Infinite loop

(i)
I’m not the only one who has thought this
yet I’m the only one I know who is locked
in an endless, mindless, cyclical
conversation with myself over the
contradiction of struggling for recognition
and usefulness-proving-my-worthiness
in the hope that a few crumbs will fall
from the robber’s table

May we live one more day

To partake in the veritable feast
of appropriated resources
cleaved from appropriated lands by
squishing cultures like flies between
nerve-deadened fingers
and people —
like flies
flies breeding in corpses
the sucked out husks of the eternal
commodified and sold back to us
for the small price of your soul
and a lifetime of fruitless toil

Let it burn, brother

(ii)
what is left
what remains
after the sun
passes through

could this be
pre-dawn light
secrets whispered
something new?

wheels of time
whorls of life
breathing hope while
dreaming blue

one’s too close
two’s too far
finite realms crushed ‘neath
trembling shoe

march onwards
love will not
break lock-step with
what holds true

*

Metaphorical Mountain Climbing

It was only when I finally accepted the reality of my situation within the dominant paradigm that things started to really shift and rearrange themselves in my internal landscape. It occurred once I gave voice to the understanding that I would never be fully acceptable regardless of whether I followed every rule laid out before me or I ignored them, whether I shut up or spoke up, whether I was naughty or nice, whether I loved or hated. Sure, the language and particular brand of oppression and punishment varied, but the established and reinforced image of “unacceptability of everything associated with Robyn because she must make amends for the terrible misfortune of not being born white” was overwhelmingly persistent.

This is not an idea I picked up via fanciful and naive notions combined with a misunderstanding about society, rather it’s a perspective that was deliberately drummed (or beaten) into me by various people and circumstances throughout my life, such as the White Australia policy intended. The actuality of my being in this society, in this time, in this body, with this mind and animated by this spirit is considered to be some kind of offense to creation, or likened as such, by many a supreme white god during a brief moment of you’ve-got-a-chip-on-your-shoulder righteous indignation and hold-the-liniment-while-I-deliver a tongue-lashing clarity. And I’m talking about the non-racist supreme white gods, don’t get them confused with those other types(!).

but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive
—Audrey Lorde, A litany for survival

I’m not going to gloss this…it hurt. To fully accept the level of oppression you have been living under when you are not literally running for your life every day, will likely plunge a person into some kind of temporary depression or anger, grief, whatever. It hurt like I didn’t think I would survive it, and to be honest I am not so sure I did. Eventually, it did stop hurting so acutely, as anyone who’s been through anything can tell you. Once the shock and devastation subsided, after the tears and rage exhausted themselves, beyond all that pain and self-pity and many miles past the “why can’t it be different?” phase – I began to understand simple things.

If everything I do is already tainted because it is done by me, it follows that I am free to be and do as I please. Let that taint be my insignia.

It surprises me that there is no more worrying about avoiding potential consequences and no more wasting my energy on frivolous attempts to be understood, welcomed or appreciated. There are no more external masters to please as they have already proven that they cannot be pleased by the likes of me. My days are no longer populated with “Yessirs” unless I totally accept that behaviour in the moment as my choice and my honour. More importantly, I am now in a position to set my own standards and to judge, to draw boundaries and define borders, to erase and replace them at will, but never to be judged. No, I absolutely do not confer upon my oppressors the right to judge me.

It is inevitable in a divide and conquer approach to discrimination, that I would have no peers, so who would be left to judge me in any meaningful way? Of course, I am not oblivious, all manner of people will have a crack at passing judgement on their fellow humans, but these judgements are well below the standard and level of humanity to which I aspire, thus rendering them entirely irrelevant within the context of my life. Similarly, my judgements are irrelevant to rural families, sporting heroes and every single one of the political candidates in the recent election, to point out a few. We are each operating in entirely different reality frameworks.

The mental image I hold for this set of experiences is akin to climbing a mountain through all kinds of weather, until the moment you break through the cloud barrier into pure sunlight and clear air. At this point, we become invisible to those who remain at the base of the mountain.

I posit that there is no greater gift for freedom than to be considered utterly inconsequential and therefore to be consistently overlooked.

I ask you in all sincerity, is there a greater advantage to the cause for freedom than spectacularly failing to inspire people to want to use me or enslave me to serve their own agendas?

My measures and markers for success are no longer dependent on the persistence of white supremacy as a social norm, and in this manner the race war within has ended and the human journey has begun.

*

Sucker punch

Staring at this thing
Shocked by what is going on
Each new wave of understanding
Brings forth a greater passion

Falling in love over and over
At the very sight of you
At the thought of all the moments
We’ve shared, we will share

A deliciousness ascending
Straight into delight
Savouring all these sensations
Of such overwhelming intensity

Abandoning all sense of self
To the sensations of life
Thoughts reaching out to possibilities
Endless escalation of emotions

No. Feel the powerlessness
Frozen rabbit in the headlights
Staring at this society –
The antipodes of civility

Reality might crush every dream
Between forefinger and thumb
There is no escaping
The dearth of human kindness

Some of us are not passionless
When faced with oppression
Some of us don’t get on with things
As they might have been

For every new episode, event or extreme
Whether we survived it
Or heard it on the grapevine
– Becomes more intense

More devastating
More challenging
More unreal
Than falling in love

I’m talking about those times
When only one coherent thought
Slithers out from the mud
– Something’s gotta give

*

Your negligee is showing

Now that I have written a post about questions… I have a question!

