On Independence Day, USA

Sometimes the poetry is to point to what is hopeful, to what is soft, to what tenderizes the heart, and to what insists to flower among the rocks.

Sometimes, the poetry is to point to what is discouraging, to what is hard, to what conflicts the heart, and to what can only begin to grow by starting at the edges.

***

It is Independence Day in the United States.
There will be parades, cookouts, picnics, and of course, 
bravado fireworks 
that prioritize entertainment over air quality and forest fire prevention. 
Yes, I have bias on this one — the explosion insistence is befuddling.

I want to stand for celebrating and belonging with people.
I don’t want to stand for obscured and misdirected narrative that discounts its own complexity.

Yes to perseverance.
Yes to freedom.
Yes to imagination.
Yes to ancestors and forbearers honored.
Yes to conviction.
Yes to all the things that brought, and bring, evolution and fulfillment of human spirit.

But then, there are the denials and the ignored context.
There is slavery, and colonization, genocide, and of course, 
bravado capitalism 
that prioritized economic gain and “less than” over basic human rights.
Yes, I have bias on this one — the collective selective memory is befuddling.

I want to stand for clarity and belonging.
I don’t want to stand for a deeply engrained and marketed narrowness.

No to unchecked teenaged arrogance lived in adults.
No to disregarded responsibility for those old enough to know better.
No to disrespect for nature.
No to disrespect for women.
No to black men shot 60 times in apprehension.
No to all the things that brought, and bring, oppression disguised as patriotism.

Independence Day in the United States.
I want to stand for celebration and belonging.
I also want to stand with enough clarity to feel all of it.

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