Whew! Had a lot of response to my last post about being angry. I think I had better define my terms…
First, when I wrote about my colleague’s prayer — that we are to delight in our differences – neither she nor I meant to celebrate differences that suggest evil is to be delighted in, certainly not 45’s. It has been suggested to me that I don’t live up to that prayer because I do not delight in political differences. It is true that I can’t celebrate people who hurt those who are less fortunate.
Anger is a perfectly appropriate response to the violation of something one cares deeply about. It is wonderfully informative, signaling to us, and to one another, where our loyalties lie. It is not at all the same as hostility or violence. Those are anger turned to malevolence, 45’s daily exercise.
I’m surprised when it surprises people to realize that Jesus, for example, was not always a “nice” guy. He was often an angry guy. The beatitudes have been turned into mush. What he was saying was “Blessed are the meek. I know the meek, YOU are not the meek.” “Blessed are the merciful. I know the merciful, YOU are NOT the merciful,” etc. He even told Peter to “Get thee behind me, Satan!” And he did NOT say to the money changers — and you know who they would be today — “Uh, if you don’t mind, it’d be better if you took your tables outside. Please and thank you.”
These posts have, more often than not, been prompted by anger with the cruelty and ignorance of 45 and his yes-(anything but)men with the hope of supporting those working hard to hold on to their lives and to hold fast to those they love during the reign of King 45.
Hardship in a Nice Place
The roof on our house slants out
over the garden and if it rains
the water falls on what blossoms
still arc in late August. My wife
is sleeping through her day. There
is a breeze here on the porch. There
is a certain slant of light collapsing
through the beech trees on the hill. One
tree fell this afternoon. I could hear it
cracking into the quiet, saw an angle
of trunk begin to lean and then rustle
its branches across the limbs along
the stagger of woods. At night, sounds
come I can never identify. It’s often
like that, our long days lacking much
of anything that can be named. My
wife will sleep. I will walk back from
the mailbox with our dog and wait.
We went to a delightful and informative reading by Jennifer Clark at Crane’s apple orchard. She read from her collection Johnny Appleseed: The Slice and Times of John Chapman (Shabda Press). The reading was a fundraiser for elementary school students in Fennville, Michigan, to provide books kids can take home, for keeps, through a program called Book Trust. If you like that idea, and want to learn more or contribute to this worthy program, you can do that here. If you want you can specify Fennville Public Schools on your donation to put your donation to work locally.
Lisa Lenzo has invited me to join her in a reading at Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, May 16, at 6pm. Lisa’s new collection of stories is Unblinking (Wayne State University Press)
A group in Ludington want to talk with me about Saint Peter and the Goldfinch. That will take place on May 18 in the Judith Minty Room at the Arts Center from 2-4. If you are near enough, come join the conversation. There will be a celebration of the marvel George Dila following the program.
Former student Heidi Aronson Kolk, assistant professor in the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St Louis, has published the fascinating Taking Possession: The Politics of Memory in a St. Louis Town House (University of Massachusetts Press)
Charles W. Brice has published a bracing new collection An Accident of Blood (WordTech Editions)
A dear old friend, Ginger Rankin, has published a magical and moving novel, Spice Island (Rebel Magic Books)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.
Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.
Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.