Beam Me up Scotty….

Beam me up Scotty…an iconic line from StarTrek…one I have related to forever it seems…more so now…so much more longingly…I am however told most gently and lovingly…not in your lifetime Mother…I realize and acknowledge this…albeit sadly..and enviously for an Age when this will be a reality…

In this age of increased and frequent air travel…when so many of our loved ones have taken the world being a Global Village so much to heart and so literally…air travel to various and random parts of the world is now done spontaneously…unthinkingly…frequently…comfortably…for me however , the Beam me up Scotty scenario still remains too elusively distant…

Air travel although faster…easier…and so much more comfortable physically is no longer the fun experience it used to be…age it seems creeps up on you in so many unwelcome and insidious ways…manifesting itself prominently so in extended air travel with all its related preparation and stress…

The world is definitely so much more the Global Village today than it has ever been before…it does however come at a price…a decreased dispensation of courtesy…acceptance…civility…a harsh reality of the times we live in…and hence..the wistful longing for a Beam me up Scotty scenario…just before an extended air journey…

The Triumph of Faith and Endurance…

For the last two days we have watched with bated breaths the culmination of a miracle on TV. Yes…the case of the trapped and now freed, Chilean miners! We spend so much of our time disputing the miracles of the Good Lord…whether by ignoring the daily sunrise and sunset…the magnificent beauties and magic of nature…or the cycle of life…but now, this miraculous journey of faith and endurance of the Chilean miners, the untiring and phenomenal journey of technology coupled with faith and commitment is there in all it’s irrefutable hi-tech reality…

This journey of hope started in real terms for the families of the miners and the  rest of us 17 days after it had actually begun for the miners…it is unimaginable to even begin to comprehend what they went through in those initial 17 days…but their hope and faith brimmed to the surface and the rest of the world in their first contact…an unforgettable moment…and from then on, the caravan of hope, work, technology, commitment, resilience , endurance , unity,  faith…culminated in the rescue of all the trapped miners…a record in every sense of the word and record stats. The heart sings at this modern day miracle…with thanks and gratitude to God for enabling us to make it happen…a blessing par excellence…

The wave of jubilation, camaraderie, team work, love , rejoicing, joyous triumph that greeted the first miner right up to the last one who surfaced was an unforgettable sight…a victory for humanity…cutting across borders, faiths , color, class, creeds…this is the lesson that this modern Day miracle brought to our world…this is the hope and commitment we need to remember. The cage that brought the miners out of the dark underworld bowels of the earth was named…the Phoenix…an apt name, full of hope and expectancy…is mankind ready to rise out of the ashes of tyranny, oppression, autocracy, domination…to a Second Coming…

A Moment of Silence…

Today is 10/10/10…a date that comes around every 1000 years we are told…momentous to be here for it…a gift of God…but …
Although we remember…celebrate…honor…commemorate…observe days and dates…which is as it should be…the following poem points to and reminds us of days and dates we have forgotten…or choose not to remember…and we must not do so , because when we do, we continue to repeat the cycle of chaos…calamity…tragedy…anarchy…that was wrought of account of that…and will continue to do so if we do not put an end to…selective memory…
A Moment of Silence (Emmanuel Ortiz)
Before I begin this poem, I’d like to ask you to join me in a moment of silence in honor of those who died in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th, 2001.
I would also like to ask you to offer up a moment of silence for all of those who have been harassed, imprisoned, disappeared, tortured, raped, or killed in retaliation for those strikes, for the victims in Afghanistan, Iraq, in the U.S., and throughout the world.
And if I could just add one more thing…
A full day of silence… for the tens of thousands of Palestinians who have died at the hands of U.S.-backed Israeli forces over decades of occupation.
Six months of silence… for the million and-a-half Iraqi people, mostly children, who have died of malnourishment or starvation as a result
of a 12-year U.S. embargo against the country.
…And now, the drums of war beat again.
Before I begin this poem, two months of silence… for the Blacks under Apartheid in South Africa, where “homeland security” made them aliens in their own country
Nine months of silence… for the dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where death rained down and peeled back every layer of concrete, steel, earth and skin, and the survivors went on as if alive.
A year of silence… for the millions of dead in Viet Nam —a people, not a war—for those who know a thing or two about the scent of burning fuel, their relatives bones buried in it, their babies born of it.
Two months of silence… for the decades of dead in Colombia, whose names, like the corpses they once represented, have piled up and slipped off our tongues.
Before I begin this poem,
Seven days of silence… for El Salvador
A day of silence… for Nicaragua
Five days of silence… for the Guatemaltecos
None of whom ever knew a moment of peace in their living years.
45 seconds of silence… for the 45 dead at Acteal, Chiapas…
1,933 miles of silence… for every desperate body
That burns in the desert sun
Drowned in swollen rivers at the pearly gates to the Empire’s underbelly,
A gaping wound sutured shut by razor wire and corrugated steel.
25 years of silence… for the millions of Africans who found their graves far deeper in the ocean than any building could poke into the sky.
For those who were strung and swung from the heights of sycamore trees
In the south… the north… the east… the west…
There will be no dna testing or dental records to identify their remains.
100 years of silence… for the hundreds of millions of indigenous people
From this half of right here,
Whose land and lives were stolen,
In postcard-perfect plots like Pine Ridge, Wounded Knee, Sand Creek, Fallen Timbers, or the Trail of Tears
Names now reduced to innocuous magnetic poetry on the refrigerator of our consciousness…
From somewhere within the pillars of power
You open your mouths to invoke a moment of our silence
And we are all left speechless,
Our tongues snatched from our mouths,
Our eyes stapled shut.
A moment of silence,
And the poets are laid to rest,
The drums disintegrate into dust.
Before I begin this poem,
You want a moment of silence…
You mourn now as if the world will never be the same
And the rest of us hope to hell it won’t be.
Not like it always has been.
…Because this is not a 9-1-1 poem
This is a 9/10 poem,
It is a 9/9 poem,
A 9/8 poem,
A 9/7 poem…
This is a 1492 poem.
This is a poem about what causes poems like this to be written.
And if this is a 9/11 poem, then
This is a September 11th 1973 poem for Chile.
This is a September 12th 1977 poem for Steven Biko in South Africa.
This is a September 13th 1971 poem for the brothers at Attica Prison, New York.
This is a September 14th 1992 poem for the people of Somalia.
This is a poem for every date that falls to the ground amidst the ashes of amnesia.
This is a poem for the 110 stories that were never told,
The 110 stories that history uprooted from its textbooks
The 110 stories that that cnn, bbc, The New York Times, and Newsweek ignored.
This is a poem for interrupting this program.
This is not a peace poem,
Not a poem for forgiveness.
This is a justice poem,
A poem for never forgetting.
This is a poem to remind us
That all that glitters
Might just be broken glass.
And still you want a moment of silence for the dead?
We could give you lifetimes of empty:
The unmarked graves,
The lost languages,
The uprooted trees and histories,
The dead stares on the faces of nameless children…
Before I start this poem we could be silent forever
Or just long enough to hunger,
For the dust to bury us
And you would still ask us
For more of our silence.
So if you want a moment of silence
Then stop the oil pumps
Turn off the engines, the televisions
Sink the cruise ships
Crash the stock markets
Unplug the marquee lights
Delete the e-mails and instant messages
Derail the trains, ground the planes.
If you want a moment of silence, put a brick through the window
of Taco Bell
And pay the workers for wages lost.
Tear down the liquor stores,
The townhouses, the White Houses, the jailhouses, the penthouses
and the Playboys.
If you want a moment of silence,
Then take it
On Super Bowl Sunday,
The Fourth of July,
During Dayton’s 13 hour sale,
The next time your white guilt fills the room where my beautiful brown people have gathered.
You want a moment of silence
Then take it
Now,
Before this poem begins.
Here, in the echo of my voice,
In the pause between goosesteps of the second hand,
In the space between bodies in embrace,
Here is your silence.
Take it.
Take it all.
But don’t cut in line.
Let your silence begin at the beginning of crime.
And we,
Tonight,
We will keep right on singing
For our dead.
Emmanuel Ortiz is a third-generation Chicano/Puerto Rican/Irish-American community organizer and spoken word poet.

