Yes, Virginia…We Need Stronger Gun Laws

Virginia, throughout America your little friends are crying. They have been affected by their parents, and other Americans, cynicism, divisiveness and apathy. They know the scary things which they see on the news. They comprehend the violence occurring every day on their streets. Their minds are not little. They see the bloodshed. They feel the loss of their innocence. In their great big worlds dreams are being replaced by fear, art is being replaced by a picture of their friends mother crying at their child’s burial. They are not too young to grasp the fact that their classroom closets are now our inept way to cope with the reality of gun violence in our nation.

Yes, Virginia there is a need for stronger gun laws. Those of us who are willing to put politics aside and march toward a safer, more peaceful world know this. Your world should be filled with joy and fireflies, sprinklers and bike rides, carnivals and endless laughter. We should always put you first, and do what we can to protect you from harm. So that your world will be like an infinite poem, one that provides a rhyme and reason for your beautiful life.

We should not turn a blind eye each time we hear a story of another child killed by a gun not stored safely, or by a person intent on doing harm to school children or innocent bystanders. Over thirty thousand beams of light are extinguished each year by a gun. This light should not be forgotten, these flames should continue to burn in each one of us.

Not believe in gun laws? You might as well not believe in the pursuit of happiness which our forefathers fought so bravely for. So many people are fighting every single day for you and your happiness Virginia. They walk the streets, they make phone calls, they attend tough meetings. You may not see them, but they are there just as sure as the princesses that fill your dreams. Many of us choose not to see these unsung heroes, but many of us do and march to the beat of the same drum.

You can take apart this drum and see the rim, tension rods and tuning screws, but you cannot see the depth of the heart that beats for you and for all Americans. These hearts are strong, these hearts are united, these hearts want you and all children/people to be given a chance to lead a full, wonderful life. They believe in stronger gun laws and background checks because they work and save lives, not because of a secret agenda. Their agenda is pain. Their agenda is a mother’s tears. They want these tears to stop flowing. They can see the reality of the situation, but they remain hopeful. They want to fill your world with this hope, and they want you to revel in the beauty of this nation. The beauty of friendship, the beauty of community, the beauty of love.

No gun laws? That was never the intention of our forefathers, for they knew we must create, amend and uphold the laws of our land so that we can all be safer and free. Many years from now, I hope you are able to look back on a wonderful childhood, free from the fear and constraints of a violent society.

We have the ability to make that happen. We are the adults, and yes you should believe in us. You should believe in childhood fantasies and fairy tales. You should walk the streets with a smile on your face, and lots of love in your heart. You should believe that we will keep fighting for you and never let you down.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

* This blog post is inspired by, and follows the format of the famous editorial “Is There a Santa Claus?” which was printed on September 21, 1897 in The New York Sun

 

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You Can’t Always Get What You Want

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Today is Mick Jagger’s birthday. July 26th. A day I always remember since I grew up loving & idolizing him. I fell in love with his music at a very early age, since my sister was always playing her Stones albums.

I recognized the power and poetry of some of their lyrics, as I was discovering my own voice and ability to write poetry. I thought about him as I walked through Central Park.

pburgh defried hall all of us

Mick was my imaginary high school boyfriend, since I was too shy & troubled to have my own. He shared in my college experience as his music was always playing on my cassette recorder, and as I realized my dream of seeing him in concert for the first time in 1989, while I was a sophomore.

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His music played while I had the joy of giving birth to my daughter, and helped as tears went by through many miscarriages. He helped me navigate through a world that seemed to be painted black.

r & ryan walking sc

After my 19th nervous breakdown, I was able to give birth to a son, and we moved to sweet Virginia.

We seemed to be getting what we wanted. A nice family & place to live. Walks in the park, summer vacations, and nice visits from Grandma & Grandpa.

Then one year ago today, July 26th, we lost Grandpa to pancreatic cancer.

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This date now takes on a different meaning. It is a sad reminder of the joy & fragility of life.

We are saddened that we didn’t get more time with Grandpa & that he couldn’t watch his grandchildren grow up.

