Red and TrueBlue Family

Red and Blue Estrangered Families

Dear Siblings Three,

I was reading a story
in which some siblings became estranged
after their parents died,
while others moved toward greater solidarity.

This is a variation on a diaspora story.
But, here growing physical distance
is seen more as a geographic effect
than a political cause
of growing estrangement on one side,
and solidarity on the other.

Emigration out toward others of like faith systems
and re-immigration of siblings back toward each other,
circling our tribal wagons,
for now it is our turn
for that Great Transition
into mere grandparent mortality,
to go out toward this night better informed together
than estranged alone.

I thought of how true this is for me,
with my three siblings;
an older brother Mike
an sister Connie
from whom I feel estranged,
and a younger sister Kerry
whose mind and heart,
spirit and nature,
have always been
and yet still become
as one.

If I used speed dial
on my smart phone,
Kerry would be first on my contacts list.
My husband would be a distant second.

By contrast,
if Mike or Connie ever called,
my screen would only show
Michigan or Texas
because I have never put them in my contacts list.

That is how I define estranged
as contrasted with
solidarity.

Why we are as we are
we have never discussed.
And I wonder if I will regret this
should any one of you fade back into MotherEarth
before I do.

I suppose this sibling divide
may have to do with competing faith systems
rather than exploring cooperative,
and mutually appreciative,
multiculturing faith systems.

But I have no idea whether Connie or Mike would agree
with this hypothesis of prime cause,
or might include this
in a larger bag of history and enculturation
I have not thought of,
or perhaps have not yet learned to see.

So,
when I was compiling a list of Republicans I know
well enough to ask who they voted for
in our most recent Presidential selection,
and how are we feeling now
about those choices,
two of the four people I could imagine asking,
and yet not without some fear and trepidation,
are my own estranged Mike and Connie.

This leaves me wondering
how we will grow healthier as Earth’s
#1 consumer of fossil-based dwindling energy
and #1 producer of global climate pathologies, per capita,
if we don’t even talk about this
as families estranged from each other’s faith systems
yet sharing one national,
and preferably civil,
citizenship.

Faith systems, if they are about good faith,
should produce our own lives of growing integrity
and faith in healthy futures
for our children and grandchildren.

So it is, I am asking
Mike and Connie, but also Kerry,

Who did you vote for President last year,
or who would you have voted for,
in case you didn’t bother?
And how are you thinking/feeling
about that preference now,
approaching one year later?

I’ll start,
and invite each of you to respond in kind,
rather than writing in response to my story,
or to each other’s.
We can get to compare and contrast later,
as a second stage in a national dialogue,
if we each survive this familial first.

I would have voted for Hillary
if I had found the new polling place
before it so rudely closed,
right after I finally wrestled Ivy into bed.

During both the Obama and Clinton administrations,
Hillary was the primary architect,
or at least one of just two or three,
of diverse attempts to actually pass what would ideally have become
universal health care legislation
through a typically constipated bicameral Congress.

It also seemed to me that she extends her economic
and political investments
in health care
and receiving
to environmental health care
and receiving
issues,
concerns,
and ecological opportunities
to explore WinWin bicameral solutions
for both Republican conservators
in defense of humane physical,
and mental,
and spiritual health;
and Democratic libertines of equal health and thrival opportunities
of and for all species.

I erroneously thought the Republican candidate
was unlikely to win
because he ran against all of the above,
so at least the large majority of women voters,
traditionally strong on family and community health care issues,
would find Donald to be anathema,
both ecologically
and sacredly.

So, how I am feeling now,
as a Blue Connecticut State resident,
is angry,
and terrified
that what was Presidential campaign promised
continues to be my nightmares of cosmological disaster and threat,
and therefore compelled to do everything I can
to facilitate all of us
learning as much from this economic and ecological and political mistake
as possible,
as quickly as possible,
seeking 2020 critical certainty
before 2020 reaches its ultimate November selection.

We are a two BlueState,
two RedState family,
although Michigan is more ambiguous,
I doubt Mike’s Michigan Republican experience
is peculiarly ambiguous.

If we can talk about this
in a mutually appreciative way,
with gratitude for this opportunity
which can only last through all four lifelines,
perhaps we can help set a more harmonic bicameral tone
for and with our other increasingly estranged States,
and families.

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Threatened Organic Economies

“No federal agency should ever…declare war on any sector of our economy”

says EPA chief Scott Pruitt.

I wonder how uncomfortable Secretaries and Parents of Health and Human Services could be

with any Protection Agency

declaring war on all sectors of our human health ecology.

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My Guardian Angel

I suppose,
as a pretentiously self-uberespecting Wise Elder,
I should be alpha-embarrassed to admit
my youngest son,
unable to speak or even sign,
unable to even successfully chew and swallow food,
unable to walk without warm-embraced assistance,
is also my guardian angel.

Without him
I would undoubtedly forget
each day and night
is a re-newing challenge
to laugh with others’ screeching terrors
and shared miseries of sobbing tragedy,
to listen patiently,
maintaining eye contact as best you can,
as long as necessary,
appearing to actually be interested and following,
or, even better,
actually become totally immersed in hearing
resonance and dissonance and timbre,
resolution and irresolution,
rhythm and patterns of song and dancing relationship
and absence of healthy co-relationship,
all before we speak,
or squawk,
as in the case of my guardian angel,

Who also occasionally graces us with shared laughter
about how silly we all are together,
or how great the front porch breeze feels
up against the birdsong.
My nearly egoless zero-sum WinWin mentor,
my youngest sacred graced perfection son.

How would I ever have survived his sister,
who is my Egyptian Princess AlphaPharoah BiPolar Bitch,
in a kind of a Nubian DiPolar Witchy Wu-Wei,
if you know what I mean.
Kind of like living with a five-year-old Donald Trump
if he were also a fifteen-year-old transexual
with bipolar oppositional bitch disorder.

I just read that to my guardian angel.
He didn’t think that was funny,
so I thought I would share it with you,
while he’s still listening,
in his guardian angel graced way.

We each take only what we yang and yin need
and do our best to cooperatively re-invest
all of it,
including the ecopolitical shit.

 

 

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Parting Instructions For My Oldest

You did not choose to be born,
much less Black Lives Really Should Equally Matter born
into this legacy,
your familial and civil Two-Connecticuts destiny.

I realize that,
And regret perhaps my own choices
in response to invitations for care-giving
and healthcare-receiving
were probably too egocentrically universalized
creolized so that whatever felt best to me at the time
would necessarily be best for you,
born into this diverse range of my health and pathology choices
for me,
now also for you.

No one asked, including me
Do you think a young African-American ADHD adult,
single,
poorly educated,
challenged as employable
with unresolved anger and fear issues
about whether he is care-giving enough
to deserve to become self care-receiving,
is left to care for
a gay virgin nerd younger adult
game-addicted brother
who believes he is actually allergic,
and perhaps alien,
to Mother Earth,
AND an oppositionally bipolar nymphomaniac youngest princess sister
with cerebral palsy and difficulty speaking,
civilly or usually otherwise,
and concomitant difficulties
not talking to herself while jumping
and slapping
and forgetting to go only on the toilet,
AND your youngest brother,
also with cerebral palsy and a wheelchair,
without capacity to speak or sign
yet with capacity to laugh and smile
with those he loves to know the best care-receiving,
and without capacity to chew and swallow well
so he eats through a tube
what he must not gnash with his grinding teeth,
and with midnight capacities for grande-mal seizures
requiring 24-7 same-room monitoring.

This is indeed
a great deal of operatic drama not to choose
to be born into
as the oldest,
raised by two gay dads,
old enough to have been your grandfathers,
one black, who seems afraid to be associated
with our polycultural reputation and self-presentation,
self-neglect, he might call us out,
and me white,
now apologizing for this mess
with which I leave you
as your birthright.

Attached are instructions
from your sister’s Behaviorist.
I suggest you adapt them,
first to take better care of yourself,
then her,
then your two brothers,
as best you can,
ecotherapeutic care-giving
is also egotherapeutic care-receiving.

When another life
reaches out to strike you down,
to damage your property and/or body,
and mind,
to touch you inappropriately
and without asking permission first,
before grabbing and damaging your thoughts and feelings:

First, remind your care-receiver,
as yourself,
to ask permission to become a care-giver
to you and/or your property,
because your life does matter equally
with each other’s;
not more,
but not less either.

Second,
teach your assailant
across permitted boundaries to violence and theft and behavioral restraints,
including use of civil voice,
to advocate for this assailant’s healthcare-receiving wants and needs
in an appropriate
mutual healthcare-giving way,
non-violently
and more domestically diplomatic,
following universal multicultural standards
for WinWin Solidarity
of All Lives Equally Matter,
Golden Rules
applied to people,
plants,
places,
and things,
especially technological co-investments
in Earth’s 7-Generation Future
of healthcare information systems
and their cooperative access
to growing Wealth Without Walls.

