Sunday, July 11, 2021

Ridiculous Summer Mix Tape 2021

 

Only two from this album, I promise.




1. Get Lucky (Daft Punk feat. Pharell Williams and Nile Rogers

2. I Know The End (Pheobe Bridgers)

3. Don't Look Back in Anger (Oasis)

4. Copacabana (Barry Manilow)

5. Rapper's Delight (Sugarhill Gang)

6. Die Young (Ke$ha)

7. Mortal Kombat (The Immortal(S) (I don't care about the video game, it just reminds me of being a raver in 1993!)

8. Lay All Your Love on Me (Erasure)

9.Right Round (Flo Rida feat. Ke$ha)

10. The Humpty Dance (Digital Underground)

11. Wild, Wild West (Will Smith,Dru Hill, Kool Moe Dee)

12. Bubble Pop (HyunA)

13. Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen)

14.You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) (Dead or Alive)

15. She's Electric (Oasis)

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Eek A New Poem! Where I'm From

A view from behind my childhood home when we visited a few years ago. Not pictured: fracking.

Disclaimer: My family is full of far-left-to-moderate wonderfuls. Supersorry they’re not in this poem very much!

Where I’m From

(After a prompt from George Ella Lyon)

I’m from tomato plants
and apple trees
and weeds I’m supposed to be pulling.

I’m from ten acres with horses
but the horses weren’t ours.
The house was harsh,
but not the fields: They smelled like
wildflowers and wild strawberries
and, alternately, cow manure or hay bales.

I’m from five cents for each fly swatted
during the manure times. I’m from hay bales, daylilies
mallow and daisies, from rows of raspberries
and brambles of blackberries—should have remembered to
wear long pants.

I’m from the perfect fall view
and the perfect place to fly a kite.

I’m from banging pots and pans at midnight,
visiting Great Grandmom’s South Philly
and marveling half-asleep
at the narrowness of streets.

I’m from waving little American flags with my cousins
in the big yard at Aunt Connie’s colonial one Fourth-of July afternoon.

I’m from visiting Aunt Patti’s house in Bradley Beach,
some summers even with my own badge
until my body made me promise not to go near Uncle Bud’s
“Deplorables for Trump” sticker anymore.

I’m from Walecki and Mellili and Keating and Wiedmann and McCormick and Penrose and Wojcik and Carter and Lawson.

I’m from meatballs in the crockpot
on Mom’s sideboard and from Grandpa
Wiedmann cooking bacon outside in state parks.
(With plenty of sliced tomatoes of course.)

I’m from undiagnosed depression and toxic positivity:

From Mom telling me I was creating Covid out of my own fear.
From Mom’s pretty Easter card telling me she was paying
Catholic priests to say masses for my soul.
(It should go without saying that I don’t think I need saving.)

I’m from Sicily and Ireland and Poland and Germany.

I’m from wondering what Emily Post’s grandchildren would have to say
about a PS. in Sharpie on the outsides of red Christmas card envelopes:
“Please don’t march with the Proud Boys” or about checking the FBI’s
pictures from January 6th to look for Aunt Connie

I’m from the (MANY) podcasts about cults I listen to, to try and understand.

I’m from all the books I can’t assign them.

I’m from the both sides of teargas.

I’m from whatever version of family comes next.



Monday, May 24, 2021

To Heal, I Need the Victories

 



If you need science and not just feels (though science gives me ALL the feels!) go here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html

It’s been a long year. A long five years. As I move (I hope) out of survival mode and start to process the multifaceted trove of traumas these Trump/Bernie/Russia/Covid years have wrought, I think it’s important to pause here and be in awe at what we (And by WE I mean those of us who believe in justice, empathy, and science!) have just accomplished.

Thursday before last, I was having a generically shitty day. After all of the put-aside-in-order-to-live claustrophobia of quarantine, I was snappish with my neighbors and ready to drive one million miles away. I was having another round of seemingly insurmountable Zoom issues at work without the grace of my calm-down-we’re-in-an-emergency tend-and-befriend vibes.

