100 Thousand Poets for Change

As a core team member of The Bardo Group, I have been invited, encouraged, challenged to participate in the 100 Thousand Poets for Change event.  For more information about this event, and to be stirred and prodded in you own artistic lethargy, click here

I yearn to be a poet, an artist, a musician.  I often find a piece that seems so right, so seemingly effortless, so fitting that I think it can’t be hard to craft a work like that…it simply lays over its theme like a glove.  Not so.  Listening to music on my way to work yesterday, I heard a poet’s frustration: “I don’t know why I spend my time / Writing songs I can’t believe / With words that tear and strain to rhyme.” (Paul Simon: Kathy’s Song.)

I feel this theme of Peace and Justice coursing through my life, my thoughts, my work, my hopes, and I wonder how hard it would be to write a poem about it.  I talked to a young man half my age who has studied forensic justice and just interviewed for a position as a mentor, a parole partner, someone who will help perpetrators and victims get together and talk, face to face.  I thought it was a great idea, for both parties, for all parties.  Here’s my attempt to let that idea percolate:

Let’s Face It

Behind the veil, the dirty shroud, the black burka, the white Klan sheet,

the knit ski mask, the heavy gas mask, the transparent oxygen mask, the impenetrable death mask,

the dense fur, the redwood bark, the shiny scales, the matted feathers,

the protective shield, the official badge, the repeated slogan,

the coarse beard, the perfect make-up,

the injections, the implants,

the scars, the screen


There is a face, a viable being.


When eyes recognize

kin and skin, then peace begins.

Face to face is the starting place.

“Chainsaw Diabetes in the Face!”

Kind of an over-the-top battle cry, but that’s the level of absurdity to which you sometimes have to rise when taking on an epic task.  Yes, Team Galasso stepped out to Stop Diabetes on Sunday…perhaps we should simply have made it a swim-a-thon.  So much moisture in the air!  Thank you to all of our sponsors and supporters!  We had a pre-walk huddle to remember Jim and other friends and family who have experienced the disease first-hand and dedicated our efforts to them.  Here are some photos:

Team Galasso/Seleen/Wiencek/Floeter-Bush/Griessler

…why spell checkers were invented…

Have a great week, folks!  Don’t be afraid to tackle something big; just be sure to come up with a matching pep slogan!

Do Something and Do Nothing

I would like to change the world.  I would like to see less violence involving guns.  I would like to see more wild and rural land reclaimed from developed areas.  I would like to see more tolerance and listening and compassion.  I would like to see more curiosity and play and wonder and less capitalism, competition, and greed.  I am never going to be an “expert” at anything, and I don’t want to market myself or make disciples.  How can I make an impact? 

“Integrity,” Steve says.  Know your vision and live it.  Don’t be afraid to do something and don’t be too busy to do nothing.

I can imagine myself being afraid to do something because I don’t have enough information, or I haven’t figured out exactly what the “right” thing to do is.  I will never know the perfect solution, but I don’t have to settle for inaction.  I can imagine jumping on some band wagon and stumping away at a project because others are encouraging me, without thinking critically or allowing time for observation to inform me.  I can imagine myself feeling obligated or slipping into habit and just going on and on.  I don’t want to do any of that.  I really want to live out of a peaceful center, spontaneously responding with integrity to the issues that I face.  And I want to be able to accept the fact that I may not be noticed…and that I may. 

I am a visual person, too.  I like examples, illustrations.  Who lives like this?  Gandhi.  Thich Nhat Hahn.  Pete Seeger.  Anyone else?  You tell me.