Good Bones

While on my way home from a road trip to Cape Breton yesterday, I listened to an espisode of “The Wintering Sessions” hosted by Katherine May. In this episode, May interviews the poet Maggie Smith during which Smith’s poem “Good Bones,” was mentioned more than once. This morning I read it for the first time.

Addendum: May is the author of the acclaimed book “Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times.”

Good Bones

Maggie Smith

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.

Scully on Koufax

Faint praise?

I don’t see the logic of damning the Democratic Party bill in the Senate at this moment with faint praise – worse still dimissing it – as Bernie is doing. Enough people on the left will do that without Bernie joining the chorus. In present circumstances, the bill should be welcomed and supported.

I like Ohio Senator’s Sherrod Brown’s positive take on the bill.

Against the grain

Here’s a thought on the role of the left. It goes against the grain of much thinking found on the left that places its main accent on the unique, independent, and separate role of the left.

The role of left activists, as I see it, consists in joining with, learning from, and assisting ideologically and practically the constellation of organizations, groups, and people – not least the Democratic Party – in the task of assembling, animating, and uniting a majoritarian coalition battle and defeat Trump and Trumpism.

In other words, the left doesn’t have an exclusive franchise on “assembling, animating and uniting” tens of millions. Quite the contrary, that political imperative is a family affair. Thus the substance of the relations of left with other social and political participants contesting Trump and Trumpism, should weigh heavily on interaction, co-dependence, and mutually construction.

Each participant has something unique and necessary to contribute to this process, for sure. But only together, if united and in motion, do they possess the collective wherewithal and capacity to politically reach tens of millions, slay the beast of Trumpism, and save our democracy, while at the same time setting the country on a trajectory of democratic renewal, economic justice, substantive equality, and planetary sufficiency.

Viva Cuba!

Cuba celebrates its revolution today. Never an easy process, full of obstacles – not least the U.S. blockade – and its share of mistakes as well as remarkable and hard earned successes. It remains an inspiration to people in the Global South and for many in the U.S. fighting for a more just and equal society. Without the leadership of Fidel, Raul, and their comrades in close association with the Cuban people neither the revolution nor its advance would have been possible. Viva Cuba!

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