News + Updates
3 days ago
#Feature1 Dear Readers, humbly sharing two other feathers apparently added to my literary cap:
1. My newest poetry collection manuscript, "Mother of Exiles", has advanced in the blind judging process, and is in the running for the Able Muse Book Award; and
2. any one or more of my individual poems, (1) The Springtime of Their Diaspora | (2) Portrait of My Parents | (3) Exhuming Neruda | (4) Forked Milky Way | (5) Dressing the Dead, have likewise advanced in the blind judging process and are being considered for the Able Muse Write Poetry Award.
I confess that I've not written at all in recent months due to a recent move to an island in the Puget Sound, but it's encouraging to know that what literary pieces I've created prior to the move are getting some recognition--certainly an encouragement for me to return to writing as soon as I unpack the last moving box! I have the most beautiful, inspiring environment for the creative process in my new home that has been blessed with great views of Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainier, and the Cascade Mountains, plus layered island and ferry lane views of the Sound, surrounded by waterfalls, streams, brooks, and great hiking trails in the pristine pine forests and madrona woodlands of the mystical and magical Pacific Northwest! I am filled with never-ending awe, wonder, and gratitude for the gifts of the great Creator Universe to this little creator in me! I knew when I first saw this property that this is the place where I will finally finish the novel I've been writing for two decades! ... See MoreSee Less
I always enjoy reading your good news, Victoria! I also am non-mfa, am moving to an island and have poems under consideration for the Able Muse Write Prize. Hah, we're like sisters! Wishing you luck and blessings in all your endeavours, Lynne
Congratulations again, Sis! Wishing you all the blessings in this competition! 😊💕
2 months ago
#Blog Sharing with you all my August 2017 VIA Times Poetry Column:
A Love Song For My Husband
He sleeps beside me:
my beloved. His chest
rises and falls to the music
of his breathing. The years
have given, and they have taken—
yet still, he lies beside me.
He is man and child,
all at once; friend and foe,
all at once; lover and stranger,
all at once. We dance
the dance of ages—he and I,
as men and women have,
since dawn of time.
The heat of his flesh
grafts my body to his.
Listening for his heart, I plead,
“Long and steady, beat!”
My fingers indulge in the silk
of his hair. Inhaling him, I lose myself
in the musk of his skin—drinking him
in, flooding my senses, locking
memories in my heart, preparing
my soul: Take courage! As though
he won’t be here tomorrow.
How fleeting is time,
how precious its graces!
How does one return
to living half a life?
I have loved completely
into sweet forgetting.
Poet’s Notes. I wrote this poem for my husband many years ago. Today, we celebrate almost a quarter of a century of marriage. It is fitting to choose to feature this poem during our anniversary month.
One of the most gratifying things about being a writer is when a reader tells you just how much she or he appreciates your work or how it made a positive difference in her/his life. I have the good fortune of having had just such a reader again tell me so, as regards above poem. At a time when I wasn’t feeling too inspired to write due to my increasing jadedness over the commercialization of the writing market that seems to mostly reward the fad of the moment—like some cheap novel about the sexual pleasure that could be had from either inflicting or suffering physical pain during what should be a loving act, or the latest work from a poet who happens to be the darling of some academic or ivory tower publication or of some big shot in the media—and in the midst of my frustration over an electorate that has turned our democratic processes into a personal vendetta machine instead of listening to reason and science to judge what’s sensible for the common good, a self-designated “fan of your poems” wrote to me saying just how much reading my poem above (that appears in my book, “Warrior Heart, Pilgrim Soul: An Immigrant’s Journey”, which she apparently bought sometime ago) enriched her and her husband’s recent celebration of their wedding anniversary, and how it has inspired her to write her own poem for him. This also reminded me of another time a few years ago, of how a college friend likewise read this poem of mine as her eulogy to her own husband. Boom! I felt the universe hit me on the head—again!—for being so foolish as to second-guess my life’s mission, which is to write.
I recall that as a high school student reading about the great men and women of history, I was inspired to attempt greatness myself when I grew up. Thus, I plowed through life thinking my life would be most meaningful if I could create a great legacy to leave to the world, just like those great men and women of history. However, I was discouraged many times through the years by the realization of how small and potentially meaningless my life is to the larger picture, and how ultimately inconsequential—that is, until another soul reached out to me and told me it wasn’t so for her or him because of my work or my presence in her/his life.
