The New Colossus

I believe it is safe to assume Emma Lazarus, author of “The New Colossus” which graces the inner wall of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, would not vote for Donald Trump.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Let’s forget for a moment the completely insane notion that it’s actually possible to deport 13 million people of any race or origin. A nation that couldn’t find takers for a handful of Guantanamo prisoners can pull this off? Sure.

Let’s also forget the cost to execute such an undertaking would run into billions of dollars, but certainly wouldn’t end there because the bulk of those deported would no longer be contributing to the tax base. Yes, they pay taxes and do so without the loopholes.

Let’s also forget the destabilizing effect of losing those “aliens” whose lives are so intertwined with our own. Many of us love them and need them.

Instead, let’s focus on the ideal of the sonnet.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

Storied pomp? Arrogance? Apparently many in this country have decided to embrace the temperament of those ancient lands from which our predecessors fled.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me

Who could have dreamed that people of such desperation would contribute so much beauty in music, art, philosophy, and well — everything? Perhaps people who are made to feel like outsiders work a little harder for acceptance. Perhaps those who feel entitled need to be made aware of the whole picture, not just the dirty little fringe aspects that are common to the low lifes of every society.

Liberty-StatueLet me sum this up. I’m not afraid of xenophobic idiots and self righteous thinly-veiled racists who spout this nonsense. You will lose. Your numbers are dwindling. Your flag has been taken down.

Our current president is living proof that when push comes to shove, a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, will show up at the polls and kick your deluded asses. Enjoy the banter while you can.

Wiggly Tail Dreams

As a young boy growing up on the Mississippi River delta, I felt strongly connected to nature. This, of course, was a little before the technology boom that brought us personal computers, Xbox games and the internet.

stoop-275Oh, here we go. Only two sentences into this little article and I already sound like the old farts who preached to me as a child. “When I was your age, we didn’t have all those new fangled….” Well, whatever.

Hopefully, this won’t sound self righteous or condescending. Kids from any generation certainly can’t be blamed for what their era provides for them. But relative to this day and age, the kids I grew up with were more likely to spend their free time out of the house, roaming the neighborhood and bantering with friends. When we wanted to escape to an alternative universe, there were fewer options. The most important of which was our imaginations.

I recall spending many hours sitting on the concrete stoop attached to the rear of my family home where I taught myself to play guitar, or played with my dogs. Next to the stoop was a perpetually dripping water faucet. I would use that faucet to pour water for the dogs, but my hands were not strong enough to close the valve tightly, so it would continue dripping. There was always a little puddle on the ground underneath.

Lizard-275In the south Louisiana heat, a little fresh water will attract all kinds of critters. The area around this particular faucet was constantly visited by super cool green lizards. I loved watching those guys. They looked like miniature dragons or dinosaurs. My imagination would run wild with adventures of what life would be like if those lizards were gigantic, or if I was reduced to their size. It would be a short life, no doubt.

If you were really quick, you could catch one of these lizards with your bare hands. The only problem was that they would probably bite you in the process. They weren’t poisonous. The bite didn’t really hurt at all, but the idea of getting bit by one of these little creatures was still scary enough to give a young boy pause. The best approach was from behind, trying to catch it in a way that would minimize the risk of getting bit. Yep, I wasn’t taking these guys head on.

Now, apparently other animals felt this way about the lizards. Enough, in fact, that evolution provided these lizards with a particular protective adaptation. They possess a tail that will easily break off so they can escape while a predator is left with only a wiggling tail in its mouth, or, in my case, my hand. As long as my nerve remained anemic, I was unable to catch anything more than a tail that would oddly continue to wiggle for several minutes after it broke off in my hand.

Hang in there. I’m going somewhere with this.

Practicing guitar was a big part of my early years. By the time I got to college, I was rather accomplished. It wasn’t long before I began to realize that I would not fail to pass any audition I showed up at. However, in spite of knowing I was one of the most skilled players in the area, I still suffered from self esteem issues. I was mentally unprepared for success.

Like most guitar wielding young men, I had dreams of being on the big concert stage. I also wanted to record albums similar to those that inspired me to learn my craft. But, alas, for whatever reason my confidence was impaired. Word of my abilities spread and opportunities came my way, but I was afraid to act on them–afraid to take those challenges head on. I made excuses. Lame, cowardly excuses.

Now the universe has changed all around me. The music industry in no way resembles what it once was. I reflect on those dreams I once had and realize my music career is now at the wiggly tail stage.