We are out of time, but we are not out of love.

mick bw vintage harpers bazaar cover

And as I sit here playing my Stones songs today, I will think of Mick, and I will think of Grandpa.

And I will remember that though you can’t always get what you want, if you try sometimes, you can still get & spread all the love that you need…………..

RIP Grandpa. We love & Miss you

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

Chasing Butterflies

memorial peace sign design no cp

Chasing Butterflies

I’ve been thinking a lot about butterflies these past 31 months. I have written about them, cared for them, wrote poems about them, created many memes of them, and created a pretty butterfly memorial garden at my daughter’s school in honor of the 26 Angels of Newtown.

Ever since Dylan’s mom, Nicole Hockley, referred to him as her “beautiful butterfly, and then said the following: “there’s a saying that if a butterfly flaps his wings in one place it can cause a hurricane halfway around the world. And I said that Dylan and all the others that died that day were now our butterflies and that they were going to drive change across the country, if not the world,” they have become a part of my vernacular, and a part of my heart.

Butterflies are believed to be the embodiment of a person’s soul. They are also seen as a symbol of rebirth and transformation.

And as I sit here remembering the events of July 20th, 2012, my mind is once again brought back to butterflies.

I was once again reading about the 12 victims of the tragedy, and thinking about them & their families, when I came across an article in the Denver Post.

There were two survivors of the Aurora tragedy who have to live with painful reminders of what happened every day. Ashley Moser, who lost her 6 year old daughter, Veronica, as well as her unborn child, is now a quadriplegic.

Another one of the survivors, Caleb Medley, who was an aspiring comic before the tragedy, suffered serious brain damage and an eye injury, and underwent three brain surgeries. He requires a feeding tube, has severely impaired movement, and can no longer speak.

He is continuing to improve through his physical therapy, but he & his wife, Katie, are unsure of what the future holds.

This 2014 article in the Denver Post, briefly describes their journey, and speaks about her recent tattoo:

“A butterfly tattoo dominates the inside of Katie’s right forearm, a piece of body art she had done about a year ago, after the first anniversary of the theater shooting.

Within the butterfly is the Batman logo and the date of the tragedy: July 2012.

When she approached the artist, her idea was just to have him create a small butterfly and leave it at that. But he seemed to grasp what she was looking to say, made a few suggestions and then did the whole thing freehand.

Now, she’s thinking of getting another tattoo, perhaps a replica of Officer Grizzle’s badge, in recognition for his part in saving her husband’s life.

But for now, the butterfly serves as a simple statement — a symbol for all that transpired, including details on which the family remains silent pending the outcome of the criminal case.

“For me,” Katie says, “it means new life, newness out of the Batman symbol of what happened to us. The butterfly is supposed to be new, starting over.”

After reading this article I will also think of Caleb and his wife whenever I see a butterfly. I will hope and pray for his progress, and for his happiness. I will hope that his family thrives.

I will also think of all of the victims of Aurora, Newtown, Columbine, Tucson, and Virginia Tech. I will think of the survivors of these tragedies, their families and friends, and I will send a silent wish to them as they continue their transformation to a life they never imagined, nor did they deserve.

I sit back and think of the many butterflies that I have seen in my life. As a child I gravitated toward them as they enjoyed my mom’s rose bushes. I ran, fluttered, hopped and skipped after them, as I hoped they would lead me toward peaceful dreams.

I’m still chasing after them, and I’m still hoping they will lead us all in the direction of love, happiness, and peace……………………♥♥♥

Kathy
Poetologie
Nuts About My Son

Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown

*the names on this memorial peace sign represent the victims of the following tragedies:

blue- Aurora
green- Newtown
purple- Virginia Tech
dark purple- Columbine
red- Tucson

may they all forever rest in peace…..

The Voice in the Breeze

newtown rams pasture 2 geese green

You walked through a nightmare,
you have troubled sleep;
you tread very slowly,
and have many secrets to keep.

But you keep on walking,
each step is so brave;
you’ve cried so much, that your pillowcase,
is now torn and frayed.

Each tear is a memory,
each tear falls with hope;
that you will overcome this,
that you will learn how to cope.

With a pain and understanding,
that you shouldn’t have to bear;
but please hear my voice,
and know that I care.

