It's a day to ponder our American identity and be glad of our independence but also, for me, to take a good hard look at our behavior and responsibility as a member of the world community, too. Starting with how we treat each other as American citizens and residents of this wonderful country.
So I'm going to keep thinking about all that while I gather with family in some "traditional" American ways--cookout, game playing, maybe a flea market, maybe not, because it's so hot, and maybe no fireworks, also because of the heat. The fires in the West make me not want to participate in "recreational fires," as our town put it, that might lead to dangerous situations. The cookout will be monitored and self-contained, and no doubt the town fireworks, if they have them, will be extra-supervised, but still....
Meanwhile, a new poetry feature is up today at Escape Into Life! It has the work of Bethany Reid, of the American Northwest, a hotbed of poetry, along with rich, provocative collage art by Dave Barnes, starting with a Wild West theme and ending with what I like to call the "Once upon a time bear."
Bethany's first poem, "America, America," helps us look back at 9/11, contemplate issues of gun control, and consider the state of American education, all at once! She encourages us to look at things in a context, and to have compassion for one another, even if we don't absolutely agree. Sigh... I wish we did more of that.
Many thanks to EIL, Reid, and Barnes for this meditative morning. I close with another image by Dave Barnes that I fondly call the "I miss you wolf." Faced with my technology challenge, I was not able to crop it successfully enough to use in the EIL feature (see how it has a little of the jump-roping girl's understory?), so I offer my imperfection and his marvelous image here.
"You must change your life," said Rilke. So that's what I keep doing. I worked as an actor and director in Chicago, wrote for an encyclopedia, edited two poetry journals, shelved and retrieved materials in several libraries, walked beans, and was an assistant professor of English. Now I serve as Poetry Editor and Editor at Large for Escape Into Life, an online arts magazine, write & edit as a freelancer, blog "eight days a week," study the random, tend perennials, and listen to birdsong.