Don’t Mention It

There was no 

“High tech lynching”;

Just inching


The untoward

Without flinching.

Staying silent

For decades

While taking

And taking

And taking

And taking

Not talking

And making

A very



The lives

Of the wives

Are consequential

When their



What the Court


They ginned up


To not mention


Or her intention

To lead

From behind

The bench.

And Jane Roberts’


Were convenient


While law firms

She serviced

Went before

The Supreme



Real Estate

Is among the spate

Of  incidents


By those gents

In robes


To serve

The country

For life.

Their thirst

For money 

And power

Can’t be


And leaves

A fetid



Don’t mention


June 2022

A miscarriage

Has occurred.

Actually, an


Fifty years in the making

Seeking to criminalize

Those most



But not over,

The tide will turn

Toward Justices


From Dark Money

And desperate for


Rights for


Who can’t get



The law sanctions

Open Carry

To full term.

I’m expecting


In response to

“Pro Lifers”

Who care


For those already



For the right

To bear arms


I hemorrhaged


And could barely


This is an


On women and girls’


I will not dwell

In the cruelty


And contractions.

We will


And create


Mourning Sickness

Today I feel gutted.

I was already gutted by the mass shooting at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo, and the next day, as though re-gutted, the mass shooting at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. As unbearably horrific as that mass shooting was, the cover up is even more grotesque to me. Anyone could understand the fear police might have when encountering a deranged shooter with an automatic weapon. Hesitation might occur. Hyper-caution to avoid children…ok. Then why the lies and covering up the story? I am not sure I have the stomach for the answer.

I felt gutted yesterday watching The January 6th Hearings and listening to members of Trump’s DOJ recount 45’s intense and insane pressure to install Jeffrey Clark in the final weeks of his presidency. This, after hearings in which witness after witness relayed Trump’s efforts to overaturn a legitimate democratic election that he lost. Election workers were abused; their lives endangered. VP Mike Pence’s life was in danger. The sickness of Trump’s pathetic cleaving to power and the sad, angry, delusional devotees who are empowered to serve him leave me distraught. When I am not angry and fearful (of so many angry, fearful people with serious gun power), I am profoundly sad that so many people have succumbed to such a gross excuse for a human being and for perpetuating cruelty and selfishness.

Yesterday, upon hearing the news of the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing open carry–because….you know….individual rights/liberties–I was at once terrified and broken. I believe there is now such a tension between the hyper-individualsts who embrace a particular definition of macho and those who are actually more driven to protect the lives of the already born, that the menacing and threatening that seems empowering will only cause if not a conventional civil war, then a serious threat to everyone.

And this morning, with the news of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v wade, I am actually sick to my stomach. I am in mourning. Democracy, which I certainly took for granted in the once USA, is on life support. I am mourning American life that had promise.

I was briefly uplifted by the seemingly ordinary people who became heroic to me: during Trump’s 2 impeachments; during the worst days (and throughout) the COVID19 pandemic; Zalensky; some Republicans who have been Trump loyalists in his administration; unceremonious election workers; Capitol police officers, all of whom bravely stood up to endure under duress and bear testimony to truth. There is still truth. There is still decency. Perhaps too little too late, but some people have been moved. I have learned of goodness and decency during such trials, when so much crazy and serious danger has been thrust upon us and relentlessly spewing through media over the last 6 years.

But whatever solace I felt was amidst the mourning for the beauty that was the promise of life here in the USA, even in this very dangerous 21st century. I am grieving not so much for the world in which I grew up, but for the willingness that we had to continue to improve; to no longer stand for what was, even if we endured it.

I have had queasiness every day for years now, but hoping it would subside when this period finally settled down. Today’s overturning of Roe v wade was not surprising, but it is nonetheless chilling. It is nauseating. And the waves keep coming.

I am mourning the loss of separation between church (all religion) and state; of the recognition of the dignity of all living beings who have been born; of the danger of guns; of peaceful elections and transitions of power; of a healthy climate–political, social, economic,natural.

But after the mourning one must get on with the business of living and creating a healthy life. I don’t see how the current conditions are sustainable. The sickness that has pervaded too much of the American culture and now American deomcratic institutions and democracy itself, from the base to the Supreme Court, is deadly. But succumbing to mourning is deadly too.

