On Suicide

 

Invisible Boy scene

Jason (Gavin Logan) as a boy and Jason (Nick Kaprelian) as a young man contemplating his life in the play Invisible Boy. Photo by Callen Harty.

Trigger warning for suicide/suicidal ideation.

When I was living in my dorm in college one of the men at the other end of the long hall on our floor killed himself. In retrospect it was not a sudden thing. At some point before it happened he had built some kind of wooden beam from his bookshelf to his roommate’s bookshelf on the opposite side of the room, and then he waited, and one day he hung himself and nobody understood why. Kurt was a good-looking guy and well-liked, he was a good student, he was on the swim team. He seemed to have everything going for him.

So it seemed. The thing is, none of us can know what pain and what thoughts might be swirling in the head and heart of someone else.

Since that day, several people I have known have been lost to suicide, including a couple young people who had so much to offer the world, and my best friend, whose loss hurts me still.

At the time of Kurt’s death I was incredibly naïve. Everything was sunshine and roses in my world, or at least I pretended it was. In reality I was probably as depressed as he must have been. At the time I didn’t think I could ever understand anyone taking their own life. How could there be that much pain held inside? And yet, I was holding incredible pain inside me that I was not dealing with in any way, and eventually it led me to the same place. I had somehow deluded myself into pretending that pain was not there.

When I was in my twenties I tried to dull all my pain with drugs and alcohol, which of course exacerbated the depression, the pain, and the feeling that I was a worthless human being. Two times in that decade I tried to kill myself and failed, and a third and final time I came to the brink of it, but backed down. Nobody knew it. Nobody knew how much I hated myself. Nobody knew what I wanted or had tried to do. I didn’t think anyone cared for me. I didn’t trust anyone enough to talk about what I was feeling.

Several years ago I wrote a play called Invisible Boy in which the main character talked about suicide and about stepping back from that brink. I think it accurately describes how I felt at that time.

“I was dying. In many ways. Sometimes, taking a breath hurts because you know that every breath you take is that much longer in the world. I wanted to stop breathing. Jon did it. Why couldn’t I? He was abused as a child, too, turned to prostitution, alcohol, sex addiction. But he got to a point where his pain was unbearable, so he gave it away. To me, to some others. I still hold that pain for him. That’s the unfairness of suicide. I wanted to give mine away, too, but always there were angels in my world. Always there were people who took care of me at just the right moment. Lauren never did ask what had happened that night. She never intruded. She just let me be with my emotions. If there hadn’t been a light there, if she hadn’t answered, if she hadn’t been so understanding . . . well, I think that knife may have cut deeply. But that was a turning point. The other times I tried to kill myself I simply failed. This time I made a choice. Something inside me, some little part of me, perhaps that wounded child who survived everything back then, something made me stop. Some voice made me put that knife down and try to make a human connection. In the middle of a period when I trusted no one, when I was at the lowest and darkest moments of my self-abuse, when there seemed to be nothing left but despair, something made me stop. There was a little voice of hope that carried me down the hall where I saw a light beckoning and that little sliver of light saved my life. But a little light can build; it can grow to illuminate things unseen. Oh, it has taken me years, but there is so much light in my life now that I can see and feel in ways that I have not known in a long, long time. I have love now, I have a partner who cares deeply and who sits in silence when I need it, who holds me when I need holding, who doesn’t touch me when I am remembering unwanted touches, who loves all of me. I am healing. I have work to do yet, but I am putting the pieces back together. I am becoming a whole person. Now I am working on loving myself and loving that child inside me who needs protection. I promised him, way back after the last time I was molested, I promised him never again and I have the strength now to assure that promise.”

Even on that night when I last contemplated suicide, when I was so close to not only putting that knife to my wrist, but putting it through my wrist, I did not talk about what I was feeling. I went to the door of a housemate and she let me in when all I could say was “I can’t be alone right now.” Without touching me, she held me. Without either of us talking, she heard me. It was an incredible gift.

What I learned, and what I hope that anyone who is feeling the same way might also know, is that there is always someone who can listen or hold you or just be there with you as you cry without explanation, as you unleash hidden emotions, as you just sit silently–whatever it is you may need in that moment. It may not feel like there is anyone who cares, but there are many. It may not be your best friend. It may not be the first person you turn to, or the second, or even the third, but there is always someone who can be there for you. It could be a teacher, a crisis line volunteer, a friend, acquaintance, family member, minister, anyone, but there is someone who can be there and be present for you.