After too-numerous calls to my BFF, I did what I often do when I’m trying to motivate myself enough to get ready for bed: I put on Nicole Wallace’s podcast. (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/deadline-white-house/id1367201919)

(It used to be Joy Reid but she gets too Franken-y sometimes! Cry emoji!)

President Biden’s remarks on the newest CDC regulations lead the show: https://www.c-span.org/video/?511762-1/president-biden-speaks-rose-garden-cdc-eases-mask-wearing-guidelines He was speaking in the rose garden and a purple finch was singing its heart out in the background. A finch-size ray of sunshine-hope shined in and melted my crabby heart just a little bit.

The president said something like “You’ve earned the right to smile at each other” and that felt exactly, exactly right. I made going-to-the-movies plans. I bought (GASP!) concert tickets! (Wilco (ok) with Sleater Kinney (OMG!)

And then I felt completely overwhelmed.

But it’s a good idea to stop for a second and acknowledge what science (what humanity!) has accomplished. Miracle doesn’t seem like the right word, but that’s how this new whole-face life hits me. I’m in awe that I get to elbow-high-five my students! I get to feel the simple joy of handing a kid a book after more than a year of reading through screens.

Yes, the depression-machine that is facebook (and also the depression-machine that is my brain) will always remind us, there’s so far to go from here, so much work to do. We vaccinated lucky ducks may not be ready to let go of masks for any number of reasons. It’ll take stages and steps. It feels vulnerable for my face to be exposed, and maybe I’ll even be mistaken for predatory. But smiling at my neighbors and getting the HECK out of the neighborhood sometimes both feel like such momentous things!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

"Go change your skin color, then." Open Letter to Flourtown Country Club

 




Dear Flourtown Country Club Management,

I am a pool member and a (white) Black Lives Matter activist. I want to report an upsetting interaction with the woman who seems to manage the pool. She is a white woman of medium build, fit, with short sandy-blond hair. Today when I was entering the pool area I was upset to see this person standing proudly in front of a “blue lives matter” flag. I hoped there was a misunderstanding, I know that not everyone knows this flag is often used as fascist/white supremacist iconography.

 

Her response to my alarm made it clear that she did, in fact, hang the flag for violent, racist reasons. When I told her that the flag might make Black members and guests feel unsafe, she told me to “Get lost.” When I told her that police had aimed their cars at my friends during the Uprising, she said “Well, were they in the road?” This implies that protesters deserve to be killed or injured simply for crossing the street. When I asserted that everyone who stands for white supremacy is a bad person, she then said “Go change your skin color, then!” But I don’t need to be Black to be against murderous police, to be against the white supremacy this woman clearly espouses.

 

I am horrified by both the display of white supremacist iconography and the rude, aggressive way I was treated. I think that this woman needs to be fired and that the pool staff needs a serious structural overhaul to subvert the current near-segregation of the membership and staff. Black members and anti-racist members should be welcomed, not implicitly threatened.

 

As you know, both country clubs and pools have a violent white supremacist history in America. It’s within your power to change that, to work towards inclusion and healing. Firing this racist staff member would be a great start.

 

Best,

Sharon Wiedmann

Pool Member

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, September 4, 2020

Birthday Heart Inventory for Turning 46

 


45 was a good age, but I’m happy to leave that cursed number behind. As I wrote the first draft of this inventory, I was in a shocking sense of well-being. A lot of the time, there’s a magic in the resignation and hardship of 2020 that translates to calm. Other times, I have to go back to bed and play Merge Dragons until the panic subsides. This morning I’m somewhere in the middle.

 

Like the world (and so, SO much less than so many people in the world) my heart is trying to heal from so, so much loss and pain. Business suffered, but more importantly, there was fear in every breath. There was grief in every breath too, mourning the very many who had their breath stolen from them by the violence of police, the violence of white terrorism, and the violence of national medical neglect. It’s hard to write about my heart while we’re all in an ongoing, unfathomable trauma.

 

On May 31st, I watched the Philly riots start, I saw the first police car catch fire in a moment when I didn’t know where several of my friends were. Two friends were pinging me from where they were boxed in by the police near the flames, but some I worried were dead for days. The streets where my friends live were under police and military occupation for weeks. I saw my regular Target getting looted on the national news, and for all the people-over-property, it hurt. I still see people whose bodies and whose ancestors’ bodies have been looted by America for centuries selling good from those weeks on the sidewalk, and that part makes me glad.

