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By Al Beck and Remy Benoit

   Everyday, in a thousand ways, we make choices.

   And once we make them, we have to live with them and whatever they bring.

   Most of our choices are reactive, rather than proactive. Acknowledgement of that fact leads to the beginnings of true growth and freedom
   There are many things that are very difficult to "get over,"  to get beyond.

   I don't know anyone without pain, without hurt, without disappointment, and yes, even some kind of betrayal in their personal history.  But for the hundredth time, at least, the choice is in what we do with that; in Maslow's word, what we  "generate."

   There is much that wants fixing in the world. Many of you have some strong thoughts and opinions on that.  Many of you have potential cures. Some of you will even accept yesterday's "Challenge."      

   I am providing an outlet for some of those ideas of yours. The computer work for the database is not quite complete yet, and I still have to add the introductions for each section, but you can go to:
Help to Heal the World.

   There you will find a number of topic headings where you may express  your ideas. My intention is to build a world wide database for sharing.
It is not a place to "vent," it is a place to construct a framework for a better world.

   Al has joined us again today. He is the author of: Gnomes and Poems, Sight Lines, Songs From The Rainbow Worm, Beaucoup Haiku, God Is In the Glove Compartment, Survival Weapons, Warm Verse - Cold Turkey and Rapping Paper - Mythic Thundermugs. You may contact him through: Lorein House Publishing.

   One of the things that has caused problems in some many lives is violence and its mate, war. Al has sent us a new poem today. We often don't think how we contribute to the violence by letting things slip into the culture that enhance it. We need to think about that, act on that.

Celebration, Gifts and Games

Celebration, Gifts and Games.
We grope at one trite hope for
positive passion, thinking it might
keep evil fun from stinking.

Play only to win? Well, that “truth”
wears thin; because winners are
mere beginners in the creative
struggle for social discipline.

Salute the stuff that tames
animalistic proclivity. It’s so
peculiar how the commercial world
ignores the influence of Nativity.

And now we celebrate with
cyber games of destruction.
What sort of greedy scum
promote this harmful instruction?

Children need protection to avoid a life
heading in the wrong direction.
When vicous play becomes a delicious gift
it permits young minds to drift into focused danger.

Influences of those with excess sporting
leisure and even stranger, men who sport
lascivious pleasure, will disappear as we deal
with mentally crippled goons, and without fear

attend to our social wounds.
generations to come
will certainly measure
the resulting emotional treasure.

Al Beck,

You may contact Al Beck at:
Pyrapod c/o A. Beck
5987 Country Road 231
Monroe City, MO
Gallery hours by appointment: (573) 439-5039

   There are all kinds of violence, all kinds of pain. Some of us know about that as it pertains to relationships. I know some of you have suffered in the dating and mating game with the 'Nam Vet Syndrome that I talk about below in my poem, Choices, from Loving, which is  being readied for publication at: Pharaoh Press. There is a little light story there too called "The Romance Writer." Wouldn't it be nice if all things in the area of Loving did, indeed, have fairy tale endings like this one.:)

   But I think Choices is closer to the truth:


The women.
They didn't see me.
They saw intense eyes.
They heard a deep, resonant voice.
They didn't see the darkness
of the places I've been.
They didn't hear the screams,
their screams,
my screams.
They didn't feel the gnawing guilt.

THEY are supposed to see
                           to hear
                           to feel.

They were women.
Women were supposed to be
But they didn't see.
They didn't ask.
So, I just took'em
Like I was taken.
All of 'em
All of 'em.

They weren't real.
If they were real,

they would have  known,

what was inside me.
All but her.
She saw.

She heard.
She felt.

She knew.
Can't just take her.
She who saw my darkness.
She who felt my darkness.
She who knew the demons
who were eating me.

But Mama is real.
Mama was my caretaker then.
Why didn't she know?        
Why did she let me go, there?
So many Mamas.
Don't want Mama to know.
Want Mama to know it all.
They are supposed to
to protect.
Why won't they know?
Unconsciously to protect
themselves from more than they
can carry?

What about us?

Dad was supposed to know.
To care.
To protect.
But mothers are supposed
to love,
enough, strongly enough,
to keep the monsters
in the closets
and not lem 'em out
swarming all over,
through and in you.
over, through, and in you.

Dad said swallow the rage,
the pain
get past it.
Be a man.

Women were supposed to make it better.
Women were supposed to civilize.
Not lay in the boonies spread eagled for coins.
Not offering sex and satchel charges.
Women allowed this, did this.
Didn't take time enough to learn enough
about what can be in closets; what terrible spiders
can be in closets.
Too much airing bed linens instead
of the dirty sheets of politics.
With rights come responsibilities.

Others have a her.
Their one who tries to stop it.
Who wants to stop the pain
Can't just take her.
She loves me.
She loves all of me.
She can see,
and hear,
and feel
all of me.
Can't just take her anymore in the dark
like I used to when I couldn't see her pain
through my own;
when I couldn't see her seeing through
my own blind pain.

Have to go to her
from now on
    in the Light.

She brought the beginning of the light
into that tunneled hell.
I was sent to
where I still heard their screams,
my screams;
where I still smelled their fear,
            my fear;
where I still smelled all the

She carries the light,
lets it shine a little brighter day by day
illuminating the dark corners,
emptying out the crevices of lurking unknown slime.

She is the light for me.
My way home for me.
My way home to her.
My way home toYou.

Why did she see
Because she made the choice to.
Because she chose to love
the whole man
even the dark man I never wanted to see
and had to see, to be, to keep on being;
part of myself separating himself
from his real self,
upsetting the balance,
to have both of us survive.
She saw,
because she chose to share the pain,
turn the pain, help bring me back to me,
because she chose to keep on loving me
even when I didn't love myself.

And now I see her
                   feel her
                   hear her.
Rejoice with her
Light others' ways with You and her
opening all those closets filled with
tentacled spiders of war
airing the dirtied linens hidden by civilized veneers
opening the eyes of all of us who have
to make choices,
hard choices,
less painful though than guilt over
what I didn't choose in the first place.

Being a man.
A whole man.
A healed man.
Not following the pain anymore.
Making choices.
Reaching out.
Not wantonly taking.
Moving On.
Keeping On.
Getting On With Life.
Getting On With Loving.

Can we turn the violence that you know too well into some constructive use of energy and creativity? The turning of this is our collective responsibility.

Once again, it is all truly in our choices.

We have to choose well, or we, indeed, choose hell.

For more of Loving you may visit with Sean at Forgotten Soldier at: Anzio.


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This item is part of historian, author, editor, and educator Remy Benoit's ongoing weblog for Veterans, writers, students, and others who believe in learning from and making history; including thousands of articles and posts and the free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.

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