Decades later I am so thankful that Lauren was there for me in that moment. I wish that Kurt and the others I have known who went down that path had searched for and found a similar sliver of light. I hope that anyone who may be in the same place now searches until that light is found.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Musical Notes

 

Perfect Harmony

Perfect Harmony Men’s Chorus. First United Methodist Church. Madison, Wisconsin. June, 2018. Photo by Callen Harty.

Singing brings joy to the human heart.

Perhaps there are those few who hear the joy of song and react negatively because they have hardened themselves to their own happiness. And perhaps there are those few whose souls withhold the songs in their hearts. But for most of us, our hearts, like the hearts of birds, long to sing out. Singing is a natural calling out in every culture. It is a way to express our joys and sorrows, our hopes and our dashed dreams. It is a way to connect with our elemental selves, and it is a way to communicate across the barriers of other languages.

There are events in life that can change our perceptions of ourselves and of our worlds. When I was in second grade music class a nun, Sister Mary Carlo, stood up in front of the class and said something along the lines of, “I’ve moved the good singers to the back of the room so that their voices might come up and help those of you who cannot sing.” I was in the middle of the front row and in that moment I became convinced that my voice was not worthy, that neither God nor my fellow man, wanted to hear me sing. I became shamed about my voice and the song in my heart. Sometimes the simplest of words can alter the path of a life.

I loved singing. I would sing at home. I would sing on my walks to school. I would sing in the bathtub. I would sing where nobody could hear me. But I would not sing in front of others because I remembered sitting in the middle of the front row.

In fifth grade I joined the band, choosing the clarinet as my instrument. Once a person learned an instrument like that the notes could be hit with certainty simply by pressing the right keys and holding one’s fingers over the right holes. I became fairly good and ended up as the first chair in the band, but it didn’t bring the same satisfaction as singing. It was too mechanical. It lacked the pure joy of singing.

In seventh grade we were required to perform for a music class. Somehow I ended up matched with three of my friends as a quartet and we sang a few songs in front of the class. One was Tiptoe Through the Tulips, I believe the second was Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home, and now I can’t remember the other. What I do remember was the heat on my face as I blushed in embarrassment and shame as we went through our numbers. I knew that everyone in that audience was laughing at me or silently judging me for the attempt.

Somewhere along the line I taught myself the right hand of the piano (never did learn the left) and when no one else was home and the doors were closed and the windows tightly shut I would play my sister’s sheet music and sing all of the songs for which she had music–If, Til There Was You, Somewhere My Love, Born Free, and on and on.

Somehow in high school, probably because I had tried out for and gotten into a couple plays, the music teacher asked me to be in the high school musical and I agreed. I don’t know if I didn’t realize I would have a singing part or why I agreed, but at some point after realizing I would have to sing, I dropped out of the play out of fear, and that caused me further embarrassment and shame.

Interestingly, I found myself in my twenties doing theater, but it was not musical theater. It was mostly original works, experimental plays, and productions for which no singing was required, and I proved to be a natural and instinctive actor. The writer/director of a play that I ended up in back in 1984 decided to open the play with an original song and all of the actors were required to be part of the chorus. While I could read music to play the clarinet I had no clue how to read music to sing. I learned my part by listening and repeating it. One day I started singing my part and my fellow actor, Jay Indik, asked me to sing the first note again and then ran over to the piano and played a note. He seemed astounded. “You have perfect pitch,” he said, and I had no idea what he meant. If I looked at that note on the sheet music I wouldn’t have known what to sing, but I knew how to find it without having it given to me and he seemed to think that was pretty amazing. He came back several days in a row and asked me to hit my note and ran to the piano to verify that it was correct, and it was every time.

That was my first inkling that Sister Mary Carlo’s thoughtless remark may have undermined my belief in myself in ways that I couldn’t even imagine, but I was still scared about singing along with the others during the opening song of that play.

Jay then asked me to perform in a one-act play he was directing at the university. In it the main character had to sing a song, by himself, and it terrified me. To do it, I convinced myself that it was the character singing, not me, and that if it was terrible the audience would accept it as a flaw in the character. Jay said I sounded fine, but I didn’t really trust that he wasn’t just being nice to me.

