Category Archives: Guest Author/ Reblog

Sounds of the City

Carol A. Hand

When greeting the morning

the silver-toned song of a bird

got me wondering

How does one convey
the sounds of the city
engulfed in a misty fog
that amplifies sounds?

*

*

The whisper of leaves

in the breeze – sh-h-h-h-h

The sounds of workmen

replacing a neighbor’s roof –

with the tap-tap-tap of hammers

and the sharper rhythmic

sounds of a staple gun

The sound of the lawn mower

growing softer then louder

depending on the direction

of the unseen mower

whir-

r-

r-

r-

r-

r-

r- ing in the distance

*

Listening intently to the world

and trying to describe what one hears

on a silent page is not an easy task

and a challenge I will continue to ponder

*

Bella’s Elixir by Raymond Roy #fiction #shortstory

Recently, it has been increasingly more difficult for me to find time to write posts for my blog. At the moment, I have a batch of student papers to grade and two more assignments coming in this week. I have been wondering what to do with my blog. And then it occurred to me. When I first began blogging, a new-found friend with a huge following featured some of my early posts on his site, instantly helping me connect to a wider community.

One of the things I have loved most about being part of a blogging community is the opportunity to meet so many talented artists, photographers, poets, writers, and storytellers, and so many kind and decent people. This morning, I read a story written by one of them, Raymond Roy, at goroyboy. I was inspired to ask Ray, a writer whose work often touches me deeply, if he would allow me to reblog his newest story, Bella’s Elixir. He graciously agreed to allow me to share this work.

Please take time to visit Ray’s site.

goroyboy's Blog

Chapter 1

“The Gift”

Mid August-The Perseids (meteor showers) were in full swing. Named Perseid as the shooting “stars” originate from the constellation Perseus (A Great Greek hero), slayer of monsters and most notably, the Gorgon Medusa.

High winds made for a clear night. A gamma ray infused meteor ignited as it entered earth’s atmosphere. With evaporating layers of ice, rock and carbon, a vapor trail streamed across the night sky. With a loud thud, the meteor landed in a small pond, just outside a scrap metal junkyard in rural US of A.

The impact of the space rock stirred a little dust in the makeshift den, a scrapped 69 Chevelle. A cob web broke free, shimmering in the sliver of white linen moonlight floating for a moment, then landing onto the nose of a soft fluffy fur ball named Bella. Bella was solid black from head to toe. In…

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Awakening Slowly

Carol A. Hand

Awakening slowly
after a stormy night’s
seemingly dreamless sleep
frequently interrupted
by the urgent sound of rain
pounding on windows and roof
accompanied by booming thunder
that shook the house
to its very foundations
yet resting unafraid
and rising gently
to greet the day
gardens transformed
overnight

***

July 12, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 12, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

other awakenings grace my days
encountering random kindness
in unexpected places like the city bus
as a stately elder gentleman
reached across the divisiveness
so prevalent here today
to bring kindness and comfort
into the lives of others
and graciously dealt with
rejection from those
effectively conditioned
to fear difference and joy
I couldn’t leave the bus
without thanking him
in the only words
that came to me
Sir, you are a blessing to others

***

The Fourth of July: Nationalism and Colonialism

The time seems right to share this post from years ago as fiery flowers once again light the sky in a celebration that I don’t share.

Voices from the Margins

Carol A. Hand

As the date of the quintessential celebration of colonial oppression for Indigenous Peoples in the U.S. approaches, signaled by loud explosions in the night, an image from my childhood comes unbidden to mind – a child crouching, head bowed, eyes closed, hands tightly covering ears.

crouching child

Photo Credit: Carol A. Hand

I remember how much I disliked attending these events with my family, surrounded by crowds of people cheering and oohing and aahing in the local park as the symbolic missiles of war blossom like booming “fiery flowers” in the darkened evening sky. I didn’t know the deeper symbolism then for Indigenous Peoples, but the mindless and frenzied fascination of the crowd frightened me. I realize it still does. It brings to mind a story I wrote about my experiences in Missoula, Montana, during the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

************

Mount Jumbo montanalandtrusts dot org

Photo Credit: http://www.montanalandtrusts.org/successes/

I moved to this…

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Gratitude for Gardens and Granddaughters

Carol A. Hand

Sometimes, one doesn’t have to travel far

to observe serenity and beauty with beloved companions

Neighborhood Garden – July 3, 2017

Even in the context of critters, city “upgrades,” and unpredictable weather

City “Upgrades” on a Drizzly Day – July 12, 2017

sometimes there are possibilities to create little sanctuaries

Gardens in the Rain – July 12, 2017
Sanctuary at Sunset – July 16, 2017

to enjoy a simple life and share love and laughter

Enjoying the Sunshine – July 16, 2017

weaving deeper appreciation for things that matter

knowing that these precious moments will pass

with the ever-changing seasons of our lives

***

Joni Mitchell – Circle Game

Just connections

by Cynthia Renee Donner

What if we wondered what was hijacking our emotions,
and holding us in tightly wrapped boxes of fear, shame, anger and distrust
sealed by corporate satisfaction and greed;
as we’re fed from the roots of oppression.
Where it’s too dark to see truth,
amidst the noise of lies and deception
that relentlessly deprive and control thoughts,
what if we just started wondering?