Here’s the thing about the ego: It judges itself by size. Yet who is to judge that the extent of greatness isn’t equally one that could fit in one grain of rice as much as it could occupy the whole world? Who’s to judge that to affect just one life in a positive way is not worth the weight of that single “bang” that led to the creation of the whole universe?
My husband and I celebrate our anniversary today, looking forward to our move to what we hope would be our ultimate retirement home on an island among the San Juan Islands in the Puget Sound. I come from a country with more than 7,000 islands. Thus, I think of this move as somehow returning to my roots, at the same time I’m now inspired to go back to the root of my writing, which I’m grateful a few caring readers reminded me of: I write not to achieve personal greatness for myself, but to affect, in a great way, one soul at a time. When I pass on from this life, I’d like my memorial to say, “She was, by her works, a thousand angels who dwelt in a grain of rice.”
(All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017 by Victoria G. Smith. For updates on her author events & publications, go to VictoriaGSmith.com. "Like" her on Facebook at Author Victoria G. Smith. "Follow" her on Twitter @AuthorVGSmith) ... See MoreSee Less
Happy anniversary. So moving , makes me miss you more. Take care and God bless both of you.
Happy 25 years atse
Happy anniversary! I loved the poem as well! It is so very relatable for all those who are deeply in love. Happy 25th!
Happy Anniversary to you and steve.
Happy anniversary to u both ate! ❤💐
I guess the Carmel French Chateau will not be your retirement place after all?
Wishing you ❤️❤️❤️ and more on your anniversary!
Lovely poem! Glad to see you back, sis! Wishing you and Steve continued happiness and blessings! 💕
The best way to shake off the doldrums is to go into party animal mode. Happy anniversary lovey.
My speech and poem reading today in advocacy of immigrant and refugee rights before the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission in support of a "Welcoming City" Resolution. Forgive the poor video quality, but the audio is decent. #WriteOurDemocracy #WritersResist #IAResist #Fire_the_Fool! ... See MoreSee Less
Thanks for the "like" dear Thai Burke! 😃😘
I am awed...can I please share?
Author Victoria G. Smith added an event.
7 months ago
Friends, come and join me in supporting the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) in proposing a "Welcoming City Resolution" to be adopted by the Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission (DSMCHRC) to help immigrants and refugees in our Iowa communties. I will deliver a speech that will talk about my human rights advocacy experience under the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines and will end it with a reading of my poem evocative of the immigrant and refugee struggle in present-day USA. Over the past month, our immigrant and refugee communities have been under attack. From Trump's executive orders, to racist bills at the Legislature, to federal immigration agents moving into Iowa - our communities need us now more than ever! #WritersResist! #WriteOurDemocracy
Author Victoria Smith Advocacy Speech
#Blog A ROSE BLOOMING IN THE DESERT. Dear Readers, sharing with you my March 2017 VIA Times Poetry column:
Speck of Dust
I’m floating between what came
before me and what comes after me.
I’m but a speck of dust
whipped up by the wind,
occupying spaces between—
if there are still any.
I look for greatness in myself,
and find only ambition for it.
I am nothing,
yet I am everything.
When they finally hear my songs,
I will have long gone
and sought the comfort of the earth—
returned to it,
as dust is to dust.
My labors will shine their glory
on those who least deserve it,
and I shudder at my dreams’ mockery
by those whom I rebuked in this life.
Thus I pray to my Muse,
"O, Source of All Creation, grant
this humble mortal this one wish:
To create that masterpiece
of which you are inspiration.
Grant in my lifetime what few
are given: Blessed gift of witness
to love’s labors won."
Only silence replies—echoing and
slithering around me, driving me
deeper into the shadows
that smother the exiled lover.
And when my Muse speaks at last,
it is through a dream
veiling my vision of her.
"If you seek only the glory
of mortals, then you shall live
their hell. But if you can find heaven in
every word you write, then you need not
the glory you seek; it has
already been given you."
