Lost among the layers of words, my needs slip through the cracks that keep opening into assaults on the ways that have always belonged to me.  I don’t want to be reoriented towards a future I can’t imagine, or pushed through a portal into a world I don’t understand.  A world that does not recognize me and has no relationship to the one that has always sheltered me from unwelcome change.

All those strident sentences you spit out—they mock my choices, erasing any value in what I call a good life.  The scale on which you judge me makes my wishes weigh nothing.  You discard everything that makes me happy.

The tasks of survival are not so easily sorted into black and white, good and evil.  What seems to work for the time being is all we can attain sometimes, worth more than the promises of a future that we can’t see.

It’s impossible to know God’s plans or to understand them—despite your fancy degrees and charts, there are realms beyond the facts, beyond what you call science, that we can’t anticipate or control.

Instead you put yourself above me.  But you appear in my mirror as one-dimensional, rejecting me and the grieving that belongs to me, the losses I have experienced and feel.  You insist they are worthless, I am worthless.  But what do you offer to me that will replace them?

You list all my beliefs and shame them, shame me, shame my culture, my family, my friends.  And you call it compassion.

I am not asking for your false understanding.  I do not want what you want, what you think I need.

I want to be worth something.  I want to matter to someone, something.  I want a world that holds out a hand and tells me I belong.  Where has it gone?

look at me
listen to my life
make me real

Jim Feeney at Earthweal gave us quite a challenge this week: to write a poem from the point of view of someone who is a climate change denier or a climate solution denier or someone who just doesn’t care because they won’t be around when it happens. It’s not easy to put yourself sympathetically in someone else’s shoes. I chose to repeat some of the words and ideas I heard in interviews with Trump supporters, figuring no environmentalist would ever vote for Trump. I have to admit I resent the fact that the media always tells us we need to try to “understand” people who support Trump, and yet Trump supporters never have to return the favor and try to understand those of us who don’t. We are not all wealthy Ivy League educated “elites”.

And the thing is…in the end our desires are not so different. I don’t reject science and I would not talk of God, but I have spiritual beliefs too that involve feelings and ideas that can’t really be quantified. I also often feel unacknowledged, dismissed, invisible. I have lost parts of my life that will never return and cannot be replaced. We all want to matter, to belong somewhere.

Why can’t we make that somewhere a place of mutual respect that honors our interdependence with the natural world? So we have a world where everyone’s children and grandchildren have a fighting chance at survival?

29 thoughts on “Refugee

  1. Your first art piece looks like bodies standing with long arms reaching out, connecting with others. The second elicited instant feelings of sorrow. Your essay connects and wails into the night, a voice wanting to be heard. Beyond that I also struggle to look beyond what is the now.
    “What seems to work for the time being is all we can attain sometimes, worth more than the promises of a future that we can’t see.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such wise words. Maybe this attitude of ‘forgiving’ rather than tackling deviant behaviour is a Christian thing. The Christians with rifles seem to me deviant too. If they can’t abide by their own rules, why should anyone else? No forgiveness if it means they will carry on their destructive path with impunity. We are not all from the privileged wealthy élite, yet we can see all humanity has the same axe to grind.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The political gun toting Christians know nothing of Jesus–they are a cult. But the majority of Trump voters are not like that. And of course there are the self absorbed rich who think Trump will make them richer.

      But if you listen to the things the mass of voters think they will be getting from Trump–it’s not so different from the desires of humans everywhere. But they don’t really listen either. I’m afraid technology has destroyed most people’s abilities to look listen and think.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, you’re right. Trump is a symptom not the cause, a mouthpiece for a certain way of thinking. It’s not pretty, but it’s universal. You just have to look at all the heads of state who haven’t congratulated Biden. They represent a mindset that has its head stuck up its own rear end. They don’t care about anyone else and don’t want to know. It’s always couched in terms of ‘putting my family first’. As if that makes absolutely anything okay.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m speechless, Kerfe! You took a difficult challenge and ran with it. A place of mutual respect would be wonderful. As I get older, I can understand why some people don’t want to be reoriented towards a future they can’t imagine, or pushed through a portal into a world they don’t understand, but I’ve been through so many changes in my life, I’m open to suggestion. But I’m not happy for people to put themselves above me. I love your artwork.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kim. I wouldn’t mind some security in my life. I just don’t know how we convince people that the world will continue ro become less and less secure unless we tackle and try to reverse the earth’s destruction. Building a wall isn’t going to do it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is very. Insightful. The. divisions between people create such schisms in society yet, on a deeper level, we are wanting to be recognised and acknowledged. The vitriolic hatred coming from some quarters is very scary though. Healing society is a monumennntal task we need to address individually and collectively or we run the risk of beiing.subsumed by that hatred.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Your words really resonated with me, Kerfe, especially:

    ‘Instead you put yourself above me. But you appear in my mirror as one-dimensional, rejecting me and the grieving that belongs to me, the losses I have experienced and feel. You insist they are worthless, I am worthless. But what do you offer to me that will replace them?’

    We must put ourselves above such people.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a beautiful piece of writing, Kerfe. It also strikes me as an ode to things as they were ‘before.’ We are enmeshed in the Aquarian Age now, where ‘as it was’ becomes ‘as it might be,’ but we must Be the change we want to see. The tricky part in that is looking for support from those who seem to hold some sort of power to determine our course as individuals. And – I would say cautiously – this we can no longer do, but boy, isn’t it wonderful when we get it? It’s an affirmation of sorts, and we all need affirming as long as – I believe anyway – we are in human form. “See me, feel me, touch me, heal me” also leaps to mind. And so. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

            1. Actually there’s a lot of community here, always has been, despite our reputation. I’m thinking of the 70 million people who voted for Trump. Some of them are people I know in the great midwest…

              Liked by 1 person

  6. I really liked your poem and, even more, your notes at the end. All anyone wants is to know they matter………..and each of us does. Happy to read you today.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful piece, Kerfe and i really like the art. I have read the poem a number of times and it twists and turns like a labyrinth, and at times argues with itself. There is a deep humanity in your words. A powerful and original response to the prompt, JIM.

    Liked by 1 person

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