To all of you who do not know the history–the reason for Memorial Day, I’m taking you to school. Leave your Bud beer, shitty potato salad, and platter of grilled meats at the table.

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Memorial Day honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. This holiday originated in the years following the Civil War, officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, a leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, and was known as Decoration Day.  On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield spoke at Arlington National Cemetery, where 5,000 people decorated the graves of 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers.

New York was the first state to recognize the holiday in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states; the south honored their dead on separate days until after WWI, when Memorial Day was changed to honor not only those who died during the Civil War, but servicemen/women who died serving in any war. In 1971, Memorial Day became an official federal holiday.

Moina Michael, founder of the National Poppy movement was honored by the U.S. Post Office in 1948 by issuing a red postage stamp bearing her likeness. In 1915, she wrote this poem:

“We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.”

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Moina Michael was the first to wear to the red poppy in honor of those who died during war, and she sold poppies to friends and co-workers, with the money going to servicemen in need. In 1922, the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell artificial poppies made by veterans.

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I realize many Americans are anti-war. I am anti-war, but I am not un-patriotic. I am not anti-military. I understand that there are situations in which we must fight, and I have the utmost respect for our men and women who serve the United States. My husband is an Army vet–he served during Desert Storm; no matter how many times I hear recollections of his Army years, my skin goose bumps, and my heart swells. One of my favorite uncles was a Navy man, and like my amazing Jim, Uncle Mike came home alive. My maternal grandfather was an Army man, and he is still living. Veterans Day is their holiday. Memorial Day is a day of observance of those who died during war–a day to honor those who died fighting for our liberties, or the liberties of others.

To those who celebrate a long weekend with beer and BBQ, and have no idea, or do not care about the people who fought and died to give you a Monday off at the end of May–screw you.

I am so sick of people (mainly Holy rolling Christians who protest gay soldier funerals) who talk diah-fucking-rreaha  against our military while boating and/or swimming in a lake, enjoying a long weekend. These are the people raising children who are petulant, entitled to a standard of living they didn’t  earn. Hello! All of our fallen have awarded you the right to be so hateful and ignorant–they’re the reason you get a Monday off to begin the summer season.

In short, this is Memorial Day:

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Not this:

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The June Bugs are smacking against the window screen, and Melvin doesn’t mind. Cats of a certain age aren’t bothered; Melvin just keeps on sleeping with his nose pressed against the screen, happy for the warm spring air. He’s an indoor kitty—because I love him too much. Growing up, we had cats that were allowed to go outdoors, and they never lived to reach senior status. Melvin is fifteen! Though he has experience as an outside cat, most of his life has been spent indoors where he is safe and worshipped. Even Jim loves my baby boy. Jim pets Melvin, and scratches his neck—gives him treats and plays with him. That’s a big deal because Jim is a dog guy. His black lab was hit by a car like, fifteen years ago, and still the pain is sharp. Jim often says he hopes he’s reunited with Oliver when he dies and goes to heaven. IF there is a heaven. Jim was raised Catholic, and is one of those unpracticing who believe just enough, just in case.

 

It’s all about fire insurance, as far as I’m concerned.

 

I go between believing and not. My whole life I’ve struggled; sometimes I catch myself praying at bedtime. To be real, I prefer science. I don’t like the idea of hellfire. Because I fear I’m going to Hell. Because there are so many unrealistic expectations of the human race. I’m not talking about the big shit, like, don’t kill people…I was going to add “Don’t rape,” but that’s not even a commandment. And apparently, we don’t give enough fucks about rape to make it a sin.

 

So now, I’m not believing.

 

I recently started watching The Handmaid’s Tale. Holy shit. Yeah, as a side note, I suck because I didn’t read the book…

 

The truth is anyone, or any group can RAPE the word of “GOD” and use it to their advantage. Church groups can have camps that “Pray the Gay Away.” But where are the church groups that talk with kids who are legitimately mentally ill—being gay IS NOT a mental illness. For fuck’s sake!!

