A Poet's Kiss

Albuquerque poet Mary Oishi puts poems, pictures, and thoughts here for her family and friends, and for lovers of poetry everywhere.

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States

Thursday, February 26, 2009

my 50,000th paper cut

This post came on a professional list serve I subscribe to. I have blocked the name of the list and the writer of the post to protect privacy. My reply follows.

-----Original Message-----
From: xxx

Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 4:27 PM
To: xxx

Subject: Re: "Aging GLBT Folks" on "Prime Time Radio" Incl. Daniel Schorr, 91 years old

Just to be clear, the aging GLBT story is technically unrelated to the interview w/Daniel Schorr (who has been married to his wife since 1967).

My reply:
Margaret Cho says that experiencing racism is like dying from thousands of paper cuts. Experiencing homophobia is as well. I'm sure it was not intended to be hurtful, but rushing to "set the record straight" signals to everyone who reads this list, gay and straight, that somehow it would be shameful for Daniel Shorr to be thought of as gay--even for a few minutes!

I volunteer with gay teenagers every Friday night, and I can tell you that this kind of implied shame is harmful, in fact, extremely violent in its consequences. In the past 2 months I have had to talk two intelligent, beautiful, and talented young men out of suicide. They know that nobody will someday rush to explain that they have been with their male partners (since 1967) to spare them the shame of being thought of as straight. They're already so tired of the daily blood trickles of "paper cuts" at this young age, they would rather get it over with fast.

None of us wants to intentionally do harm. But to avoid doing harm unwittingly takes some examination of attitudes that we may not even be aware of, attitudes that when expressed can be far more hurtful to people than we would ever want to be. Just some food for thought...

Mary Oishi

Thursday, February 05, 2009

gaza lament

if the palestinians and the israelis
had been reading each other poetry all these years
they'd be in love by now

i can't hear of all this war
all this unneccessary
of people so sick from fear
old fears still diseasing
new fears louder than thunder
(nothing scarier than scar tissue

ripped into new flesh)

child eyes, living and dead, fixed on us
demand a different answer

i can't bear the thought of children
terrified by terrified men
bombing down their terrible fear on cities
cities filled with their sisters
filled with their brothers
cities filled with themselves
if they only could see

maybe someday their grandchildren
won't speak to them for shame
maybe someday they'll be as lonely
as old germans are now

mary oishi

I can't help but wonder how this all would have turned out differently if, after being hunted like prey in the 20th Century, we had offered them healing and comfort instead of fighter planes and bombs. World War II still stalks the world because it still rages in the hearts of wounded survivors and their decendants. It is far from over. Isn't it about time for it to be? I pray for healing so the cycle of pain and brutality and more pain and more brutality can stop. The first gas chambers and the first nuclear holocaust and the first genocide of civilians using conventional weapons happened more than 60 years ago and we haven't stopped warring since. Instead of being horrified by the murderous orgies of 20th (and now 21st) Century warfare, we continue to justify, even glorify them. We need to check into a collective psych ward for this madness. It is high time we recover from World War II and get truly serious about peace on Earth. High time.