There is lots to take in these days. All round us, locally and globally, and any more global impacts us more than ever.
For a poet, there is a busy field of vision before me. It's like a whole slue of different species of birds dive bombing and soaring past me. There is Russia with wings, and Ukraine flying in circles around each other.
There is the byproduct of the war in Europe which is rising fuel costs flying. high everywhere, and that is leading the price of most everything else upward.
There is Buffalo. Normal was going on and suddenly it turned to tragedy. But what we now know is that the acts of a gunman had been in the works for some time. Percolating in his head and and journals. It was a special kind of hate brewing. It was the kind that operates solely upon the fact someone is different than you and it is because of that difference, nothing else about them matters. Not the fact they both need air to survive, that both need food and hydration, that both speak the same language that they are otherwise normal except for difference in color, or the difference of religion counter the fact that they are both human beings.
Some people say that this kind of hate is predicated on fear. Some ignorance. I suspect it is some of both. I think that there are people who are afraid of what the future hold, and that fear is predicated on imagining what it is like to be a white minority in America.
But there are people, politicians included, practically almost the whole of one political party and people like Tucker Carlson that are telling these people they are being replaced. Replaced by outsiders, Non-Americans and this is being deflected onto blacks, latinos, muslims, asians, etc.
People like the Buffalo shooter feed off this stuff. They justify this hate and their actions against innocent persons.
As a poet, sometimes I want to close my eyes, but I can't.
The war crimes against Ukrainian civilians - women and children are horrific and I cannot turn my head away. Ukraine has found its way into a lot of my poetry lately. I imagine it will continue to do so for a while.
I am anxious to write happy Ukrainian poetry though.
This time of year always seems to bring a mixture of joy and sadness. The spirit of the holiday seasons no matter if you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or of any other belief denote a massage of love and hope. While there are elements of joy associated with the season, in many places individuals face harsh weather without the normal elements of comfort not do to anything other than current misfortune.
The stark difference between the joy and the sadness do not go unnoticed by most of us. I think poets may actually be more keenly aware of those who divergent emotions and how they apply to real life situation involving real live people.
I am thinking of one such person tonight that means so much to me, though I am sure there are many. My thoughts and prayers are with all of them, that they may find the resources to maintain utilities and be safe from the elements of their weather in living quarters compromised by lack of utilities. And for those on the streets as homeless, too.
I would ask us each to offer our own prayers for these people as I do for my friend as well.
AWP 21 has come and gone. It will likely be remembered as the Pandemic Conference. The conference that was to be in Kansas City, Missouri, and for me it was, but not in the way I had hoped or wanted. I did the conference from my living room on my laptop virtually. I would like to tell you it sucked, but it didn't. I would tell you it was great, but that too would be incorrect.
In the end, I benefited from it. It was cheap with no hotel or air flights. No meals out. No Uber rides to off site location.
It was in some respects a lonely event. It was harder to connect directly with friends and meet new people, although I was able on a very small scell to do so. There was no swag. There were no hugs. I did enjoy some readings and a couple of the panels i felt were very beneficial to me. There were quite a few instances where my mind seemed to be challenged in my thoughts about literature in various genre, not just my own. I also feel the conference suggested to me that I should try to move beyond to poetry in some ways. Memoir and essay most came to mind. But these thoughts were more like giving me permission to try, to explore a bit, not driving me to abandon poetry or even implying that I should follow such efforts seriously. I
I of course ordered books and they have started to trickle in. I missed not bring a suitcase full of new books home and promptly unpacking them and exploring them right away.
So far I have received the following:
Michael Allyn Wells - notes & musings