I always know when I am starting to slip into the madness again. The voice in my head takes on a British accent. When it speaks to me in Italian I am just mildly perturbed, Spanish - just kinda off. But when that skull crashing union jack takes over, it's time for the looney bin. I know this sounds too rational for confinement, but keep in mind that just a few sentences ago I did say, “voice inside my head”. All my favorite Beat poets spent some time in a padded cell, so I feel no shame in needing a straight jacket or two. But, I wish I could claim it was the byproduct of too much time in the darkroom or staring to far into the lens. To be perfectly honest, it's reality that's driving me crazy. The reality of Amy Goodman whispering to me the secret doings of ALEC on my podcasts in the morning. The reality of wondering if the kids down the street are now counted among the staggering 31 million American children living in poverty. The reality that mother nature is tiring of our abuse and has started fighting back with wilder storms and deeper droughts. The reality of Dick Cheney on a book tour instead of under the basement of the Hauge doing 30 to life. The reality that we are losing a whole generation of American graduates due to our inability to overthrow our corporatism mindset. These little things just keep tickling in the back of my mind no matter how much I serf the People magazine website or rabidly watch TMZ. I can not get that cockney accent from reminding me that as a nation we are tripping down a path of no return. Pushed and prodded from the right by Republican politicians with a burning hatred in their eyes, and continuously let down on the left when we HOPE for the support of our weak willed Democrats. It’s enough to make anyone paying attention wonder if they are the first, or the last, to give into the insanity.
Happy New Year! It’s that annual time of year for reflection and resolutions. As we all plan to finally drop those last five pounds or call Mom more, let’s add an even larger resolution to our list. Let’s all be our own hope makers. Let’s inspire and see hope in each other. Let’s remember that when we work together, we can hold our leaders accountable. Yes, it sounds daunting, but really it only takes a change in our frame of minds. We must all look at the next person as a participant in our shared human narrative. We all live the same story. We all suffer from broken government and impending climate crisis. When the islanders of Manhattan can relate to the suffering of the islanders of Tuvalu, we will be on the road to progress. When it becomes more important to fight for the future of our world than our respective nations, we would have made progress. When the word austerity strikes fear in the hearts of the richest of our nations, and not just the poorest, we will indeed know progress. Let’s return dignity to the human condition. Let’s make how a person lived their lives more impressive than how much money they amassed and couldn’t take to the grave with them. So, my New Year’s resolutions: Yes, drop those last five pounds, call my mother more often, and open my eyes, ears, mind and heart to all the peoples of the world. Wishing everyone a happy and progressive New Year!
I love walking through these streets anonymously. Drifting through the crowded sidewalks like a spirit pulsating to the rhythm of the city. The glare of the lights giving form to my features and the noise of the traffic is my only voice. The slap-slap and tap-tap of the 16 million feet on the pavement playing on my iPhone. Gliding through the lights of the night and slipping through the shadows of the day. I can hold the city’s pulse in my heart and reach out my finger tips to stroke the pulses world wide: Tokyo, Rome, Lagos, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Cape Town, Seoul, Mumbai, Jakarta! Fingertips pulsing and heart beating, the beats align - for one blinding moment we are all connected and moving to the same beat of the street. Human to human - children of whatever deity we choose to give thanks to. We all feel the grind and the pleasure of rubbing against each other. The heat of the friction binding us to the common goal - make it to the next day, see another sunrise, give in but push back. Slip back into that night and that welcoming front door that is the portal in, and out, of our urban experience.