I am the good in the world,
I am the voice in the breeze;
I will follow you, and love you,
and answer your pleas.

If you listen very closely,
you will see this is true;
that kindness surrounds you,
and helps you pull through.

You will learn to hear it,
this voice in the breeze;
you will follow it, and eventually,
answer another’s plea.

But, you will still feel the darkness,
try to draw you in close;
so reach out to others,
and the ones you love most.

For life is a journey,
of a hundred million steps;
some are easy, some take courage,
but just try to do your best.

And realize how special,
and how beautiful you are;
you can do anything,
and you will travel far.

And, as the miles,
start to cover what once was;
you will look back,
and remember all the love.

For love does not fade,
just like the voice in the breeze;
believe in yourself,
and you will learn to be free.

Now try to rest your head,
and please listen to me;
I promise you will be okay,
Love the voice in the breeze….

This poem is written for/dedicated to all of the children of Sandy Hook, CT.  It can also apply to many others facing trauma or adversity.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

I Want to Live: The Shadows of Gun Violence

dad & us at police camp

On a cold night in February, 1983, my life changed forever.

While I was watching Crystal & Alexis duke it out on Dynasty, I heard a knock on the door.

We weren’t expecting anyone, so I felt a sensation of fear.  That sensation grew as I saw my father’s face in the door window, surrounded by the dark shadow of night.

My parents were going through a nasty divorce at the time, and my father was mentally ill, angry, lonely, and had nothing to lose.

I was happy when he moved out.

I was happy when his gun went with him.

His gun was issued to him by the NYC Police Department.  It went with him everywhere.  It threatened me.  It tormented me.

And now on this dreadful night, I knew that it may be the last thing I saw.

I opened the door due to some kind of foolish daughterly duty, and he place the gun upon my temple.

There were no hugs and kisses.  He simply said “do you want to die first?”

These words have echoed in my head for decades.  These words will forever haunt my dreams.

Upon hearing them, I panicked.  My reaction was to run out of the room and try to hide.  I heard my father drunkenly shouting at everyone, including my aunt, sisters and mother.

I did not know what to do.  I was 13 years old and didn’t have any answers.

So I ran.

And I haven’t stopped running since.

I ran barefoot through the snow to my neighbors house.  My shadow appeared in the moonlight upon the snow.  “Do you want any socks?” they said as they stared at my bare, wet feet.

I mumbled something to them like “my dad’s there, he has his gun.”

My neighbor was also a cop, so he walked to our house with his gun.  His wife called the cops.  The good guys.

Why wasn’t my dad one of those good guys?  I thought to myself.

Though I did not hear any gunshots, I had no idea if my family was alive or dead.  I was frozen and out of it.  I felt ashamed of myself for running and abandoning them.  I still do.

Though my family & I were lucky enough to survive, the shadows of gun violence will always remain.

They are a dark presence in my life, and even though my father passed away almost 10 years ago, his words still haunt me.

Being a gun violence survivor in any capacity, affects you for the rest of your life.

It may cause fear, anxiety, shame, PTSD, etc.  It casts a shadow upon many of the things you do.

And though counseling and/or time may help, you are never truly free.

You are its prisoner, and the constant reminders of the gun violence plaguing our nation continually tighten its grasp.

You are the child at Sandy Hook.

You are the movie patron in Aurora.

You are a member of the bible group in Charleston.

You are the college student in Roseburg.

You are at the holiday party in San Bernardino.

You are a member of a growing number of gun violence survivors.

You are a part of the human race.

You know all too well that a gun is not love.

A gun is taking away many of those we love.

It is an instrument of death, especially in the wrong hands.

It must not be held up above humanity.

It must be regulated to protect humanity.

It does not love.

It does not breathe.

It is my foe.

My dad used to call me foe, as a joke from fe fi fo fum.

“Do you want to die first?”

No Daddy…………………..I want to live…………………………

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

Hate Showed Up Late

heart ocean foam

I was walking on a beach,

but hate showed up late;

it tried to get my attention,

but I wouldn’t participate.

It tapped me, it poked me,

it sharpened its claws;

but I chose to ignore it,

though it was seeking applause.

