Thursday, October 14, 2021

       Some Lady In Queen's Lords Prayer


Our Mother, our Father, Great Spirit

who is in heaven

holy is your name

your kindom come
and your will be done

on this fecund earth 

as it is in a jillion 

times more rapturous


heaven.


Give us daily 

what we need to eat-

that should suffice.

Shore up inner-city dumpster divers,

and all of the hungry children

scavenging through landfills around the globe.


Bless the 10 year old Burundi boy

I saw on a New Pedestrianism 

urban planner's website,

who chose to wear a 

filthy pink, calf length ruche dress

he found in a Burundian dumpsite

rather than walk around 

naked all the time.


Forgive us our age of terrorism

our self-serving transgressions

as we strive to absolve the hypnotized

the ignorant, the programmed

the rebellious for rebellion's sake 

like lemmings 

    diving en masse 

                         serially

                                over 

    cliffs,


who have anguished us before 

they've headed for self destruction.


Protect us from craving, from impulse buying, 

when our pneumas become weighted down with ash 

and abrade, graze the ground, and our bosoms 

have become hardened from this life


like that piece of horseradish cheddar 

I found in the back of my refrigerator

cheese drawer that I forgot to 

wrap in Saran wrap a month ago.


Don't let Beelzebub get at us.

His past-centuries name 

still sends shivers through some. Especially

if said with a Mississippi southern accent.


10/02/21





Monday, October 4, 2021

from Steven W.

 Manchester & Warrington Area Quakers are runnung a Quaker Quest series. 

It is our Area Meeting’s usually annual main outreach activity.
The last sessions in 2019 were all done in Quaker week and Young Friends got about 50 people to come to the first on Quakers and Youth but more commonly there are ol about 4-7 newcomers in attendance
These are in person at Central Manchester and blended. 
There is a large display that can show 25 people clearly, including being able to read their names, and a good microphone.

When they were in person the format was that three people would each spend eight minutes giving their personal story on the topic.
Then some questions would be answered and the new comers would go into break out rooms with a couple of experienced friends for twenty minutes.
The rest of the experienced friends socialise in another room.
There would then be a brief plenary followed by fifteen minutes of Meeting for Worship.

Register at Eventbrite to get sent the Zoom link the day before.
7:00-9:00pm with refreshments from 6:30pm BST.
4 October Quakers and Worship
11 October Quakers, God and Other Faiths
18 October Quakers  and Peace
25 October Quakers and Equality
1  November Quakers and Sustainability
This is 11am Pacific time, midday Mountain time 1pm Central time and 2pm Eastern time with socialising in the half hour before.

I’ll probably be going to these in person from next week.
I think elders are running the first, Greater Manchester Churches Together the second, peace group the third, social justice group the fourth and environmental group the fifth.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Poems of F.T.

Riff On A 1918 Sarah Teasdale Pacifist Poem Reworked
As A Centenary + Two Years Pandemic Homage

Again come the hurricane-force winds
and flash-floods to Gotham New York,
And 3 am mockingbirds imitating cats in distress,
avians blown over from Long Island's North Fork;

In my yard I see achromatic 'possums wading
through puddles accumulating overnight,
And 70 plum tree friuts lie waiting
a nocturnal forager's delight.

Well-fed raccoons break some tines as they
amble atop a white picket fence-
they've even knocked out bottoms, and if possums,
or skunks are the culprits- a more forgivable offence.

And not one will know of this near civil war,
this incivility, this threat of extinction, not one
Could care diddly-squat insouciant
when the whole damn thing is done.

The licorice-nosed koala, lyrical lyre bird, neuro-genius octupi,
powerful, thoothed hippopotamus, and revered pine tree
could care less if humans took a hiatus permanently.

Sarah Teasdale said it over a hundred years ago,
and although I don't like her poetry
that's all you need to know.

-F.T. 08/27/21

Teasdale's 1918 poem is called "There Will Come Soft Rains", and was a reflection on World War 1 and the 1918 flu pandemic.

Mikaela In A Concave Geode Has A Revelation


Once in Wisconsin, a fresh water river nymph cautiously hid. She was a Potameides of the Naiad clan, and her name was Mikaela. She would remove freckles from the faces of young girls who bathed in her bubbling waters. She disappeared when vociferous men caused auricular tumults near the sloping river's banks.

Mikaela loved when a beauty-emanating geode, birthed by the mineral rich river's flows, occasionally cracked open against another rock. She especially cleaved to the purple and turquiose sea green colored ones- their vibrational frequencies soothed her so. It was her place to climb and curl into, then lay skyward in that little safe cup in a receptive state, arms folded across her chest like American trance seer Edgar Cayce. Then she waited, patiently waited.

