A festering past, unacknowledged wrongs, and our role at present

A festering past, unacknowledged wrongs, and our role at present

Born and raised in the Midwestern United States, I learned quickly not to bring up subjects (past, present, or future) that might cause strife at the dinner table. Not with my immediate family – where discussions, dissent, and even discord were welcomed as long as tones and topics remained respectable (and even the word “respectable” remained rather broad and undefined) – I was raised into a family were the idea of talking about something/talking things out was the only way that they would/could actually get solved/be addressed. But elsewhere I found this to be a problem: The holiday tables of my grandparents and great-grandparents. My second-cousins and their friends. The unfamiliar homes of classmates and their parents. The tables of strangers and in the workplace. Riding public transportation. In the aisles of grocery stores. At neighborhood barbecues, where everyone laughs and drinks beer, but-don’t-offend-the-man-who-sometimes-shovels-your-walk-for-you-in-the-winter. I was born in Hackettstown, New Jersey.  I don’t remember the coast. My older sister, Kaela, born two years before me in Freiburg, Germany, remembers more. She remembers leaving, at least. We moved to Huntsville, Alabama for a brief period, where my sister was born in the humid, mid-August heat And then drove north to St. Paul, Minnesota. This is being written in the time of Donald Trump. Judge Roy Moore was recently defeated in the Alabama special election, arguably the largest shift of the tide since the election of Donald Trump to the presidency in November of 2016. Moore, an accused sexual molester, at best, and the owner of such regressive philosophies as homosexuality is “sin” and deserves punishment, and that times were better...
As long as love I live: The unchanging nature of people

As long as love I live: The unchanging nature of people

Yesterday We stand in front of long white walls: No pictures or wallpaper or paintings or even scuff marks to show that once, once, we had lived between them. The photographer takes two pictures. One I will send to grandma, where it will sit on her mantel next to old pictures of granddad and mom young, and the Christmas decorations she forgets to put away. She doesn’t put up pictures of Jesus, though: She is more into the fantasy of lights and colors; the notions of goodness within herself rather than from the Book written by men. She goes to church: She goes for the people, and for the coffee. She goes to see her friends. Nessa and I stand arm in arm. Nessa weeps softly with her head against my shoulder. The photographer steadies his camera, keeping his head down and covered so as to keep the whole thing impersonal. Distant, professional. But I know you, I think and I tell him with my eyes, I know you from the streets. From the alleyways. From the pictures of crimes and rapes behind buildings that you captured and published next to boxes of text trying to explain what happened to our world and all of the people in it. I can hear the streets outside moving in ways they didn’t use to. The sun shines now in a way it never did before. A year ago the streets were empty and dusty and alone. There was no one. Feral dogs pick through trash bins next to people with beards and long coats. A year ago the only shouts came...