Firestone Friday – Poem IV

When I sigh, heavily, in the morning,
my lungs breathe your name.

As my legs stand,
my joints ache your pain.

While I work and I toil,
my back lifts your blame.

When I sigh, heavily, at dusk,
my lungs breathe your name.

Strong Language

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On Freedom

The freedom to know, to choose, to turn outward or inward, is the substructure of a mind healthy in its breathing. Cut off from freedom, the mind rebels, reconstructing reality, growing, fostering in acridity, for it is against its wandering, curious nature, a sort of cruel starvation. So, the mut bites, lurches at its captors — to show them they are not as gods and to project what it feels like to be a beast, cornered.

To restrict the font of knowing is nearly oppression without flaw, for it maddens its subjects, yet it undoes itself steadily, constantly, quietly, as it fashions repressed who have less and less to lose until all that is left to lose is nothing, and control expires.

Wordsmith Wednesday – Poem III

Praise to poetry
for expression,
for its cure to depression —
for the wild thoughts it raises
for its universal phrases –

for culture and for flavor
for being a mental place saver —
for fervor and reflection
for emotional resurrection.

Strong Language

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Touchstone Tuesday – Poem I

This time is deceit
for I’ve felt eternity
in my longing for you
and an immortality in your love.
So, external time withers,
for all time is within you.

Strong Language

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Firestone Friday – Poem III

The poor cry out;
we close our doors for the noise.

The poor plead;
we slam our windows for the sound.

The poor hope for relief;
we clasp our hearts for the burden.

The poor die.
They should have said something.

 

Strong Language

 

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Dystopian Defense: The Value of Prophetic Literature

All literature has enormous value. Each writing contributes another voice – another unique perspective – to the collective consciousness that provides the foundation for progress, advancement, innovation, and evolution. Our wealth of writing empowers us to pick up where our predecessors left off, creating new ideas and forming new systems.

It can be argued, though, that dystopian literature — writings about an exaggeratedly broken yet disturbingly familiar world — are among the most valuable pieces of expression we have at our disposal. We are all familiar with a dystopian narrative. Who hasn’t heard of the unanticipated rise of Katniss Everdeen? Or of the equally impressive Beatrice Prior in Divergent? Or the harrowing worlds described by George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, and Ray Bradbury? A reader of any of these novels encounters literature that is arguably more striking than any literature encountered before.

Dystopian literature behaves as a fictional prophecy, forewarning us against a world of horrors that we are ignorantly (or, in some cases, knowingly) hurdling toward. And the great power of this prophecy isn’t in the thrill the reader gets when she consumes it; the power is later, when the reader recognizes patterns in her government and in her society that she’s seen somewhere before. With the dissemination of dystopian literature, a society can no longer evolve into a cruel, freedomless nation with an unwitting populace dragging along unquestioningly. Or, at least, the leaders of such a revolution would have to be so creative in their takeover that none of the dystopian authors foresaw their tactics.

Fortuitously enough, every dystopia stands on the same pillars. While the flavors of cruelty might vary, each exceedingly broken world requires the same elements to function. Namely, for a government to strip its people of their every right and freedom, it must first remove from them the access to truth, to education, to liberal speech, and, of course, to literature. Ever notice that in every dystopian novel the oppressed have no access to written word? Books are banned and books are burned. We need look no further than to the dystopian leaders themselves to understand how valuable dystopian literature is: it can and will bring down the very dystopian structure they have erected.

While all writings have earthshaking power, dystopian literature has the nuanced function to armor us against the prophecy it tells. For now we know that when the people in power start to censor our speech, ban our books, or veil our truth, it’s time to stand up while we still can.

What dystopian story impacted your life? What about humanity, society, or government was revealed to you in reading it?

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