The few words come at last—
They are coaxed, one by one,
but not before
I empty my self
drop by drop,
for the Beloved
Poet’s Notes. We celebrated the Oscars a week ago. I was happy for Viola Davis when she won Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Fences". But that part of her acceptance speech that passionately declared, “We’re the only artists who know how to celebrate a life!” gave me pause. “But how about writers?” I protested telepathically. “Without writers, actors have nothing to perform.”
Surely this marvelously talented actress simply misspoke. I suppose her exuberance for many Black actors and filmmakers winning many awards this year in stark contrast to last year’s “Oscar’s So White” surely led to this misspeak. But I wonder. For compared to all other art forms, the art of writing is the least visible to the public. A case of out of sight, out of mind? I must admit when I watch a particularly moving film, I sometimes question why I do what I do: exiling myself to the lonesome confines of a world that could only be seen on the page—that is, if someone else would even go through the effort of actually buying my book and reading it!
It’s easy to be seduced by the power of fame and celebrity and hype. And I am occasionally taunted by it. When those times come, as when Viola extolled actors’ great, loud, violent power to emote the truth and beauty we writers quietly write on the page, I ask myself: “If no one ever read what you wrote, would you still write?” And the answer that screams itself from deep within me unequivocally cries out a resounding, “Yes!”
That’s how I know I am—like Viola, surely—living my life’s purpose. And that, even though the whole world might be completely indifferent or oblivious to what I create. And that, even if the truth and beauty embedded in what I do were seen by no one else but me.
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If a beautiful rose bloomed and died in the desert un-witnessed by anyone, was it still beautiful, and did it even live?
(All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017 by Victoria G. Smith. For updates on her author events & publications, go to VictoriaGSmith.com. "Like" her on Facebook at Author Victoria G. Smith. "Follow" her on Twitter @AuthorVGSmith) ... See MoreSee Less
Author Victoria G. Smith updated her status.
7 months ago
#Blog It's one o'clock in the morning, and as usual, I'm wide awake. As a night owl, I'm cut out for a writer's life. It's when others are sleeping that I feel most alive. I harbor delight for a secret conviction that night time reveals its magic only to the one who stays awake long enough to perceive it--insights that are the source of my writing inspiration: the night's reward for my loyal company.
In the past few months, I've been dogged by another conviction: I'm undergoing another phase of change in my life, and I'm beleaguered by an amorphous yet undeniable anxiety. Having lived long enough to recognize and accept that change is the only constant in life, one would think I'd know better than to allow myself to be anxious, but anxious I am. Our mind's natural tendency is to reject uncertainty. It's always looking for answers, fixes, stability, clarity. It basks in the crisp blacks and whites in light of day; suspicious of the grey shadows of night.
But tonight, there's a glowing almost full moon that shines through the skylights of my bedroom ceiling like a car's headlight on full beam. It calls to me like a petulant, precocious child that demands my attention to her brilliance. To her, a lack of witness means wasted glory. And so I get up from bed to peer up at the sky that's conquered by this braggart's show. And I remember parts of Rumi's ghazals:
"Because I cannot sleep
I make music at night.
Life's waters flow from darkness.
Search the darkness, don't run from it.
The moon appears for night travelers,
be watchful when the moon is full."
("The Pocket Rumi", edited by Kabir Helminski, Shambala, 2008)
Tonight, my full watch begins.
(Copyright 2017 by Victoria G. Smith. All rights reserved.) ... See MoreSee Less
Author Victoria G. Smith added 2 new photos.
7 months ago
#Feature3 Another blessing and honor I'm grateful for, dear Readers and Friends: my poem, "The Way We Are", wins an "Honorable Mention" recognition in the 2016 Annual Crosswinds Poetry Journal contest. And may I say--not a bad one, since I had to compete with more than a thousand poems submitted to this contest from 47 States and 3 foreign countries! This honor is in addition to the journal choosing to publish this and another poem of mine, "My Rumpelstiltskin" (chosen as "Finalist"--which is to say my own poems were pitted against each other and apparently fared well!) in its next issue featuring the winners' works. Thank you all for your continued patronage and support. You inspire me to give my best to the written page always! ... See MoreSee Less
Congratulations again, Marivic! 😘❤️❤️👏👏👏 Jude & Rose
It really pours!!! You are deserving!!!
