L’amour – Creed of Greed

Once again, a challenge from friends at fandango: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/79388113/posts/1958222579  This may not have been the intended response but where the muse directed. 

“It is the logic of consumerism that undermines the values of loyalty and permanence and promotes a different set of values that is destructive of family life.” – Christopher Lasch

“If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it.”                                                             – Edward Bernays

 

 

L’amour – Creed of greed (Love for sale)

A fortunate few
Born to this estate
Others spend their lives
On the quest

Many will promise it
If you wear their clothes
Buy their perfume, make-up
Nothing to do with who you are
That inadequate lump of clay

Corporations take you to the fountain
Where love is hidden
Yet I warn you
It is beyond their reach
Cannot find what they don’t comprehend

Consumerism is a lethal cliff
Closer and closer to the edge
You buy, buy, buy
The next item will complete you
Financing the creed of greed
It will bring you down.

Bisous,
Léa

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Desiderata

“I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.”      – Anne Frank

“Peace cannot be kept by force; but by understanding.”  – Albert Einstein

The following, I read as a young child. I’ve carried it with me for a very long time. It was always there, within the folds of my heart. It remained a compass for my journey. I’ve never been good at following the main path. I feel strongly about its message and feel the need to share it today. Thank you Max Ehrmann for your words and thank you for reading on.

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

 

Paix, Peace, Shalom et Bisous,

Léa

Silver Poetry

honest lines draw across her skin but he can’t see with blood in his mouth transmission continues I read your code pegged loosely whipping in the breeze making sin out of nothing he stared at her from the cross remain pure she turned around and tapped her red heels three times I don’t belong I […]

via untainted star — Silver Poetry

RAINBOWS, PRIDE AND JUST LOVING MY DAUGHTER

“Love isn’t something you find. Love is something that finds you.”  – Loretta Young

“Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.”   – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.”  – Audrey Hepburn

When I left my ex-husband, I took my children and moved away from a very toxic family of origin. For the fir!st time in my life, I had some support. A young man who taught a class the previous summer provided a link that had been missing all my life. (Yes, Michael, it has been 26 years this Friday.) Michael and his partner, Cliff, became the ‘brothers’ that I had wished for as a child. Michael had lived in Sacramento before and since his ex was moving there with Michael’s son he was going to be there for him. They kept telling me I had to take the children and go there as well. Michael and Cliff were the first openly gay people I had ever met. I remember early on when I first saw Cliff plant a little kiss on Michael’s lips. It was brief but sweet. I remember thinking to myself how beautiful to see two people in love. Yes, it is true that some demonstrations of love and affection probably should be reserved for private venues but that includes demonstrations between heterosexuals as well. However, something as innocent as a kiss or holding of hands are reflections of love and beautiful regardless of the gender of those involved. Life can be difficult with many a rough edge, when you find love, embrace it, rejoice in it.

Despite all my “I can’t do it because…” I knew that I would do it and did not want to be without these kind, generous and supportive people. Upon arrival, we stayed with Michael and Cliff while looking for that first apartment. Within a week, I found a two bedroom just across the alley from their place. Since we didn’t know anyone else, we were introduced to many of their friends and went to numerous events right along with them. The weeks before the children and I could go were a nightmare and re-enforced the decision to move on. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Mid-town Sacramento is also known as Lavender Heights. It was and remains a hub of activity for the LGBT community. Always a champion for those who are are discriminated against, I joined the ranks of demonstrators and supporters. Despite my being straight, I was welcomed with open arms. It was true acceptance from the beginning. One of the first people I met there was a woman named Gayle Lang. She was a tiny but fierce advocate and a vital resource in the community, more than that, she symbolized its beating heart. She advocated not just for gay rights but women’s rights and a variety of other causes. A cause dear to her heart was a library which she was instrumental in establishing. She was determined to rectify the imbalance of literature and information about and for the LGBT community. Gayle died of cancer at a very early age. Yet she lives on at The Lavender Library which remains a vibrant resource for the community. Each year there are requests from students and researchers in the gay and non-gay community for information which is not attainable elsewhere. There is a staff and governing board that is dedicated to maintaining the vision that Gayle set in motion.