 

This year my heart learned that you can reject someone and feel abandoned by them at the same time. Some of my family members seem to have been swept into the slimy Russian internet sea forever. I’m trying partial estrangement with my mom and some extended family because I just couldn’t make room in my psyche for all of the gaslighting. The loss is real, painful, and the culmination of lifelong political abandonment. Even though I’ll be 46 tomorrow, I’m still a little kid who wants to scream WHY WON’T YOU JUST TAKE MY SIDE?! I’m realizing to a deeper and deeper degree that you can’t both fight white supremacy and keep all of the familial amenities it provides.

 

The mental and emotional space I gained by blocking Mom’s facebook made room for so much new community connection. Whether it’s marching, stopping by the daily 8:46 vigil in my neighborhood, or offering support to liberal friends stranded in more hostile places, the community of the Movements feels like true love. It feels like what my life means.

 

I’m still mourning the loss of John Lewis. Though he’ll be a source of advice in my head forever, I miss sharing the planet with him. I can feel the warmth and generosity of his handshake when I met him in September of 2016, and that’s a big part of what keeps me going. What keeps me, most days, hopeful.

 

To counteract the bitterness, hurt, and self-recrimination of this hard hard year, I chose MERCY as my word for this new birthday year. Mercy is more badass even than lovingkindness because it asks me to recognize the power I have and asks me to wield that power with benevolence and discernment. That’s a pretty tall order, but I’ve got a year to work on it.

 

 

 

Monday, August 3, 2020

Poetic License Horoscopes for Aug 3-? (Last Ones for a While, the Stars Have a New Old Project)



Leo: The mayor’s office is negotiating with our homeless settlements, that’s good. Our city has enough, has MORE than enough (#defundthepolice) to give rooms and doors and beds and windows and Covid-19 testing and dignity and love. We should be a city (a nation, a world) that keeps all of our citizens sheltered and loved. Do what you can to provide shelter and care, both within yourself and without. Stay inside if you’re able, stay close, and care for everything living within and around you. Water the plants. Pet the cats. You’re always within our care.

Virgo: Your word for the coming birthday year is windfall. You wanted abundance but it’s been destroyed by every evil“law of attraction” charlatan. Still, please accept the richness already washing over you, already filling your bookshelves and paint pots and fridge. Your refrain, which you’ll find in almost any given moment is true: I have everything I need. Accept every gift: A stack of graduated-from second-grade games, a smile from the driver next to you at the light, the sunset over your blessed evening swim. The windfall may not be what you’ve expected, but it’s already here.

Libra: There are always houses you’ll want to go back to, more projects to complete, more streets you might someday park in again. It’s okay to let mourning and gratitude wash over you like gently disagreeing waves. The stars can feel the cool wash and magnetism of the paragraphs and paragraphs you’re ready to make, natural and sympathetic as breath. You’re the gentle clockwork of the tides, the moon that hides the brief comet. What you’re building is a telescope that will help us discover, cry, and change. Set a timer for twenty minutes and start your pen moving—we know it will work.

Scorpio: Imagine November! Better yet, join https://postcardstovoters.org/  and practice sharing hope and determination with strangers. You’ve got a built-in excuse to skip Thanksgiving if you need it, but hopefully you won’t need it. Your mantra is peaceful transfer of power. Your mantra is Vice President Harris. Voter suppression is a monument build on blood and fists and billy clubs and centuries; drag it from its pedestal and sink it in a lake. May Fannie Lou Hamer visit you in dreams and teach you how to textbank. May a million righteous angels guard your ballot and the ballots of all the future children. Also, here’s a really cute podcast: https://www.vote.org/podcast/

Sagittarius: When the weekly grocery store roses start to wilt or I just get tired of the cats trying to eat them, the stars like to gently take apart the petals and strew them outside the front door. It’s good to give a welcome even if only neighborhood cats are coming to visit. Give bright welcome to essential workers and their gifts, welcome neighbors with everyday questions, welcome even the landlord, unless that’s not your thing. Sometimes you can’t even help but to welcome the unwelcome lanternflies. See who and what else you can beautifully, delicately, and wholeheartedly welcome this week. Masked and six-feet-apart, of course!

