To Our Macho Valentines
We need to talk.
When a disturbed young man sprays death on twenty first-graders with an assault rifle, when an aging oligarch bases a political campaign on insult, intrigue, and innuendo, when an ex-student defames Valentine’s Day by gun-murdering former schoolmates, when inconclusive wars kill thousands, displace millions, cost trillions, drag on and on,
we are overdue for some serious readjustments.
Our over-reliance on competition, violence, vengeance and
warfare needs to be scaled way back.
Ages ago, marauding bands with the best available clubs and spears made sense. Settlements were sparse, beasts huge, weather harsh. Outward threats were plentiful.
Now billions of us live in cities, where we vainly pretend to manicure and
manage nature, ignoring our dependence. Most threats are manmade, but our fears and habits of protections have yet to catch up with our
Human violence has thrust out everywhere: world wars, holocausts, genocides, civil wars, mass rapes, terrorism, alongside more intimate horrors.
We may mouth misleading terms–“collateral damage”–but it doesn’t help.
Our knowledge of the desolation we inflict on each other still sticks in our throats.
So for a few moments,
drop your swagger,
your snigger, your armor,
Come join our quiet circle.
Don’t bring us presents–
no flowers, no chocolates,
no well-intentioned but futile
promises to keep us safe.
Just sit. Breathe.
No words, no gestures.
Open your senses.
Experience life’s interweavings.
Soon we’ll finish.
Then you can go back to media sports.
But first we’ll say our piece plainly:
though we may have admired your youthful feats
of physical or mental prowess, we won’t stop loving you
when injury, illness, or old age waylays you.
Actually, when you’re not too loud, we love you best of all when you
lie snoring peacefully beside us, just as human and vulnerable as we are,.
With deepest affection,