Reality

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PLAYING WITH FIRE

Published August 18, 2022 by Nan Mykel

Irreparable harm appears to lie in wait for us if the Republican shenanigans take hold in our country.  The situation gets wilder and wilder with the passage of time and the approach of elections.  I speak of what is being done to the ragtag of our public schools and the profession of medicine.  I don’t refer to the Mir-a-lego combustion.  Hopefully that is being attended to elsewhere.

My first concern is the eradication of sex education in the public schools.  Why did we ever begin sex education?  All those issues will become caustic again.  What is this?  Along with forbidden abortions  we’re not going to warn children?  How dark! Not only did unwanted pregnancies cry out for sex education, but also vulnerability to child sexual abuse.  “A third of sexually abused children are abused before the age of nine.” (Finkelhor, 1986, p 229).  “Stranger danger” wasn’t a joke.

Equally as nervy and destructive is attacking the physician’s time-worn oath to “do no harm.”  If recently passed state prohibitions prevail,  some states will find themselves with a crippling doctor shortage. (I’m trying not to say, “and it serves them right.”)  “If you see a fleeing of providers from states that have severely restricted their ability to practice in line with their moral compass and medical ethics, it will be a huge loss to public and community health,” said Jamila Perritt, an abortion provider in Washington, D.C., and the president and CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health. “We don’t have to guess what’s going to happen. We already see the high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity in places like Louisiana and Mississippi. But we’ll see much more of that as these bans continue to sweep the country.”

Friend Felix Speaks Again

Published July 19, 2022 by Nan Mykel

4th of JULY:  GOOD GRIEF!

If you like pretty poems, please look away,

for here I lament decay, dying and death.

I’m not bemoaning my dying contemporaries,

who lately fall like old-growth trees in a forest.

Nor do I pre-grieve my own impending death.

 

My concern is for the fate of our democracy,

as it is doing a dangerous dance with doom.

Our precious political freedoms are eroding.

Our fractured center seems not to be holding.

 

Our democracy could be in its death throes.

Female bodily autonomy has been outlawed,

voting rights have been wantonly suppressed,

there is massive support for Trump’s Big Lie.

 

The Supreme Court defies the majority’s will.

Throughout our land gun fetishism flourishes.

Louder liars shout down the voices of veracity.

Violence grows, the environment degrades.

 

This Independence Day is a day of gloom.

Sadly I fly our tattered flag upside down.

Today I can’t sing Happy Birthday America!

In these dark days, I weep as I sing of thee.

 

Felix Gagliano,  July 2022

 

TO LIFE

Published September 15, 2019 by Nan Mykel

I’m happy.

I want to stay a while longer.                     

No lightning bolt from the sky, please.

Let me linger

in the sweetness of the days and nights

and the coolness of the old shade tree.

Praise be to

whatever there is out there, in here

just over the horizon of my ken.

I play with you

in this sandbox, and together we make

do with what it seems we have.

 

Image:  Ken Karr.com                                                                                                                      Nan- Time Wrinkles,  2015

 

The Sink Hole Sunk This Poet

Published July 17, 2019 by Nan Mykel

What’s wrong with wearing rose-colored glasses?

Face it–it’s hard today to walk without stepping in it.

And if you slip and fall–oh my! If only our inner

compass could be depended upon, if our

creative urges could steer us through the dark,

find the light.

Should we throw down our tinted lenses and fight

the tarantulas?  The booby-trapped

life jackets? Don’t give in to despair, they say, and

with luck my sword will slice thin air and not be

thrust back at me.  The Drama Queen sits

beside her sister in tinted glasses, waiting for the

other shoe to fall. Oh my.

Look at Me

Published July 13, 2019 by Nan Mykel

 I am a bear.

But am I really?

My identity is caught

mid-stream.

Can you help me out?

When you look into my eyes

what do you see?

Do you see you or

do you see me?

No longer a living tree,

what have they done to me?

Cast into the scuzzy borders

of someone else’s reality (yours).

Caught in the net of your own

imagination, fake firefly in a jar.

Who am I to you? Who are you to me?

Shells, washed up on imaginary

beaches, carry life forms, sometimes

not. Look in your mirror and see

is it you or me caught in transit?

 

Storytelling

Published July 2, 2019 by Nan Mykel

                                       “That’s a Story!”

            In the language of children, story telling means telling a falsehood—at least it did in my childhood.  Now a number of learned individuals suggest that our lives—our selves—are no more real than the stories we think and believe and tell.  Ohh that word “real.”  Most folks today avoid that concept, I know.

            After reading an article in Psychology Today describing the difference between a “Romantic” and a “Post-modernist”,  I accepted the mantle of being a Romantic.

Trying to get organized, my usual rallying cry, I came across a copy of Psychology Today I had saved. I was unsure why I had saved it but when I opened it I found out why: It contains an unread article by Kenneth J. Gergen, Ph.D., The Decline and Fall of Personality ( Nov/Dec 1992, p. 59).

“Many of us believe that somewhere behind our masks lies the real person, that all this role playing is so much sham.  We may also believe that that for the sake of society and ourselves we should drop the roles and be what we truly are.  Yet if by chance you are beginning to doubt that there is a factual self beneath the fake, and feel the mask may just be the genuine article, that ‘image is everything,’ you are entering the new world of postmodern consciousness”.  He adds that “Slowly we are losing confidence that there is a coherent, identifiable substance behind the mask. The harder we look, the more difficult it is to find ‘anyone at home’.

“For contemporary psychologists, people are much like input-output machines…what they do depends on what goes into them.”  Remember that this was before the increasingly attractive idea of many toward the partly (soon wholly?) robotic man.

I never thought of myself as a romantic, but as he differentiates between the Romantic and the Modernist conceptions of the self, I have to register as a Thinking Romantic.  (Where does curiosity belong?)

“It is from the romantic tradition that we derive our beliefs in a profound and stable center of identity–a center which harbors the vital spirit of life itself.  In the past, when it was popular, the romantic self was a compelling account of forces buried beneath the surface of consciousness, in the deep interior of one’s being.”  (Kenneth J. Gergen,  Ph.D., The  Decline and Fall of Personality (Nov/Dec 1992, p. 59).

It is also the home of the “soul.”  Everyone knows by now that I am not religious in the usual sense of the word, but I do honor my depths and support from my unconscious.  And so I accepted the mantle of being a “Romantic!”

        Less than one month later, however,  I come across Bob Shepherd’s blog Praxis that makes a case for mankind’s inner core resulting from their own stories about him/herself and others.  “People are made to construct stories—plausible and engaging accounts of things—the way a stapler is made to staple and a hammer is made to hammer.”  (What Makes Humans Human? Posted on November 30, 2018).  There is no “inner self,” only an accumulation of stories we’ve created  to explain our perceptions.  It’s evolution that caused it, he says. I wonder if evolution itself is one of our stories.

            Off to work on a new story!

 

I KNOW BIG RED RIDER DOESN’T RHYME

Published April 13, 2018 by Nan Mykel

BIG RED RIDER

Not so long ago, in the normal

world of things, a little woman

on her way to visit grandma met

a big red wolf in sheep’s clothing.

“You can trust me,” he said with

a grin, “She’s my grandma too and

I want to see who she voted for.”

 

The little woman became scared when

the wolf’s teeth began to show from

under the sheep’s pearly white skin,

and she feared for grandma’s health.

“I’m going on a picnic” she protested,

“on a restful picnic.” “Well who did you

vote for, my pretty?”

 

“I cannot tell a lie: Bernie.”

Big Red huffed and he puffed and he

grew red in the face too.  “Can you prove

you’re a citizen and not a wetback?

Your hair is black, unlike mine, so

the ICE team may grab you and grandma

too. If you’re not for me you’re ag’in me.”

 

Oh where was the brave hunter who

would step out and save her?  Was he

already fired for being too sharp?

“Fie fie, sir” she cried out hotly—

“How many of the 10 Commandments

have you broken in office?  Mueller,

my brave hunter will arrive at last.”

 

So perhaps the normal world of things

will return without whimper and

the denizens of Make Believe Land

will shine with the child’s regained hope

that love can be gentle, respectful and

honest, and that truth is no longer a

carelessly tossed flapjack.

 

A Long Stretch for d’Verse, (almost)

Published November 9, 2017 by Nan Mykel

Sorry, I’m stumped again. I think I’m locked into secure and don’t know how to get out.

 

A LONG STRETCH

The clear melody of birdsong,

a cool, soothing breeze off the lake,

the kitten’s purring, a warm hug.

The poet’s palette offers endless

choices to embrace and call

forth our gentle, loving nature,

for which the poet is revered.

We cannot argue, this is true.

 

From the same palette, also true:

a rancid stink of depredation

spreads like contagious lava

burning bridges, brutalizing

the senses, and overwhelming

love. How long can both truths endure?

It’s a long stretch between the two.

Or is there a total disconnect?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kintsugi – the Japanese art of mending with beauty – reblog

Published September 21, 2017 by Nan Mykel

Incredible.

fantasticmetastaticme

I have been considering
kintsugi, and how
we heal ourselves,
we who are no longer whole,
and if we can
be beautiful
and flawed
and flawed
and beautiful.

I have considered
my scars, not golden,
not joyful,
not thoughtful, but
silver pale, glistening,
secret lines,
hidden from view,
and wondering
if I can be beautiful
even though
I can never be
mended, not entirely.

I am broken,
re-made,
broken again,
mended. I am
burnt, cut,
poisoned,
damaged.
I am not
who I was,
and yet I am
still here,
beautiful
and flawed
and flawed
and beautiful.

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