This is an email from Matthew Spira's Poetry, a newsletter by Matthew Spira.
It is disorienting
talking to my friends
who are convinced
they have unlocked The Truth
deep on the Internet and among
the posts of fellow true believers.
But is it really that much different
from those who believe their version
of God is the one most pleasing
to His ears? I just don’t know.
I certainly don’t have any answers.
Well, I do have mine.
Having been on four continents
in some seventy-five countries,
doing both good and not great things,
it seems to me people everywhere
are just trying to get on with getting by,
just like me. Most nice, some not so friendly,
but I haven’t always knocked politely.
I know we all take sides and form teams
per the dictates of the internal logic
of our personal situations, but it shouldn’t
be a dream that the less complicated choice
to make is to just be decent to each other.
I can’t save the world, maybe not even myself,
but I can wake up every morning and choose
to see what connects, not what separates us.
That’s my form of “globalism.”
Racism has had the strategic initiative in our country:
400 years of the ordering of every aspect of life to
privilege and protect white skin plays out every day
in millions of ways, almost always to the disadvantage
of people of color; creating headwinds no matter
in which direction they turn. It must be exhausting.
I have been accused of being a traitor to my race
because my biological children are black. Should
I see their color? I have to because it’s my job to do
my best to try to prepare them to be black in America.
I don’t have all the answers, but I want to offer hope.
But hope dies a little more every time yet another
black man is murdered gratuitously by the police.
When I was 18, my friend Allan and I biked from
Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, up the Pacific coast.
It went well until Ventura and a steady headwind
wore us down. The last 30 miles were a grind, but
we made it. And as we stood on Campus Point at
UC Santa Barbara, we yelled “fuck you!” at the world
for trying to make us fail. “Fuck you! Fuck you!”
The world we leave my kids (and yours), I hope
they will have seized the strategic initiative to push
back on all the headwinds that seek to grind them
down and hold them back. Maybe they won’t have
to tell anyone to fuck off, maybe they will, but the
standard isn’t how far we’ve come, or even how far
we still have to go, because there is no ending point
of this being “good enough.” There’s still everything
north of their Campus Point for them to discover.
At some point the headwinds will turn into tailwinds.
That’s my prayer, at least.
ABOUT MATTHEW SPIRA’S POETRY
My publication contains my poetry and stories. I tend to focus more on people than things, but I write about a wide variety of topics and moods. I am especially interested in the military/veteran experience, (single) parenting, and the bemusement of middle age.