Finally,
mentor your siblings
with healthcare-giving greetings,
invitations,
listenings before speaking,
speaking back what care-receiving comes through
your All Lives Equally Matter channels
and challenges
about not choosing
to be left with these care receiving and giving
familial opportunities
to regenerate climates of health
and avoid landscapes of further behavioral pathology.

With apologies
for my Elder role
in your current ADHD challenged
ecopolitical and psychological karma,
but,
you know,
as a gay white-trash farmboy
who developed a thing for urban black strong men
in the 1960s and 70s
when my life wasn’t even legal,
much less of any socially therapeutic value,
I didn’t think past my own parenting needs
to give life more therapeutically back
than I had not-so-well received life
in my ecopolitical time on Earth.

If you do your best self care-receiving,
you will each day and night relearn
to teach yourself as others
asking and giving permission to respectfully approach
to advocate for universal care giving as receiving,
beginning with your mentoring history
of gratitude for Earth’s abundant grace
to place
and pace
you here and now
without having even to ask
to be born
into this space and time
of responsibilities for care-receiving
and concomitant authorities of care-giving
ego/eco bilaterally cooperative
WinWin healthcare systemic network building,
4D RealTime
unfolding and reweaving instructions
from and for the Oldest.

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The Rival Sisters

They were loyal sisters.
The older
was also more fair,
prettier in an Original Barbie kind of way.

She had been sick
when her younger,
darker,
more tomboy sister
met and first desired
my tall, dark, and handsome Uncle.

When older and fairest of all Sisters
returned home,
after a long healthcare absence,
she too desired Uncle Handsome,
as did we all,
in our time and ways,
but Handsome’s eyes never wavered again
once reset on older and fairest Sister.

Young darker Sister, left behind,
began to heal
when tall, dark, and handsome #2
showed up
and spoke smokey truths
of happiness,
kindness,
quiet gentleness.
But not too gentle.
Slow and steady; confident
integrity could heal all guilt
and angers
and prior disappointments.

These two Sisters
and their TD and H husbands
lived near each other
and grew old together
with unspoken neighborly mistrusts,
unresolved struggles with and about envy,
jealousies and jilts,
but also laughter and deep mutual regard.

Who can control chemistry,
or timing?
Who can forgive,
and how long could this revolution take?

Yet even restrained love
can grow abundantly rich
with both age and generosity.

Younger and darker Sister
lost her husband to cancer
and then her memory,
while older fairest Sister and husband
moved into assisted housing
after reaching golden fifty years
together.

Then good-natured patient waiting
to embrace final retirement,
a journey we each take alone,
as when we entered
except without Mom nearby,
or maybe this too remains the same, somehow.

Older ancient Barbie Sister
did not let go
until younger jilted Sister
quietly stopped breathing in her deep night sleep,
lost in memories not accessible by day.

Ten nights later
Barbie Sister passed out of embodied memories
in this same way.
Safe at last,
knowing it was then too late
for TD and H Uncle
to go back before that place
where they had started.

They say death comes in threes.
I wonder why.

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UnWoven Memories ReWeaving

I grew up and out on a four family-owned,
and cooperatively-organized,
extended matriarchal farm.

Four interdependent 1940s through 1970s patriarchally managed businesses,
without substantial questions about who should wear pants,
yet with a surprising matriarchal cooperative understory.

The boxers outnumbered the panties,
but the panties had full nutritional care-giving and -receiving reign,
Monday through Friday,
9 to 5,
and what the boxers missed,
well,
that’s the competitive market price of non-panties.

My maternal grandparents were farmer and wife
with three daughters.
These daughters, as adults,
lived, and two will die,
within a five to fifteen minute drive from each other,
an easy spring through fall bike ride for pre-teen cousins,
ten of us in all,
four all-American girls,
five made in USA boys,
and the fifth-born,
well,
we never were entirely persuaded
one way or the other.

During the spring
each of the three sisters planted her garden,
large enough to produce tiers of canned corn,
rows of string beans,
pickled beets,
sauerkraut,
stewed tomatoes,
applesauce
and peaches and pears
self-picked in teams of two or three adult sisters
and their attendant underlings
infesting local orchards.

It was at canning time
our matriarchal cooperative came into its own.
And the making of preserves,
jams and jellies,
cherry and strawberry,
raspberry and blueberry.

I recall bushel baskets of sweetcorn
waiting to be husked
and cooked
and cut off the cooled cobs;
huge harvesting pans
of peas waiting to be snapped open
then pulled out with our left thumbs,
except for my oldest sister,
princess Elder of all matriarchal cousins,
who is left-hand dominant.