 

So now people reading this are going to be pissed off that I put God in quotations. As far as I’m concerned, “God” should be printed with quotations. GOD is not proven. Mental illness is proven!! Hatred is real. Irresponsibility is real. Parents aren’t paying proper attention to their kids. Parents aren’t held accountable for their kids’ actions—and they should be because they’re partly to blame for all this bloodshed! It can’t be all our governments fault. Because it ISN’T all our governments fault. YES, I believe our government fails our mentally ill. YES, I believe mental health care in America is a fucking joke. But when a kid goes nuts with guns his own father gave back to him after having been confiscated…WHAT THE FUCK?!

And now we have this kid who killed his classmates, the first one being a girl who rejected his love for her. Okay, so she embarrassed him, but does that mean she should have paid with her life? Does that mean other students should have died??? Duh, the obvious answer is no.

We need to be having other conversations besides “gun control.” Because the fucking idiots who equate “gun control” with gun eradication are running the joint.

 

It’s just another day in the life of trying to coexist with morons. Morons being the fucking morons who make up our government.

And my cat, he lives in bliss.

 

© Kindra M. Austin

 

 

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I’m no good a lot of times, because I’m human, cutting my own path. I often wonder how I can make my words more visible; how I can do better to widely inspire. I’m assaulted by generics daily, and I feel sorry for those who follow easy lines built upon clichés—I’m offended for every writer who bleeds each word they write. A real writer bleeds thick—so thick the words have a granular texture. So thick you gag on their truth, and question your own. A real writer inspires you to examine yourself, rather than telling you to smile and accept your lot.

I’m no good a lot of times, because I’m human, cutting my own path. That’s what makes me brilliant (?) I write confessionals in an effort to connect with others like me. There are countless others like me—deep. But I’m assaulted by generics daily—people who are popular because they post shit that’s pretty easily digestible. There are far more generics than there are genuines, it seems. And I’m not jealous of a pseudo-writer’s insta-success. I’m simply pissed-off because they’re so fucking simple, they have no blood to show for shit. Yeah, they have numbers, but those numbers are made up of dumbfucks who live for platitudes.

Platitudes = insincerity.

Just so you know.

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“An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”—Robert Heinlein

Are we not an armed society? I suppose not heavily enough, being that schools are gun-free zones.

I find it comical and infuriating both at once that in America we “teach” that guns are dangerous in the hands of children. We “teach” that gun owners should keep their firearms in locked boxes or cabinets, unloaded. Yet there’s always a young Tommy who knows his dad keeps a handgun in a fucking shoe box at the top of a closet; and Tommy wants to show the gun to his friend. Sometimes there’s a Tommy whose dad does keep his gun locked up, and unloaded. But this Tommy knows the combination, or where to find the keys, and also knows where his dad stores ammunition.

I’m not suggesting that America should eradicate firearms. I’m suggesting that parents who own firearms should attend gun safety with their age appropriate children. They should have frequent conversations with their children about how to safely handle a gun. And when a Tommy shoots his friend, or takes a gun into a school to massacre his peers and staff, his parents or guardians  should be held criminally culpable every fucking time.

To propose that teachers and school staff should be armed is fucking ridiculous to me. Would school staff actually carry firearms on their person? Or would these guns be locked in a desk?  Who would pay for these guns? Who would pay for gun safety classes? Is that up to the staff? If it were, would they be fired if they didn’t comply? And what about gym teachers, and coaches? How the hell would they be expected to be active with a holster and a loaded gun attached to their hips? I imagine that a coach out on the field with his/her students would have no choice but to keep a loaded gun. Because what? If a shooter presented themselves, is that coach really going to run back into the school, into his/her office, unlock their desk or whatever fucking thing that stores their gun and bullets, load the motherfucker, and THEN run all the way back to the field to protect the students?

I find the apathy that the Parkland families and survivors are being met with to be absolutely abhorrent. Why CAN’T our government do something to show they give a fuck? Why can’t we at least take one goddamned step toward making the gun purchasing process a little more secure? For example, make background checks on EVERY type of firearm mandatory.

