Mass, Shooting, God, Guns

At the shopping mall
where she bought the onesie
for her sweet little niece,
five people were shot.
She wondered who would do such a thing
— and why?
Just the day before, she’d walked
by that same cosmetics counter
to the Children’s Department,
spotted the rack of pink,
saw the embroidery,
Lock up your sons, my daddy has guns.
Had it boxed and gift wrapped.
Something was wrong with the world, she thought,
then knelt down to pray.

Poem ©2017, Jen Payne

Random Acts: Irmela Schramm

“I’m really concerned by this hate propaganda. And I want to take a stand.…Not just hollow words. But to do something. I could look at that swastika and “Nazi Kiez” graffiti and say ‘oh, that’s awful’ and walk by. But no one would dare to do anything. Well, I don’t want to wait for someone else to do something about it.” — Irmela Schramm

raw-heart-purpleCommit Random Acts of Writing + Art. See “Grandmother uses graffiti to fight hate.”

Ekphrastic Rabbit: An Out of Body Experience

Some might see the artist’s intention.
Cold War Germany via taxidermy—
it rhymes at least.
The rest is explained shorthand in chalk
there beneath my stuffed and stiffened body,
something about the temperature and Eurasia.
It’s difficult for me to see from my vantage point, really,
but better to face forward in perpetuity
than look back with regret on the moment
I paused just long enough to be considered now
“the symbolic representation of the ability to span long distances.”
If I were the artist, naked and tied to these
“painted poles with fat and felt,”
his dick as stiff as my ears,
I’d surely get more than a cursory glance,
a squemish ewwww from the schoolgirl
still wet from the nude across the gallery.

rabbit2

Poem ©2017, Jen Payne. Image: Eurasia Siberian Symphony 1963 by Joseph Beuys,
as seen at MOMA, January 2017, artwork © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS)

Dear World, we’re sorry and we hope you’ll endure these days with us.

“We want you to know that this is not who we are. It may be who this man is. It may be who those sharing power with him are. It may even be the tens of millions who originally voted for him…. But this is not America. It is not the steady, strong beacon of freedom that it was intended to be. It is not the America our people have fought and died for. It is not the one first formed in the crucible of oppression and cast into the words of our ever-disregarded Constitution. This is not our America. Our America affirms the inherent, priceless beauty of every human being. Our America declares that no person is ascribed less value because of their skin color, religion, gender, financial means, sexual orientation, nation of origin, or any other variable. Our America is home for those seeking hope and joy and rest.” – John Pavlovitz

READ THE FULL POST
Dear World, From America
by John Pavlovitz

IMAGE: Flag, Jasper Johns, as seen at MOMA, January 2017.

Resistance is NOT Futile

I woke up this morning with a feeling of dread. Despite the abundance of good work, the anticipation of my new book, the arrival of a dear friend for a weekend visit, I knew there was something else lurking. The same dark anomaly that has been lurking for years now—yes, years, think about it.

When I woke up this morning, I knew that at some point in my day, at least once, whether intentional or not, I would be subjected to the reality of Donald Trump. Headlines yelling at me from my news sources, in my social media newsfeed, from the display in the checkout line—the enormity of what is happening is so loud and terrifying, I’ve developed a screaming whine in my ears that will not go away.

And that’s the scariest part—this is not going away. Not. Going. Away.

So the question is, what do we do with this? You can’t hide from it. Or run away. Ignore it. You have to face it. Do something about it. Cry. March. Scream.

And then go eat a gallon of ice cream. Or shoot yourself. Or something in the middle.

I showed up at the computer this morning determined to disconnect from social media for good, to train myself not to read the headlines anymore, to effectively stick my head in the sand and figure out how to breathe through my ass for the next four years.

But then this article caught my eye. And I read it. And I think you should too.

It’s called “How to Stay Outraged Without Losing Your Mind” by Mirah Curzer, a lawyer, feminist, and photographer. In it, she gives the following tips for being a strong resistor while maintaining your sanity:

1. Don’t Get Used to Trump — Get Away from Him
2. Focus Your Energy on One or Two Issues
3. Make Activism Fun
4. Take Care of the Basics

Please read these “Self-Care Lessons for the Resistance,” and then let’s roll up our sleeves, grab our lightsabers and get to work, shall we? I’ll courageously stay at the front lines with you…or go eat a hot fudge sundae, if that’s what is necessary for the cause.

Text ©2017, Jen Payne. IMAGE: by Hayley Gilmore, ladieswhodesign.com