The Name of Forgotten Women, the artful Hollywood films, Oppenheimer and Killers of the Flower Moon, as well as Leonard Cohen’s Anthem, featured in my October post.

Art offers the viewer or the reader an opportunity to turn off our thinking and just feel something deeply. A lifelong pacifist, the late poet William Stafford was a master of the political poem. I’m remembering “In Memorial”, just three short lines:  In Nagasaki they have built a little room / dark and soundproof where you can / go in all alone and close the door and cry.

In a world where so many are either feeling helpless and hopeless, or have become so paralyzed by their position, we should not overlook those who have had the courage to change their mind, like Maine’s Representative Jared Golden, who reversed his opposition to banning assault weapons, and Vermont’s  Becca Balint, whom you can watch here boldly proposing the censure of Marjorie Taylor Green.

Scattered all over the world, as Jessica Craven points out, there are little “organizations that have been doing fantastic work to foster trust and peaceful co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians, many for decades”.  One of her subscribers offered a spreadsheet to share. Here it is!

Maybe some of my subscribers too, or even those of you who only visit from time to time, know of some small organizations working to lessen the suffering of our fellow humans, who would welcome more exposure and support. I encourage you to share them in the ‘comments’ section.

And if you have a favorite poem or can link us to an inspiring music video, please do.  Here’s one of mine.

And with that, I will say “So Long for Now”. May we continue to keep our hearts open, to demonstrate through our everyday kindnesses that that spark of light is still very much alive, and may we continue to show up and do what is there to be done. I believe it was our beloved Maya Angelou who said, I cannot do everything the world needs, but the world needs everything I can do.

Blessings on us All … until next time.

Love, Sulima

Published by Sulima Malzin

This 'Aging Rascal & Occasional Writer' invites you to embrace the world through her open window of poetry, art, activism, music, and humor.

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