Litmus Test


 A guy shoots up a newsroom, killing 5 journalists. President says nothing in response to event or to reporters’ questions following the incident. That night, the video of  the President silently walking past reporters, ignoring their questions about the mass shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom, was aired on tv and social media. A long day later, he stated that “journalists shouldn’t have to be fearful of being attacked while doing their jobs”. But  to Trump, journalists are “the enemy of the people”.  

So, another mass shooting that couldn’t be prevented, because how could we possibly stop the outlier? Each time? Beforehand?  We could arm teachers! Where are those good guys with guns? 

This is a reflection of our culture and politics. We live in danger of being shot anywhere because we won’t regulate lethal weaponry and have poor mental healthcare. Guns are considered masculine, even when women use them. They are the ultimate symbol of American individualism and self sufficiency. They are said to be for protection, but they are for killing (or injuring) full human  (and other) beings. They are meant to cause suffering and fear.

Even those who want to see loopholes closed, better screening , and better mental healthcare across the country, understand that there is a cultural affinity for guns, legitimized by the Second Amendment. 

Why, then, has abortion become the litmus test of our culture and politics? Why has Roe v Wade, which legalized abortion, always seemed dispensable ? The “Right to Life” is only valid as a potential life, but not once born—an actual life? Many like to mock the Clintons’ stance that abortions should be “safe, legal, and rare”, because, well, Hilary said that. The circumstance of pregnancy is unique. But it does include women’s health, and I do think abortions should be safe, legal, and rare.

 Abortion is not some newfangled cultural phenomena that began with The Feminine Mystique. Abortions have always existed, and have been dangerous (and criminal) until I was 10. But the cultural zeal and singular voting issue that has overridden everything in my lifetime has been the issue of abortion. 

Physicians have been shot (and killed) over the idea of getting rid of Roe v Wade, thereby criminalizing abortions (and OBGYNs who might perform the procedure). Right to life?

The President of Trumpistan understands that putting an anti-abortion judge on The Supreme Court will keep his base applauding, and his congressional lackeys collecting contributions. The ridiculous argument that gets put forward that it should be a states’ rights issue, not a federal one, sticks because it is an effective political move to limit access in Red states. Culturally and politically, the so-called “Right to Lifers” have all but eradicated the legality of early termination of a pregnancy, while opening up the floodgates for more semiautomatic weaponry without restrictions on use. 

Sure, there are several issues that delineate the views of the Supreme Court, but none are as contentious as Roe v Wade. Not even guns. We have deluded ourselves across our culture and politics into accepting certain rights as necessary for freedom and, ironically, life, and others as oppressive. Moreover, we have been so divided and hateful over this issue. We have so little room for accepting differing concepts, or compromising. 

Abortion is the issue that most are concerned about now that Kennedy is stepping down from the high court. Shouldn’t we be talking more about the mass murder at a newsroom? 

Breaking the Sound Barrier

Is this the Second Summer of Love? Almost two weeks ago, a few days before the summer solstice, we were once again startled by a sickening massacre of innocents—this time in a church. Even more startling, perhaps, was the forgiveness bestowed upon the gunman a day later by the families of the slain victims. Many of us didn’t realize we had barriers to forgiveness until hearing of their incredible mercy. It was extraordinary!

That same day, Marc Maron interviewed President Obama on Maron’s WTF podcast. This was a first for any President. Those who listened to it on Monday June 22nd when it was released, were treated to an historic conversation not only because it was unprecedented (unintended pun), but because it was amazing!

The President and Maron had an easy conversation about difficult things, especially the excruciating massacre in Charleston, and the seemingly unbreakable hold that racism has on our culture. Obama spoke thoughtfully without seeming to have to think. We could hear what sounded like a natural conversation—unscripted, although the ideas seem to have been developed.