She knew, she saw, that the people who kept eating severely tortured and butchered animal friends and saints in Usanian factory farms had a psychological dilemma to solve. They did not want to change their ways borne from entrenched habits of cultural tradition, so they made up a strategy not known to their very own selves

They decided to accuse and blame other people in their country of cooking and eating human children. They were unable to see that they themselves were cooking, broiling, occasionally stamping on, electrocuting, suffocating, and ingesting Great Spirit's other tribe's beloved offspring.

Mikaela knew the truth from her hypnogogic trances now, floating so closely above that mirky, unconscious river. This is why she often hid until innocents arrived. She beheld a milleniums-long mass habituation that was very violent. Except when young girls with freckle problems came to bathe. This she ministered to with sublime calm, peace, and sororal ease.

-F.T. 09/04/21

This is a poem about projection, and about our inability to see what horrific abuses we are continuously inflicting upon defenseless beings from other tribes by our shopping habits, borne from deeply entrenched, culturally-influenced alimentary and lifestyle habits. I am particularly thinking about conspiracy theorists, the currently cult-like Republican party in the US and the influence it has on the kinds of intellectually weak, spiritually bankrupt, frightened and programmed people who have lost the ability to think and constructively dialogue. A Hopi elder I was listening to said that people are currently without the instructions on how to live on Earth. Also, Thomas Merton once said that animals are saints because they are true to their own natures.

Tender Biker


He moves with a muted elan that is
as faint as the colors in a moonbow,
or like the pastel confectionery scent
of violet baby cologne.

He offers a paper plate holding
rainbow sprinkled red velvet cupcakes
to share with his daughter.
His eyes shine washed white mushroom bright
reflecting back the burst of glee
on her four years old face.

He cleans her hands smudged
from smeared icing with a
cucumber and green tea scented wipe

then puts her and the apricot poodle
into the motorcycle side car bedecked
with metallic pink and purple pinwheels-
just for her.

They take off, that revving a reprieve from
the stoned neighbor's bass boost
invading the street's bungalow houses.

From my front stoop, I glance
beetween reading texts then pages
from a Zbigniew Herbert poetry anthology.

I just now found the moxie
to go sweep up and flush
the dead water bug in the basement.


-F.T. 07/31/21

The inspiration for this poem came after I watched a few hour-long news specials on the January 6th hearings, as well as some clips on the new book that came out by the award winning Washington Post journalists Leonnig and Rucker, entitled "I Alone Can Fix It", highlighting the former president's authoritarian and "Stong Man" delusional ideal, it's effects on our democracy, and the fact that he is increasingly being recognized as an American war criminal. The tender biker depicted in this poem, for me, illustrates authentic, constructive, and healthy masculine strength that is very attractive.


Undersong Frequencies Against The Demons Of Our Undoing


That's what I must sometimes
sound like to God when I pray-
a droning beseecher
with supplications on repeat
yet part of limping creation's fallen beat.

My spiritual coexistence
is a conjoint condition
with the trap door of prayer
hidden in twilight's hideaways.

What deflects the physics law-bending
supernatural light from flooding and freeing
are the malignant offspring of our harmful actions.
They are yoking demons, torturers meant to awaken.

To unclasp these spirit leeches from your neck,
start with accepting your status
as a pilgrim deuteragonist.

Ignorance is letting your
14 year old daughter
accompany you to a wake in
daisy dukes and a crop top.
I had the pleasure of beholding
this future, discount residustrial strumpet
in a Greenpoint funeral parlor.

Sadness can barely appreciate,
and is bummer Debbie Downer
monotonously dressed in somber brown.
This is a condition that is not depression.
Before the disruption of the planetary ecosystems,
It was considered the most harmful of spirits.

Self-indulgence. Laddie, do you really need
40 pairs of Nikes stacked in tangerine boxes
we can see in your room on Zoom?

Lust. Once on a Peter Pan bus stuck
in traffic on I-278 over New York's Triboro Bridge,
snug, daydreaming out of a window seat,
I glanced down to see a male driver in his car
wanking himself. Everyone on the bus could see it
if they looked over to the left.
Maybe he was an objectumsexual and
got excited by his close contact
with the car in front of him.

Injustice. Thousands of California Black,
Latina, and Indigenous women became
victims of forced sterilization in that state's
eugenics program in the first half of the last century.
It gave the Nazis the idea to execute it.

Greed. “Everyone’s greedy,”
Bell assistant city manager Angela Spaccia's
defense attorney Harland Braun argued at trial,
defending her $564,000 a year salary.
“There’s no crime in taking too much money.”
The double-chinned ex-mayor Anthony Rizzo
could barely button his jacket over his bulging
belly at his own trial. That button was so ripe to pop
and go flying any minute, across the room.

