Sunday, December 8, 2013


                I’ve never really been affected by a poem. But after reciting this time after time after time (4N6) it means a lot to me.
A Brave and Startling Truth by Maya Angelou

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

                Last week, something tragic happened to my best friend. While I am sitting at home, avoiding typing up an outline for social studies, she is lying in a hospital bed far away from home, struggling to comprehend what is now her life. This is the time that she needs me most, yet I am failing to help her. I should be sitting beside her, telling her everything will be alright, holding her hand, hugging her, but I spent all of today staring at Word Documents, staring at textbooks, on YouTube. What is more important? My grades or my best friend? The latter, of course. What am I doing? Absolutely nothing. Why? Selfishness, I guess.

                I’m not going to go any more in depth about what happened—I want my words and my formal apology to you to not be on display for the world to see (sorry guys.) But, instead, I’m going to talk about myself for a while, considering that’s all I really do here/ever.

                Since the accident, I’ve decided I want to help people/the world in general. When I was little, I cared so much about the environment. I went to “Go Green” camp, I begged my dad to use canvas bags for grocery shopping, I stayed up at night contemplating how many people were watching TV at that moment, how much energy was being used, how many polar bears were pathetically floating away on their little icebergs. Now, I feel like I see all of the positive things I do through the eyes of other people. If I do something good, it’s so the hypothetical person who’s watching me 24/7 things I’m some awesome human being, single-handedly saving the world whilst listening to the most indie bands ever and wearing the most indie clothes ever and watching the most indie movies ever. When I think long enough, nothing I do is because I genuinely want to. I want to add to this image of myself that’s cool. Maybe I’m writing this post right now because I want to show you guys what an honest and reflective and intellectual person I am. Why else couldn’t I keep these thoughts to myself? I could easily tuck them away in a notebook not to be seen by anyone else for the rest of my life, but instead, I’m putting them out there for the world to see.

                Anyway, I guess the reason why I came here in the first place was to discuss my revelation. I don’t want to make a living by sitting at home and staring at word documents, maybe occasionally strumming a Fender Jazzmaster on stage. I want to help people. I feel like it’s my duty, living as a human being to make the world a better place. There is so much pain in this world and the little notion that I, myself, have the power to rid the world of some of it is, well, magical. Whether I help directly through being a psychiatrist (being a “normal” doctor would freak me out…I’m never ever gonna stick my hand down someone’s butt) or I’m one of those scientists that goes around helping animals (like in those episodes of Nova), or I help to spread knowledge by being a teacher…I dunno. Going to Stuyvesant, there are so many students that are so depressed and I want to help them. They’re obviously intelligent and they have no motivation, but I want to motivate them! Last year, I couldn’t care less about homework or what the textbooks said. I just wanted to get good grades. I didn’t see the world or my life as something exciting and full of beauty or something that was remotely malleable…but now there’s so much I want to do. I want to travel. I want to eat all of the food there is to offer.  I want read all of the books. I want to learn. I want to bring children into the world.

But most of all, I want to make changes. I want to make people happy. I want people to see the world as this amazing place that it really is. It’s also a terrible place, but anyone who is living (and even some people who are not) can help to change that.

A month or so ago, for science extra credit, I watched a documentary about Aldo Leopold. He devoted his life to observing wildlife and trying to make the physical world better and nicer. While his whole wolf massacre thing was, like, totally stupid, it was for a good cause. Plus, many other scientists worked to bring more wolves into the world. And since I saw the movie, I’VE WANTED TO GO OUTSIDE AND JUST PLANT TREES FOREVER.

And, if I had time, I would join the Environmental club and do that. (^) I would help my best friend…I still don’t fully understand why I’m not doing those things right now. It’s a time issue, but do silly things like what college I go to really matter? Technically no, but I guess I could have more power to do really good things if I went to an Ivy instead of a community college…? I don’t know. I just like doing well in school. Obviously my best friend’s emotional state and like everything else is exponentially more important than my social studies average… I’m still debating whether or not I can be a remotely good human being and do my work or like, how much of a balance there needs to be.

I guess I should get back to my world now. I am going to learn about, in greater depth what the first human beings are like! A big, heavy textbook that was given to me for free about my school is going to send me whizzing back to the world before time and I am going to learn how Homo erectus discovered fire (I think…we covered this information a while ago but I want to outline all of the chapters for when finals come around and stuff…hehe), the same fire that is being used to cook my dinner right now! (I’m strongly considering going back to veganism…like with fiery ferocity.)

Thanks for listening if you still are.

Ruby, you are an amazing, beautiful, and strong human being and I love you. I know for a fact that you can and will keep going. I can’t wait to visit you!

Naomi, I love you and you will always be in my thoughts, wherever you are now. I’m sorry I never got to say goodbye.

Here’s a song for you, my sugar plum fairy. I know how much you love the Nutcracker.

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