Thursday, November 23, 2006

Do They Know It’s Thanksgiving? (with apologies to Band Aid)

It’s Thanksgiving
pumpkin pie’s in the oven
we celebrate abundance
while watching the elves dance
as Santa arrives on a float

But say a prayer
pray for the other ones
whose mush
won’t be topped
with cranberry compote

It’s hard, but when you're feasting
there's a parallel world out there
a world of dread and fear

Where the only water flowing
gags them
till they spill the beans
and the only carols ringing
will be rap music zinging
in their ears

then they'll chant a sura
and dream of seeing their ma

And there won’t be candied yams
in Guantanamo this year
where they live in pens
like turkeys
and drink fermented despair

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
whose stern, impassioned stress…
a network of rendition beat
in covert wilderness

Here’s to you and your dear ones
here’s to them, the disappeared ones
Do they know it’s Thanksgiving today?


I love days like today ...but only every know and then...days when I stay in the house the whole day...I especially like not going to a store, not making any purchases, not getting into my car and driving on the road. Of course, a lot of ingredients went into making today such a special, peaceful, abundant day, a day to be thankful.

  • I was born in the world's only superpower with it's superpowerful economy. I was born into privilege. My mother would say that's a lot of sh__. She would say that Italians came to this country and worked hard for whatever they have. But that begs the question. People come from impoverished countries with politically oppressed societies and thrive in the U.S., while others whose ancestors were brought here centuries ago are still struggling to climb the ladder of success. And I won't even go into what became of "native Americans." Other writers have spoken of white privilege more eloquently than I, so I'll let them speak.
  • I'm also thankful for the family and home my husband I have have managed to found. The ambiance is a lot more harmonious and tranquil than in the home I came from.
  • I'm thankful for the education I've had and most especially for the opportunity to study two languages besides English. Reading authors in the original has really opened my mind. Immersing myself in two other linguistic systems has helped me walk in others' shoes, even if I haven't been able to travel much.
  • I'm thankful for the gift of perceptiveness heightened with a pinch of intuitiveness, which makes painfully aware of my country's faults. I love the U.S. and just can't seem to shake the illusion that we can actually live up to the ideals of our Constitution.
  • I'm thankful for the Internet, where I met two of my favorite friends with whom I've been corresponding for almost 10 years. We've talked by phone and on Skype (oh, yeah, I'm thankful for Skype) and, God willing, we'll meet in person some day.
  • I'm thankful for my Catholic background -- if not so much for the upbringing. I wouldn't be able to appreciate music, literature, religious thought, and much of European culture without having first absorbed Catholicism's rich traditions. That said...
  • I'm grateful for having found the Religious Society of Friends...and to think they were in my own backyard all the time! Although Friends can be as tepid and apathetic as members of any other denomination, when at their best they are rigorously independent thinkers (comme les Français justement), passionate spiritual practitioners, and dedicated activists....and while I'm at it, I'm grateful for all my personal and activist friends (with a small "f').
  • Finally, like St. Francis of Assisi who was grudgingly grateful for his mortal body, which he humorously called Brother Ass, I'm thankful for all my past physical and psychological sufferings. I'm grateful to skilled and empathetic therapists who supported me through the harrowing journey to emotional strength and wellness, helping me to find that place of spiritual and emotional tranquility that I inhabit today.
OK, so much for all that Thanksgiving jazz...time to get ready for the rest of the day!

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