Tag Archives: politics

Poem: Take a Knee

For the #KneelingMan. I heard you. My heart believes in you. #TakeAKnee.

 

Take a Knee

By Michelle Garren Flye

 

Red and White and Blue and White,

Symbol of long-forgotten bravery—

Of men who fought and men who died

For our right to be free…

 

To take a knee.

 

Salute no star whose unworthy light

Shines on the path of treachery.

Beware the stripes of men who delight

And celebrate their criminality.

 

Just take a knee.

 

What is a flag when democracy fails?

When leaders grub for riches at the feet

Of a false idol who demeans and defiles

All that once made us great?

 

No. Take a knee.

 

Take a knee, say a prayer

That God can save us now.

Plead forgiveness—

Your head must bow.

 

Simply take a knee.

 

Ephesians 3:14 “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father.”

 

 

 

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For Santa Fe High School…and all the others we’ve failed since Columbine

As a parent of teenagers, my heart breaks at these high school shootings and the texts exchanged between parents and children during them. In a way, this is found poetry, based on actual text messages, though I changed the wording so it could be between one parent and child. Please, please, when November comes, think about how long it will be before you are the one who receives that first text followed by the next desperate If-I-die one.
A Last Tenuous Connection
By Michelle Garren Flye
Someone shooting in the school.
I love you.
I’m coming.
Don’t. We’re on lockdown. You might get hurt.
My teacher is dead.
OMG. Stay quiet. Stay safe. On my way.
If I don’t make it, I love you and thank you for everything.
Don’t talk like that.
I’m so scared.
I know you are. I’m almost there.
No matter what I love you.
I love you too.
I’m here. Where are you?

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Poem: Standard Haiku

I never really claim to be a poet, but I like writing poetry. I love haiku. Its beauty is in its simplicity. A rigid format that nonetheless lets you play within the boundaries.

 

Standard Haiku

By Michelle Garren Flye

 

We once held the Truth,

It squirmed away, leaving just

A bloody remnant.

 

Better than Justice,

Who left us what we didn’t

Use—her blinded eyes.

 

Oh, Morality!

What have you become? Twisted

Past recognition.

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Poem: Next Time

imageNext Time

By Michelle Garren Flye

 

Save us, they whispered.

She barely looked up from work.

“You’re fine,” she said.

“Don’t worry so much.”

 

Save us, they pleaded.

The man in the suit waved them away.

“Make an appointment,” he replied.

“I’m too busy now.”

 

Save us, they screamed.

Their parents heard and wept.

“We’re sorry,” they mourned.

“So sorry we failed.”

 

Avenge us, they demanded—

And their peers raised their heads.

“You shouldn’t have died,” they declared.

“We’ll stop it next time.”

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How to Save a Boiling Frog

The day after Donald Trump’s election was a tough one for me. Like many, I had believed it was a done deal. President Hillary Clinton was supposed to be a thing. I was supposed to wake to a better, brighter tomorrow.

I hadn’t slept much. Before I went to bed, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I saw it in the stunned faces of the broadcast journalists who just hours before had been crowing jubilantly about Hillary’s chances. But now we all knew different.

America had done the unthinkable. America had elected a man who, by all accounts of every expert the media could conjure—economists, politicians, career military men, four-star generals, the intelligence community and even psychiatrists—according to every last one of these “experts”, this man was not fit to lead.

And yet.

I got up at my normal time, though it certainly seemed as though life should have come to a halt. I nearly cried when I looked into my daughter’s eyes that morning. But I didn’t. I let them all go to school and I sat down in my office and began searching for hope on the news sites I’d haunted for months. It couldn’t be real. But it was.

Throughout the day, I cried, I cursed, I thought of friends who would be affected by this man who somehow had been elected to the highest office of the land. What would happen to gay marriage, to the right to choose, to the environment? Oh dear God, what kind of world would I be sending my oldest into in just a year and a half? How could I protect my family from this?

And how had it even happened? How could the world be so different from what I’d believed it was?

I know now that the same thoughts were going on in the minds of many men and women throughout the nation.

As the days and weeks wore on and the inevitable became obvious to all of us, we turned rebellious. The popular vote count grew more and more disparate in favor of Hillary Clinton. Donald J. Trump didn’t win that election. We had pulled it off. Hillary won. She won among educated voters in populous areas. The problem was, she didn’t win among rural voters in states where voters were more spread out. Trump won those. Hillary won in Charlotte and Raleigh in my own state of North Carolina—but the state turned red anyway because she didn’t carry my less-populated county and many of the other mostly rural counties in my state.

Rebellion built and carried us through the inauguration. We laughed at the man who we not-so-affectionately dubbed “45” when he claimed his crowd at the inauguration was the biggest ever. We posted pictures of the record-making crowds who turned out for the historic Women’s March next to the pitiful crowd of supporters who gathered to cheer the president they had elected.

