Avatars & Armchairs

Mood: spoiled | Drinking: black tea

revolt

Going Green

She looks so alive
standing in the street
staring down soldiers
head covered, fist raised.

The vermilion shock of blood
only floods the streets
with more defiant green.

Bullets cannot quell
a heart bent on freedom.
Fear will not force these voices
into silence.

In California, we add emerald
to our facebook avatars
in a show of “solidarity”
with a cause
we barely begin to understand.

We’ve grown so fat on freedom
we expect to affect a revolution
from our armchairs.

Green is just a color
that costs us nothing
more than money.

*****

I’ve been sitting on this one for awhile. It was inspired in part by these photos.

-Lo, from her armchair.

Created Equal

Mood: Convinced | Drinking: Diet Dr. P

hrc

Talking politics gets me in trouble, usually because of my horrid debating skills.

I can’t argue convincingly. I get weepy and incoherent. Arguments make me lose my head entirely and forget my original point. It’s not pretty. Just ask Boy. Or my sister.

So I’m not going to talk politics. Or argue. Or debate the pros and cons.

I’m just going to tell you why I care.

No one can argue with that.

Here in California, we have a hotly contested proposition on the state ballot — Prop 8, which, if passed, will eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry.

The more paranoid proponents of this rights-elimination proposal say that all hell will break loose if the gays are allowed to be normal people with normal rights. Children will be forcibly taught that Todd can have two daddies, churches will be sued, and Armageddon will be ushered in, they say.

I call bullshit.

I voted early this past weekend, and happily checked the box for No on 8. First of all, we shouldn’t be eliminating rights for anybody these days. Least of all the rights for two consenting adults who love each other — and in many cases have been together for decades — to be legally recognized as partners.

Some of my friends were discussing this issue over the weekend, and one of my gay friends put it in very simple terms. He said, “I don’t care as much about being able to get married as I do that the government is telling me I CAN’T get married if I want to.”

Some of my closest friends are gay, and I’m feeling their anxiety very deeply as this election looms nearer. But I also have close friends who believe the Bible tells them that it’s wrong to be gay. They’re not fanatical. They’re not cold-hearted. They are intelligent and compassionate.

But, obviously, I disagree with their interpretation of the Bible.

Is a lesbian couple less legitimate than a heterosexual couple? Is a man less of a citizen simply because he wants to marry another man? Is the love between a woman and a woman or a man and a man any less real than the love between a man and a woman? No! No! No!

A vote for Prop 8 is a vote against equal rights. To me, equal rights ARE a moral issue. And it’s immoral to deny a people equal rights based simply on sexual orientation.

“All men are created equal.” Therefore, all rights should be equal, too.

It’s that simple. And that important. That’s why Boy and I have the Human Rights Campaign‘s symbol of an equal sign stuck to our car. Because we believe in equal rights for all.

After seeing the HRC sticker, my friend Michael said, “You guys are the gayest straight couple I’ve ever known.”

I take it as a compliment.

-Lo isn’t gonna back down.

Enough Already

whitehouse
Mood: Cynical
Drinking: Tea

I’m so sick of all the politics. From both sides. From all sides!

Let’s just get this goddamn election over with already.

I’m too beaten down to feel any real sense of hope — I’m ashamed and disappointed and disillusioned by my fellow countrymen these last interminable eight years.

I want change I can believe in and I want to believe in change, but it seems things just keep changing for the worse.

My only comfort comes from the fact that I live in San Francisco. In this beautiful tiny bubble of reason.

Enough with the rhetoric and the conventions and the posturing and the mudslinging and the insane woman with her silly glasses and fussy hair.

I’m over it…

Miz Dooce speaks with much more eloquence on her blog today than I could at the moment. All I can come up with is, “Suck it, Palin!” And that’s just sad. So I’ll just send you over to Dooce and tell you that if I were better at being coherent about these sorts of things, that’s EXACTLY what I would have said.

And after that, please enjoy this amusing aside from my lovely friend G about the albino turtle.

-Lo, who loves her country, but wants to smack its bitch up sometimes.

Inaugural

Mood: Ebullient
Drinking: Waiting

I shot my mouth off a lot on Tuesday.

Giddy with the dawning of a new era, I got all sassy on facebook and talked smack about inaugural poet Elizabeth Alexander.

I really have nothing against the woman herself. I just felt her poem to be middling-to-average, and her delivery of said poem was awful.

Perhaps I took it a bit too personally because I was so excited to have a contemporary poet standing up there on that bright stage, in full view of the entire world. I cheered when she appeared and was all full of goodwill and go get ’em, girl.

And then she spoke, and I was a bit deflated.