Deceitfulness. Gaslighting your spouse,
with "I'm not having an affair".
Or the vet ripping out all of your
sick senior cat's teeth for one grand,
when he really was dying from brain cancer.
He missed it in his mom and pop shop
local clinic, lacking the necessary equipment
to make an accurate diagnosis.
There is also deceitfulness through silence.

Craving. Here's one you're targeted for
by sociopathic psychologists and advertisers
using military psychological operations tactics.
They make you want to have things that you
don't really want or need
by implanting the desire in your mind,
that keeps appearing like pop-ups on your lap top.
Or Kraft Foods Group staff marketing meetings, they
celebrate their food chemist's flavor enhancers
that make sure you can't stop eating once you start.
"Betcha can't eat just one!"

Fraud. You were beyond credulous
to have bought this one. The levitating
Indian "guru", concealed in a tent before and after
actually becoming suspended in the air,
seated on a metal plate hidden under his robes,
secretly attached to his staff
firmly anchored into the ground.
Bless me, godman!

Anger. The spirit of wrath.
Not the PTSD-generated mindful anger that has snapped
out of its denial of planetary suicide,
is no longer willing to be stuck in ire,
is facing its stage of grief, and is uploading
its new-found energy towards salvaging work and giving.

Haste. What memes that flew
when that lone black fly landed and sat like a monk
on Mike Pence's head during the 2020 VP debate.
The attack on the working class, the gig economy,
the squeezing, the stress pressed upon those buckling
under unliveable wages have upticked anxiety disorders
like never seen before in this collapsing America.
There is no need for "Work Shall Set You Free"
signs above death camps anymore. Just be a member
of the working or splinter-sized, remnant middle class.
A few corporations are taking out
a dead peasant policy on you, anyway.

Ill Will. Once I was called for Brooklyn jury duty.
Some Black lady put out her foot to intentionally trip me.
I nimbly tried to hop over it at the edge of
our wooden bench row as I went up to the judge
to beseech excusal for religious reasons.
I think the tripper judged me because I was Land's End and
L.L. Bean dressed-for-social-worker-job white.
I am sure of this.
The Mennonite oath forbiddance and
a music minister gig there near Washington Square
sent me home to continue helping poor
Black and Hispanic poeple uninterrupted.
The city has gotten rid of excusal
for conscience reasons since then-
one step ahead of us clever.


- F.T. 07/25/21

This poem is a melange of religious guiding principles drawn from various ancient and Gnostic scriptures illustrated in 12 experimental codas.


Editor's Note: F.T. is a pen name for one of our regular attenders; if you read carefully you'll know which one. If you are looking for a connection to Quakerism, that was it. We publish each other's poetry just to share with each other as a community. No other alignment with our values is intended or inferred.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Beginner's Guide to Quakerism

This document was given to me, written by three or four of my elders, because I am good at editing, formatting, and publishing Quaker books. It is only about 33 pages as we speak, really more of a pamphlet, and just goes over the basics of liberal Quakerism for those who are attracted to the faith.

We have sent it out to about nine first readers, who should be giving us comments in about a week. The exact method of publication is still unclear. One side of me wants to just crank out pamphlets from my shed, and become a printer-distributer. But my original idea was to go through Amazon, which is basically free - you set up the template, they print, by demand, as many as you want. In this plan printing the pamphlet would be about $1.50-$2,00, as low as they can make it, but they generally charge a lot for shipping and keeping track of author's copies. So, as long as I ordered one ($1.50), they might charge me $2.50 ot send it, but if I ordered ten ($15.00), they might charge me only $3 or $4, so it would get progressively more worthwhile for me to order author's copies in large number for people who requested them. I could have the sent anywhere. Prime would not apply. Someone who wanted to buy one straight off the top, from the Amazon page, would pay about $3 (minimum price for any book, even only 33 pages), and prime would apply if they have it, if not, another buck or two for postage.

Another possibility is to use my shed as a pamphlet-produxtion facility. I have a reasonably good printer which I believe would be up to the task although I might have to up my game in terms of making it always ready to print. I also would have to always be ready to send. I would have to be able to say to someone, "I can send you six of these on Thursday for about ten dollars including postage, and they would get there around Sunday," and then I would have to be able to do it. I am interested in this option becuase I am aware of the general distaste people have for Amazon and how much people would simply like to go around them. Another reason I am interested in this is because I am considering making a Cloud Quaker calendar, which would be available at the end of the year, and which would be done the same way: on my printer, at home, one at a time, etc.

To do this I need two things. One is a long stapler that will help me staple a calendar or a book in the middle even if it is long. The other is a fair-sized paper cutter. Both of these are readily available. I just have to get out there and find them.

The third option is to go through Pendle Hill or some other Quaker publisher who just takes care of these details for a fee and keeps you out of it. I am not sure how I feel about this or how they would react to our particular document.

