“Maybe You Can Swim”

“Maybe you could swim,” the owner of the Pointe-aux-Chenes marina tells me when I ask if I can get to the Isles de Jean Charles without a car. “But I wouldn’t, on account of the gators.”

Rising: Dispatches from the New American shore, p. 20

 

Rising: Dispatches From the New American Shore, p. 4

I understood then that sea-level rise was not a problem for future generations. It was happening already, exacerbated by human interventions in the landscape. And perhaps even more importantly, I sensed that the slow-motion migration in, away from our disintegrating shorelines, had already begun.

 

Milkman, p. 7

  • At the time, age eighteen, having been brought up in a hair-trigger society where the ground rules were — if no physically violent touch was being laid upon you, and no outright verbal insults were being levelled at you, and no taunting looks in the vicinity either, then nothing was happening, so how could you be under attack from something that wasn’t there?

Having watched Christine Blasey Ford’s agonizing and humiliating recounting of her experience with Brett Kavanaugh, self would like to say that, on the basis of how Ford’s evidence was handled, even if there had been violent touch and verbal insults and taunting looks, the victim still wouldn’t be believed.

It turns out there was at least one female listener who had her own private experience of assault, but did not speak up. US Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ), months later, revealed she had been raped by a superior while she was in the Air Force. McSally was the first American woman to fly in combat.

Thinking about McSally now, even if she had spoken up during the Kavanaugh hearing, it might not have changed the outcome. But, jeez, it would have made Christine Blasey Ford feel less alone.

Stay tuned.

Prairie Schooner: The Opioid Issue (Winter 2018), Guest Edited by Glenna Luschei

Ray Murphy, from a letter quoted in the Introduction by Glenna Luschei:

Virtually all of my writing about opiates stems from writing about injury. I never address opiates as a recreational drug. Be interesting to see how many other submissions you get that come out of injury and pain, and then progress into dependency and possibly full-blown addiction.

The second piece in the issue is Marsha de la O’s Paradise Motel. An excerpt:

Black flame, blue spoon, now the shadow
draws close a cloak as wide as Lake Michigan,
robed and rocked in god’s water, rippling
indigo. From out on the street the rush of cars

weave through their harmonies —
those vessels I’ve entered one by one,
riding out currents on a raft of fire.

Marsha de la O’s new collection, Every Ravening Thing, is just out from Pitt Poetry.

delaO-Cover-380x570.jpg

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Bartolome de las Casas (1484 – 1566), Bishop of Chiapas

  • In the 16th century, Spain’s newest colony, the Philippines, was administered from Mexico. Luckily, Manila’s first Bishop was “a disciple of Bartolome de las Casas . . . bishop of Chiapas. De las Casas, writing about the injustice, torture and decimation of the American Indians in Mexico, fueled a reform movement that led to a royal decree in 1542 banning the enslavement of Indians and virtually ending the encomienda system by limiting ownership of slaves to a single generation.”

La Casa de Dios: The Legacy of Filipino-Hispanic Churches in the Philippines, by René B. Javellana, SJ

Lyndon B. Johnson, 11 December 1972

Lyndon B. Johnson speaking at a Civil Rights Symposium in the LBJ Library on Dec. 11, 1972:

“Of all the records that are housed in this library, 31 million papers over a 40-year period of public life” . . . the records relating to civil rights “holds the most of myself within it, and holds for me the most intimate meanings . . . ” Until “blacks stand on level and equal ground,” we cannot rest.

Leadership in Troubled Times, p. 351

One Year Ago: Redwood City, California

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The American Civil War, June 1862

Leadership in Troubled Times, Chapter Nine: Transformational Leadership

“General George G. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac suffered a crushing defeat in its first major offensive.” McClellan’s Army was trying to get to the Confederate Capital of Richmond when it was crushed by General Robert E. Lee in a series of brutal battles. The Union Army was forced to retreat, “leaving nearly 16,000 dead, captured or wounded.”

“Lincoln resolved to visit the troops” and discovered that a crucial factor in the Confederate’s success was: “Slaves dug trenches and built fortifications for the Confederate Army. Slaves served as teamsters, cooks, waiters, and hospital attendants. On the home front, they tilled fields, raised crops and picked cotton. Slave labor kept farms and plantations in operation. The toil of slaves liberated Confederate soldiers to fight.”

Abraham Lincoln realized that, “given the manifold advantages the slaves supplied the Confederacy, an executive order freeing the slaves could be considered “a military necessity absolutely essential to the salvation of the Union.”

So exciting!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Gender Politics

It is so mysterious to want to suppress women. It is even more mysterious when women want to suppress women. I can only think we are so very powerful that we need to be suppressed all the time.

— The Cost of Living, p. 49

The Opioid Issue, Prairie Schooner (Vol. 92, No. 4), Guest-Edited by Glenna Luschei

from the introductory essay, Pandora’s Box, by Glenna Luschei:

  • I talked to our contributors Michael Harris and Ray Murphy about physical and mental pain as a genesis of addiction. Where was so much pain coming from? That is a question I am still asking. Some of our poets address it. In a letter Ray Murphy wrote, “Virtually all of my writing about opiates stems about writing from injury. I never address opiates as a recreational drug. Be interesting to see how many other submissions you get that come out of injury and pain, and then progress into dependency and possibly full-blown addiction. Opiates are at once remarkably versatile and one-dimensional. There is no end to the topic.” Yes, I feel that opiate addicts are like canaries in the coal mine, as the addicts are the indicators in our society of the pain we are suffering. In a previous century, addiction to drugs like laudanum may have been connected to mystical vision, as R. T. Smith conjures in his narrative, Sergeant-Major Perry on Sullivan’s Island.

— San Luis Obispo, July 2018

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