A Vague Notion
A vague notion of an unheard sound,
Stolen by a dishonest imagination.
Two raccoons mating in the dark
Become unspeakable crimes against defenseless women.
That’s not what I heard.
But the leader says it is, over and over again,
Daring us to see our blood
Dripping down bedroom walls.
We must hate the bad dudes
When I only despise his theft.
Yesterday, I was on my way to visit the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial, when I spotted an abandoned shopping cart leaning on a tree in downtown Sacramento. This city is challenged by the homeless who scar the landscape with needles, garbage, shopping carts and their despair. Some want and need help, but too many are beyond an easy fix of food and shelter. Their memorial day is every day.
The roulette known as nails on the freeway hit me again–another flat tire, completely blown apart. This time the tire was beyond repair. In brief, I found myself walking in midtown Sacramento, killing time while waiting for new tread. It was an overcast, cool day, the kind that carries smells to extremes, like roasted coffee. I followed the aroma to an alleyway. This former gold rush city is lined with alleyways that in recent years have been turned into areas other than ones you don’t want to walk down. The Old Soul Co. , in an old brick warehouse, is one of those out of the way gems. I had a great cup of Brazilian bean coffee. Lap taps were plentiful on small old wood tables, spaced far enough apart that, combined with the high ceiling, conversations didn’t carry far, at least not as far as the smell of roasting beans. I forgot about the tire.
I did one of the most congested commutes in this country for too many years. I saw numerous accidents, including fatalities–many drivers did, it was a pressurized way of life. I don’t work anymore. Retired. The morning traffic report on the radio still haunts me even though I don’t buckle up at 7 a.m. . I had five flat tires, but fortunately was never hit despite…well. enough. This photo was taken at 7:02 p.m. after crossing the Bay Bridge. Accessing the bridge from San Francisco was an ordeal I will never miss.
The fireworks are gray ash in the gutter. The morning light is bright, the air is cold and crisp. I sound like a menu writer. Yes, the first hours of 2018 have passed and once again I’ve made some resolutions I won’t keep. I will continue to laugh at myself, a resolution I’ve always kept. And I do have a good feeling about this year, although I haven’t seen the news today. The dissension in this country has turned bystanders into activists who realize we have a president who is unstable, childish and a pathological liar; that sexual harassment is pervasive and cannot be tolerated, and that we must have an inclusive society to flourish. No one can afford to sit back and watch without paying the consequences of indifference. I took this photo a few minutes ago. It’s winter. The branches will fill with leaves and birds. Patience. A good change is coming…if we work at it together.
Why? The Las Vegas massacre is only a month old—and now we’re hit by 26 shot to death in Sutherland Springs, Texas, another mass killing with a gun wielded by an unstable man. I write “we” because no one should be immune from these senseless acts. And we should face the reality that our best defense is compassion for human life which must include caring for the mentally ill. How we care is an immense challenge to society. I do know that if we do nothing, more troubled souls will squeeze the trigger on a semi-automatic weapon. (This self-portrait was shot a few minutes after I read about the Texas massacre on my cell phone.)