When I met my partner, Brian, it changed everything. When you are comfortable around a person you can do things that you may not do around others. So I would quietly sing in the car as the radio played favorite songs and he would say, “You have a beautiful voice.” I told him the story of Sister Mary Carlo and he became angry at what her words had done to my confidence in my own voice. He built me up, little by little, until one day he convinced me to be in the cast of his musical, in which my character had a duet with another actor. Despite my fear, I did it, and it went okay.

Because of him, I took the chance of singing karaoke, singing a favorite Irish song a capella at an open mic fundraiser for our theater group, joining with him and three others to sing at a few weddings and funerals, and more.

When the Capitol protests broke out in Madison back in 2011 I asked a couple friends to join me in signing a few verses of We Shall Overcome in the Capitol rotunda one day. After doing it that day and feeling the power of that song in that situation I ended up going to the rotunda virtually every day for two and half years where I sang the first four verses of the song by myself as a protest of what was happening in my state. It became so well-known that I was asked to sing it at one of the rallies during those days, so I sang it in front of a couple thousand people one day on the Capitol steps. Years ago, I couldn’t imagine that ever happening. Often at that time, I also joined the Solidarity Sing Along, a loose-knit group of protesters, to sing protest songs at the Capitol. They met there every day at noon and are still singing truth to power seven years later.

Recently our youth theater group, Proud Theater, was asked to perform a song with Perfect Harmony Men’s Chorus. Because it was the end of the year and our own show had just closed the weekend before, I was only able to recruit a handful of youth to agree to perform. It turned out the song they wanted us to sing with them was We Shall Overcome. Brian encouraged me to sing with the youth. I thought it should just be them, so I resisted until a couple dropped out and I discovered that another one of the mentors was planning to sing. At the first rehearsal I started singing with them and told the director that I would join them in the piece.

As usual, I was nervous and a bit scared, but the performances were this past weekend and they went pretty well. I was not perfect in my singing and, of course, am focusing on the things that I didn’t do well instead of what did go well. But I had never sung in a chorus before and it was empowering and invigorating. In doing the performance it was yet another step in overcoming a long history of fear and shame. And I did it in the middle of the front row, with my heart and soul singing out in pride and joy.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gift

Vodka bottle

Stocking cap and vodka bottle. Photo by Callen Harty.

April 18, 1989. A gay bar in Denver, the Triangle. A can of beer in hand, cigarette in the other. I was there alone, so I wasn’t there to be with friends, I wasn’t there looking for someone for the night. My friends were already gone home for the night. My partner was home in bed. I was there to drink, and nothing else. It was late in the night and there was a revelation, an epiphany, and in that moment I knew that I had a problem, that I wasn’t just consuming alcohol–it was consuming me. As a man stood next to me trying to connect I knew that I had to quit drinking, that it was destroying me in many ways. I went up to the bar and set my half-full can of beer on the counter and headed out into the Denver night.

As I walked home I may have sobered up some, but was definitely still as drunk as usual. I could easily put down a dozen and half mixed drinks or more in a night, or a combination of beer, mixed drinks, and shots. Sometimes it was less. It was whatever it took that night (or day and night) to get drunk. There was no such thing as social drinking. The sole purpose was to get drunk, be in a haze, hide multiple kinds of pain and trauma, and not deal with the realities of my life.

I hiked the long trip home up Colfax Avenue, made a couple turns and walked into the apartment, undressed, and got into bed, stirring my partner at the time. He turned and I said to him, “I’m quitting drinking.”

He looked at me and said, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

It was understandable that he didn’t believe it. We had been together several years at that point and I had been in an alcoholic stupor for much of that and for more than a decade overall. He had often told me I had a problem and I had often denied it. Others had tried to tell me the same thing. But that night I knew that I was an alcoholic, that I didn’t control the drink–it controlled me–and I knew also that I had more faith in myself than he did. I had been living the stereotype of the drunken Irishman, but I also had the stereotype of the Irish stubbornness in my blood, and I knew that once I had made that decision that I would never drink again.

No more blackouts. No more good times that were defined by being forgotten. No more waking up in booths of bars in small towns in Wisconsin or under streetlights in the middle of the night. No more rousing good times spurred on by the drink–I was mostly a fun drunk while around others, but insecure and depressed once I was alone again. No more numbness. No more thoughts of killing myself when the alcohol opened the darkest parts of my interior and talked to me about what a worthless person I was. No more waking up behind the wheel of a car along the shoulders of the highway. No more hangovers and hair of the dog.

