United Corporations of America

tomato paste

That’s where I live, in the good ole UC of A, where companies rule.  People don’t.

Take Congress’ spending bill.  It would push back against the USDA’s attempts to have healthier lunches.  In the bill, pizzas and tomato paste would be considered vegetables.  (And how silly of me, I thought tomatoes were fruits! :))

Don’t we have an obesity problem in this country?   A group of retired military leaders think so.  They’ve criticized Congress’ changes to the USDA’s recommendations because they recognize poor nutrition in school lunches is a national security issue.  Obesity is the leading medical disqualifier for military service.

Once again, corporate interests are protected at the expense of children.   What trumps tells what the country values, here in the good ole UC of A.

Image:  Ross Catrow

Beauty Will Save the World

 turtle

Beauty Will Save the World.   — Fyodor Dostoevsky

Do you believe that?  Or do you believe Dostoevsky was full it and his phrase is sentimental nonsense?

I know beauty won’t solve everything, but more and more I believe it has saving power.  I lost faith in it about nine years ago.  I stopped writing poetry and didn’t write for approximately six years.  I couldn’t see what my poetry was adding to the world.  I felt despair about the Iraq War, the arrogant actions of the Bush Administration, and our culture’s narrow and revolting focus on reducing everything to utilitarian and economic ends.

But then I woke up.  I needed to write.  I needed poetry in my life.  I felt less of a human and less of who I am without it in my life on a daily basis. 

And I need to share beauty with other humans.

And I think this is true for all humans.  We need the mysterious and profound in our lives.  We need art and beauty as antidotes to the relentless pragmatism, efficiency, and results-focus that is prevalent in our culture.

And we need to share beauty in community.

We aren’t just about getting things done.  We are better than that.  We need beauty to be the imaginative, compassionate, and caring people we can be.

Beauty isn’t just about poetry and art.  It can have many looks.  Redemption is beautiful.  Forgiveness is beautiful, and the acts of these in public is incredibly beautiful.

 The world desperately needs beauty.  We need places where people can stand together and be uplifted in its presence.

A task of leadership is to bring beauty into the room.

Image: Nosha

At Last the Secret is Out

migraine

At Last The Secret Is Out – W.H. Auden

At last the secret is out, as it always must come in the end,
The delicious story is ripe to tell to the intimate friend;
Over the tea-cups and in the square the tongue has its desire;
Still waters run deep, my dear, there’s never smoke without fire.

Behind the corpse in the reservoir, behind the ghost on the links,
Behind the lady who dances and the man who madly drinks,
Under the look of fatigue, the attack of migraine and the sigh
There is always another story, there is more than meets the eye.

For the clear voice suddenly singing, high up in the convent wall,
The scent of the elder bushes, the sporting prints in the hall,
The croquet matches in summer, the handshake, the cough, the kiss,
There is always a wicked secret, a private reason for this.

 

So few official stories are true. Much authority stays in power through deceit.

Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State coach and accused pedophile, says he is innocent and was just horsing around in the shower with the boys.

Poetry has a way of cutting through the official lies. “Still waters run deep, my dear, there’s never smoke without fire.”

Image: Quinn Anya