Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thought Problem
How strange would it be if you met yourself on the street?
How strange if you liked yourself,
took yourself in your arms, married your own self,
propagated by techniques known only to you,
and then populated the world? Replicas of you are everywhere.
Some are Arabs. Some are Jews. Some live in yurts. It is
an abomination, but better that your
sweet and scrupulously neat self
emerges at many points on the earth to watch the horned moon rise
than all those dolts out there,
turning into pillars of salt wherever we look.
If we have to have people, let them be you,
spritzing your geraniums, driving yourself to the haberdashery,
killing your supper with a blowgun.
Yes, only in the forest do you feel at peace,
up in the branches and down in the terrific gorges,
but you've seen through everything else.
You've fled in terror across the frozen lake,
you've found yourself in the sand, the palace,
the prison, the dockside states;
and long ago, on this same planet, you came home
to an empty house, poured a Scotch-and-soda,
and sat in a recliner in the unlit rumpus room,
puzzled at what became of you.

I purposely don't watch the news. I don't have a TV and I don't tune into the radio, other than an infrequent moment in someone's car and NPR is on. I find the news utterly depressing and local news is the absolute worse. But it's hard to block out things that your fellow workers or friends decided they have to share with you: The story about the three teenage boys who were ticked off at another boy who owed them $40... they doused him with alcohol and set him on fire. The girl that's been kidnapped in Oakland, or the elderly woman who's been shot by accident while walking down the street.

And then, it comes in even closer, though admittedly less severe, to my world, at work: The two little girls who fancy themselves and repeatedly tell another little girl that she's not as good as them. The boy who threatens under his breath to another boy that he'll never be his friend and wishes he would disappear forever.

It breaks my heart, it makes my head heavy and my eyes fill with tears. I wonder why we can't all be good to each other. I wonder why it brings pleasure to one to hurt another. I live in agony over the way we are ruining each other, day after day, with our thoughtless, cruel and downright deadly behaviors towards one another. I don't know what to do about it. Whenever I hear another horrible story, I feel stuck, I question the point of all this and then, I usually cry. Which doesn't help anything, actually. This society we live in, this place that keeps growing huge horns and horrible warts, I don't think can sustain for long in it's never-ending search for fame, money and getting to "the top". How do these people even know where "the top" is?! And don't they see all the people they're walking over to get there?

I know, in my near future, I will find a way to give back that hopefully will settle my heart-hurt just a little bit. Do something in my little corner of the world, that I hope resonates beyond this...


Marion Williams-Bennett said...

This post broke my heart and left me in tears. I struggle with this, too and feel a heightened sense of sadness when I hear children being cruel. If they are like that now, how will they be when they are older?

When it gets too much, I remember Mr. Rogers. After Sept. 11 he was asked how to explain all of this to children. He said, look for the people who are doing good and talk about them.

Our world is increasingly difficult and cruel, but there are those who do good and we need to celebrate them, find out faith in them.

Thank you, Molly!

Anonymous said...

There is definitely far too much sadness in this world but I hope there are just as many reasons to rejoice in the kindness of others. There will always be badness but many people struggle daily to overcome this. Thanks to them :0)

comfies said...

for every bit of cruelty there is even more kindness in the world, i have to believe that. and kindness brings happiness to the giver and to the recipient and so doubles in value. xox.

"...with all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. be careful. strive to be happy."

- max ehrmann

Anonymous said...

Mol, my heart is so with you on this post.
Thanks for writing it and sharing it with us. OX, Hol

Shelby said...

"How strange if you liked yourself..."

Great poem.