Rows of tomatoes
lined up on our enclosed front porch
to finish sun-ripening on newspapers
spread thin across the painted cement floor
leaving only a center aisle
to walk in from outside
toward the sacred altar of our mass producing kitchen stove,
all four burners sacrificing red hot electricity.

The porch floor would fill
with alternating waves of peaches and pears
creeping toward their ripest time
while we pitted mahogany sweet cherries
for freezing
and florescent red cherries
tart,
to drench in sugar
and smack our mouths with amazing jam.

So, there I was
the fifth-born ambiguity of ten cousins
living literally in the midst of a traditional
MidWestern
extended family
matriarchal cooperative,
Monday through Friday
during summer vacations,
with some elements of patriarchal sharing
among my mother’s dad
and the three son-in-laws
on weekends,
sometimes even hot haymaking weeknights,
sharing combines and bailers and harvesting wagons,
forming hay bailing teams,
drivers and stackers,
unstackers and hay mount restackers,
and cookers of meals for the field workers.

All this economic nutritional production
was further enriched
by shared sister and cousin lunches
and laughter
and lavish suppers
with sweetcorn on buttered and salted cobs,
sliced beefsteak tomatoes,
potato salads
and strawberry-rhubarb pie for dessert,
a la vanilla-only mode
for those who preferred creamy
with their just desserts
during summer’s cooperative harvest.

Good food,
but also hot rhapsodies of laughter
spreading echoes across the evening barn
to share with dairy cows
and satiated pigs
cooling in their cooperative mud
beside the algae-blooming pond.

This cooperative worked and played across all four sites,
grandparents
and all three sisters
and my usually convivial cousins.
We peaked in summer
and dwindled down in winter
to monthly Sunday dinners
extending on through sleepy afternoons
of sabbath rest,
and maybe sledding,
to end in nocturnal benedictions
back at church,
to close these cooperative sabbath rituals
where we began
all of Sunday morning,
10 a.m. Sunday School
through noonish,
often over-heated
over-extended admonishments
against greed and lechery,
dancing and provocative entertainments
in movie theaters
and pool halls,
and don’t even think about the bars
and devil-liquor stores.

In retrospect,
I doubt these Sabbath admonishments
against competing with extended family health
were as influential
as was our cooperative structures,
our mutual enjoyment of nutritional outcomes
but also the harvesting process
together.

Our matriarchal cooperative,
for the generation it lasted,
was 100% proof against unhealthy family disruptions.

But,
that was then,
and this is now,
spread out and dissipated,
finding our new ways
toward extending families
of matriarchal and patriarchal cooperatives.

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Making Hay

Make hay while the sun shines.

I grew up as a closeted polypathic nature-mystic
on a marginal, at best, family farm
in Michigan.

This farm was my embryonic home,
an extension of my vastly loved and nurturing Mother,
more than my workahoic homophobic Father,
who most emphatically did create a patriarchal god in his own image.
His farm was for slave labor.
Her farm was a garden for growing healthy wealth.

I loved Mom’s Multi-ReGenerational Family Farm
like an extension of my ego’s mind and body.

And, like a turtle without a shell,
when I first headed off to Ann Arbor’s University
I brought my happy and healthy ego with me,
eager to begin my new adventure story,
yet I emotionally stumbled,
felt naked and exposed and depressed,
for lack of my embryonic habitus,
my eco-center,
my home,
my interdependently embracing love of sacred spaces
and their seasons of regeneration and degeneration,
growing still and fading without ego me
conjoining.

I was homesick,
but not for Nurturing Nanny
and Fearsome Father
or even Perfect Princess Sister, whom I cherished,
whom I could talk and listen to as whim might invite,
and, although somewhat more of a sore detachment from our farmhouse interior spaces,
my disorienting alienation from Ann Arbor
was as a too-urban outside place
just as my recreating resident embrace
favored my dorm and classroom youth-learning multicultural race
against more oppressive monoculturing times.

To this day,
despite a six week backpacking hike
along California’s Pacific Coast Trail,
plundered by surreal vistas and fragrance and light and unspeakable beauty,
when I imagine a meadow, a field, a woodland,
a pond,
a barn,
an unpaved road,
a gravel drive,
a herd of cattle,
a pen of pigs,
a coop of chickens,
a litter of kittens with eyes still sealed shut,
I recall iconic scenes from this sacred originating home,
my eco-memory
calling my doubly-bound ego-enculturing self
back home
to where we permaculturally began together,
making hay while the sun did shine.

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