on the eve of trump's election
We rapidly disappear all drinkable water
Ramming engorged steel pipes
Like a rapist’s penis into the Earth
Injecting its insides of vile poisons
Lacerating its core
Leaving warm radiant grasslands
Stippled of dark grey gaseous machines
Rusting oozing mucus onto the countryside
Choking-vaporous clouds rising from rivers
Waterways cloaked with upended salmon
Assorted insects we’d yet to encounter
Of other life forms run amuck
Because of us
We indulge in gluttony
Zealots for crude oil
Nuclear fuel and intangible futures
We indulge in greed
Crazed for imbecilic video games
Prime time and commercial ads
Making others rich
And our minds poor
We coddle our narcissism
The idea that we are invincible
Masters of the universe
Superior to all life forms
Yet ignorant of countless creatures
Inhabiting black depths at the bottom
Of our own planet’s seas
We sentence ourselves to wrath
Placing madmen at the helm of a nuclear empire
With money and palm oil lovers
Torching vast swaths of Earth’s forests
Decimating acres at whim
We sentence ourselves to deception
Choosing fanciful illusions
We are leviathan stars
On a global stage
Existing only inside
The flat screens of our skulls
We sentence ourselves to sloth
Lethargically sitting by
Witnessing the implosion
Of even our own families
Never lifting a finger
Never troubling our carcasses
Out of cushy cheap sofas bought at Walmart
On Veteran’s Day sales
We splatter everything over
Of syrupy affirmations
That disguise our crimes
That masked our cataclysms
Our self-inflicted Armageddon
Like a junkie shooting up
That last dose of bad endings
A rehashed nightmare
How utterly foolish we are.
© 2017 Nancy Mercado
Humanity will not survive given our current ways of life, beliefs and the political apparatuses we have put into place. If we’re to leave any semblance of an operable world for our children, we must change in mass. There has to be a shift in the manner in which we view life; All Life, including animal and plant life. We can no longer afford to believe that our species is more powerful than other species nor that, due to racial, social or class status, one person is more worthy than another. We must throw our human hubris into the garbage.
What can anyone, in real honesty, expect when you have a country that was founded by forced occupation, brutality toward its native populations and on slavery; a country that still invades other sovereign nations at will? What can one expect the outcome of continued injustice to be? If life has shown any of us something, it’s that there is a universal law of balance. The scales may be tipped in your favor now but those scales will eventually, one way or another, tip back the other way. Native Americans understand this well.
The continued killings of unarmed Black men, boys and women by police officers in the United States must reach its limit. No longer should people of color in the United States be obligated to contend with a rigged judicial system that favors whites and the rich; a system that incarcerates men and boys of color at a rate of 60% more than their white counterparts; a judicial system that, to a large extend, allows corrupt politicians and Wall Street bankers to get away with egregious crimes; a system that simply does not convict police officers who break the law.*
The ethics practiced in the United States are topsy-turvy at best. While its “leaders” espouse the US to be a democracy, a class system is perpetuated in which 1% of the country’s population; the rich, own and control 40% of the nation’s wealth.** While its “leaders” turn their back on the children of Michigan and now Puerto Rico, they’re quick to bail out corrupt Wall Street bankers to the tune of billions. While they exalt and proudly brag about the beauty of “their” country, they condone fracking: a gas extraction procedure that has devastated the wild life and rendered useless much of the clean water ways in over 18 states; just one of several deadly methods used to make profits from dirty energy.*** It stands to reason then, that those who truly run this country would do no better, indeed much worse when it comes to exercising actual justice. When decisions are made based on their costs, based on their profit margin and on the requirement to maintain control in a capitalist (not democratic) country, what can one really expect? When common sense is trumped for profits of gun sales for a few therefore, no gun legislation is allowed to pass by the profiteers, what does one expect the eventual outcome will be; the gunning down of police in Dallas?
The United States is supposedly a symbol of egalitarianism. Not so fast. Of course it allows freedom of religion for example, knowing religion is a great way to control the masses. It allows for demonstrations and “free speech” as long as the demonstrations consists only of walks and a few shouts and “free speech” is exercised in a limited manner. What did those in charge do to Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Pedro Albizu Campos for their use of "free speech" while Rush Limbaugh continues to slobber his rightwing racists hate speech on radio across the nation with impunity; not to mention the hate speech of the Republican candidate, for president no less; Donald Trump?
Those who consider themselves our “leaders,” whether in government or the wealthy 1% better take honest stock of their ethics, actions and the systems they impose either by way of dictatorship, terrorism or sleight of hand. In the United States, to start, the judicial system must be rectified to convict police who break the law, to institute legislation regarding the sale of assault weapons and to deescalate the militarization of this country's police force.
