Thursday, August 27, 2009

A hard and sad day: Vaya con dios el leon

I've written in my poem "invisble Man" which will appear with Hanging Loose late this fall in my collection Tourist at a Miracle (2010) that John Kennedy was my first president. And I think that, subtly, Bobby, because of where he went with Civil Rights, was my first inkling of the nature and the possibility of the public voice.

But Teddy was Teddy. Mistake prone and large as life, not the slim and swift or cool of his brothers, he did more, I think, for more American politics than his brothers may have accomplished. He maneuvered in the anti-poll-tax amendment for the Voters Right Act. He worked with Bush on education while opposing the war. He stood for a decent minimum wage while his colleagues in the senate were making hand over fist, getting money from lobbyists' and he said no time and time again. There would e no Medicare or Medicaid without Teddy. There'd be no child left behind or Chips or Voters Rights Acts. He went against the Democratic Machine and said yes we can to Obama when the Clintons prayed he would just stay out.

He was dying and he talked about a dream. He was dying and he talked about hope. He was dying and he talked about a torch being passed.

This president, and we generations can only listen and learn and act and do. I am tired of the guns at birther rallies, at the lies told about the president's origins. Teddy was a lion in many ways, but he was not alone nor did he ever believe he was alone. He stood for everything that I hold true as an American and a citizen of this world.

There is hope.
There is dream.
There is a time for then
and a time for now.

I look at my son and think what world will he inherit, not from me, but from all of us, just as all parents must wonder the same. We have work to do. Myles Horton called it the long haul. His wife sang of not being moved.

We all have our ways. Choose yours.

Un abrazo y un beso a todos los heroes y que descanses en paz el leon. Vaya con Dios.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Weeks Go By

Weeks can go by without posting and it's strange because I've been writing every day. And there is a way in which writing in a journal is like blogging, except it's obviously more private. But it feels like once I've been writing, that is working on poems, on translations, essays what is the exact point of the other (the blog)? Public record? Private record? What is it that one wants other people to know? What is it one wants to not put out into the world? But then there is the fact that a lot of what goes into the writing will become public but not without revision (what's in the poems, etc.). And since for me that's a process that can take a six months to a year (before the poem is ready), what I'm writing in the moment is not going to appear at the same time. Ah, a great soup of knowing what one wants to say and when.

So the past weeks have seen me getting ready for the semester ahead, have seen work on Hinojosa translations, have seen poems revised. Thinking about the fall is becoming exciting and strange. I don't know if I feel ready to teach (unfinished work of the summer) and yet looking over my syllabi, a kind of excitement about what's to come. The strange qualities of the academic life, that it allows for different kinds of intensities--from teaching to writing, from the need to constantly be creative and thinking about every little thing anew to the need to think historically and contextually. A new kind of brave new world mixed with cold pastoral.