Keeping the Good Going

Ann BuxieBy Ann Buxie      October 30, 2020

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Keeping the Good Going
Daniel Kaluuya as “Chris” in Jordan Peele’s 2017 horror film, Get Out. Universal Pictures
Take care what you read and watch. Bit by bit, a horror film (Get Out!), the New York Times Magazine, The Canyon Chronicle, and The New York Times Book Review, can let loose an accumulation of mind monsters, as poet Ann Buxie attests to in her poem. When she gets desperate, she says, “I remember what I can do to ‘keep the good going.’ In small ways we can extend compassion and healing by simply showing up and listening.” She has begun a group called “Breaking Silence,” based on Martin Luther King’s quote: “Our lives begin to end when we become silent about things that matter.” It meets on Zoom the fourth Wednesday of the month from 5-6 p.m. For information: Please memo “Breaking Silence” in subject line. Ann Buxie’s “Tales by the Sea,” storytelling for grown-ups, is also on Zoom. For the next event contact her at the same email address and memo “Tales by the Sea.”

There Was | By Ann Buxie

nothing startling
about this day
the accumulation of news
in today’s edition
of memories fraying
and histories retrieved
episodes butting my day

to signal this re-evaluation
of gone before
how its mass
would propel me
into the horror,
coalescing, dehiscing,
extremities of dread

Get Out* broke in

(theme music
from Twilight Zone
used to send me running)

nothing to signal how
these monsters
would inhabit, would display
the terror
implacable, frenetic, undeniable
bred by the accumulation
they come
to reveal, to repulse its power

lionfish suited in Armani,
frilled in candy stripes
unleashed with deliberation
to prey upon each generation
to invade every policy
Lionfish . . . don’t seem to know
when to stop eating . . . .**

Enough and Justice, witnesses absent
from their treason, only
the skeletons of profit clattering,
monsters roaming openly
off the books by collective agreements.

the erasure of non-white people***

The culture’s hacked.
It’s institutional, it’s just
the way of the world. You worked
when and how
the company told you
and didn’t complain.****

From Black lives to pneumoconiosis –
black lungs dusted with coal -
You done what you had to do
to keep your job, to feed
your family****

Institutional belies the fact that people
rigged the system,
on purpose, with intention,
corrupting it over generations,
to hoard power,
to capitalize, to increase profits, by every means.
The corporate and political structure
can be undone
the same way.
On purpose.

Nothing warned me
I would encounter chimera
this day, fabulosities distilled
from my own energies,
kept confined,
stymied by cultural prohibitions,
monsters silenced, ransomed
by my willingness
to pass through their gaze,
to absorb the hysteria
of horror and the lush
of knowing, to call the forfeit
to account.
To suffer it.
To listen.

There was
to signal how these monsters
would make the world feel
so right.

My undoing. My purpose.

to signal            how these monsters
            would make the world feel
                                    so right.
My undoing. My purpose.

* Get Out, a horror film
** The New York Times Style Magazine, “Eating the Enemy,” Ligaya Mishan,
10-4-20, p. 48
*** The Canyon Chronicle, “There’s no racism in Argentina,’” Alki Depsky, p. 10-11, 9-4-20, vol. I no. 6
**** The New York Times Book Review, “Black Lung,” Hector Tobar, 9/20/20, p. 9

Ann Buxie
      October 30, 2020

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