Suburbia, by David Shankbone, Wikipedia

What if, in wondering, we chewed a little hole,
just enough to let in the light of another’s presence
from a nearby box;
and in that light we found each other’s hands
and just started holding?

What if holding hands
made us each desire to see and understand
more of each other
and so together we just chewed harder?

What if chewing harder together
warmed our hearts
which fueled our courage;
so we could pull each other through
the holes in our boxes,
to just embrace?

What if embracing each other
made us able to stand together
and see all the millions of chewed boxes near and far,
and caused us to just question?

What if our questioning
how and why all so many people are struggling to survive in boxes,
made us tune out the noise and just listen?

What if our listening to different stories
helped us understand the forces outside of ourselves that are controlling us;
and the realization of our own and collective suffering
made us just start thrashing?

What if our combined thrashing
caused our boxes to break down,
so we could all just join hands?

What if our collective hand holding,
helped us all just stand up?

What if just standing up together
made us realize that sometimes each of us needs to be just held up?

What if in holding each other up
we were able to move together to figure out what just what we needed?

What if figuring out together what we needed
fed our hungry conscious
and a collective vision just started to grow?

What if the collective vision was nurtured
by the power of our continuous connections
and we just loved what we found in ourselves and each other?

What if we grounded ourselves in that love
and co-created just enough changes to save ourselves and sustain our world?

Just thinking.

Community Clipart

Resistance

by Miriam Schacht (RoteZora)

I haven’t contributed much to this space yet, and that’s in part because things are awful out in the world, and in part because I struggle with depression, and the combination of those two things, well, it’s not great. But I’m working on it. And a good thing, too, because things are bad and getting worse.

I probably don’t have to recount to y’all all the horrible things President Voldemort has done so far, and we’re not even through his first week in office. Things are going to be bad or worse than bad for quite a while. You know what, though? This is what I keep reminding myself of: Things have been bad and worse before. And people resisted. Sometimes, things got better. Even when they didn’t, we still benefited from the examples of fighters who did not give up in spite of immense odds, and in doing so inspired future generations of fighters.

Here’s one example that I’ve always found pretty awe-inspiring. In 1954, as part of an ill-conceived policy called Termination, the federal government ended the Menominee Nation’s status as a recognized Indian tribe. This means that from the standpoint of the feds, Menominees magically stopped being Indians from one day to the next. For many, many reasons, this was awful, and things went from bad to worse over the next two decades.

What did the Menominee Nation do? Well, they did what they’d been doing for the past several centuries, only more so: they resisted. They organized–as “shareholders,” since they could no longer officially organize as tribal members. They held meetings. They planned. They tried to hold everything together in the day-to-day while also trying to bring about massive change.

That kind of thing is unbelievably hard to do, especially because in the moment, you don’t actually know whether anything you do is even going to work. They had no idea that they would eventually be successful, and yet they kept trying, because they had to. Their very existence as a people was on the line.

And even though they were taking on the federal government, and even though that’s not often a situation in which tribes come out with a win, they did not stop, but kept on working and planning and RESISTING.

And they won. It took nearly two decades, but they won. In 1973, President Nixon signed the Menominee Restoration Act, which re-established the Menominee Nation as a federally recognized tribe.

As a side note, one of the people who was instrumental in this fight was Ada Deer, and if her name is not familiar, you are missing out. (I know that Carol knows her–in real life, even!) Read about her here and here, for starters. If you’re looking for some activist heroes, look no further–and keep in mind that she’d also likely point out how many people fought alongside her, and that they were all heroes, and that she’d be right.

Menominee Restoration happened, against the odds, because people got together in protest and fought for their rights. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t fun (though I bet there were jokes and laughter at meetings, along with serious business), and it had no guarantee of success–and it was necessary.

That’s the kind of spirit of resistance that we all need right now. Indigenous people have been resisting for over five hundred years, and their struggles are at the heart of everything that happens on this continent. Not coincidentally, the Menominees are the people indigenous to the place where I am writing this right now, and it is right and proper for me to think about their struggles and their rights (including their rights to the land I am on right now) and acknowledge my debt to them as we all move forward in resistance.

So as we think about how bad things are going to get, let’s also remember that resistance is never futile (contrary to what the Borg Collective would have you believe). It may take years, or decades, or even centuries, but each act of resistance breeds more resistance, and more power, and so each act of resistance is vital.

And if you haven’t already, go learn about the ways the nations in your area have resisted colonization. Because the Indigenous people of this continent are, and should be, the wellspring and heart of resistance, and all of us need to recognize and honor that in order to move forward together. In resistance.