For all of you against reforming gun control: get a fucking clue. No one is suggesting that America follows Australia, or England. No one is ever going to unarm you. I’m sick to death of seeing these memes of Hitler and what he said about unarming the people polluting social media, as if to warn his second fucking coming is nigh.

I support the survivors of Parkland, and their march on Washington. To dismiss them as ignorant is just plain cruel.

 

(image: The Christian Post)

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Just another day
just another town
bullet perforated backpacks
spilling loose-leaf lined paper, textbooks
onto blood stained sidewalks
helicopters hovering
to give us the birds eye view
I tried to avert my eyes
out of respect for the dead
the injured
but I could not look away
Christine Ray

Even though I should
Because I am ashamed
At the bullets that rain
At the bullet point pain
Etched in their faces, rivulets in their eyes
They were just children, stolen from their time
Not forgotten in these lines
But to their parents and loved ones
It’s a void they’ll never fill, and it shouldn’t
Lives shredded and ruined
17 times we’ve gotten the chance to do better
and for the 18th, we blew it
Just like those children who looked at their killer

Their killer is not Nikolas

The Killer is you
Devereaux Frazier

Seventeen blossoms
seventeen blinks of an eye
seventeen bullets in the body of spring
and those left behind
food to flashback phobias
memory outbursts
numbing
Spring won’t be coming
in a town far away
in a country across the sea
right next to me
Basilike Pappa

Running
Running for class president
Running for the Varsity Football Team
Running to get in line for a movie they can’t wait to see
Running to embrace someone they love
Running and laughing with siblings or friends
Running to get to the dance floor before their favorite song ends
Running for exercise
Running for fun
They should never be running from the thunder of a gun
We’re destroying our future for profit and gain
While they run for their lives
And we’re left with questions and pain
Eric Syrdal

Look away, little bird.
The sky has adjourned, rejecting your flight path
well into wrath.
hell hath no fury like the anger turned apathy, semi-automatic rhapsody that plays on
the overhead speaker that once freed us
from maths.

It doesn’t add up, the physics, social studies, introduction to business, life and
death 101.

Nothing could prepare us for the words we don’t have.
Nicholas Gagnier

Lives swung into darkness
and voices numbed
Eyes losing hope
and
Blood on the hands, soul
screams and tears everywhere

Deafening silence of the death
and roaring sound of the violence
life stripped of its happiness
and tears losing the feeling

Yet again, My heart is hopeful
Lips in unison with the prayers
Trying to calm my self down
Thinking It won’t happen again

But deep down inside
I know we all are living in denial.
Megha Sood

Spare me your
thoughts and prayers.
Spare me your
people-kill-people babble.
Seventeen more names
added to a statistic
that will never be used.
So, by all means,
let’s keep sending
millions of dollars a year
to powerful people
in exchange for turning
a blind eye.
Proving over and over again
that dollars mean more
than lives.
Sarah Doughty

Seventeen more reasons we grieve.
Seventeen more reasons we’re
broken as a nation.
Seventeen more reasons we must
rise up
a giant against apathy, and
negligence—
willful ignorance.
Destroy the dissidence.
End the agenda of greed.

Our freedoms are not free—
seventeen more innocent souls sacrificed.
Kindra M. Austin

True horror has unfolded,
We watch on glowing screens of disbelief.
With the voices of innocents ringing in our ears,
Fingers swipe it all away.
As others moved on with their day,
I could not look away.

Grief, pain, disbelief,
All right there, before our eyes.
Yet one headline replaces the next,
That gut wrenching sadness suddenly replaced.
As the topic changes to something else,
I could not look away.

Where is our humanity,
I ask as society moves on from this butchered elephant in the room.
Can’t we just stop and think,
Acknowledge the death, the suffering, the wrongness.
Another day will come and go, setting on our community,
We cannot look away.