But, there is a bigger broader problem that extends beyond the United States. It is the condition in which humanity finds itself; the callousness toward another human life, the extent of greed for money and material wealth at any cost; even if it means depleting the planet’s natural resources and killing off all life including our own. Humanity is at a crossroads. We must stop believing we are invincible, all knowing and start exercising good old common sense and that old fashion adage; love thy neighbor, whether thy neighbor be a Black man, boy, woman, white, tan or orangutan. If we do not turn our ways, we will all perish because of them. It is simply no longer sustainable to keep pummeling each other, our animal companions and the planet with hatred, killings, bombs and destruction of all kinds.
As naive as some of this may sound (and equally difficult to do); somehow, someway we must restructure the political and social apparatuses we've built. We must attempt to eliminate the prejudices we carry. The world, the universe including human beings are wonderful, beautiful mysteries, we should explore and delight in together.
Nancy Mercado, PhD.
New York City
July 9, 2016
*Americans for Progress:
***Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
The reason why the killing of Cecil, the lion is so appalling, as I see it, has to do with the utter evil it takes to plan the killing of an innocent, endangered creature for sheer amusement or to satisfy some degenerate notion of superiority. Although Cecil was a lion and not a human being, his killing is no less horrible than the killing of another person; how can we value each other and not give a damn about other life forms in the world around us?
Notwithstanding the fact that Cecil was a majestic being (who had a family) and his killing is absolutely abhorrent, what is even more heinous is the idea that we (humans) are “entitled" to kill (including each other) and pillage whatever we want around us simply because we can or because we "know better." It is the reason why we find ourselves battling the effects of Climate Crises e.g, the decimation of Bee populations, the California drought and subsequent devastating fires, super storms Sandy and Katrina and bigger ones yet to come, the heat waves in Europe that have already caused many deaths, etc., etc.
The saddest and perhaps most dangerous thing about the killing of Cecil is our failure to understand the bigger implication of our actions; that our ruthless indifference to such creatures and to what happens to them, is a reflection of our own decaying nature; that our increasing greed, self-centeredness and hubris about our "control" over the Earth and all life in it, is an indication of how simple-minded we've actually become; that in the end, our heartless actions and lack of care for each other as well as for our animal companions and for the only home we have: Earth, will result in the killing our selves and our children.
Einstein [...] once calculated that if all bees disappeared off the earth, four years later all humans would also have disappeared.
Abeilles et fleurs, June, 1965
For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity.
Exhilarated is a word I seldom use. It is one of those words I love because it sounds like what it describes; onomatopoeia is what they call it. Well, in this instance it’s the perfect word for the occasion. It describes the experience and sounds exactly. Exhilarated, exhilarating…it was exhilarating to ride alongside friends and fellow artists on the Team Capicu float in the Puerto Rican Day Parade.
Towering over everything while we cruised up, what seemed to me like, “the” cannon of heroes with thousands upon thousands of cheering Puerto Ricans, thousands and thousands of flags representing an island smaller than the state of New Jersey; I swore to myself I would not cry, and I didn’t. I was too busy shouting, taking pictures and posting to social media as fast as my fingers would allow. I was too busy being happy and exhilarated. It was a testament to the power of the Puerto Rican nation; a nation who’s homeland has been racked by a political system that has no altruistic beneficial regard for it or its people. A little piece of land flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other; an island from which emerged all manner of race and what one scientist, through DNA research, proved to be the perfect human being.* An island and people who really, against all possible odds, have survived the human tragedy that is slavery, political persecution, sterilization, police brutality, institutional poverty, discrimination of all kinds, its economic collapse and environmental destruction.
We took over the apex of modern-day Rome: 5th Avenue.
Even the very wealthy Plaza (once known as the prestigious Plaza Hotel) adorned a huge Puerto Rican flag undulating front its façade. It was the living embodiment of that quote used during the Zapatista Movement:
“They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.”
Moving up the pinnacle of America’s capitalist machine, I could not help but see the irony in hundreds of Puerto Ricans marching brandishing banners demanding the release of political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera, holding up high portraits of Harvard University graduate and nationalist, Pedro Albizu Campos and the great social and civil rights leader Antonia Pantoja, among others; with thousands of more Puerto Rican families gathered looking on, waving their flags in front of Saks Fifth Avenue, Cartier and Apple all chanting:
¡Que Viva Puerto Rico! ¡Que Viva Libre!
We hid in plain sight. We succeeded in turning one of the most iconic symbols of “the greatest,” “wealthiest,” “most powerful” country in the world into a sea of political, social and cultural action. It was a tremendous victory for a people and land whose death sentence has come and gone, several times over. And so, I was exhilarated at witnessing our union and power on that day; at witnessing and being part of Team Capicu: a loving and supportive family of writers, artists and cultural workers who came together and who worked apart, who each contributed and who together built a cohesive beautiful priceless piece of art that made up all of our exhilarating experience at the 2015 Puerto Rican Day Parade.
¡Gracias mi gente!
*Biologist Says Puerto Rican Women Possess Ideal Genotype Of The 'Perfect' Human Via DNA Ancestry.