Monday, July 15, 2019

Yellow cards

"Moral injury is a psychological wound resulting from witnessing or participating in a morally transgressive act; it's a toxic, festering mix of dread, guilt, and shame." Joan Halifax

His friends approved of his review of Dylan and Young, but I couldn't get past the way his narrative ended, a man on a bike pulling his leashed dog into the path of a London bus. The vice president looked no one in the eye at the border. Men behind fences begging for showers; begging for a soft place to sleep. We are a kind country, a good country.

We walked with our young kids down a residential street in Arlington, Virginia. A white woman couldn't find her brother. We wondered what he looked like. "He's a red-blooded American," she said.

Number 7 for the California team was blonde, buxom and fast. She swung a haymaker at a Hawai`i player near the sideline, knocking her to the ground. The Hawai`i coach, leaning on a crutch, screamed at the Cali parents. "I'll shut up when your team stops endangering my players!" A cart of officials rolled up and installed itself between him and the California team. One mother had to be restrained. The blonde girl got a yellow card and left the field.

In the next game, our coach was tossed out because he over-argued an off-side call.

The word "accidental" from the last meditation has irked me for two days. An accidental witness, accidental refugee. Accidental to themselves only. Once we've seen the transgressive act, we choose to witness it again, or we do not. "I don't want to know what Trump tweeted," a friend writes. She gets sick otherwise. The concentration camp sits at the edge of the skull, blurred out image that pulses like a torn back toe-nail. The end of the mind is outrage, and the rest still sees morning clouds on the mountain, hears the shama thrush trilling, the saw booming from the shed out back.

Stay in the present. But the present exists for others than myself. Is that a counter-universe where children are put into cages and denied diapers? Or is it simply the next aisle down in this supermarket of horrors and fine food? You cannot stay in one aisle only, nor can you tease them apart after you've walked down each of them.

When they scan your purchases and get your phone number, they figure out what you came in for. When you go down that aisle of cages, they see you look. Intention can't be gauged, so they assume that you want to buy what you see, a small child huddled under a space blanket, cared for by an older child.

During our first adoption, my therapist told me "we are all complicit." Capitalism makes us all incoherent, a Marxist with a trust fund told me once. Our good fortune is fortune, the language smashed into literal bits. She doesn't get jokes because she believes the words mean what they say. I refused to buy clothing made in Cambodia, until I forgot to look.

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