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Solace: How Does One Find It--Poem #13


INTRODUCTION

Poetry helps me cope during trying times. As images of social injustice and unrest crowd my mind, thoughts unravel and images unwind producing this poem overnight. Some lines came from my rantings on social media; they refuse to stay there. Restlessness has served as stepping stones of courage to express what the heart believes. 


I usually pair my poems with a photograph. It would be too cliche to attach this poem to photos I took at the protest in my hometown. I must find solace somehow. This sunset photo of Sausalito, fresh off my husband's camera lens gave me pause. It depicts both beauty and a brewing storm.


Seeking Solace Before the Storm. ©James Sobredo. 2020


SOLACE: HOW DOES ONE FIND IT?

 

How does one find solace in a world

of ever growing discordance?

When one finds it impossible even to process  

heartbreaking events in this time and space,  

in this country absent of leadership.

A heartbreaking testament of our time—

Pandemic, Protests and

a President not capable of guiding

the nation through the storm.

 

I write and read, join online community meetings,

and I write and read some more.

My refuge of books, a laptop and a large screen

in the bedroom thoughtfully arranged by my beloved,

walls enshrouded by photographs that exude

serenity; a blatant contrast to the state of pandemic,

a state of restlessness due to injustices and a warped psyche

of a nation crying for help from all sides

of the gaping political divide.

 

Nothing soothes from heartbreaking news.

Comfort food of my ancestors, newness of Korean drama,

busy acts researching for a novel I have long fantasized writing,

and re-reading of poems over and over. They all bid to give solace

when in solitude. But even my muse was silent for days;

traumatized perhaps.

The muse rests as I take cat naps to escape,

to pacify helplessness.

 

On the news from all over the country

are expressions of the unheard.

Protestors spanning the globe: at home, in the British Isles,

Germany, France, Australia, Iran, China and more. 

Some of unlikely faces and voices from diverse

spectrum of beliefs and philosophical leanings 

chanting: George Floydblack lives matter, I can’t breathe.

All demanding justice

for black lives senselessly lost. I could join them

only in thought and spirit.

 

In my hometown I participated from my car.

Too risky to march with the crowd

as my chronic illness sadly, affected mobility.

Limbs that once thrived dancing 

to just about any beat is beaten down.

The autoimmune disease did not discriminate.

 

The protests are for more than just objections

to discrimination. It is a painful outburst, outcry

for justice against a long-lived racism

once masked, now unmasked again and again 

for all to witness in broad daylight.

 

In the car while watching impassioned marchers,

I write. I listen to NPR. The public radio played

sample memes of white women calling police

on black men; experts speaking about these behaviors

being compatible with white supremacy.

Speakers, black and white women

are highly experienced educators/authors. 

Images unwind. The complex and long history

associated with acts and thoughts of racism

can no longer be just a passing event.


Peacefully quelling my own frustration

and internal unrest over institutionalized racism,

I do so by writing and joining in

my way, within my physical limits.

Police were present, protestors appeared non-violent

when I drove up and parked.

News of looting, devastating

businesses affected, but totally unconnected

with the community planned rally. 

Distraction. Deflection.

By-product sewn by a politically

charged environment, deliberately manipulated

from hands and minds to whom citizenry

had blindly entrusted to protect us.

National leadership overwrought with their own bravado.

Unwilling. Incapable. Ignorant to how words incite violence,

how words matter. How history matters. Lives matter.

Black lives matter. The poor matters.

The disenfranchised matters. People of color

matter. Let us breathe. Let us live. Let us be.

 

How does one find solace in a world

of ever growing unrest?

When one finds it impossible even to process  

the heartbreaking events in this time and space,  

in this country rudderless at the very top.

A heartbreaking testament of our time—

Pandemic, Protests and

A President incapable of guiding

a nation in turmoil.

 

And so, we take full charge of ourselves,

and weather the storm: the pandemic,

protests infiltrated by the ill-intentioned.

We trudge through systemic ignorance and deafness,

if we must. We must stay unyielding;

the cost is too high otherwise. 

Dignity is a human right, as essential as oxygen. 

We do not stop. We do not get distracted.

We must live because we matter.

 

Poem ©Lu Sobredo

Photo ©James Sobredo

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED  

 


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