It was time to reclaim my life after wasting more than a decade of it. And I succeeded in doing that. Whatever successes I have had, whether in the theater, writing, at jobs, public speaking, in working for human rights and just laws, in helping others, are a result of that night and the decision to stop my downward spiral before I reached rock bottom or before I had fallen so far down I could not get back up. Whatever failures I’ve had too, are mine, and I claim them with pride. I don’t get to blame them on drugs or alcohol any more, so I get to own them and learn and grow from them. I know now they’re because I’m human and prone to both good will and human mistakes.

Being fully human and alive and able to feel joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, all the emotions that come in and out of one’s life–especially love–is such an incredible gift, and I would not have known any of it without coming to my epiphany and my place of understanding. It’s not that everything became easy or perfect the moment I quit drinking–but it laid the groundwork for bettering my life, imperfect as it or I may be. It allowed me to feel, after years of numbing myself. I can feel and I can deal with all the feelings I have. I can fully feel the highs and lows of life in all its fullness. This is the gift of sobriety. It is the gift of life, and today I hold that gift in my hands, with tears in my eyes, remembering the pain of childhood and the joys of childhood, the pains and joys of my life since. Like a child I can feel it all, and I am eternally grateful for that gift.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Picture Perfect

Water Skiers

Water skiers. Photo by Callen Harty.

Over the course of several days I recently had the following e-mail exchange with a woman representing a fairly new company here in Wisconsin in reference to the photo above. I’ve removed some of the identifying details.

Her: “We’d love to use this photo on [X company’s] social media, with credit to you! If you’re interested, could you send this to me? [her e-mail address]”

Me: “You left a message on my water ski photo [. . . ], asking to use it on social media. I would be interested in working with you on this, especially given that yours is a Wisconsin company. I also feel the photo represents the kind of energy you want to portray for your product, but I have a few questions first.

“How are you planning on using the photo? As an ad? On Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? Elsewhere? Would it be a one-time use or would you be looking to buy the image outright? Any information you can provide on when/how you will use the photo will help me out.”

Her: “Thanks for the quick response!

“[X product] is brand new within the last 6 months or so, and it’s the first and only Wisconsin-made [X product]. As you probably gathered, we really try to appeal both to locals (WI and Midwest) and to action sports athletes, so combining the two in our social media marketing is our goal! Your water skiing photo is unique and hits both of our targets, so we think it’d be a great fit with our marketing plan. We’d just be interested in posting it once on Facebook and Instagram, and we always give credit to photographers we use (with either full name, Instagram handle, website, etc).

“Let me know if you’re interested in sharing your photo! And if you have any others that you think would fit, you’re welcome to send those as well!

“I hope this helps answer your questions; feel free to reach out with any further questions! Thanks!”

Me: “Thanks for answering my questions. I am not a professional photographer, but have had a couple one-man shows and a good number of sales of my work, so I do charge for companies to use one of my photographs. Normally for an Instagram or similar post I would charge [X dollars] per post. Given that you are a new company and Wisconsin-based like me I would allow you to post on both Instagram and Facebook for the [X dollar] price instead of [X dollars] for each. Let me know if that works for you.”

Her: “Unfortunately we are not yet in a position to pay for the use of photos. Thanks, though, for your consideration!”

From the beginning it felt like she was trying to get me to give permission to use the photograph for no charge. I do have to give her credit for asking permission to use the photograph, as there are those out there who will do so without getting permission or offering payment in advance. The amount that I quoted was incredibly reasonable and I was offering a 2 for 1 deal. I have often donated my photos to non-profits, good causes, and educational organizations, but I have also occasionally sold them to corporations and newspapers. Most recently I sold one to an international company out of Switzerland for use in their company newsletter and was paid a fair price for it.

I expect companies with advertising and marketing budgets to pay for my work. If you are in the business of making money you shouldn’t expect others to help you in that effort without compensation. But businesses, particularly American ones, do not value art (or much of anything else) unless it in some way increases the bottom line. Things like photography, poetry, and other art forms are devalued in this country. When school budgets are tight the arts programs are among the first to suffer. I believe if the woman who wrote me could be shown that paying me X dollars to use the photograph would increase their sales by Y amount she probably would have found the money for it in her budget.

