In men’s souls

Mysterious, indeed
why voids
appear in men’s souls
though their bodies still thrive;
the specter of Death
stays stoutly
beyond the veil

shuffling through
days made
months made
years, where joy
and sorrow both flow
like red and white
during an early autumn
vineyard wedding

vacuities remains
and only the most honest
of men know
from whence they came.

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The young, the old: society trying to keep itself together

Two crucial processes exist in modern life. One is society trying to get the younger generation ready for present reality. The other is society is trying to help (or sometimes make) older generations adapt to present reality. Tension between these age cohorts could be considered a more complicated version of the generation gap.

All groups are insulated, as everyone self-selects their friends and company. The young and old are special. Children have yet to shoulder the full weight of the social system. Their experiences are rarely independent of their elders. Even at 24, this split for me is clear.

For instance, I was just old enough to understand what 9/11 was without relying on someone. I understood that terrible people do exist, that the places targeted had great value, and that nothing was going to be the same from then on. Those entering college this fall do not have the same base of knowledge, something that the author of Gin and Tacos explains well as a professor having to deal with 18 year olds. As he states, we are failing in some regard because the present reality depends on both the distant and recent past. We teach the Civil War from elementary school onwards. History classes rarely give the same scrutiny to the post-Vietnam era.

I have a problem with how the tension between older generations and the middle strata of American society gets portrayed in the media. Clearly this line is blurry. People of typical working age are creating the technology and ideas that move things forward, but not exclusively. Also the political ruling class trends older, with many elite players being past retirement age.

However, stories about the gap tend to focus on narrow difficulties, like how inventions like the Internet have been difficult to diffuse among those who grew up with typewriters and rotary dial telephones.

If we are honest, it goes far beyond that. The civil rights movement marches on. Even I needed some help with discussing gender identity and sexual orientation. To spread new expectations requires going into communities that have their own standards. Children are far easier to teach than 60+ individuals, and that is a clear point of conflict in “the generation gap” or something similar. There is an expectation of change, but it will never fully translate.

This bit of sociology fascinates me. Popular media tends to ascribe special qualities to a generation; The Wire collected over a century’s worth of ‘the youth are so dang selfish, the worst ever!’ A better way to view it is in the rate of social change. When culture changes rapidly, the disparity between one group of individuals and another rises. In a time like now, when change is rapid and spread across all aspects of life, the stress of holding it all together is great and it shows. What is society but many different groups, held together by a few fragile chains?

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Tracing stars

From the Royal B.C Museum, Victoria. Taken by Andrew Mackay

From the Royal B.C Museum, Victoria.
Taken by Andrew Mackay

All that is
on myth and magic

tales, told by wizened elders
tracing stars
their lines
grown firm as


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The chrysalis lives
to be discarded, lives
to die
for without it
all wonders
and all beauty

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On a mist-marked morning

From the Portland Rose Garden, OR. Taken by Andrew Mackay

From the Portland Rose Garden, OR.
Taken by Andrew Mackay

Vine-laden trellises
bear witness
to those arriving
on a mist-marked morning

a brick pathway
once straight

thorny tendrils hold
searing colors
so vivid that their
full luster stays
until the ship sails
to what lies beyond
mortal coil.

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Ferguson: will This Time Be Different?

If you follow a good media Twitter like Danny Wicentowski you’ll know that things have escalated since the death of Michael Brown in St. Louis. Protests have intensified, as people feel that the institutions in this crime are going to do their historical dance of talk but no action.

Alderman Antonio French has been arrested, as have several journalists. Once again we see police that are increasingly indistinguishable from military units. What is depressing to think of is how any abuse doled out by these riot police will be subject to the same inadequate review and regulation as the shooting of Brown.

I have great, deep faith of activists and those that want to see justice done, but this is against the inertia of so many past crimes that have gone unpunished. One can work, and hope that This Time Will Be Different.

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The orchard of my heart

From the Portland Rose Garden, OR. Picture taken by Andrew Mackay

From the Portland Rose Garden, OR.
Picture taken by Andrew Mackay

In the orchard of my heart
even those peaches with skin
like cast iron, will
be kneaded soft with time

tender pasts grow sweet
time washes away
any dirt that dare interrupt
idle fantasy

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