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In the Deep Heart of the Night

1:06 pm in Uncategorized by Isaiah 88

Esteemed but silent readers of Firedoglake and MyFDL . . . I know there are vast multitudes of you out there who just read the diaries or comments but never post anything, never say anything, never ask for help or offer any. I’m not sure why so many of you have remained silent through all these years of wreckage and ruin, but the Boss knows why.

It looks to me like he wrote a song about it, about all of you hiding out there on the backstreets of cyberspace, huddled at your keyboards in the deep heart of the night, waiting for the bells to ring, hoping they might ring again someday, trying in vain to breathe the fire you were born in, scraping your tears up off the street and then scraping them up again, trying to make it through all this by yourself, hanging on with a love so strong, but filled with frustration and defeat.

He knows what that feels like . . .

I don’t know who “Terry” really was, she might even have been Jane for all I know, but I’m not going to speculate. If she slow-danced with Springsteen a time or two, on the beach at Stockton’s Wing or anywhere else, it’s none of my business. All I know is that someone he decided to call “Terry” broke his heart into a million pieces, which left him no choice but to let her go and settle for becoming a legendary songwriter.

I’ve had similar experiences with love, the only difference is that I didn’t become a legendary songwriter.

But you probably know that.

I’m not an editor, I’m not a frontpager, I’m not a moderator, I don’t have any right to ask the silent readers of Firedoglake and MyFDL to start posting, to start talking to us, to become activists and protesters and seekers of peace, but I’m asking anyway. Please. Speak out for the warriors whose strength is not to fight, for the refugees on their unarmed road of flight, for each and every underdog soldier in the night.

Speak out for the searching ones on their speechless, seeking trail, for the lonesome haunted lovers with too personal a tale, for every gentle harmless soul misplaced inside a jail.

Speak out for the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursed, for the countless, confused, accused, misused, strung out ones and worse, for every sacred child of God in this whole wide universe . . .

Speak out, because when the breakdown hits at midnight there’ll be nothing left to say. That breakdown is coming, it knows where you live, it knows where I live, it knows where we all live, and it’s coming unless we all start speaking truth to power, unless we start taking power away from the banks and the corporations and the politicians they own and start giving it back to the People.

It’s called DEMOCRACY.

Of Protest and Outcasts and Unarmed Truth

12:35 pm in Uncategorized by Isaiah 88

Boris Pasternak . . .

I think that if the beast who sleeps in man could be held down by threats – any kind of threat, whether of jail or of retribution after death – then the highest emblem of humanity would be the lion tamer in the circus with his whip, not the prophet who sacrificed himself. But don’t you see, this is just the point – what has for centuries raised man above the beast is not the cudgel but an inward music: the irresistible power of unarmed truth, the powerful attraction of its example.

The music of unarmed truth has been heard at Los Alamos, it’s being heard across Canada, Bernie Sanders is composing it in Congress, it’s been sung for a son who’s gone for a soldier, it’s being sung everywhere the truth needs to be heard, by men and women of moral courage who don’t need the meaning and purpose of it all explained to them by me of all people.

They know why the caged bird sings.

The literature and music of our age echo with lyrical truth, our best writers of stories and songs know why the people are many and their hands are all empty, they know why the pellets of poison are flooding our waters, they’ve lived where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison, they’ve warned us the executioner’s face is always well hidden, they’ve seen what this country’s become, a feeding ground for the beasts of greed, a corporate hell where hunger is ugly and souls are forgotten.

Dark images from the pages of the greatest of writers are casting shadows across the pages of our own lives. Conservatives have stitched a scarlet letter on every woman who won’t submit to their misogyny. Boehner isn’t Speaker of the House, he’s Lord of the Flies. Wayne LaPierre isn’t the head of the NRA, he’s Captain Ahab, hunting down the great white whale of gun control across an ocean of blood, while posting reassuring messages like this on Twitter . . .

The lightning flashes through my skull; mine eyeballs ache and ache, my own beaten brain seems as beheaded, and rolling on some stunning ground. Oh, oh! Yet blindfold, yet will I walk to thee! Arm the teachers. Arm the children. Arm everyone. Let’s roll!

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December, or the month after that, and each separate dying ember of democracy wrought its ghost upon the floor.   And as Ahab sailed on and the Raven brought him another drink, through the mists of time I heard Obama’s vow of government transparency, but his words like silent raindrops fell, and echoed in the wells of silence.

The national security state has built walls, a fortress deep and mighty, that none may penetrate. The tin soldiers of that fortress talk without speaking, they hear without listening, they pay no attention to the serfs beyond the walls, who keep squandering their resistance for a pocketful of mumbles, such are promises. Their elections are all lies and jest, the tin soldiers hear what they want to hear and disregard the rest.

Hear your inner music and share it, because too many Americans are wandering lost between sundown’s finish and midnight’s broken toll, too many outcasts are burning constantly at stake, too many searching ones are out on a speechless, seeking trail to nowhere, too many unharmful, gentle souls are misplaced inside a jail, there are too many aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursed, too many countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones and worse.

The lyrics and music of Dylan and Simon, the  words and themes of Pasternak and Melville and so many others, affirm that lyrical truth isn’t written in the dead language of power, it speaks in living words straight from the heart of human experience, it’s enlightenment, it’s liberation, it’s the path to healing in this world of pain.

Lyrical truth.  Tell it and speak it and think it and breathe it.   Heal yourself with it, heal others with it, because too many people feel like this . . .

I’ve been down on the bottom of a world full of lies,
I ain’t lookin’ for nothin’ in anyone’s eyes,
Sometimes my burden is more than I can bear,
It’s not dark yet, but it’s gettin’ there.


Only the truth can heal us, only the truth can set us free . . .