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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Heart Issues

Red. Not.
Conversations like the one I had a while ago always leave me confused and feeling inadequate. As ate Marj talked and showed me photographs

of almost naked natives working in mines in Cordi,
with no insurance whatsoever,
with ridiculously low wages,
their sustenance choked with river water suffused with mine tailing
of native people displaced from their lands
men with strong hands and able bodies
yet powerless against the giants that rob them

about high school students not daring to hope for a college education because of astronomical fees

of inept politicians
of corruption

among other things

I do care. But I wonder, is it enough? Where can I summon the rage, the reason to go and raise my fist with the rest of them? And while I see what they see, and sometimes feel what they feel, and believe as well that you can't change the world sitting down (and you must; at least you must try)... somehow, I know red isn't just my color.

Help (less)

Why should it matter to me
That a boy as young thirteen
had a cigarette smoking between his fingers?

What should it be to me
That a man as old as seventy
lay shivering in the streets, and nay a blanket in sight?

Why should I be thinking about
a forlorn old lady as young as seventeen
and her frail infant;
the promise of the future lost to their eyes?

And why should I care about
the three rugby boys I saw on the street
who looked younger than ten?

What are they to me?
Strangers. People I see as I go about my way
People I do not--
and try not to-- know
They--
Their suffering and pain
The hunger and cold
and the loneliness
and hopelessness--
Should be alien to me.
Yet my heart knows them
with heartbreaking familiarity.

There must be something more than
Silence.
Sympathy.
Pity.
That I could offer.

More than prayers each night
that seemed as distant to them
as the galaxies...

More than the helpless rage
More than these uncomfortable thoughts
More than the ink on this paper
More than (hopeless) hope...
what?

I care, but I wish I could do more than that.

Calluses
Somebody once said: "You must grow calluses on your heart . . . otherwise you will bleed to death."


I know.

But I'd rather have a bleeding heart than a callused one.

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