Capricorn: Whatever projects you’ve started (painting a flowered fence, turning vines into blank-limbed sculpture, choosing new carpet, somehow surviving the Zoom age with (mostly) humor and grace, reading a serious book for ten minutes a day, actually getting up when the alarm goes off, weeding the garden, printing out your newest batch of Postcards to Voters addresses, filling out tedious and fruitful forms, reaching the elusive Laundry Zero, writing a poem just for you or for everyone, etc.) will flourish and grow every day, even when it doesn’t seem so. What you’re making, what you’re living, is beautiful and lasting, delicate and precious. Keep going and remember! The stars love you.

Aquarius: The stars are with you in feeling the scramble of September, the seismic Zoom-shudder of “What even IS school anyway?” We will be jangled-ly delighting in college bookstore chitchat soon enough, stacking books, remembering the radio, filling envelopes. It’s tempting to push ourselves for growth, but please be gentle: This is still survival mode. Let your work just keep you alive, occasionally giving you faces to see and tasks to complete. But! Until it’s time for vaccine days and predictable hours, set yourself a timer for 20 minutes. Draw something little, write a verse or two, sing in the car, call Congress, call a friend. Take good care with sleep, except staying up for meteors. We promise, you will have your ease.

Pisces: Holy Jeepers! The Initial Friend! The stars have thought for all these years that Take Offs and Landings aas Rilo Kiley’s first album but no! Guess what!!! There’s a whole other debut! So, like, the stars’ favorite band, long-broken-up, has a whole record I didn’t know about and it’s coming out later this year?! https://nerdist.com/article/rilo-kiley-rereleasing-rare-1999-first-album/ Whaaaaaaaat?!?! Expect more of these kinds of weird windfall miracles! In the coming months, you’ll find long-lost diamonds under the couch cushions. Your garden will overflow with volunteer flowers. And maybe, maybe, MAYBE, our bodies will welcome the glittering magic of a new vaccine, so Jenny and Blake can tour again.

Aries: Miracle of miracles, the stars returned our library books yesterday afternoon! The drop box was right there, unlocked! There’s even, in some places, curbside pickup for reserves! Make your library list long and thorough, everything you’re even flirted with reading. If you can’t library yet, remember it’s still a public service to support your local independent bookstores! (Libro.fm for audiobooks, Bookshop.org for paper books!!!) Now is your time to collect without guilt, even Marie Kondo will bless and approve your shelves.
Taurus: Turn up the sir conditioners and pretend it’s spring cleaning! Change the bedding. Vacuum and mop. Empty the wastebaskets and cross your fingers that the recycling truck will come. (That we’ll treat our essential workers fairly and safely!) Upend the bins that have gotten out of control and sort them meticulously, see what you can reclaim and what you can leave behind. Thank hole-y things for their help and send them on their way. Mend what you can. Glue gems back onto necklaces, ship stray beads away to whoever can use them anew. Save all the glass jars as vases—You’ll never not want to hand out flowers! Make room for the comfort and safety that is surely coming your way some day.

Gemini: Oh, the PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, not Pick-Up Artist) Stimulus, oh, sweet, sweet Nancy Pelosi money! The stars are grieving it with you. Whether you’ve used it to hang on by a thread or weave an unlikely and precious cushion, we praise it with you. The stars can certainly promise you more stimulae, more soft places, more gently tended paths for what comes next. This isn’t about resumes, not really. For now, sleep is free, peaches are cheap in some places, and evening walks are (sometimes sweatily) possible. The moon is in line with Saturn and Jupiter, and we promise you will always have friends who are just as astronomical.

Cancer: At a certain point, the herb garden just became a flower garden. The stars should really cook something. Look at what you already made that’s free and delicious and not TOO gnawed by baby caterpillars. Pick and smell the sage-y goodness. Chop it up into whatever mix. It’s a fantastic time to make Mojitos with all this mint!