Doomed to repeat this dreadful fate,
We need to choose to change.
Insanity is as insanity always does,
As we continue to place ammunition with malignant intent.
What can I do, the individual, the lone soul, this:
I will not look away.
Michael Erickson

We
Only
Have ourselves
To blame for this
Again and again
An unsolved tragedy
We must hold ourselves to task
For every death. Every child
Like spent shells fallen to the ground
Souls adrift to haunt those who do not act –
Who do not act again and again and again
I cannot look away again, again, again
Again
Again
Again
Again
Again, again, again, again, I cannot look away, not again.
Stephen Fuller

I cannot look away
From the train wreck shit show
This country has become,
Where cash in a senator’s pocket
Outweighs the blood of our children,
Where losing your ‘right’ to own an assault rifle
Is more an abomination
Than Children being murdered in school
Than human beings dying at a concert in Vegas
Than parents burying their babies.
The blood on your hands will not wash away.
I’m with you in Parkland!
Where kids call presidents out on their bullshit.
I’m with you in Parkland!
Where they won’t let hypocrites hide.
I’m with you in Parkland!
Where they call BS on the lies.

I’m with you in Parkland!
John W. Leys

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Dante’s Inferno

Matthew 7:2 (King James)

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged:

and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.


I’m not religious, and I don’t fear a god, but I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on how people should treat one another.

But I could be wrong. There could be a special level of Hell waiting for me. Because I do judge.

I judge because I have personal high standards–standards so high that I have no tolerance for abuse of any sort.

I judge because I have no tolerance for those who try to get ahead by propagating lies, and target the defenseless.

I don’t give a fuck about creed, color, or race. What I care about is the individual quality of the human spirit.

Period.

 

(image: Pinterest)

 

Marcia was sixteen years old when she was disfellowshipped—the resultant of a rape accusation. The Kingdom Hall doesn’t fuck around, you see. The Brother in question was a husband and father; Marcia was the babysitter. Even though her father wanted to notify the police, and press legal charges against the sick fuck who’d violated his little girl, Marcia’s mother insisted that the situation be left solely in the self-serving hands of the Elders. The Elders, after hearing the douche bag’s bullshit, decided that Marcia would be excommunicated from the Kingdom Hall. Jehovah does not love girls who allow themselves to be raped. Apparently.

Marcia is my late mother.

So all of you fuck-sticks who keep contacting me regarding my irreverence can choke on this mother fucking tid-bit. Open your throat and take it all.

I am not a heathen. I am not a bad person. Just because I don’t accept every aspect of Christianity does not mean I’m the devil’s spawn. In fact, if you’d take the time to read my blog, you’d discover that I am deeply loving, and even though I don’t agree with every facet of religion, I am respectful of those who are religious. Except for those who are Jehovah’s Witnesses.

 

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I liken New Year’s Day to Lent, in that both elicit fleeting reflection and interim amendments.

Jesus, fuck. Cynical much? 

Yes.

No, I’m a (goddamned writer) pragmatic idealist.

When I was a practicing Catholic (married to my daughter’s father), Lent was the vilest time of year for me because I’d have to surrender something meaningful for forty days. For me, it was cigarettes. Only I’d light up on the sly; smoking was integral to my writing process, for fuck’s sake.

Why not just quit drinking instead?

 Drunkenness is more difficult to conceal. Duh.

As an adult, I have never made a New Year’s resolution; the import of a New Year’s pledge is no greater than the one vomited into a toilet at 1 a.m. after celebrating Tuesday.

Listen. I believe in living my truths, spreading love, and advocating for those in need. I believe in the strength of the human spirit, and I stand by those who want to make a positive change. But I realize that those steps towards betterment must come from a genuine place. Often, when someone decides to try to live a more truthful life, a kinder, healthier life, they have been contemplating their own behaviors and existence for a good long while. And these are the people who are serious—who don’t wait for New Year’s Eve, or dread the coming of Lent.

I have no illusions of a happy new year. Shit happens. Life happens. All I can do is keep on keeping on—never give up, even when I want to because I’m a fucking human being who puts absolutely no stock into platitudes, and is just as vulnerable to the darkness as the next person.

All of that being said, I won’t wish you a Happy New Year. What I will do is send you love and good vibes; lend you my voice should you need the words; and offer the strength stored up in my heart should you need additional strength.

 

image: Jonesboroescape.com