Sunday, December 11, 2016

To Those Who Voted For Donald Trump

A Letter To My Fellow Americans Who Voted For Donald Trump:

In the weeks after the election of Donald Trump, I have experienced many thoughts and feelings.  Now I feel compelled to voice my feelings and opinions, having deliberated on them for some time now.  Listen up; I will not unify under this president nor will I acquiesce in the spirit of democracy.  When you chose to vote a man into Executive Office who mocked the disabled, glorified the abuse of women, scapegoated minorities, and surrounded himself with people who espouse white nationalism, I retreat.  I do not retreat from my civic duties, however.  I retreat from civil discourse with you, the supporter of Donald Trump.  When you throw your weight behind a man who has signaled his desire to do harm to large swaths of our American community, you have identified yourself as someone who is either a white nationalist, or someone who is comfortable with white nationalism.  If you deny these two, you are either unconscious of your own institutional bigotry (and probably ignorant regarding institutional racism), or you are dishonest and seeking slippery arguments to avoid the social shame, you deeply deserve.  You have, in effect, chosen to deny me of my ability to feel safe in your “Great White America”.  Political reasons are aplenty to decry Donald Trump’s presidency; with his administration picks from organizations that deny science and will harm the environment; with economic policy makers that will undo the safeguards that put back our economy after the collapse in 2008 – but none of these merit the charge of evil.  It is the selection of Stephen Bannon and Jeffery Sessions that expose the evil behind a Donald Trump’s presidency.  It is the inclusion of people who are publicly associated with the American neo-Nazi Party, and the Klu Klux Klan – and the inclusion of people who believe that human beings who are sexually attracted to the same sex may be manipulated and abused into changes that fit their own religious constructs – that leave me no choice but to utter the phrase that my own family, and my ancestors uttered after the genocide of my people, “Never Again.”  I have heard many friends who support Donald Trump say, “Let’s see what he does,” but I will not.  We have already seen enough.  I believe the erosion of human rights always starts with the acceptance of the periphery that denies those rights for the interest of some idealized, “greater good.”  But what good can come from denying human beings their humanity?  When Donald Trump’s policy makers argue for registering Muslims – for rounding up human beings who have fled economically deprived countries (often because American economic systems destroyed their native economies) – or blaming the deterioration of high-paying labor careers on a cabal of international Jewish bankers – you have drawn the line, not me.  You have signaled the desire to fight.  You have made clear that your intentions are to harm the vulnerable.  You have painted your face with the markings of your tribe, the tribe of hate, intolerance, and white nationalism.  Thus, I will respond in kind; I will be intolerant of your intolerance.  There is zero moral equivalency between the fight to oppress others, and the fight to overthrow oppression.  This is a fact I am intimately familiar with – having survived stabbings and numerous attempts on my life by neo-Nazis.  You, who have voted for Donald Trump, are now the oppressors – especially when he did not receive the majority of votes – even more so that foreign countries used espionage to elect Donald Trump into office.  If there is but one good outcome from this election, it is that we see you now, for whom you really are.  You are the enemy of tolerance; you are the enemy of equality; you are the impulse that gives rise to the resistance.  I am that resistance. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Burdened With Duty For Starlight

There are these stars...
And I am struck dumb
With love for the moon.
And I am so in love with the moon
And stars.
How can these trees
Hold up the eternal sky?
And how am I able
To witness their task?
I love sunlight
On the ocean's waves.
Those stars,
Those stars.
Am I priest to your light?
If I could stay awake,
All night.
Every night.
And whisper to the wind
What mysteries are revealed
In the dark hours
In the company of trees.
My heart, it cannot bear
The distance, the time
The separation of walls
That provide me shelter.
I would leap and sit and crawl
And build my altar.
But these eyes
Like light from the moon
And wet from the rain
Contain the throb of these impulses
To the deepest roots.
Please let me live my days
In full blossoming love of:
The wind
The rain
The stars.
Breathe me out
And wash me upon
Beaches where mountains grow
Upward to the gates of the snows.
Send me upon the rocky waters.
Collect my bones
In shallow pools
Of cold rivers' runoff
And spillways for the
Clear green lagoons.
Please please please
Do not cut me off from
The High Places.
Of cactus silhouetted against
Dark nights.
Deserts and wheeling ravens.
Send my teeth into
The sands and pierce
My tongue on the thorns
And rocks.  
Allow me, the trees
To hold up the skies.
Let me weep rain
And witness owls' hidden hours.
Oh my stars,
Let me be your priest.

Monday, July 29, 2013

No Winged Angels Attend This Terrible Purpose

There is no childhood,
I can speak to you about.
There are no memories,
No photographs to view.
These are the veins in the leaf;
These are the decay of the Fall.
There is no can to kick and,
No Generation to defer.
Only these broken limbs,
Only these dense groves.
To hold on to this withered fruit,
That has fallen so long ago.
Our feelings like water over rocks.
There is nothing to give and,
There there is nothing to pass on.
Suffer the weight and,
Bear this legacy.
I can offer no consolation,
No winged angels to sanctify divine names.
For it is standing in stillness,
As this terrible purpose,
Has no where to go.
I spread your memories,
Like ashes on Ravens wings.
You will be buried and,
This heart will suffer the weight.

In memory of Estelle Goldberg (February 29, 1924 - July 29, 2013)

~Michael Salonius, July 29, 2013

Friday, June 28, 2013

The High Desert

Of what is reflecting
And radiates heat.
To that within compact
And solid ground.
Yields Oak and Joshua Trees.
Promises perches for Ravens
Who have witnessed the
Previous rains.
Surpasses midday sun
With Desert Night descending.
The Mexican Red Wolf,
Dared to howl,
No more.
Its Junipers make smoke
More sacred that mere sage.
Those lush Valleys owe their
Fruit to these stretching,
Hot, desolate places.
Dreams deliver thermals,
Upon which Ravens, Hawks, Vultures
Rise and rise and rise.
Each sun-drenched moment,
Like so many Red Rocks,
Bear up patience and agony,
Within stillness and Shadow.
This High Desert:
Gave birth to the Rockies and Sierras;
Its histories exposed by The Colorado;
Winding through so many years.
So untamable that the last wild buffalo herds
Made their holdout on its plateaus.
This unconquerable place,
This oasis of exposed Sun and Star,
Maintains our prophets’ promise of Redemption.

~Michael Salonius, June 28, 2013

(Exclusively for Tawny’s birthday)