2020 #21

James Baldwin

I keep having dreams that James Baldwin is here. In my kitchen, writing. And smoking. We talk all night. They are very linear. Picking up where the other leaves off. As if he is aware.

Maybe it is…because I will be 31 and I still haven’t found how to deal with 30…

He says it’s because I see him.

I think it is this unsettling feeling I get when I see social media jump. Businesses jump. It’s as if everyone is patting black Americans on the back. Saying “there there.” But still, not seeing them or acknowledging that they exist.

I’ve been reading James Baldwin for years. I couldn’t find his books at my local library so I had to buy them.

I see everyone sharing quotes from him and others…but I doubt they’ve ever read. Really, read their bodies of work.

In my dream. He smiles and asks me how I felt during the early days of the pandemic. When everyone was praising frontline workers.

It didn’t feel authentic. It felt like a mob mentality…

He shrugs. Very well. There you have it.

I think, and I might be wrong.

We are here…dealing with something different.

But, when I step back. And I look at the whole experience of 2020

We have something else here

Racism, yes. Conspiracy theories? No. That’s a very privileged point of view…

As if to say “darling, you’re not having this experience, someone must be trying to destroy America.”

We have no sense of self. We have no boundaries. We are entitled. Selfish. Yes, but we have no real understanding of ourselves.

We’ve been spoon fed this ideal about reality. Profit. But no real understanding.

Yes, you can live a life unlike no other.

But we are still not happy.

We have no sense of self. No boundaries.

when our neighbors house catches on fire we set ours on fire. We don’t understand where we begin and end. Boundaries. Every single week there is something else we are running towards.

Where is the real goal? What will you do if you get what you want?

What do you want?

Black Americans

LGBTQ

The women’s movement

These things are real American lives

They exist

Their experiences are real

Daily

They are more than political movements

They are more than flags

They are not profit agendas

They are humans

American men and women

With families and dreams

The system might be broken

But until we face ourselves

And look in the mirror

And figure out how we got here

And what we are going to do with it

And a real sense of direction

It can’t be fixed.

We are removing the humanity from these movements so we can label them and better handle them.

That is what I fear.

——

I’m tired

I feel like I’ve been gutted

I don’t feel like we are really seeing

I feel like we are just doing just enough

To get by

——

But our actions say something else

——

I’m tired

I’ll be 31 this year

I may be quiet

But I’m not blind

I feel myself retreating into literature

We are better

We can do better

Be better.

I’m going to be 31

And I’m tired.

I feel myself running out of time.

I get up in the middle of the night

And James Baldwin is at my table.

Causes 

I made a new page under the menu tab: Causes . You can access it anytime. 

Causes

I know 2016 was hard. Really really hard. And the overwhelming feeling of what can I do to help? The need to speak out and blog about it is strong. And yes, those things matter. But it is also important to keep our focus and give. We can donate to these causes, these things that matter to us. They are going to need us to support them just as much as speak up for them.

We can’t just fall into a fetal position and give up. We must keep going and handle every hurtle one by one. That’s how success is won. That’s how progress is made. We can’t give up. You matter. We matter. Our future matters.

Give today. Or as often as you can. Every little bit helps.

Center for Reproductive Rights The Center for Reproductive Rights uses the law to advance reproductive freedom as a fundamental human right that all governments are legally obligated to protect, respect, and fulfill. 

Natural Resources Defense Council  The debate is over. Climate change is real. Join the fight for our future.

Planned Parenthood These clinics provide women with access to health screenings and supplies as well as birth control (which is used for more than just birth control) Many of which can’t afford it or have no where else to go. 

International Refugee Assistance Project We have to take care of eachother. We are all neighbours.

NAACP Legal Defense Fund Simply the best because they’ve been here from the beginning. Fighting for your civil rights and equality for minorities.

The Trevor Project Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people.

In the wake of fake news and social media. You need to support real news. Donate to Your local public radio NPR. Or Get a subscription to the New York Times or the Washington Post.

Stop relying on FB.

And lastly

The ASPCA

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world.

We are their voice. Donate or adopt your next pet.

Thank you for all you do.

-Ethan 

Equal 

Image origin unknown

What is it you see in a woman?

Maybe it’s her curves 

These lines we’ve been trying 

To iron out 

Through culture 

For centuries 

Equal Means Equal

But we’re not equal image origin unknown 

This isn’t a poem about why I’m a feminist 

Or how great it is that I’m a guy 

Or what it’s like in my experience 

This 

This is a poem 

About my wife …

The fact that even after all this time …

She’s not equal to me 

She starts out getting paid less than me for the same job

How can she ever get ahead?

She is not protected by our Constitution

Her freedom and equality 

Can be altered or repealed 

In a day

Women’s rights are human rights 

I read a story about a woman in another country fighting for her right to know her own body to know how to orgasm 

Men didn’t learn about their wives bodies and they really didn’t care whether they ever had pleasure or not. 

It’s not too far different here 

We’ve come all this way 

And we think we know a lot 

But we really only know 

A lot about what our culture 

Believes about things 

Just in the 90s we recognized marital rape as rape 

And yes- we don’t consider women as property on our papers anymore 

But we still want them to be homemakers 

Or daughters and mothers 

Trophy wives 

Making our sons look good 

A child has to be raped before it can have control of its own body 

This is decided by business men in Washington 

Contraceptives shouldn’t be covered by insurance because women shouldn’t enjoy sex

If they do have sex they should get pregnant

Forced birth 

This is decided by men in Washington 

When she is raped 

They get off free 

Because boys will be boys 

And they can run with a football 

And they still have a whole life to live-let’s not ruin it

Forget that her body was violated 

Her safe space 

Her mind 

Her temple 

The years of nightmares 

I can sue over spilled coffee 

But women can be raped and no one bats an eye….

We have a problem 

When we condemn women for reading works of fiction 

That have fake content 

And put men in power who are real 

And damaging 

And can alter their lives,safety and experience in society

I will say again 

I want a world 

Where my wife can live 

With peace of mind 

I want her to be safe 

I want her to be as free as me 

To be able to reach for whatever she dreams 

Women’s rights are human rights 

Why are we still fighting this battle? 

Maybe we’re just trying to iron out the curves

I think I want to write about you

I think I can forget all the rest 

I’m sorry 

I’m sorry we didn’t fight harder 

I’m sorry we’re still fighting for this 

We’ve come too far to go backwards 

I want – when I’m gone – for you to be able to live well. 

And if we should have a daughter 

I want her to be able to do all the same things our son would do. Without question. Even in her mothers high heels. 

-Ethan