Would you bring someone into your office to do data entry and not pay them? Would you expect a newspaper to run an ad without paying for it? Would you contact the local copier company and ask if they would mind you using a copier for a while without a contract or payment? Then why would you expect to use the work of a photographer, amateur or professional, without fair compensation?

What made this situation a bit worse to me is that after the last e-mail about not being in position to pay for photographs I did a little more digging and found out that the woman isn’t an employee of the company that wanted to use the photo, but rather an employee of an advertising agency. Perhaps the company that hired her agency didn’t have it in the budget to pay for photos for social media, but being from an ad agency she should know and understand the value of a photographer’s work.

I spend a lot of my time shooting photographs, downloading and uploading, cropping and editing when necessary, posting, and more, not to mention what I spend on gas for travel to some of the places I shoot, camera equipment, Internet costs, etc. She made it clear that my photograph would enhance the marketing of the product. There is value in that and there is value in my time and effort. A credit acknowledging that I took the photograph is not fair compensation and every time someone gives away a photograph like that it makes it that much harder for professionals who have invested a great deal of money and effort into their business to make a living. I value professional photographers and my work too much for that.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Missing Narrative on the Pennsylvania Special Election

american-flag

American Flag. Photo by Callen Harty.

 

While watching the televised returns of the Pennsylvania special election pitting Democrat Conor Lamb, Republican Rick Saccone, and Libertarian Drew Miller against each other all the pundits from both sides before, during, and after it made the election about Donald Trump.

The Democrats argued that the election was a referendum on Trump and that he lost, that even though Republicans poured in millions of dollars and Trump and his associates showed up to plead and beg the electorate, the Republican still lost. Republican pundits pointed out that polls showed Saccone five or six points down until Trump came in and made it a close race. They talked about how Trump stumping for Saccone closed the gap and that it showed how strong he is and how much support he has. An objective person could see both sides of those arguments, but while Trump played into this election he probably did so by encouraging some voters to get out and vote Republican and some to get out and vote for the Democrat. And, of course, the national media is pretending the Libertarian candidate who got more votes than the difference between the two leading candidates wasn’t even in the race.

Another theme that the Republican pundits (and Don Lemon of CNN) kept pushing was that Lamb was less of a Democrat than all the lefties that scare them in Washington, without understanding that to those on the real left the number of really liberal politicians in the Democratic party is no more than a small handful. While not as liberal as some might like, Lamb came across as a true Democrat. He harkened back to Franklin Roosevelt in his speech. He appealed to union members who have drifted to the Republican party because the Democrats long ago abandoned the working class. He is personally pro-life due to his Catholic faith, but politically pro-choice. He also refused corporate money and still won the campaign. He raised a paltry amount through small donations and still beat the twelve million dollars the Republican party and others poured into the Saccone campaign. He is no more Republican-light than the corporate backed Clintons or others.

This election was about so much more than Donald Trump. It was about union power, money in politics, and the one thing that nobody talked about last night: The election was a referendum on the Republican party and its power grabs. While the pundits brought up the idea that soon the district may change its shape due to the court ruling on gerrymandering in Pennsylvania, none of the pundits delved into the fact that Lamb won the election in a district that had been heavily gerrymandered specifically to maintain Republican control. Despite the district boundaries that were drawn to make sure the Republicans stayed in power the Democrat won. That is astounding, and it causes one to question why.

One of the things the Republicans have done since taking power in states and the country is to gerrymander districts, change laws to limit voting, damage or destroy the unions to take away support for Democrats, and in other ways do a better job than the Russians of undermining our democracy. What the pundits missed is that regular Americans have seen this and are reacting against it. Americans don’t like it when politicians bend or break the rules simply to stay in power and to push an agenda with which most of us disagree. Voters will react by getting energized and voting, protesting, and in other ways doing what they can to stop that from happening.

Voters across the country are mobilized, but many, many of them are not mobilized against Trump specifically, but the Republicans in general. Many, many of them are not mobilized because they are excited by the milquetoast corporate Republican-light Democrats. It is a grass roots mobilization against power grabs, policies, and laws that work against the working class, poor, and Americans in general. This wave of upset elections will continue not because the electorate sees the Democrats as saviors but because voters themselves are mobilized to save the country. The pundits may miss it, but the people are empowered and energized and will vote for whichever candidate or party is more likely to fight for their interests and the interests of democracy.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Open Letter to Paul Ryan on Guns

Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan. Photo by Callen Harty.

