Saturday, October 29, 2005

A Thousand Beautiful Things

"Where do I go?
Follow the river?
Where do I go?
Follow the gulls?
Where is the something,
Where is the someone
To tell me why I live and die?"

Lyrics from the Broadway Musical "Hair"


Can’t tell you why, but I woke up this morning singing. "Where do I go?" The girls were exalted to hear my voice at full volume. "Follow the river?" They began to sniff and snort and nuzzle at me through the heavy covers of my bed. "Where do I go? Follow the children?" I have no known reason for being in such a good mood this morning, but the song was an indicator of my having slept well and apparently having dreamt of something to take me back to the late 1960’s or early 1970s. "Is there an answer, in their sweet faces, to tell me why I live and die?" I looked at the sweet schnauzer faces held inches from my own, anticipating my next move. I would be as surprised as they.

Perhaps it is all the scandal in the highest levels of the White House. Realistically, if you lived through the Nixon-era as I did, then you can’t help but observe the similarities: a White House that goes after its "enemies"; a Vice-President who is widely disliked and whose top aide is forced to resign. We have a war that is highly unpopular. We have secrets, lies and coverups. We have scheming fellows who decided that we would have no flagged-draped coffins on the news to show the human cost of our little wars. We have Homeland Security, not Domestic Security. You can almost see them deciding "Let’s give labels that mean something, people. Let our folks know that we have studied the Nazis and learned their knack for propaganda and twisting malleable minds. Nevermind that we can’t seem to make the system work when we need it, as long as the majority believes us." I mean, for Chrissakes, we have gone from a blowjob to a snowjob. Worst of all for me, we seem to have lost our moral compass and the world sees. This isn’t about sex. This is about murder and greed and revenge. This is not a basis for building a sustainable world.

"Our eyes are open, Our eyes are open"

Lyrics from the Broadway Musical "Hair"



Hair is far less of an issue today than it was when I was a kid. Yes, I did have fly away hair back then as I worked in my father’s store, and when I fell ill, my doctor refused to treat me until I agreed to get a haircut. I refused and got a new doctor instead. Later, I grew an afro with the diameter of about 2 feet. Today, I have shaved down my hair to nubs, so that is not the issue. It never was, realistically, just that I was seen as a symbol of all that was pinko, commie, subversive and without discipline by those who feared. It also indicated to me then that I had no right to my own body. Well, that hasn’t changed, now has it ladies? Maybe the lesson is that fear is not the answer. Maybe we need to foster love instead. Maybe we need a new doctor instead of a mere haircut.

"I’m Black, I’m Black
I’m Pink, I’m Pink
I’m Rin-so White
I’m In-vis-i-ble…"

Lyrics from the Broadway Musical "Hair"


We had race riots and poverty. We now have race and poverty in the foreground again as an excuse for the well-to-do to blame the victims of a devastating hurricane. We had Camille, and we now have had Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Mother Nature seems pissed off, and She isn’t doing commercials for Chiffon Spread any longer. We have more people living in poverty every year, for more years than ever before in any other administration. We have gone from the Clinton-era budget surplus where everyone benefited to the Bush-Record-Deficit that benefits only the richest of the rich. We have people who worry about heating their homes, about paying for their healthcare, about their next meal and then those worrying about the effect on their portfolios because the others can’t buy their goods. There is little left in between.

Maybe I am feeling like we are coming full-circle. Perhaps what I learned back in the first time through was not all I needed to learn. Maybe I am learning to find compassion for myself. As a gay person, for years, I was in-vis-i-ble as the song stated, when African-Americans were Black and Proud with fist held in the air, claiming their power again. Or maybe I am fighting the guilt of being Rinso-White in a society that had pursued genocide of Native Americans to take their lands and then had no qualms about killing Asians in our world just to keep our ideology and markets viable. Perhaps I was too busy hiding my sexuality to participate fully back then. I am no longer invisible. That alone is progress, although just one small step for this man alone.

After I had my coffee, I put on "Hair" this morning and listened at high volume to the lyrics of the songs. I realized that I craved truth. I don’t refer to the spin that is being thrown around by different politicos to hide the realities of their crumbling worlds. I am talking about absolute truth. Unmistakable truth. Truth that is obvious like a ray of light. I remember the scandal of those brave actors who during the song "The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In)" removed their clothing to stand proudly nude on stage. It seems to me that we need a sunny day when Americans can stand nude and proud on the World Stage, showing we have no lies to hide. What a beautiful image, all of us, naked and pure like newborn babies. It is hard to feel threatened by a newborn, naked baby. When we are shrouded in lies, like a heavy winter coat, and with our history as a nation, it is conceivable that any of us can be the next enemy of the state. Don’t think so? Read your state constitution and see if you have an amendment that limits marriage to just one man and one woman. When you can’t see that limiting someone else’s freedom also limits your own, you are blinded. I personally don’t want to live in a post-apocalyptic world of fear. I feel a good change coming. Perhaps that is why I awoke with a song in my head.

"We starve, look at one another, short of breath, walking proudly in our winter coats,
Wearing smells from laboratories, facing a dying nation,
A moving paper fantasy, listening for the new-told lies
With supreme visions of lonely tunes…

Silence tells me secretly, everything…

Let the sun shine….let the sunshine in…."


My CD carousel moved on after Hair to Annie Lennox and her latest release "Bare". The very first song, "A Thousand Beautiful Things" may well have provided my new mantra.

"Everyday I write the list
Of reasons why I do believe they still exist
(A Thousand Beautiful Things)"


From the Annie Lennox CD "Bare"
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2 Comments:

Blogger coturnix said...

Wow! Thank you for this. Truly.

10/29/2005 12:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was Amazing. I would have liked an encore but I have to start raping up.

10/31/2005 08:45:00 PM  

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