A few months after our arrival, I was able to commit myself to my studies. I entered the local community college to begin working on a degree. My background was one of abuse and low self esteem. Yet I also had a history of stepping in and volunteering when ever I could. There were also questions in my mind and the subject that stood out as the focus for my degree was psychology. When I had achieved sufficient units to transfer to the university, the old fears shook me to the core. Michael who had received his Master’s Degree at Sacramento State took me by the hand and gave me the tour of the campus. It was much larger than the community college. Michael’s Master’s Degree was in Theatre Arts and I received an exhaustive tour of the Theatre and associated buildings. There was also a nod to the Psychology building. In his defence  it was rather closed off that day so not a lot to see.

During my undergraduate work I did some field studies which included serving as a case worker at the Sacramento AIDS Foundation. There were always more clients with needs than there were resources. The answer was to network among the community for support. By this time I had become familiar with some of the more prominent members. When a client was faced with having their utilities turned off, a walk over to a nearby gay club, chat with the owner and the bill was paid. I never once had to twist anyone’s arm. They never inquired if the client was gay or straight. Yes, there are and were many straight people with AIDS.

Being a single mom, my children accompanied me to demonstrations and other events. They also were happy to have their two ‘uncles’ who praised their accomplishments and listened to their problems. They witnessed the discrimination of people they cared about and learned a lot about love. Over the years there were frequently people, usually young, who had been disowned by their families for being gay. It was not uncommon for someone to show up at our house just looking for someone to talk to who was not afraid of a hug. Our financial resources were limited but I was an expert on stretching meals and there was always room at the table. Often they would join the children and I for a movie and just be happy to be part of the family. Of the many who crossed our doorstep, each one brought their own gifts. Those without a smile often had them before leaving.

Rich was the one who cut our hair from that first haircut soon after arriving and quickly became part of the family. He would come over and visit and watch Beauty and The Beast with my daughter and youngest son. During a particularly rough patch at our house, he showed up with two sacks of groceries and proceeded to make us dinner. That is family! There was a huge hole in our hearts when Rich died suddenly of a complication of AIDS. Rich was 28 years old. At his funeral, there were two sides. On one side was his mother, friends and my children and I. It was quickly obvious who was running the ‘show’. Rich’s father had a microphone and called from people who were sitting with him and turning away from the other side. He wanted testimony about Rich with no mention of who he really was after the age of five. Numerous people gave their tributes to Rich but it was so strange, it was obvious they didn’t have a clue who he was. As young as Tovah and her little brother Joseph were, they knew that those people were not speaking of the Rich we knew. During this whole time, not one person from the mother’s side of the room was invited to speak. It was clear that they wished we were not there at all. Regardless, we were there for Rich and his mom.

When I had received the call of Rich’s sudden passing, I was angry. My response was a poem. I had not planned to take it to the funeral but at the last minute grabbed it on my way out the door. While the testimonies roared, I shared the poem with two friends, David and Miki who had worked with Rich for several years. Our eyes spoke volumes and they nudged me a bit too far. Now I am quite the introvert and would rather face the root canal than get up and speak but I quietly walked up behind the last speaker and took the microphone from his hand. He was too surprised to respond. My heart was pumping fast but this was for Rich and for his mom. I have no doubt my hands were shaking as much as my knees but I read it as I had written it. There were no apologies for any language used and his mother was very touched. Now the children and I knew all too well why he never spoke of his father.

And I have to believe for now

You’re not that far away(Richard Bonilla 1966-1994)

Good Night Sweet Prince

Yes, it really hurts!