Granted, whoever planned the order of the ceremony did her no favors by placing her after all the big hoopla, and so the crowds, whose toes were probably a bit frozen by then, couldn’t be bothered to sit through a poem when the big moment had already transpired.

If she had been placed right after the invocation, she probably would have fared a bit better.

Someone also brought up the point about nerves given the huge crowd, the national stage, etcetera, but let me say this: I have performed in front of tiny rooms and huge auditoriums and outdoor concerts full of raucous teenagers and I would take the hundreds of thousands of faces any day over a small, intimate gathering. Big crowds are cake.

No, I’ve never performed in front of all the living Presidents of the United States, with Oprah in the front row and CNN cameras staring me down, but I’m quite confident I could have pulled out a better reading than Ms. Alexander.

So that’s what I said, more or less, on facebook on Tuesday. And then somebody called me out, challenged me to put my pen where my mouth was and write something myself, since I was so dissatisfied with the poem in question.

And that’s what I’ve spent the last 2 days doing. I’m sure inaugural poets get more than 2 days to craft their work, but I’m not really trying to one-up anyone. Not really. It just became important, sunddenly, to put my finger on what exactly it was I wanted to say about January 20, 2009.

As I started writing, I found that my focus was very simple. It was all about hope. So I wrote about the steadily burning hope I felt on that day, and the hope I’m sure so many others felt as we watched it all unfold.

I borrowed a few words from Nietzsche, from Dr. King, and from President Obama himself. And although I’m sure my chances of being invited to read at such a historical event are quite slim, if I were, this is a poem I would not be embarrassed to read there…

Harbinger

Hope does not automatically spring eternal.
It must first be ignited and after that, fueled.

Constantly it must be sheltered,
lest it be crushed
by the brutal jackboot of prejudice

or wither into obscurity beneath the negligent gaze
of the well-intentioned ignorant.

If hope is indeed the “worst of evils,”
prolonging the torments of the living,
it is also, by necessity, the best of pleasures,
making the work of living worthwhile.

While we breathe, we hope,
for without,
breath blows in vain
heart beats only out of habit
and all of it ceases to mean anything lovely.

It has to begin somewhere, so why not here
this winter morning, under limitless frigid sky,
why not here where we have gathered together
so when the books are written, we can say
we were there.

Why not here where we wait, guardians of the day,
assuring one another by our presence
that this hour has really come.
This moment is really ours.

Take the hope from its hiding place
deep in your chest
and pass this warm light
from hand to hand
quickly
carefully.

Watch as faces
begin to share a telltale glow
and a path appears
where once there loomed an impenetrable wall.

Once, a man had a dream.
Today another man stands
and raises his hand
as evidence of things hoped for,
the embodiment of things not seen.

While there is hope, all is not lost.
While there is hope, courage can be found.
While there is hope, there is momentum,
the sudden possibility of change,
the eternal probability of joy.

Give us a reason to believe and
we will hew from the mountain of despair
a stone of hope.

And with that stone
we will bring down giants.

-Lo, who finds that it always comes back to the knife edge of hope.

A Sense of Rising Dread

Mood: Salty
Drinking: Iced Tea

I am finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate. The fewer hours there are between me and tomorrow (election day), the more prickly I get.

It is nerves. It is dread. it is a feeling of impending doom. And mixed in there somewhere is a tiny pinch of salty hope. Hope that my country is not as full of stupidity as I think it is. Hope that we have nearly seen the last of George W. and his smug, self-righteous, stubbornly wrong-headed ilk.

Begone, fearmongers and homophobes. Run away, you bloodthirsty oil barons. Shoo, fly, you pestilent preachers of my-way-or-the-highway-doctrine.

I will wake up tomorrow, unable to eat, most likely, and trot down to my local polling place. I will vote for hope. I will vote for peace. I will vote for a better, safer, less hate-filled world for my unborn children. I will vote against George W. Bush. With a vengeance.

And then I’ll most likely spend the rest of the day chewing my already-stubby fingernails into bloody stumps and hyperventilating. I cannot remember a time in my entire life when I have been so hopeful for change and so incredibly wracked with nerves over the possible outcome of an election.

I’ve always voted, since I was eligible, because I grew up a good, Christian Republican and it was drilled into my head, everywhere I went, that good girls go to the polls. And I haven’t been able to shake the habit, even though I started voting like a bad, bad girl — all Democratic and Libertarian.

But this election, this year, feels so full of portent and potential, that I will vote with greater pride and greater anxiety than ever before. (Yes, with more pride, even, than when I voted against that big austrian oaf, Ahhhnuld.)

And once that’s done, all I can do is hope for the best. And thank the lucky stars that I don’t live in Florida.

Lo, who thinks P. Diddy looks more like Mr. T every day.