Silent Screams (and other odd sounds)

This is what I'm thinking RIGHT NOW. It may not be what I'm thinking tomorrow.


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Young and Impressionable

I used to proudly light my sparkler
On the 4th of July
And wave it back and forth to celebrate
The freedoms all of us shared
But I was young and impressionable

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Then I met Rosa Parks
Who was riding on a bus
And all she really wanted
Was to rest her tired feet

I used to wake in the dawn’s early light
So proud to be a part
Of this great country we call Americia
That spread from sea to shining sea
But I was young and impressionable

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Then I met Michael Shepard
Who was sitting on a fence
And all he really wanted
Was to live his own life

I used to believe what our leaders said
When they proclaimed these wonderful words
God has made all men
With equality and love

Please, please let us rejoice
Rejoice for we are truly blessed
Because it is in God we trust
He will take care of this mess
But I was young and impressionable

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Then I met a Muslim woman
Who wore a hijab upon her head
And all she really wanted
Was in her own way, to practice her faith

I used to believe that the Promised Land
Was in my own back yard
And all were welcome to enjoy
The milk and honey that flowed from within
But I was young and impressionable

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Then I met the Reverend King
Who had insight and grace
And all he really wanted to do
Was to mend a fractured country peacefully

Now you tell me things are different
And I tell you things are the same
You say we are more compassionate
But our actions remain unchanged
You wave your colors and shout out loud
“Don’t you dare stomp on my flag.”
But in the same breath it’s still okay
To kick a nigger or a fag

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My hair has turned from black to gray
And I am less inclined
To follow blindly behind your parade
As you wave your precious flag
So please don’t wave your flag in my face
And tell me I am free
I’m only free if I live my life
The way YOU think it should be

 

 


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Sticks, Stones, Words, Bones

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I’ve been told, “One of the things I like about you is that I always know where you are coming from, you don’t sugar coat much.”  I like that about me.  I like the fact that most people know if they ask me a question or want my opinion, they will get the truth from me as I see it at that moment.  While I like that about myself, I also know that others may not.  Some people are perfectly content to have superficial relationships with others who only tell them what they want to hear; these people collect other people who only want superficial relationships and the “friendships” they form are based upon what everyone want to hear.  Everybody is happy in that kind of relationship but nobody is real.  I like reality.

Most of the time, if not directly asked, I keep my opinions to myself but there are times when keeping my mouth shut would be worse than not saying what has swelled up inside of me. How can I keep my mouth shut when someone is spewing hatred with the words “faggot, nigger, kike” or one of the other many anti-people titles?  I was standing in the midst of a conversation when the group was talking about “gay” people.  I tried very hard to hold my tongue until one of the group said, “What could be worse than to find out your kid is gay?”  I couldn’t stop myself.  It blurted out.  “Well, let me see.  I think having a child who is a murderer, a rapist, a thief, a spouse abuser or hell, even a child who is a liar would be worse than having a gay child.”  The conversation ended because I made them feel uncomfortable.

If you have to start your sentence in a whispered tone with, “let me see if there are any black people around…” it probably means you should shut up before your ignorance spills onto the floor.  If your conversation can not be the same all the time without having to “watch what you say” perhaps you need to check inside yourself to see why your conversations have to be censored.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.”  As adults, do we still believe this nursery rhyme?  Did we ever really believe it?  I have been physically hurt before but the pain I remember most are the things that others have said about when I was listening and when they thought I didn’t hear.  The damage that endures through time is generally not the physical pain but the emotional pain brought on by words.

Once words are spoken, they can never be erased.

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Respect

Growing up I was taught that I should automatically respect others.  The respect I am referring to is not the kind of respect afforded a deity; but the respect of regard and consideration that should be shown to every man.  Back in “the day” when I was still under the absolute authority of my parents, a lack of respect to another would bring upon swift and immediate punishment.  The idea of “back-talking” or having a total lack of regard for another’s opinion or feelings was not tolerated at all.  Growing up with such life lessons, I, of course, attempted to pass them along to my children. Taking a step back and looking as objectively as I can at my children, I think they have learned the lesson well.  It isn’t too often I see them deliberately hurting or violating someone else’s rights, opinions or feelings.  It does my heart good to see them being able to treat others with kindness so effortlessly, even when they are not shown the same in return.

Of course, as some might say, showing respect in all situations can be misinterpreted as weakness. Standing silent while someone attempts to spew forth venom into your very soul can be a daunting task.  Having someone spew obscenities and half-truths in my direction can wear me down enough to make me want to jump right into their foul stench of a pig’s sty with them.  Shamefully I admit that there has been occasions when I jumped into the stench and didn’t come out smelling like a rose. If I jump into the pig’s sty with them, don’t I get just as dirty?

Many times I’ve come across a situation where I have been lied about or lied too or been the target of another’s frustration.  Often times I’ve had to stop and ask myself, “Can this person accept the truth?  Does this person even want to know the truth?  Is this person, at this time, able to react rationally?”  Most times, when a person is down in the muck and mire, the only voice they hear is their own, and it is not the voice of reason.  It doesn’t matter what I say, they have their own mindset.  When all is said and done, when the words have settled into the dust, the only thing remaining to tell the story are the actions I have displayed.

So, what does all of that have to do with respect?  Over the years I’ve learned that when I truly respect others by not jumping down into a muddy pit that the general population may want to pull me down into; I’m really respecting myself.  At the end of the day I like to go to sleep really liking who I am.