Posted by: MC | May 2, 2012

American Words Heading West

A few days ago, a poet in Colorado Springs said to me, “I’m really not interested in theory.  There is far more that is real in art.  I like keeping my work close to life itself.”

Later in the afternoon, a first year student at Colorado College said, “It’s been amazing to me to see how much we aren’t told about history in public school.  Unless someone tells you, you never really have the chance to realize that most of the people involved would have different stories than what shows up in mainstream American text books – and that a huge number of important events are just left out.”

The next evening, a 77 year old man in Salt Lake said, “It’s being quite jarring, this retirement thing.”  Come June, he is stepping away from his profession of 55 years.  “I’m finding that I must work in ways I never anticipated to find out who I am now.”

Yesterday, a Boise State University senior in attendance at May Day Occupy Boise events said, “The problem with talking about change is that the word is an abstraction. That’s why we each need to say what we mean – what it looks like.”

As a part of the May Day demonstrations, two men, one tall with a shaved blonde head and the second also tall but with a beard of black and gray ringlets carried a sign for the 8th Annual Global Love Day.  They were giving away flowers.

Nearby a couple spoke with me.  Twirling the flower in her hand, the woman said, “We’re both over 80 and we’re natives of Idaho.  We’re here to give and receive courage because we know there is no reason for any of us to be treated as irrelevant.  That goes for the government and the way it treats us and it goes for the way we treat one another here in our community.”

A young man in a black hoodie with a black bandana covering his nose and mouth stood with a sign, also black.  It’s painted white letters read, “Revolution saves lives.”  “There’s a difference between change and revolution,” he said. “Change can be used to name things that shift superficially, but really stay the same.  Transformation means real change – change that is so complete that it would be unrecognizable to the ways that are left behind.”

Later last night, my cousin who was giving me a place to sleep for the night said, “Listening is sort of like a trick.  It’s not a trick done on someone, not really a manipulation, but it tricks people who think they are in complete disagreement into seeing their common ground.  Things can be built from that.”

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