News outlets and the rest of media, social and anti-social, took a sound bite from the conversation and attempted to create an issue over the scariest sound heard in America—the N-word. Of course when I listened to the podcast, I listened in its entirety, and the barrier that I heard broken was not that the N-word was uttered, or that it was said in a complete sentence without emphasis, or that it was vocalized by the President. The barrier that was broken, was that the President said what needed to be said in a way that could be heard (if one were actually listening). Being polite about not using the N-word is not the same as the end of racism in America. BOOM!

That same day, Nikki Haley, Conservative Republican Governor of South Carolina, made a moving speech calling for the removal of the Confederate Flag from government property. She was emotional and compassionate and her voice has led others to follow in removing the Confederate Flag from government properties. She acknowledged that the flag has been regarded as a symbol of hate and oppression. Music to our ears!

Later in the week, enormous barriers were broken as The Supreme Court ruled to uphold Obamacare, allowing millions more access to health insurance. More work needs to be done to ensure and insure affordable health care, but the Affordable Care Act was solidified as a start. And just as the sighs of relief were exhaled, the Supreme Court legalized Same Sex Marriage in all 50 states. Love is winning!

While these Supreme Court decisions are historic, something else happened on Friday, the same day Same-Sex Marriage became the law of the land, and it was momentous. President Obama gave the eulogy for the reverend Clementa Pinckney who was gunned down the previous week at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. After what was arguably one of Obama’s greatest speeches (which is saying quite a lot), he startled the mourners there as well as the rest of us. He broke into song. He did not perform as a troubadour or soloist, but he did start solo. Some were audibly startled and one could hear some nervous laughter at first . His voice broke a barrier. The President sang Amazing Grace.

There is something about singing that breaks barriers. We are unguarded when we sing; we just use what we have. I think that’s what was initially startling when the President began to sing. It was outside of the categories that we are used to. But he was quickly joined in song.

The rapid succession of historic moments that seemed to break barriers over the last couple of weeks felt remarkable. Undoubtedly, many will continue to feel threatened by such changes and will continue to sound off. But calling discrimination, freedom won’t work. Attempting to disguise the sounds and symbols of hate won’t work. They have been barriers to living fully in America. We have always become better when we have broken barriers to participation. In what has felt like an unheard of couple of weeks, we are in an historic moment, that sounds pretty great.

Right of Spring

As an arts and education activist– a culturalist– I am always delving into how traditions and cultural symbols and expressions reflect our ideas and ideals, as well as inspire. This week many celebrate Passover and Easter, and recount the ancient stories of slavery to liberation, sacrifice and resurrection. Families and friends feast on foods and participate in rituals that evoke these tales, and seek relevance to our own struggles. We have  the opportunity to celebrate the newness and beauty of the nature and culture of Spring.


Aside from religious rituals of Spring, I was thinking about other cultural expressions, and of course Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” sprung to mind. For those not familiar with the music, it hardly evokes images of Spring. The music is harsh and, although interesting, is almost the opposite of the way we like to think of Spring as crocuses, chirping birds and fluttering butterflies. Similarly, the ballet, originally choreographed by Nijinsky, was initially poorly received as the dances and dancers were contrary to audience notions of beauty and grace or the loveliness of Spring. The music and ballet (and also Matisse’s “Dance” that was painted around the same time as Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”composition) recalled elements of paganism in an avant-garde approach. Their modernist works upended cultural notions and referenced paganism as a means to pushing cultural boundaries. If Spring was about transformation and (re)birth, the birth of modernism transformed cultural sensibilities (in frightening geo political ways as well). This modernism is over a century old.


We often think of Modern as new, but what is the new Rite of Spring? We still have much to transform.  A couple of years ago, the world watched as uprisings across the Arab world gave rise to what was coined the Arab Spring. There was hope and possibility in the air that dictatorships and harsh rule and economic inequalities would be transformed , and that Democracy would ensue.


As of this writing, the Supreme Court is examining the legal implications of gay marriage. At this moment in our history, it seems as though public opinion is far ahead of the Court on gay marriage. In previous eras, the Court created the legal paths for civil rights, and cultural attitudes had to adjust to the legal reality. Now, we have a different situation: The Supreme Court is wrestling with the right to marry after the cultural shift toward marriage equality for gay couples. This is the Right of this Spring. Now we need new cultural arts compositions to reflect our new ideals and inspire the next generations.