Applause I wouldn’t give it,

for I do not agree;

that I should treat poorly,

those who are different from me.

And though I am surrounded,

by some images of hate;

something evil’s gone fishing,

but I won’t take the bait.

I will seek out kind fish,

in our great human pond;

and when sharks surround me,

I will happily swim on.

To a glorious ocean,

where hate’s always late;

let’s all change the current,

and let love set us straight.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

(& Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown, Nuts About My Son)

The Flame

I wrote this poem awhile ago, inspired by Newtown.  Today I dedicate it to the victims of the Charleston tragedy.

Rev. Clementa Pinckney
Tywanza Sanders
Cynthia Hurd
Sharonda Singleton
Rev. Daniel Simmons
Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor
Susan Jackson
Ethel Lance
Myra Thompson

We will remember your names…..

candle heart hands

The Flame

When the candles stop burning,
will you remember my name?
Will you honor my shortened life,
will you carry on the flame?

The heat of injustice,
can ignite a spark;
though the candles will stop burning,
I’ve already left my mark.

On this world that is fleeting,
with short news cycles, it’s true;
when the candles stop burning,
I’ll still be remembered, will you?

Do what you can,
to bring peace and love to mankind;
so when the candles stop burning,
you will not be left behind.

So try to make a difference,
as time waxes and wanes;
leave this world better off,
since the time that you came.

Live life with much purpose,
through all the twists and turns;
so when your candle stops burning,
another will continue to burn…

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

(& Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown)

#CharlestonShooting

#Charleston

#PrayforCharleston

THIS TIME: Fourteen Things I Can Do To Make My Country Better

Rainbow Row love meme

I rarely write such political messages, but sometimes I feel like my head is going to explode & I have to say something.

Today is one of those days. So if you don’t want to hear it, just scroll on, that is always a choice.

When Newtown happened, I was devastated. I cried for months. I learned about each Angel. I learned about each family. I’m still learning. I’m still paying tribute on my facebook page “Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown.”

I also changed as a person. I became less apathetic, and more sympathetic. I took more time to enjoy my family, and treasure the moments we shared. I began to use my time more wisely on the internet.

And I began to pay more attention to the injustice & tragedies plaguing our nation.

I began to pay attention to how many people are losing their lives to violence by any means.

I am growing tired of hearing about people dying from violence on the news.

I am trying to remember their faces. I am trying to remember their names.

And once you take the time to do that, TO REALLY DO THAT, to look into each face, each life lost, and see or imagine each family’s grief……you will begin to change too.

You will begin to see that loss is loss. You will begin to feel sadness for all of them. You will begin to become angry at the injustice of it all. You will begin to want to do something about it. ANYTHING.

You will hear many people tell you, there is nothing one person can do, or nothing can be done, or the system is broken.

They will tell you we will never agree on many issues, so why even bother.

THAT IS BULLSH*T!

When you have your head filled with all of these horrific images, with all of the faces of those killed tragically, YOU WILL HAVE YOUR REASON TO BOTHER.

You will begin to hear their voices, the whispering of Angels, saying please do something.

You will begin to see that there is something you can do.

You will begin to see that one person has a lot of power when passion leads them.

You will begin to see that there are a lot of people who feel this way.

You will begin to see that if all of these people DID SOMETHING, it will make a difference.

Here are some things you can do, if you want to do something. You will not agree with all of them. But pick one thing you agree with and do it:

1. Pay attention to some of these tragedies. Learn about the victims. Learn if there is any way you can help their families or loved ones.

2. Pay attention to your family and those around you. Is there anyone who needs your attention, or help. Whether it’s mental or financial, help them or get them help.

3. If you see or hear hate speech against anyone or any particular group, speak up or leave the room. If all of us do this, it will make a difference. Hate speech can lead to much darker things.

4. If you see or hear anyone threatening violence, tell someone or report it to the authorities.

5. If you are a gun owner, become educated about responsible ownership & storage. Teach your friends.

6. If you are a member of a particular gun organization, demand that the leadership do something to help prevent these tragedies. Demand that the leadership stops blaming these innocent victims for these tragedies.