7 months ago
#Feature2 It is my honor and privilege to be chosen and featured among the notable "Filipinos Around the World" by the Republic of the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs. Thanks much to Chicago Philippine Consul General Generoso Calonge and Cultural Officer Anna Liza F. Alcantara for their initiatives in this regard."What it is to be a Filipino is hard to define, as we are a people of mixed cultures and races—a true melting pot of humanity. As an immigrant Filipino writer in the United States, I tackled this complicated issue in my essay, “Gatekeepers and Gatecrashers in Contemporary American Poetry: Reflections of a Filipino Immigrant Poet in the United States”, which appeared in the 2015 Black Lawrence Press anthology, OTHERS WILL ENTER THE GATES: IMMIGRANT POETS ON POETRY, INFLUENCES, AND WRITING IN AMERICA, and in the Introduction to Preface to the First Edition of my first poetry collection, Warrior Heart, Pilgrim Soul: An Immigrant’s Journey. This is what I wrote:
“Do I see myself as a Filipino writer who only happens to reside in the United States? Or do I consider myself an American writer who incidentally has Philippine roots? Is the place in which I write determinative of who I am as a writer? Or is my identity determined by nationality roots, the dominant sociocultural construct that thereby becomes the frame of reference for my work? So many questions; so many layers of nuanced issues to explore! And the possible answers, equally complex.
To start with, the fact that I write mainly in English is enough for some Filipino writers to repudiate me as an authentic Filipino writer. For to them, language is the medium of identity, and failure to write in one’s native language is an affront to our culture, dismissing me, the suspect writer, as just another neocolonial agent.
So am I then simply an ‘American’ writer? Which begs the question, ‘Who is the American writer?’ While I am now a United States citizen, I doubt this is enough for me to claim that I have become an American writer. For I came to the United States at a later age, already immersed in the narrative and traditions that have shaped and inspired the literature of my native land. A writer’s identity cannot be based on mere citizenship, surely. While having been born and raised in the United States are certainly influential in shaping a writer, even persuasive to his sense of identity perhaps, this certainly cannot be exclusive. Just think of the descendants of some Muslim immigrants born and raised in the western world yet can’t seem to identify with the culture of their adopted countries. Thus, a writer cannot be referenced solely in terms of the location of the act of writing. Residing and writing within the United States may also be irrelevant if the cultural lens from which one sees and tries to understand his subject matter is so far removed from the cultural lens of the country in which he lives. But from which cultural lens should an American writer adopt a perspective? Indeed, what is American culture but a kaleidoscope of many varied cultures?" ... See MoreSee Less
Congratulations, Sis!! An honor well deserved!! So happy for you! 😊😊😊👏👏👏
Congratulations, Marivic!!! 😘❤️❤️👏👏👏 Jude & Rose
8 months ago
#Blog At this, the culmination of my life, I breathe and live, not just realize the truth that each life is given to us as a gift to experience love, and that we're each called to do good for a cause larger than ourselves--that "good" qualified by whether it was done out of love, and if we're lucky, our good acts survive us, immortalized in ripples of love stretching into eternity. (Copyright 2017 by Victoria G. Smith. All rights reserved.) ... See MoreSee Less
9 months ago
#Blog THE GRINCH WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS. Dear readers, forgive these less than joyful reflections on a Christmas Eve. And please remember not to shoot the messenger. With the impending renewal of a nuclear arms race with Russia under a Trump presidency and other likely scenarios in the next four years, I cannot help but pause for some sobering contemplations during this otherwise so-called season of "hope" in our "Realpolitik". Despite this, I do wish all of you all the blessings of hope, peace, and joy this holiday season! Meantime, I share my December 2016 VIA Times Magazine poetry column as a way to prepare for the new year:
Reconstruction of Lost Things
I don’t know what triggered it:
Karen Carpenter singing Silver Bells
on the radio, or the vintage colored
light bulbs framing a display window.
I pull over and stop the car
till I could see the road again.
I want to see, touch, smell, taste, hear
Christmas again! But where to begin?
First: a galaxy of white lights around
the house, the tree trimmed with treasures
of Christmases past, nativity scene
where, they say, lies the reason for
the season, mistletoe prompting
kisses, wreath on the front door.
In the kitchen: steaming hot cocoa and
apple cider, muffins and cookies
rising in the oven, a flickering
a blazing fire, a serenade of carols.
But still, I cannot feel it—that magic
embracing the innocent,
anticipating what’s possible,
listening for hooves on the roof.
The neighbors lost their daughter in a plane
crash last summer—she was my daughter’s age;
around the world, still, children are starving,
women are raped, men kill and get killed.
All these broken lives—how
does one recover joy?
Not too soon, my son scurries down
the stairs as my daughter arrives
from college, and my husband’s feet
make a sound like thunder as they
shake snow clumps off his boots.
Deep from the well of my gut, I hear
a rumbling not unlike Old Faithful
makes before it unleashes its gift.
Poet’s Notes. Above poem was last published in the December 2015 issue of Elite Critiques Magazine. This is also not the first time I’ve shared this poem in this column. However, with the election of an unapologetically anti-immigrant U.S. president, it seems only fitting to republish it—for this certainly appears a time of loss, of prospective other losses not only for immigrants and refugees but for all Americans, if one is to believe Donald Trump would pursue his staunch anti-immigrant campaign promises and unabashedly racist, misogynist, and nationalistic protectionist stances. On the morning after the election, I posted on Facebook, “I feel like someone died, like I'm missing somebody I can't even remember. As though a part of me was excised but I don't know which because I feel a void where something used to exist. Oh, I know! I just remembered: I was under the illusion that America was the land of the free and the home of the brave, and of the just, and of mainly decent, kind, and compassionate human beings. Now I've awoken in the land of the Manchurian candidate, free of my illusion yet missing it like a phantom organ, where my spleen used to be.”
Now, we’ve darned done it. The grim results I anticipated in my column last month are coming to pass. Truth is, everyone lost something in the recent elections and everybody will lose a lot more in ways many have likely underestimated—especially those who voted for Trump. I’m not a doom and gloom soothsayer; I’m merely stating a rational projection. There are studies and statistics that support the prediction that if Trump’s economic and political policies were to be implemented, they would cost the U.S. economy much more than the gains they promised, and in fact, spiral the whole economy down into trillions more dollars in debt. And who would pay for this? All Americans—including the predominantly white working class citizen who would carry much of the burden of Trump’s pro-rich tax cuts and policies geared toward protectionist foreign and international trade policies (that—for those who went to college might remember, and for the benefit of those who did not—the basic college Econ 101 class teaches was the singular cause of the Great Depression of the 1920’s). As usual, the rich will only get richer; the poor poorer. Nothing will really change—except for the worse, especially for the marginalized sectors of society. Trump’s transition team is also notably filled with Washington lobbyists and Wall Street icons, contrary to his promise to “drain the swamp” and declare his administration’s independence from big corporate America and the finance industry giants’ interests. His candidates particularly for health and environmental protection heads, national security director, and defense and treasury secretaries all look like the fox that was assigned to guard the chicken coop.
But enough of pointing fingers and playing the blame game—question is: What are we going to do about it? In the face of all these prospective gloom and doom, what is there to look forward to in the new year? In this season of hope, is there really hope for the hopeless?
For good reason, I am averse to echo the customary mantra in times like this that hope is eternal and such similar fatuousness. Truth—another one, a grounding one—is that hope resides in action, not some airy Pollyanna fantasy, but in action informed by experience, wisdom, and a bold streak of selflessness, an antidote to the brazen act of misguided self-interest demonstrated by the typical Trump supporter who voted for Trump out of a mistaken belief that Trump would save their obsolete jobs and make them rich—again, which was what was truly behind their election campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again!” As it appears, they were only after their own myopic self-interests—in the vain hope of stemming the great tide of history and economics.
Already the taxpayers of Indiana are realizing the burden imposed on them by Trump’s Carrier deal, for example. They would end up picking the tab to artificially keep Carrier within their State and allow a mere less than half of Carrier workers (800 out of the original 1,800 who were going to lose the jobs to Mexico) to keep their jobs in the meantime, but clearly, not for long. For the numbers don’t add up enough to keep U.S. manufacturing companies like Carrier in the U.S. long-term. Federal and state tax incentives save companies like Carrier only about two per cent (2%) of their cost structure. The overwhelming portion of their real costs is in their labor costs, which amount to about ninety-eight per cent (98%). And labor rates in Mexico are still much lower than in the U.S. In the meantime, Indiana would be denying itself about seven million dollars in tax revenue over ten years, subsidizing each of the eight hundred workers who get to keep their jobs in the meantime at about $875 each yearly. (www.forbes.com/sites/eriksherman/2016/12/04/trumps-carrier-deal-means-nothing-for-future-jobs/#17...) Imagine and consider cloning such a deal across the nation over several states!
For once, I agree with Sarah Palin. She called the deal “an example of government intervention that could lead to ‘crony capitalism.’” One can’t arbitrarily stem the tide of the market economy without creating worse problems. Palin additionally pointed out, “Republicans oppose this, remember? Instead, we support competition on a level playing field, remember? Because we know special interest crony capitalism is one big fail." (www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/sarah-palin-calls-out-trump-s-carrier-deal-warns-against-n691426) And this was exactly where the great mistake of the white working class Trump supporter glaringly lay: They had the asinine expectation that they could hang onto to their obsolete jobs without creating bigger problems for the whole country. And this is also where their inane selfishness could be clearly seen. For a segment of the population that had unilaterally appropriated what true American patriotism means, they are looking very unpatriotic indeed. They ranted against immigrants getting a free ride on their jobs, their taxes, and their country, and yet here they are—exposing themselves to the whole world as just another wanton group wanting a free ride themselves on the backs of all of us taxpayers—tax-paying immigrants, included.
All reason, logic, and math tell us that Trump can’t keep making artificial deals like this without causing more serious and grim consequences for the whole country, and that one can expect more companies to demand similar tax incentives to extort their way into suspending the relocation of their manufacturing facilities elsewhere in the world, where, by the way, lest it be forgotten, there will always be lower labor costs than in the U.S. “Suspending” is the key word here: They are merely delaying what is inevitable. Which squarely suggests that the solution lies elsewhere, as in working, perhaps, with—not against—the natural workings of the global economy, technology trends, and the needs for preserving and harnessing the energies of the natural environment in which all our resources are rooted. Trouble is, many white working class Americans frankly project themselves as clearly incapable or unwilling to reinvent themselves and their skills in order to adapt themselves to the new realities and needs of the U.S. and global economies, and seem to prefer to cast the burden of their inability to evolve with the rest of us—upon the rest of us, unlike most immigrants and refugees who had to reinvent themselves one way or another in order not only to survive but also thrive in the U.S. after being uprooted from their native countries. Talk about who’s lazy now or being a free rider! What political brownie points Trump earns in the meantime through the goodwill he builds with the relatively few workers whose jobs are temporarily saved will soon enough be erased when the greater majority of U.S. taxpayers start to feel the pinch from the significant costs and subsidies they have to carry to keep up this pretense.
Thus, back to my question: Is there hope for the hopeless in this season of hope? I bury my head in Pollyanna sands, desperately digging for a reply that could even make an iota of sense, hoping against hope. Oh, Santa—where are you when we need you? Or the Tooth Fairy? Or the Easter Bunny? Or Superman? Or Captain America? Anyone of you mythical yet otherwise great heroes—please? Cross my heart, Santa Baby—I’ve been a good girl this year.
(All rights reserved. Copyright © 2016 by Victoria G. Smith. For updates on her author events & publications, go to VictoriaGSmith.com. "Like" her on Facebook at Author Victoria G. Smith. "Follow" her on Twitter @AuthorVGSmith) ... See MoreSee Less
Author Victoria G. Smith added 4 new photos.
10 months ago
ANOTHER LITERARY SUCCESS! Dear Readers and Friends, do check out page 28 of the latest issue (Winter 2017) of Fifth Estate literary magazine that has republished my poem, "Fisherman Out of Water". The issue likewise features an accompanying beautiful, energetic, and colorful artwork evocative of my poem! Do read the poem to learn why a scene depicting taxicabs in heavy city traffic accompanies a poem about a fisherman. ... See MoreSee Less
Author Victoria G. Smith updated her status.