Yes, I’m angry

And a 28 year-old man

Is not suppose to die 

To gasp for his last breath

Alone

Because the onset of P.C.P. (opportunistic infection of AIDS)

Was sudden

He said it was the flu

And he was gone

Before his mother got word

He was sick

Before she could return from Alaska

Before we could be there

He died

Alone

And I hurt

And my children hurt

And the black hole has tightened

Its grip on our lives

And I hate this fucking disease

That ravages the flesh of the young

Stealing their tomorrows

And our tomorrows with him

And I’m sorry I didn’t tell you

That last haircut was the best I ever had

And I’m angry

That you won’t be sitting next to me

When Joseph dances the nutcracker

And I’m angry there wasn’t more time

For more hugs

And there are always more things

We planned to say and do

And I’m angry that when I walk into your shop

Your not there

With your flick of the wrist “hi girl”

And your bear crunch hug

Your toothpaste grin

Your liquid black eyes

Full of laughter and tears

And I’m sad

And my tears are for you

And for us

And I’m grateful

For the three years we had

For the hours you played with the kids

Praising their triumphs

Accepting their shortcomings, and mine

You always saw the best in them

And when their father rejected them again

And when I was down

You left work early, shopped

And cooked a chicken dinner with all the trimmings

(Forgetting I’m a vegetarian)

And I thank you for nurturing the bitch

With bottles of red dye

Coaxing her out of me and into the open

And I am grateful

You were part of our family

For such a short time

I was proud to say I love you

And I’m just so fucking scared

Of how we all will miss you

And the world has grown so much colder

But the stars are brighter now

                    –

As Rich’s father and his friends parted, the rest of us gathered outside. We hugged each other, released balloons, sang Somewhere Over The Rainbow and the sun shown upon us.

Like many parents of LGBT children, I was not surprised when my daughter decided to ‘come out’. A few of us had known for some time and knew she would when she was ready. I was grateful to all of these wonderful people for making it safe for her to do so. “Coming Out” in such a vitriolic society, sharply barbed tongues and ignorance abound and I was unsure of my own ability to buffer the blows. I’ve seen a number of these beautiful young people succumb to the intolerance and judgment that surrounds them. I shall be ever grateful to the dear people who helped surround my daughter with a safe and accepting environment in which she could discover herself. Being gay is no different than the beautiful brown eyes that smile so brilliantly and can coax a grin out of most anyone.

Our lives are punctuated by what is often called “Rights of Passage”. That first driver’s license, the prom, a Sweet-Sixteen, graduations, weddings and so many other ‘Firsts’. Tovah wanted a party and that is exactly what we had. A Coming Out Party was the order of the day. Someone cut a huge rainbow shape out of wood and hung it over our front door after painting it to resemble a rainbow. Michael brought two large canvases, paint and brushes. On one canvas he had painted The Emerald City with a fairy flying above. Guests were encouraged to paint something for Tovah and many did. In the background were playing both the film and the soundtrack from The Wizard of Oz. There were members of the community, friends. My older son, the big jock, invited all his good friends from school and from his baseball team. It was beautiful to see them come to support Tovah. What was missing that day were three beautiful people, Gayle, Cliff and Rich who were stolen from this life way too soon. Gayle knew early and actually gave Tovah her first leather jacket. Tovah was eight years old and Gayle had cut down an old jacket of hers to fit Tovah. I didn’t have the heart to tell Gayle how quickly Tovah grew out of it.

While a parent can not always protect their children, we must give them our unconditional love and support. We cannot decide who or what they will be. That is their job. They must ‘try it on’ see what fits them and not try to copy who we are or who we pretend to be. Our job is to accept, respect and celebrate who they are with them. For some parents, it is uncharted territory. Give your kids a chance, open your heart and your mind and enjoy all that awaits you.

A few years before Tovah made her declaration, I had been thinking about what this would mean for her and her life. In such a situation I try to put myself in the other person’s place. What would it be like? For me, writing, especially poetry, has been a way of processing things and the following poem was the result. It may not reflect what the experience is truly like, but as I said, I could only imagine.

in a woman’s arms (for Tovah in her first relationship)

in a woman’s arms

there is softness

and I fall

into the silky

embrace

and it is new

and different

uncharted

yet

intoxicating

in its hazy familiarity

I trace the

Topography

Of curves

And flesh

I plunge deep

Inside her caverns

Her salty sweetness

Beckons me

Deeper

She quivers

And the rumblings

Echo throughout me

Fanning flames deep inside

So unfamiliar

So new

Caution yielding

Heat rising

Her voice

Deepens

Catches

She moans

We embrace

I am finding

Myself

in a woman’s arms

Today my daughter has been in a relationship for the past eight years. She and Ashley live near Ashley’s family and Tovah cares for Ashley’s two nephews and niece. The children adore her. They are at all the boys sports events and while the niece is still very young, no doubt Tovah and Ashley will be there for her interests as well. They continue the commitment to animal rescue that Tovah has been dedicated to since she was twelve years old. My daughter is a beautiful young woman. She is kind, gentle with a bubbly personality and her eyes sparkle with laughter. Yes, she is a Lesbian. She is also an author, a reader, a woman devoted to those she loves and so much more.

She recently had her first book published and is currently busy with the second. I am proud of my daughter and of the wonderful people who have become our family and friends. They have enriched our lives beyond measure. I shall always remain grateful for these stellar role models who reached out to my children and myself. To those who are so filled with hatred and ignorance, I am sad for you. You are missing out on knowing some amazing people, people of all ages and walks of life who are filled with love and just want to be accepted for who they are. They threaten nobody. Can you say that?

Bisous,

Léa

In her safekeeping – Carly-Jay Metcalfe

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill

“I say to people who care for people who are dying, if you really love that person and want to help them, be with them when the end comes close. Sit with them – you don’t even have to talk. You don’t have to do anything but really be there with them.”  – Elisabeth Kulbler-Ross

*

In her safekeeping (For Carly-Jay)

On that freezing

winter’s night

I struggle to

stay on path

fighting the winds

I hear the howling

all too close at hand

it is the darkest of night

even the moon has

turned her face

I am alone

frightened

the way ahead

into the unknown

unprepared

my eyes seek

respite

lifting my head

in the storm

a window

in the distance

illuminating the way

unconditional love

inviting – welcoming

offering safe harbour

the guardian

reaches out – her

voice gentle, calm

reassuring

there is no judgment here

she knows intimately 

its weariness, each toll

her embrace 

I am safe in her keeping

steadfast she escorts me

until I am at last

at rest

*

Webster defines courage as: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. To possess such courage, is rare. To find it in one so young as Carly-Jay Metcalfe, is remarkable. To have someone like her come into your life, I promise, will illuminate even the darkest of corners. She can inspire like few others. I am indeed privileged to know her. A writer, a speaker and a champion to those whom she reaches out to in the darkest days of their lives.

Carly-Jay knows death on a first name basis. She has navigated in its shadows since first drawing breath. Yet instead of running from it, she faces it full on to guide others. Please, for your own sake, get to know this amazing young woman. She has so much to offer all who open their mind and heart.

In addition to my meager words, I offer links to explore the world of Carly-Jay, get to know her. Death touches each of us and running from it can only harm us. Enlightenment is the key to life. Carly-Jay is the keeper of the key.

http://www.carlyjaymetcalfe.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYaBlW9sSYQ

*

Bisous,

Léa

Only roses

 

“She turned to the sunlight and shook her yellow head, and whispered to her neighbor: “Winter is dead.” – A.A. Milne

 

“A host of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze.” – William Wordsworth

 

Only roses

Only roses

Every year on

Her birthday

Mother sent grandma

Roses

When grandma died

They all sent

Red roses

What grandma

Loved most of all

Were daffodils – connection

Her native Wales

*

When I see

Daffodils

Growing in the ground

In a florist shop

Or even in a picture

I think of grandma

A son

And daughters

Who only did anything

For appearances sake

Feelings never

Mattered

The façade with the

Sincerity of

Plastic roses

*

Bisous,

Léa

Double – edged

“One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love.”

– Sophocles

“Touch seems to be as essential as sunlight.” – Diane Ackerman

*

 

Double-edged

It is that soft

Underbelly tenderness

Of a first kiss

That first exploration

Of the one who made

My respirations shallow

My heart skips a beat

It is the sharp edges of

Each parting

The tearing of

Heartstrings

The bottomless

Vacuum of

Separation

 *

Bisous,

Léa