Seeing as the most common defense for racist acts is that any offense was not intended, what role, if any, does negligence play in racism?

Proposing a new term here: the negligee racist, a much more amusing visual combined with a proportionate degree of levity.

Negligent sounds so malignant and you can be assured, anyone using the negligee defense does not want to be considered malignant. In fact, inappropriately bringing up such thoughts can inadvertently bring forth the very malignancy being denied.

So next time you are stereotyped, racially-profiled, mammied, ridiculed, put down, followed around a shop by security, refused service, asked where you are from 17 times in one minute, abused on public transport, die in police custody, etc consider that you’ve not been the victim of racism, you’ve simply been negligee’d.

Negligee racism. A curious but generally considered harmless Aussie social ritual specifically designed for the purposes of paying tribute to the most beautiful, interesting and capable members of our society – really, if you cop some negligee racism, you should feel especially privileged. You’ve been seen, noted, honoured with that special brand of reverse-logic we are famous for and suitably brought back down – to level the playing field somewhat.

You must really spare a thought for those who aren’t special enough to be on the receiving end of such outstanding and effortful tribute. A certain degree of over-stated humility is considered very appropriate when receiving negligee tributes, it makes the racist (oops, negligee-ist) feel their efforts are being appreciated.

ooo…negligee…sounds posh

 

Fiction of violence

It’s a breathtakingly sweet sensation
That silence before revelation
You care about this information
I swear there was no indication

All these souls lit with pure emotion
Twice reflecting such dedication
Magnifying our mass devastation
‘Til the density overcame hesitation

Was that babe on the wings of an eagle?
Did he drown in an ocean of evil?
Was he burned from our hearts like the devil?
Laid to rest as a meme for the seagulls?

Now we’re done with silly expectations
‘Twas but a momentary lapse of devotion
To an exercise in overt domination
Paying violence and bombs in reparation

I find nothing civil in a civilisation
That willingly kills civilians of any nation
And oppressing the young through incarceration
Will not quell the human will to emancipation

Thus we preach from our privileged eyrie
About twice removed things we find scary
Looking askance at his face dark and hairy
Lamenting a fictional past that was carefree

*

Update: In particular, this poem is in memory of Alan Kurdi and Ali Saad Dawabshe, but as the day wears on my thoughts have progressed… we are losing so many children daily, I find it all so unacceptable. The very real impact of the pursuit of violence on innocent children flashes across our awareness for brief incandescent moments. A lot of us are outraged, a lot of us do a few clicks and type a few words. No one person can stop this from happening, it needs everyone to care, to maintain a sense of solidarity, to persist even when it hurts too much, until we change our course.

So I’m working on a list of children killed in 2015 due to violent oppression. If you have names or stories to contribute please add them to the comments. Perhaps their image and story did the rounds of social media, perhaps they were covered up or died so quietly that it seemed like they were of no value at all.  All I know is they didn’t die for our entertainment or polite interest, even if only one person in the world thinks they were important, from where I stand every one of them is a real and tragic loss for all humanity.

Agrajag: Change is the only constant

I’ve gone from ramblings to scrambling trying to think up witty introductory bits in our online conversation… view the preceding post here. The little engine that could is sleeping.

the only constant is change - east end: London...
the only constant is change – east end: London graffiti (Photo credit: mermaid99)

OK I will start, but I can’t guarantee the next post won’t be on racism. A lot of silly things going on in the world at the moment, perhaps worst of all I saw an article on the segregation of African migrant children in Israel, some say they have built separate schools for them to attend, others say it isn’t true. There are 8 year old kids working in gold mines in Tanzania, and a blog I just read where the author mentioned she doesn’t own slaves so she’s not racist or something like that. I need to stay right away from that stuff 🙂

I agree with your thoughts on instant gratification, if the expected lifespan of a human was 3 days, then I could understand the emphasis on instant gratification. I think if we humans keep on with this approach there might well be only 24 resilient, thinking humans left on the planet and everyone else will be co-dependent….hmmm…am I talking about the future or now? It’s like we’ve forgotten how we learn.

Why is it that we don’t get born already being able to walk? Why can’t we learn to pole vault just minutes after we have been shown how? Is it because we haven’t refined our bodies enough with medical or technical innovations or figured out how to circumvent the physical laws of the universe (whatever they are)?  Is it because of lack, must we do something to fix it, or is it our greatest gift?

I didn’t get all the way through Guns, Germs and Steel, but what I did read made a big impact and if I find my copy I am probably ready to get back reading it soon. I think environment has a lot to do with it, but I wonder whether it really gave long-term advantage to those with faster technological advancement. Although some may be in a position of so-called advantage even to this day, they may not actually really have an advantage. All conditions must remain static for any advantage to be sustained and if I was a betting man, my experience would tell me to bet on the side that says change is the only constant.

In our social structures and organizational systems we haven’t fully allowed for the new information, what we now understand about the physical universe, to guide our decisions. We have not taken up the call yet, but when we do I believe we will need to draw on a wide repertoire of skills and styles of thinking to regain a sense of our relative position in the universe and our relationship to each other.

Have a great day, I’m off to sleep.

View the response to this post on Cloak Unfurled here