10 months ago
#Blog Due to its immediate relevance to ongoing socio-political discussions in the aftermath of the recent U.S. presidential elections, I'm herein posting my November 2016 poetry column in advance of both the printed and on-line publications thereof, with apologies to VIA Times Magazine.
"Turning A Corner
Let’s lick our lips and kiss each other’s wounds;
let’s not speak of fear or transgression,
but scent of orange blossoms in the spring.
I want to push the hyacinths to break the ice;
I want to smell the roses sleeping in the bud.
This winter has gone on too long—it’s tearing
the skin of my longing apart. What’s left is
form of being—slave to the past, jester of hope.
I am not this being. I am not the sum of my parts.
I want to hear the music of children playing
in the streets, but the fat, juicy notes of their
laughter were swallowed by crows preying
from wires burning with groans of dragons
and dungeons in little Pandora’s boxes.
My mouth is a cocoon of winged words that can’t fly,
stitched shut by silken threads of political correctness.
Are we to be tied down by fear of offending
or bound by common passion, righteous anger?
Look: The wolves have gone wild with the hunt!
There lies the scattered carcass of a nation.
But America is not the sum of its parts!
Call forth the spirit of those turning in their graves,
the souls of those to whom we owe tomorrow.
To the first, say: Remind us of our beginnings.
To the second: Show us a corner on which
to turn, together.
Poet’s Notes. By the time this article is published, Americans would have elected their new president, but the aftershocks of the current election cycle will be felt long after the elections are over. I wrote above poem during the 2008 presidential contest between then Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. It was a sharp rivalry, but neither that campaign nor anything in all other previous presidential campaigns could have prepared us for the acrimony and deliberate resort to shameless falsehoods that can be witnessed in the current competition between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. This is partly due to the unprecedented type of virulence of their respective passionate supporters, particularly on the part of Trump supporters. This is not a simple matter of ideological differences—it evinces the extent to which a large segment of Trump followers are willing to go to force their agenda. Their acts of violence against Trump protesters during their rallies, their threats of staging a “revolution” from which a possible civil war may arise in case their candidate does not win, fueled by their candidate’s absolutely unsubstantiated and, therefore, irresponsible allegations of a rigged election and his bold and brash statements of intent to reject a result in which he is deemed the loser definitely promise continued vitriolic conflict after the elections, as it all undermines the very foundations of American democracy.
My poem above expressed concern about the unintended consequences of extreme political correctness that restricted freedom of speech. One can say that one of those extreme consequences is the other extreme—manifested by the current unfettered mordancy of Trump supporters who appear to have completely abandoned political correctness altogether, and along with it, basic civility, decency, respect for human rights, and adherence to logical and truthful premise that underlie the principle. One might also say that the current socio-political milieu is merely in self-correction and balancing mode. But I doubt this is all there is to this.
No matter how many times it’s been said before, it can’t be overstated this election is truly the fight for the soul of this nation. It also seems to be symptomatic of a larger struggle for humanity everywhere else in the world, as though signaling a turning point in the evolution of humankind itself. It could go one way or the other, determining accordingly, the very survival or demise of none other than our own species and planet. This, to me, proves once again how short human memory is, how impervious to lessons of history it is. I’ve said it before and I say it again—echoing the philosopher George Santayana in his work, Life of Reason: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Deceptive fascist-like thinking and sentiments marked by extreme and irrational suspicion and scapegoating of minorities, immigrants, refugees, and anyone perceived to be an outsider have never before more greatly influenced our global socio-political dynamics since Nazi Germany.
It’s time to wake up, unite, and join in the fight against this monstrous Hydra that has begun to rear its many ugly heads again. Let’s turn the corner together in this critical turning point in human history.
(All rights reserved. Copyright © 2016 by Victoria G. Smith. For updates on her author events & publications, go to VictoriaGSmith.com. "Like" her on Facebook at Author Victoria G. Smith. "Follow" her on Twitter @AuthorVGSmith)" ... See MoreSee Less
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