Dear Speaker Ryan,

Yet another young man with yet another AR-15 semi-automatic rifle has killed yet more people in a place that should be safe.

And you, yet again, have said that it is not the time to talk about it. It is too soon. We don’t have all the facts. We have to wait.

The problem with not talking about these things because it is “too soon” is that it’s always too soon until it’s too late. We need to talk and take action now. Right now.

You may not realize this, but we have been waiting to deal with ending gun violence for years. We have been waiting almost twenty years since Columbine, since Virginia Tech, since Fort Hood, since the Aurora theater, since Oak Creek, since Sandy Hook, since San Bernadino, since Charleston, since the Pulse Nightclub, since Las Vegas, since many other tragedies (Binghamton, San Ysidro, the Baptist church in Texas, a shopping center in Omaha, and more, many more). We can’t wait any longer. It is time for talk and then for action. It is past time.

Maybe we don’t have all the facts from this week’s shooting yet. Do you think maybe we have enough facts yet from any of the previous mass shootings to start the discussion? Here’s a fact for you. Just in the mass shootings named above more than 300 people died and hundreds more were injured and many of them were children. That fact alone should tell you that it is time not only to talk, but to take action to prevent any more deaths from senseless mass shooting events.

If you are hesitant to talk because of all the money you’ve taken from the National Rifle Association perhaps it is time to give it back, buy back your soul, and join the majority of Americans who want to see something done about this issue. $171,977 is a lot of money to give back, but you would earn it back in good will and votes from the American citizens you are truly elected to represent.

Unlike Citizens United which allows politicians to accept virtually unlimited campaign donations it is understood that the Bill of Rights was designed to protect all of us. Admittedly, there are those on the extremes who do want to take all guns out of the hands of citizens and on the flip side there are those who believe we should have access to even more deadly weapons. Most of us are in the middle. Most of us believe in the Constitution. Most of us believe that the Second Amendment guarantees citizens the right to bear arms. We are okay with that. We come from hunting communities or collecting communities or communities where fear convinces people to buy guns to protect their homes and families. We are okay with people buying handguns or rifles for personal use. We are not okay with citizens holding weapons and arsenals that are designed solely for killing people efficiently. We are tired of waking up to stories about lone gunmen killing dozens of people for unexplained reasons.

Most of us also understand that the history of our nation is a history of compromise. You don’t get everything you want, I don’t get everything I want, but we both get something. We understand that compromise doesn’t happen without first engaging in conversation–not partisan debate with no respect for the opinions of others, but real dialogue.

You represent my state in Congress. You are the Speaker of the House. You should be a leader on this issue. You should not tell us it is too early to talk or refer to the calls for talk and action as knee-jerk reactions. You need to listen to all the people, not just those who support you with votes or cash. You are also a father with children of your own. When you see American children dying needlessly you should lead the charge in figuring out how to prevent that from ever happening again. Your constituents expect nothing less and we are watching, not just this week because of the most recent shooting, but we will be watching every day until we see the change that we so badly need.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will they know

Roselawn Cemetery

Roselawn Cemetery. Photo by Callen Harty.

When they dig up these bones

what will they find on the skeleton of my life?

Will they be able to read the hieroglyphics on my skull

and the petroglyphs of my soul

etched in the decaying calcium

before them?

Will they interpret the chips and nicks

and understand the life that once

filled what

remains?

Will they know the love that was harbored

in the cavity where my heart once resided?

Will they see the strength behind my chest,

the frailty of human beings and

the weakness of being human?

Will they know the passion of my bones?

Will they understand the complexity of the man

who inhabited the corpse beneath their shovels?

And will they understand in the end that their bodies, too,

are nothing more than dust and bones?

Will they know more than I was a man

and am now an empty shell?

Will they understand that they, too,

shall lie wrapped in a shroud

wrapped in the earth that bore them?

Will they know that this, too, is their home?

That love, anger, hate, curiosity, empathy,

all

falls into dust?

And will they know that the energy of all

love and hate and

all else

lingers long after the soul departs the body,

lying on the bosom of the earth above their bones?

 

When they dig up these bones

will they know that they are my bones;

that they are their own bones?

Will they read the writing left upon them?

Will they understand that mortality is in the bones

and that immortality is in the love and energy left behind?

When they dig up these bones

will they know? Will they know.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment