The racism dehumanizes all of us
I was never into football, but it’s a sport loathsome from its inception: invented by frat boys who were jealous of Civil War veterans having violent stories to tell, with eye gouging a legal move. Now 80% of players show signs of CTE but we still sign little boys up to go to war and bash their brains in.
I left Twitter the day after the election. There’s a strain of FOMO that pertains only to politics, and I had it bad. I had to know all the takes. Musk’s evil (too strong a word? Nah.) was the impetus to leave, and it was a blessing to me, even as he continues to wreck all he touches. Anyway, there’s enough outrage without stoking it and stroking it online. I enjoyed your poems. I’ve never heard of coffee weed, but we have yaupon holly bushes that I’ve been told we’re used to make a caffeine-rich tea, and I’ve been meaning to try that. As always, thank you for the light you bring.
I thought maybe I could enjoy the time with my family tonight, it was my nephew's 15th birthday (always falls on Super Bowl weekend) and of course they are all into the game (born, raised and live in Kansas City - and raised on football). I didn't make it past the national anthem before I wanted to scream. I left and came home and cried. I can't enjoy the things I was brought up enjoying, that are a part of my family heritage and culture. I feel like such an outsider. Saying anything about it has no impact, just leaves me feeling even more like an exile. I know, poor little white girl and all. It's strange to really try to hold the fact that your culture is so very destructive and not have a clue what to do about or with it.
Do you remember when the Washington Redskins were nudged into changing their name? I wrote to them and suggested they might try the Washington Rednecks. I pictured their team full of neo-Nazis, Klansmen and Hell's Angels. Later, the Cleveland Indians succumbed to pressure. They, too, rejected my suggestion... the Cleveland Engines. Today, if I had my way, the Super Bowl clash would feature the Philadelphia Egos versus the Kansas City Chefs.
Good to sit in on the conversation with you and Mark Gibbons and hear you read some of your writings and talk about Becoming Little Shell.
Appreciate the thought of being an ancestor, by way of children or not. Some of my spiritual ancestors had no children.
I'm an unrecoverable poetry junkie and like the "tipsy local" in 203 N. Rodney Street, I'm bumming for a published collection of your "longer verse". I hope you have a plan for that - don't deprive.
When you can get this codger's eyes welled up, you're getting somewhere.
I lived in Columbia, Missouri, for four years while my partner in crime earned her doctoral degree at the university there. We lived in a beautiful Craftsman cottage that was built in 1936 that butted up against 3.5 acres of woods and ponds right smack dab in the middle of the "old town." Around the corner from that home was the house that the "the call is coming from inside the house" urban legends started (true story!) and just past that house was the home where our friends Anita and Jerome lived. Anita was an old hooligan (who I loved for many reasons but most of all was the fact that when she described someone that she didn't like she would say "well, they're just the goddamn devil" in the most likable way imaginable) and Jerome was a kind man who spent most of his life doing things for UPS and trying to keep Anita from doing hard time.
After a couple of years, Jerome started losing strength in his hands and arms, and eventually some of his motor functions. He wasn't particularly old (late-50s) and was a big, country-strong guy. Anita told my partner, Laura, who then told me and then we didn't talk about it until it was time for all of us to acknowledge it together. After a while, we started helping with household stuff that was bigger or more dangerous (like taking down trees in the yard) but over time the tasks became more mundane. Before too long, Anita and Jerome decided that it was time for him to retire and for them to spend more time at the lake together.
The doctors said that the muscular debilitation was the result of a two-year career in the NFL. He barely saw the playing field, so the injury had come from repetitive collisions during practice. The League itself gave him a laughably small amount of money, maybe enough to purchase a used Nissan.
So yeah, fuck the NFL.
I’ve been to Jackson Hole many times. I hope you have a wonderful experience there.
The Super Bowl is toxic masculinity’s big day. It’s the opposite of entertainment to me.
I spent several hours this afternoon sitting in 40 degree sunshine on a stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline, listening to waves rolling in and ice breaking up. When I got home I listened to your conversation with Mark Gibbons and it was a continuation of the spaciousness, and ease, and meaningful sound I heard at the water’s edge. Thank you. And thank you for writing your newsletter. Maybe I understand some of your feelings about social media. I don’t do any of it because — I don’t have a satisfactory “why”, but I have alot of strong why nots. I tune out all the noise about needing to do it because I’m self-employed. If people want to know what I do, I have a website. If they want to know who I am, I have a blog. I feel like what you write on SubStack is all of that rolled into one, and I appreciate it.
>>whatnot<< 😄 so much good stuff in here. Promote it all! Especially the good ancestor work which you seem to be doing everyday inherently. Social media is rife with pitfalls. I find so much more solace in longform posts (about my dumb laundry piles) because you can smuggle ten selves into those posts instead of one overly-trimmed self in a weird pose...Anyway, yes to showing up for the people you’re working with and for. Promote! We want to hear 👯♀️
Agreed. I despise all that racist BS, the "chop" and so on. I refuse to watch. Football is designed to maim people.
So much of what is posted on social media is a downer for my mental health, so I avoid it the best I can, turning to online journals like yours, Chris, where I can enjoy poetry and thought-stimulating stories. Thanks for your good medicine, to include all footnotes and sidethoughts.
I wish I was a writer/poet just as an excuse to spend time around you. 😂. Your summer is shaping up beautifully.
I won’t be watching the Super Bowl. I got tired of applauding men for smashing into each other a couple years ago.
“Sometimes the rain is the point.”
Your poems for Olney are landing perfectly for me this morning. “Put me in the vicinity of a beaver dam.” Oh yeah. One of my favorite things. We could be neighbors haha.
Please excuse any presumption on my part, but I only found out about this documentary, "Fighting Indians," dealing on this exact topic which is being broadcast for free at 5 PM EST on Feb 21 courtesy of the Atlantic Black Box, which is doing a lot to educate people about past & present transgressions, and I thought you might enjoy knowing about it.
Here is the link if you are interested, there is a short trailer at the bottom of the screen: