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The Never-Ending War

Colleton River Plantation Club, South Carolina

At a few minutes to one o'clock this morning, I received an alert on my phone and, as usual,

I checked to see what it was.  What I saw practically knocked the breath out of me.  As I read on, and felt the weight of what I was reading sink me deeper, I felt compelled to spread the word, and to add a few thoughts of my own which, at the time, felt utterly meaningless.  Yet, adding my voice to the deluge that would surely follow, still seemed the right thing to do.  I shared it to my personal Facebook profile, and a few moments later, to the Dreams on a Battlefield fan page.  In those moments, the only thing I could say was this: "With every Black life taken and denied the full measure of justice deserved, privileged gun-slinging hate-mongers are granted license to perpetuate more of these heinous atrocities.  When will enough really be enough?"

Of course, what sleep I managed to get was filled with troubling, frightful dreams.  Having been back in my native land for little more than a month, the senselessness and emotional torment of hatred, fear and intolerance are, once again, a constant part of my psyche.  In my dream state, the pain and frustration of our socio-cultural crisis here in Jamaica regarding the lot of sexual minorities, and the similar emotional dissonance experienced by the Black nation in the United States, became indistinguishable; and I found myself not only tossing and turning for most of the night, but awaking in an almost panicked state.

Once I got up, settled down a bit and ventured onto social media once more, I could see that the fire-storm was again stirring.  My mind went back to places that I have not allowed myself to visit for a few years, and ended up on an unpublished blog that I have kept since 2009.  I don't write much on it these days, because the pained words that were often expressed are in my past — or so I thought — but I could not stop myself from reading through bits and pieces of a few posts.  Then, I happened upon a forgotten poem that I had written back in 2010.  While it spoke to a pain from a slightly different set of circumstances, it seemed to encapsulate my thoughts and feelings about the ostensible "Race War" taking place in parts of the United States.  While we grieve, protest, write, and work towards achieving the harmony that many of us desire, let us remember to not make enemies of every White face that we may see.  They are not all participants, willing or otherwise, in the conflict that is taking place.  I think it is time that this piece made its way from the shadows.  It is from this piece that I have derived the title for this post.

Never-ending War

It never ceases to amaze me how the people you think know you,
simply have no clue whatsoever.
They make strange and false assumptions about who they think you are,
when really, their ideas couldn't be further from the truth.

We need to stop being so blind...

See the truth of who people are,
Allow ourselves the opportunity to really get to know a person,
and I mean really know a person.

Not the person that is imprisoned behind the glass stares of our pity,
our self-righteousness,
our egos,
our complete and total oblivion,
and certainly not the graven image...

We judge, as if we have some divine right to do so.
I do it, you do it, we all do it -
Rightly or wrongly, it defeats the purpose of humanity.
We rob ourselves and each other of the beauty that constantly surrounds
and lives within each of us.

Dreams give way to the painful reality of life...
Of scorn and derision...
Of sadness and loss...
Of misbegotten woe...

Chants of "One Love" are no more...
The "Redemption Song" that once graced our lips
has given way to the inevitability of perpetual prison...
Flies swarming the necrotic flesh that was once Civility and Respect,
Love and Honour,
Friendship and Goodness.

Vultures constantly circling,
swooping low over the twitching carcasses of sanity and intelligence:
Society hath given way to Anarchy...
The retribution of the wicked given over to men and women powerful enough to avenge;
but indomitable spirit or not, unwilling to take up arms.

Weakness is all they see in the hearts and minds of those who would rather
turn the other cheek,
attempt to salvage the limbs that have wronged them,
willing to take itch after itch,
wound after wound,
stinking pus writhing their stomachs as they fight with minds of steel,
and hearts of soft coconut jelly,
eyes turned towards the sun:
hoping for a chance to redeem themselves in their own eyes,
gaze at their reflection without wincing, their souls rending in despair.

Time enough...
to fight the good fight...
stare at the racing bullet as it aims for the beating heart,
exploding upon impact:
blood spattering upon the faces of the wicked,
sheep in wolves' clothing,
but growing ever more vile and accurate in their attacks.

Tears...streaming, billowing like gargantuan waterfalls,
but not enough to wash away the pain,
drench the stinking shame,
stifle the self-loathing and apathy that are left in their wake.
The war has only just begun,
but there is only one side: TRUTH...
Truth that sets us free...
Truth that runs like a river...
Truth that hails the sun when the hour seems darkest...
Truth that is dust in our nostrils and lungs,
permeating every cell in our bodies...
Truth: the dust to which we must all return...

Let us all join our hearts and voices with the victims and families of Charleston, South Carolina, and all those for whom the embrace of justice will forever be out of reach.  Let us petition the Universe, for all our sakes, that this madness that seems to be spinning so utterly out of control — these horrors that we, as human beings, seem so intent on visiting upon each other — will soon end.  Like the distant sunlight in the above photo, I believe the hopes that we live and breathe, for a brighter future for our world, are still within reach.  Peace and Love.

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The Never-Ending War


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