For my part, I marched. I mailed postcards. I called senators and wrote senators and I raved on Facebook and Twitter, just as I’d done for months before the election.

And in spite of this, 45 began the onslaught on my country that I’d anticipated. He appointed unqualified people to posts they should have been disqualified for. He rolled back environmental protections and, in June, pulled the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. At various times throughout his first year, 45 insulted and/or angered Australia, Mexico, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the entire continent of Africa. Germany, France and Canada have expressed distrust for his ability to make the right decisions.

Our closest friends and allies do not trust our president.

But that’s not all. Through Twitter, 45 has continuously needled the U.S. intelligence community, the U.S. Department of Justice, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, his own Secretary of State and Attorney General, members of Congress, and, especially, the media. His lack of faith and knowledge of what truly makes America great has revealed itself time and again and each time I thought, Surely, this time the American people will have had enough. Surely Congress will act and we’ll be rid of this despot.

And each time, I was proved wrong.

Meanwhile, day-to-day life continued. I went back to writing about happy things. Love, romance—fantasies that lifted me out of the carnage I saw 45 wreaking on our government. And I found that as day-to-day life settled in and we were dragged from crisis to crisis—North Korea, the media, the Russia investigation, white supremacists, the Islamic State, North Korea, the media, immigration, mass shootings, climate change, Twitter wars, racist obscenities in the Oval Office, repeated denials and alternative facts—it all became a comfortable blur as I adapted to living in a world of turmoil.

And then, three days ago, while our nation celebrated 45’s one-year anniversary in office with massive protests against him—the government shut down. And suddenly, despite the constant shouting about who is to blame, there was relative silence from 45…and I realized something.

We the People are in huge trouble. We’re like the frog in the pot of water whose temperature has been turned up so gradually he cooks before he realizes he needs to escape. The media has been so busy bombarding us with so much information about so many scandals and crises, we’ve grown numb to it. We’re cooking slowly, but we’re not going to realize it until it’s too late.

And so I pray for some ice to be added to our pot to delay the inevitable just long enough. A Congress that proves it can unite to face down evil. (I’ve seen glimmerings of hope here, though not enough.) A midterm election that Democrats somehow manage to sweep. Or—the iceberg it seems absurd to pray for because if we hit it, who knows what will happen to our democracy—Robert Mueller’s investigation turning up the smoking gun that finally brings down 45’s evil, autocratic regime.

No matter how we cast our ballots, we’re all cooking in the same pot. And unless we all jump out of it together, we’re most likely going to need that iceberg to save the boiling frog.

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For Tom

I wrote this on Facebook this morning in memory of Tom Petty and the victims of the Las Vegas massacre. I feel strongly enough about this thought to take a break from my promotion of Movie Magic to share it here, too.

God bless.

I keep thinking about Tom Petty this morning, not just because of his death but because his songs always had a ring of truth to them. My favorite was always “I Won’t Back Down”.

This morning my heart aches not just because the man who helped write the words “I know what’s right, I got just one life” is gone from our lives—out into the great wide open—but also because the interpretation of his words is so highly subjective.

How we choose to spend our one life is up to each individual, and that’s terrifying when you think of the Stephen Paddocks in the world.

You see, I have an idea of what Paddock’s motivations were. I believe he seethed at the news and hated the people who put us here. I believe he sometimes wanted to scream in frustration at the way our country’s liberties and laws were being twisted and skewed. I am fairly certain he felt like I have over the past eleven months. Unlike me, however, I believe he sort of liked feeling that way. Like the old Native American legend says, the wolf you feed is the one that’s strongest. Paddock fed the wolf of hate and he enjoyed seeing it tear the flesh he threw it.

And that’s what has happened to America this year. So many of us (on all sides, to quote our president) have fed the wolf of hate and now we’re spewing pus out over the world. Blame whoever you want—politicians, media, the system that has failed us—but it’s us that the blame lands on in the end.

Face it. We’re all free falling through this world together, and our choices make the world what it is, so be careful what the choices you make are. I’m choosing to love as best I can. I’m choosing to accept that I can’t change what’s happened and not even most of what will happen. But I can choose what I put into the world. I can choose to feed the wolf of love, even if it won’t always be easy. After all, we all know there ain’t no easy way out.

I guess, like Tom Petty says in another of my favorites, “I’ve started out for God knows where, I guess I’ll know when I get there.” If anyone wants to join me, my hand is held out to you.

RIP Tom Petty
Las Vegas

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My latest poem: “Twisting Hate” (for 45)

Twisting Hate
By Michelle Garren Flye

Twisting words to kick the wounded.

Twisting hate to bind us all.

Twisting rope into a noose.

Without love or truth, you maul.

We’re twisting in the wind,

Left to hang without liberty.

Twisting, hanging, longing…

For the return of sanity.

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