Emilio Hoffman

I see a young man standing just
To the left us

Dazed
Hands to the open
Wounds to the chest

Asking
How long ago
Was Columbine?

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Casey Kasem’s Dilemma

I used to listen to him regularly. I bet at one time or another most Americans have.

All those years, if you had told me Mr. Kasem would end up dying of thirst and starvation and medical neglect, I would have been shocked.

And yet no one besides his wife seems shocked now?

Our country has become a full-on fulfillment of sci-fi dystopia. We fight and argue for hardened child-rapists and -murders to have the right to die of old age but we let our judges rule against basic rights for the dying.

The right to water should not be withheld.

The right to nourishment is so basic. And yet time and again the most fragile members of our society are starved and dehydrated to death.

Shame on us.

We neither acknowledge the pain of the dying nor the ultimate cost to our souls of suborning justice to lower a hospital bill.

But who will pay for our lost compassion and our broken souls?

Attachment Parenting/attachment disorder

The descriptions are eerily familiar–children acting out violently and relentlessly, tearing at the fabric of the home they have been placed in. Making life hell for years on end.

No cure in sight.

I think about this–the things we find cures for: flabby skin, erectile dysfunction….

But I doubt anyone is even looking for a cure for RAD.

Anyone who matters, that is.

Sure, there are the people impacted by RAD children. But we are not exactly powerhouses of charitable financing.

It is hard to raise support over the din and chaos.

Like so many scourges the easiest, simplest cure is prevention–babies need to be held regularly, fed regularly, nurtured consistently.

There are places we say this out loud. But often we don’t. We don’t have the guts to break through the uncomfortable silence that surrounds the abuse and neglect of children.

Tragic.

Beneath the mango tree…

We need pictures.

Pictures of the people we have lost.

And smells as well.

In May the mango trees would be in full leaf, but not fruit, months from the vinegary rot of dropped fruit- a condition you might never smell if the people who lived close to the tree were poor and hungry.

I used to live near mango trees. Despite what might get picked or eaten, dozens of mangos would fall to rot on the ground.

So to hang children on a mango tree. What does that mean? To hang them by their own clothes after they have been raped and brutalized?

To do all of this with family. To do it deliberately.

To lie in wait for girls to go to a field to relieve themselves.

To believe you will not face justice.

To almost not.

We need to see the tree. We need to see the broken girls. We need to face how close they are to our own.

Years ago I had a normal conversation with Charles after he talked to a pretty girl his age at a playground. I asked him about the girls he liked. He gave me a blurry answer except for this–

not Asian.

The not Asian has haunted me since I discovered that he abused children. He groomed us all. He was so very careful. Did he tell me that to deceive me? Did he tell me everything to deceive me?

We need a picture. A picture of grief. A picture of murdered children.

And another picture as well–

A picture into the mind of hate. The excuses, lusts, and prejudice that could effectively strip men of the last shreds of decency. The last vestiges of the soul.