Friendships and Family…

Friendships are truly blessings par excellence…the joy and comfort of being with someone who fills up the space around you so effortlessly, without any imposition, understanding your moods in the light of shared experiences…and then…most importantly…not saying anything hurtful or careless! Therein I do believe lies the true comfort of friendship…this concern and…reluctance to say the mindless and not so kind word…something we do not always take care of in other relationships…specially family!

In other relationships…most specifically of kin…this is almost never a consideration. We blurt out mindless, inane , hurtful thoughts without a care in the world…this is sadly, said to those we should really be taking the most care of…knowing full well we would never say these things to a…friend.  We justify this by saying…we can choose our friends…but not family…and so with Family it is almost always ‘open house’ day…sad, but true.

It is only much later as we age…grow…evolve…understand…do we come to realize the significance of family! These irrefutable ties that we often spend the better part of our lives trying to forget, start to bring feelings…emotions…to a table we have stopped sharing. The comfort zone of their ‘being’ impacts our being in ways we never expected it to…these are often latent feelings we still try to suppress…the hype of not being able to choose kin as opposed to friends has done it’s work well…

The ideal becomes apparent often much later…friendship with family…there is little that compares with this combination…the ease of  joyous recollections…the happiness of shared memories and incidents…the comfort of being aware and in the know of the self through the years…of literally seeing and growing up together with all one’s ups and downs…the shared family expressions, nuances and changing and evolving alliances…the unspoken understanding and ease borne of a lifelong and undeniable relationship…the realization of the joy, comfort level and strength of Family is a powerful and perceptive realization…one that needs to be embraced sooner rather than later…

The joy of children’s successes…

What is it about your children’s achievements and successes that gets the adrenalin really pumping and brings out all sort of latent qualities of boastfulness to the fore? With the best of intentions and trying really hard not to embarrass your children…it still does not happen, and…you get a blog about it !

On another related front…is it just me or do children/young adults these days get more embarrassed than we were ever wont to…I am told repeatedly they are a more modest generation about their achievements…I am forced to acknowledge this as also realize and accept with much respect that their levels and  milestones of achievements are often quite mind boggling…I cannot for the life of me remember the sort of incredible academic grades achieved today as a norm in my day…do you? It is hence very creditable and worthy of praise to be so unassuming and unpretentious and it is a credit to all our children that they are so…

However, I am less so when it comes to the children’s achievements…and so, I am over the moon at something that my elder son has achieved recently…getting into a most prestigious but challenging professional program for his line of work…it gives me not just so much happiness and pride…but comes with many thanks to the Good Lord for His generosity…as also the prayer that it will be all he wants it to be…will help him in his journey to reach all the milestones he has set for himself…to always give him the courage to dream all his dreams…to maintain the positive strength of hope, optimism and confidence that are his forte…to retain his incredible work ethic and commitment…and in this journey help him not just to realize all his dreams and aspirations but also find joy, satisfaction, success, ease , enjoyment….above all, inner peace and the joy and contentment of achievement…Amen…