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This is my attempt to pounce on and then shape the words I breathe.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

You are not alone

Today at Poets United, I invited poets to write on the motif of protest, and I find words pouring out of me.  Here are some of my thoughts, written as a poem, but not, really.  Even Allen Ginsberg uses images, allusions, figures of speech.  This morning I have been thinking of Mohommad Ali's refusal to fight against people of color in Asia, his political and personal action of becoming a CO (Conscientious Objector) during the US Vietnam War.  And I am thinking of basking in the love of God while knowing what goes on in the world.  God loves everyone!  And so why, and why and why ...? And then, last night in my Buddies of Jesus group a very savvy young woman asked me what CR was.


The Personal is Political.
Again and again.
Not just in the CR groups of 1970's feminism.
Again and again.
What’s CR? you ask, and I will tell you,
Again and again, that it’s
Consciousness raising. And that’s not therapy, but
again and again
discovering the commonplaceness of experience
again and again rising
from what we might think is isolated and personal.

You were laid off? Look around at union breaking
and unemployment and ask “Who benefits?” again and again.
You live near a chem-dump? Look around at dump sites
and clusters of poverty and ask “Who benefits?” again and again.
You lost a son to a bullet? Look around at who
and where and ask “Who benefits?” again and again.
Your neighborhood school closed? Look around at public
schools and education and ask “Who benefits?”
Again and again and again
the personal pain no longer obscures that it is political
racism, classism and yetwe must move isms aside to see.

You ask what CR is and I’ll tell you
Again and again, that it’s
Consciousness raising. And that’s not therapy, but
again and again
discovering the commonplaceness of experience
again and again rising
from what we might think is isolated and personal
to making the connections, one small group at a time
again and again learning the power of the group
to stand up, stand up to power
again and again, and never alone
You are not alone.


Copyright © 2014  S.L.Chast



15 comments:

  1. Your message is so powerful, Susan. We do need to raise consciousness because it is too easy to be complacent in the lands of plenty.

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  2. i think we should def be asking questions...and following the money will tell us the real motives of war...of oil...of whatever our politicians feel will better cow their corporate sponsors...it can feel rather lonely out there as we are confronting the abuses and such...its good to have others to watch your back and stand shoulder to shoulder...

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  3. Oh yes, small steps, but in the end they wear down the cobble stones of injustice and misguidance.

    Know what? I couldn't have written to your prompt if I hadn't heard those planes this morning. Have been in a mess all morning since. We need reminders, even by raking up memories.
    You heard Joanna Macy? She is my Rilke heroine, although I don't read her work until I've done my own, for fear of unconscious copying. I us it as a treat for accomplishing mine.

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  4. Well I'd not heard of CR - as an acronym or movement at least..but I guess it is part of our world if we choose to look and recognise what we have in common with people..that's the thing isn't it..we are all just that -people with the same needs and wants and hopes..safety, love..all so very simple and yet we seem to make it so complicated..what a thought provoking prompt you have launched for us

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  5. Susan,

    A powerful voice in its explanation. Raising awareness is tiring and wearing, especially when 'up against the clock,' or trying to instil some energy and interest. These days, social media possibly aids the 'unseen fight,' more than the evident protests of previous eras. It is always necessary to be alert and to keep a social conscience awake. The world requires it, I believe.
    Thank you for your excellent prompts Susan. As I have written before, I find the advance prompt hint, useful in planning ahead!!

    Eileen

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  6. Wow, fantastic, Susan, I have been thinking along the same lines all day......the pertinent question is "who benefits?" and it is high time they DIDNT benefit. Great writing. I havent posted yet as am thinking I need to address this topic more fully than I have so far - I wrote to it. But am not satisfied. Especially after reading your poem. Will think some more.

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  7. A brilliant message, Susan, shared in a most inspiring way. Speaking up and living the example help so much.

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  8. Thanks Susan for being a raiser of consciousness. I guess our world is in a coma of sorts.
    Therapy? Never it is something that sets a fire in our heart that must be breathed or we suffer.

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  9. I love the voice of protest Susan ~ Again and again we easily forget that we must move isms aside so we can see ~

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  10. Powerful write Susan! I agree, push aside those isms, and even small steps can bring change

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  11. The sad part is that whatever we do, buy, eat, see, and enjoy we are feeding the offenders making them more ravenous. We are destroying ourselves. For every part of the earth be it seas, land, trees, fauna and skies we protect it gives permission to the greedy to destroy everything else. Here in Australia the government wants to take back protected forest as it was logged once. What we need are governments that plan for sustainability in the real future not just their terms of office. The fight has barely begun. Perhaps sustainability should be a compulsory subject taught in schools. Thank you for waving the flag Susan.

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  12. Brilliant, as always, Susan. Why we love you.
    We in Canada are reeling tonight after a lone gunman, dressed in camouflage fatigues and carrying two large weapons of destruction, killed three members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and wounded two others, in a quiet city on Canada's peaceful east coast.
    I will have to read your CR poem again, because my mind is in shock.
    In fact, I think I will do a blog post asking everyone to send love and understanding to the families of the fallen and of the wounded, and to their fellow officers who are working so hard to find the perpetrator. They know his name, but not much else. By morning they may know much more.
    Right now I think he deserves to be hung up by his thumbs until his thumbs fall off, and then by the wrists until his hands fall off, so he never uses an assault weapon against anyone ever again. But I'm kinda mean and nasty that way.
    Luv, K

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  13. Love the idea of personal becoming political and influence everyone. Any little gesture of group able to change the history! Great! I amazed how we come to the same conclusion from different points of view...~ Thanks for the such powerful prompt! xx

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  14. I loved the constant repetition of the "again" word. Felt like a dance song but with a solid meaning behind it. We need to ask such questions addressed in the poem during discussions and conferences about issues that are important in our lives. There is so much going on that there is much work to be done to secure the future of our country and the world over. But that's my humble opinion. good day!

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  15. I loved Mohammed Ali for what he did and so much else and love your poem for boiling things down to easentials. Wondeful. We are of a same generation. Agh !!!!!! Thanks. K.

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