Something to chew on.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Songs of the Spirit

 



Free for the price of postage

which is about $2.80, anywhere in the US, media mail, if I'm not mistaken. I'll pay for the little brown envelope and the trip over the 8700-foot James Ridge, that I need to make in order to mail it.

It is a Quaker songbook. I got about a dozen of them once, for free, on the understanding that I'd pass them along to someone who could use them. They are still taking up space. My children are not singing Quaker songs, and I'm losing my hearing. I'd be glad to send them along. Write me.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Avoiding Control and Inserting Contemplation and Spiritualism into the Workplace

Greetings, Cloud Quakers! After our last silent worship and community discussion, where we discussed control as a barrier to spirituality and how to carry on in the face of difficult people, I felt called in this moment to pen a blog post. One member mentioned problematic people plaguing her current work, with an acknowledgment that we can all be problematic, at times. Later in the discussion segment, we talked about control, and our attempts at trying to let go, to allow the spirit/God/the Universe to guide us through a path of least resistance. We also talked about good versus evil, right versus wrong - or, in a less judgmental way, the yin and the yang. All of these conversations circle in my head today, as I am in the midst of a rather frustrating work week.

My work of late has also been fraught with colleagues who, from my vantage, put up significant barriers. In my mind, these people are not on the side of what's right, as they put up barriers to work I perform on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. However, as I evaluate each individual who appears to make things harder, I don't see evil or bad people. I see people who are, in some way or another, interested in creating a more diverse and equitable workplace. But also, I can look at a string of events that I set up - structured as a critical path, where one thing must happen before the next can proceed - and I realize that I am absolutely trying to control. Of course, I don't think I am doing anything wrong. As many workplaces do, mine prizes operational efficiency. I was originally hired for these skills. I actually think American society values operational efficiency above much else. Think about our resistance to single payer healthcare. This is a policy that brings about much equity in other first (or second) world countries, but ours refuses to give in. Why? A belief - true, in some instances, of the operational efficiency that is only found in the American healthcare system. Well, and the vast $$$ poured into lobbying elected officials by the health insurance industry, to keep our policies status quo. But, I digress.

Since trying to abide more conscientiously to a spiritual path, I am trying to apply this at work with a "go with the flow" and patient attitude. But I haven't really been able to shift my mindset. And in my attempts to move things forward at a decent pace, I moved too quickly, and created a conundrum, and created far more work and turmoil for myself. As I am sure many Americans (or all humans) can relate to, I feel overwhelmed. The amount of tasks and responsibilities on a given day are too much, it feels. So how can I sit back and accept patience? At work, people who contemplate for too long get a bad reputation. The leaders demand to see output - which I should know, since once of my specialties is creating metrics. 

I guess in the end, and this was some of our discussion both this and last week, how can we reconcile the business world (which I equate to the capitalist world) with spiritualism? From a DEI lens, it's become a little incorrect to talk about religion at work. And frankly, I don't know that most religions these days embrace contemplation and collective decision making, as the Quakers do. So where do we go from here? I have no answers, although a Quaker revolution could be a good thing! Until next time!   

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

from Steven

 I was listening last night to “The Rebellion of the Basement Lecturers: the Wandsworth Prison Disturbances of 1918-19” by Steve Illingworth 2 June, 2021

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZdrkN7qOV8 54:53 52 views 

It is a weekly presentation at the Working Class Movement Library which is live at 2pm BST Wednesdays where one can see and chat with the others on Zoom.. There are recordings of many presentations on their Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/wcmlibrary/videos

Future presentations are at  https://wcml.org.uk/events/


They were “absolutists” who refused conscription after 1916 and would not do non-combative duties or essential work in Britain. They were mostly well educated prisoners who were socialists and rebelled for the right to talk to each other and to write letters to each other and home. Previously they had only been allowed to send one form later every three months to their next of kin. They were subject to “cat and mouse” imprisonment, like the suffragettes in that they would be court-martialled for refusing to wear military uniform and usually sentenced to six months, but then would be immediately conscripted again and reconvicted. Some women, probably including suffragettes did weekly singing outside the prison to boost their morale. 

15 took part in a hunger strike. They smashed the spy holes and the ventilation shafts so they could give lectures through the ventilation system and sing songs. The results were far reaching throughout the prison system as most continued activism after they were released. 

Neville Chamberlain served on conscientious objectors' tribunals and Winston Churchill took over as Secretary of State for War in April 1919 and took a more pragmatic approach and released all those who had served two years immediately. This made it easier to gain exemption from conscription in the Second World War as religious objections were more clearly protected. 

Some time after the rebellion prisoners earned an end to the rule of silence and restrictions on the use of solitary confinement and the provision of lectures, books and concerts in prisons.

        Some Lady In Queen's Lords Prayer Our Mother, our Father, Great Spirit who is in heaven holy is your name your kindom come...