7. Learn the names, Twitter accts, emails & phone numbers of your representatives. Contact them and demand change. They really do read the correspondence & reply.

9. Support a gun sense organization.

8. Support mental health initiatives.

9. Vote in every election.

10. Support the many initiatives which are promoting love, compassion and kindness.

11. Teach your children to love and be accepting of others. Teach them that they are important & can make a difference.

12. Love your neighbor, and treat them how you would like to be treated.

13. Never stop believing that YOU can make a difference.

14. Never stop trying.

I hope that we will all actually do something THIS TIME.

Thank you to all of you who already have, or who will decide to.

Let’s join together to grieve as a nation, and to help change our nation for the better……….

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

(& Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown)

The Nightmare

The Nightmare Meme

I wrote the following post on 11-16-14:

As I sat at the breakfast table today eating homemade french toast that was dripping in syrup, I thought of Scotty McMillan.

I watched the syrup drip drop down onto my plate, just like his pain must have drip dropped out of him until his last breath.

I noticed how some of the syrup clung to the tiny pieces of french toast, just like how some of my memories of child and domestic abuse cling to me.

It is a tragic irony that this precious little boy lived on Hope Lane, in a quiet suburb of Philadelphia. The boy who probably tried to cling on to hope and life though he was given no quarter.

Stories such as his sicken, anger and sadden me, and haunt my already darkened dreams. They shouldn’t happen, yet they keep happening.

I understand all to well the silence of a child who is trapped in a neverending nightmare of abuse. I understand well the silence of a woman trapped in a horrific relationship.

I understand the fear, insecurity, brainwashing, and pain. I was wrapped up in a ball of it for over 20 years.

But, now I also understand that the cycle of violence can stop. I understand how taking some time to look up from our electronic devices, to pay attention to our neighbors and loved ones, can make a difference and perhaps change the course of someone’s life.

I understand that out there somewhere is peace. That if we help each other and strive to love ourselves and make a difference we will.

I understand that by writing poetry and speaking up about such topics, I will lose many FB friends and FB/Twitter followers, etc.

Please understand that I do not care.

I care more about those whose lives are being destroyed or ended due to violence in any way, shape or form.

I know many kind, caring people feel the same.

I will not sit silent any more. I have finally found my voice after a lifetime of pain and struggle.

I will always remember Scotty, the 26 Angels of Newtown, and so many more amazing children/people.

They will never be silent in my mind…I can always hear their words…and I will not stop mine for as long as I live….♥♥♥

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

Wheatgrass

wheatgrass meme

I was reborn in 2002 on Great Kills Beach in Staten Island, NY.

I had suffered through living in Manhattan on 9/11, a job loss, and a major personal loss in 2001 and was devastated, depressed and felt all alone.

I was lucky to have a roof over my head, supplied by my mom, but I had nothing more.

I went to this beach every single day for a year.

At first I just sat and cried.

Then I sat and cried and wrote a few poems.

Then I sat and cried and took a few pictures.

Then I sat and cried a little less and started rollerblading.

As the days and weeks slowly rolled by I began to listen to the wind whispering to me. The seascape strengthened me. The waves helped to wash away my pain.

I was becoming stronger each day, and I even learned to smile again.

This is one of the first poems I wrote that year. I didn’t know it at the time but the wheatgrass I refer to was actually beach grass. I called it wheatgrass because it was the color of wheat & it flowed beautifully on the beach and through my pen.

Whenever I see beach grass now, I think of this difficult time in my life.

I am grateful it made me stronger…I am grateful for this little beach on Staten Island, that is and forever will be the gateway to my heart…

Wheatgrass

The air flows through you like a memory,
Caught beneath an unforgiving sun;
Rich shades of amber point toward the heavens,
Swaying so swiftly like an infinite goodbye.

The haunting silky grains of madness,
Invade my brain and spiral out of control;
Slimy worms of justice kiss the mouth of wisdom,
Your beauty and splendor reveal a tortured soul.

Left to tread the path of heartache,
The clarity of truth will slowly plant its seed;
Releasing the pain like a flowing blade of wheatgrass,
Finding solace in the familiar touch of rain.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie