How to work through a massacre

How to work through a massacre
When the DNA of hate endures?
Where voices come for praise and song
Is not a space this hate belongs.

And through sorrow I ask my Lord
How did this plot steal past that door
Through time and place, to sacred space,
To murder in the name of race?

It’s not for us to save this man.
He did not search to understand
The source of scour within his heart.
That’s how he’s torn our hearts apart.

He’s one, it’s true, but hate takes root
Where soil is wet and words are mute.
A tainted well deep underground
Feeds branches where strange fruit is found.

And when we join in blessed rage
Perhaps we’ll come to turn the page
But I don’t think we’ll be so well
Until we source the deeper well.

Our Father who in Heaven art
Will rest our heads and calm our heart.
But Mother’s tears will rain all night
With Charleston in Her arms tonight.



Concepts, like individuals, have their histories and are just as incapable of withstanding the ravages of time as are individuals. But in and through all this they retain a kind of homesickness for the scenes of their childhood. — Soren Kierkegaard


Photo by Dan Rosenblum

Ambulance (for a broken heart)

It is the inverse of
what you see.
People in the streets,
they are the emergency.

Block by block, the crowds cry
from symptoms of failing systems,
Their steps mark
the pulse of broken hearts

Where justice should flow freely
it does not
Justice is arrested,
has all seized up.

So many mourn
while killers walk
And brakelights are all
you think about?

This ambulance
is spelled out in reverse
so you can read it clear
from your rearview mirror.

Photo by Dan Rosenblum

Over the cliff


Featured image

I feel like i need to liveblog this 2 minutes and 41 seconds? this is … uh… i mean i knew, but now? like now-now. extinctions are happening at a rate 1000 times faster than they should be. all because of what’s happened in the last 200 years. last time such elevated extinction rates? 65 million years ago, when we lost a third to a half of all species, including dinosaurs. after then, it took 5 to 10 million years to recover. the only way: make humans part of the solution instead of the cause of the problem.

i’m finding this beneficial to read through: “If you are looking at this in a rigorous way, you can see that something unusual is going on.” Why oceanic acidification is going to be the worst: “One-third of the carbon-dioxide that we pump into the air ends up in the oceans almost right away, and when CO2 dissolves in water, it forms an acid, that’s just an unfortunate fact… “

The Rant Line

Operator: Hello, you’ve reached the Rant Line.

Ebbels: So here’s what I’ve been thinking about. There are good and bad laws. With laws, I think it’s better to look at the quality than the quantity. A great number of laws can have great effect. A high number of laws can have awful effects. I think, for one, we need a lot more good laws and a lot less bad laws.

Operator: I also think it’s not that we need to inject our own angry energy into our politics. We need to actually cool it, and listen.

Ebbels: If you hear a fart, it’s all part of it too.

Operator: Yeah. We need to let the Earth have a very major vote in this race. We are already lucky we have such a big vote in her race. With that said, opposing Mother Earth is a very stupid position… majority loses.

Ebbels: I thought I was calling the Rant Line. Sounds like you need to call your own number!

Operator: Majorities don’t mean anything. The presence of anything, majority or extrapolation, in the whole, means something significant, perhaps even valiant. It’s a story of deviation, of uniqueness, but also of trajectory, of random unrandomness.

Ebbels: Life coming from almost nothing – I believe this is one of the laws of thermodynamics, which is a reasoning for life itself, right? This is already hardly believable or explainable, when looking at how it works. But, it does. Just as it is nearly certain that the universe is expanding.

Operator: Yes. A tiny grain of life can trigger incredible changes on the planet.

Ebbels: This is why I am totally fine with hope. I am fine with hope the way I am fine with you twisting and deviating your brain any which way to keep it flexible and active. This produces not just connection, but union. I’m not okay with hope when it is ignorant. Hope seeks understanding. And understanding is in the mean, in the trajectory, too. Understanding is found in the whole.

I don’t believe God is only the light, or the sun, but I don’t exactly worship the moon. I breathe with the moon, I move with the sun. And the universe is bigger than that. I’m excited to think that our highly evolved figures are wired for transgalactic communications! But it’s simple: Truth is real. And God, I feel, has a fuzzy warmth to it. Like a knowing smile.

Operator: So our politics remind us that this is humanity we all share. It, too, should feel a little warm and fuzzy. At least sometimes.

Ebbels: I’m not ranting, anymore, Operator. Thanks.

Operator: Oh, it’s nothing. Good night!

A little reading

More that I’ve been up to at The Montclair Times is below.

New in the On Our Minds mental health series:

MC_Massage02_090513_mt_tif_Connections made through loving touch (Sept 5 edition)

The hidden scars of child trauma (Aug 15 edition)

Start earlier, stay healthier (Aug 1 edition)

New in the Carpe Caffeam column series:

– Mea culpa, ad infinitum (Sept 26 edition)

The funnybone connects to the wishbone (Aug 1 edition)

Book/poetry articles:

The diary of a 20-something (Sept 19 edition)

– Spoken word poets to lead workshops in Montclair (Apr 18 edition)

Non-profit/outreach articles:

– Turnout high for domestic violence walk (Sept 12 edition)

Breaking the cycle of violence, starting fresh (July 25 edition)

Merchants in bike-friendly mood (Aug 22 edition)

Arts/music articles:

– ‘What is one billion? What is real?’ asks Robert Barry (Sept 26 edition)

Montclair Times Arts Editor Joan Finn to retire after storied career (Aug 22 edition)

No ‘swing-a-ling’ in these jazz charts (May 30 edition)

Major update.

I’ve been working at The Montclair Times since March, as the Community Editor. Whee!

Plenty going on there. Plen-tee.

Here’s a few things:

— I started a column; it’s called Carpe Caffeam (ykno, Seize the Coffee). It’s about life and trying to be okay with it all. So far I’ve written two; a third is on its way. Here’s #1 (What a day a coffee makes). Here’s #2 (Less practice makes imperfect).

— I started a series; it’s called On Our Minds, and it’s about mental health. So far I’ve also written two; a third is coming down the pike. The first: “Are we there yet?” The second: “Crazy talk: Language matters in mental health.”

— If you want to keep up, I’m sometimes tweeting and instagraming on this kind of stuff. I’m pretty easy to find.

— Other than that: ::: : I’ve written about a soup kitchen getting extra-healthy (here); Rainn Wilson on spirituality — news story here and interview transcript here; a single-parents support group; farm camp; the capture of a young black bear; a local jazz composer and band co-leader; the first-ever Montclair food and wine festival; Dr. Richard Besser’s new book; the passing of composer Dean Drummond; Montclair Film Festival coverage: The Brothers Hypnotic, Zipper: Coney Island’s Last Wild Ride, Valley of Saints, and Computer Chess; the Montclair Public Library’s ambitious strategic plan; and more.

It’s been fun. Looking forward to what’s ahead.

Take care!!