Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘Minneapolis

Turnaround

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turn around
put my hands up in the air
put my hands behind my back
force me to re-register my right to vote
question my right to be here
deny me a loan
just pull my car over to the side of the road
don’t ask me, tell me
don’t wait to hear me explain
do you know why you pulled me over?
turn around
don’t you know that I am white?
why do you treat me different
why not treat me the very same
whatever you do to the oppressed
you are doing to the rest of us, too
might as well kneel hard on my neck
with that damn smug look on your face
gloved hand deftly crammed in your pocket
press it down harder
for a full nine minutes and more
make me beg but don’t even listen
you’re too busy putting on your sick show
we all died that day in Minneapolis
in an unceremoniously incremental way
and we can’t turn back our collective clocks
to a time when it wasn’t this way
so just simply turn around
let’s all walk the other way
to the place they don’t want us ever to reach
the one in the magnificent dream
in that inspiring speech
at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
August, 1963
let’s just turn around and go there
because here 
is not where
we want
to be

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Protest Exhaustion

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Night after night, we who aren’t out violating curfew instructions just can’t get ourselves to stop watching the uninterrupted live coverage of what is happening in our communities between people protesting police misconduct and the battalions of police and the national guard who are tasked with enforcing regulations. It’s exhausting.

I think that’s one of the points the protesters would be happy is being made. Imagine how exhausting it is to be “living while black.”

Three nights ago in Minneapolis, the drama on our television screens was hours of media coverage revealing overt vandalism, looting, and arson in the unbelievable complete absence of police action. Two nights ago, the scenario changed dramatically in that the freeways around Minneapolis and St. Paul were closed early and a very heavy police and national guard presence showed up within an hour of the curfew to control outcomes.

There were a lot fewer fires.

Last night, there was hope that a full day of peaceful protest would end quietly, but then a maniac driving a semi barreled toward thousands of people crowded onto the 35W bridge, and chaos ensued.

Even after a full night’s sleep, I still feel exhausted by it all.

When can we get back to just worrying about the contagious virus for which we have no vaccine?

When can we get back to concerns over how the millions of people facing financial calamity resulting from the pandemic will keep from going hungry or losing what little possessions they have?

Which came first, the angst of racial oppression or the angst of the pandemic?

One foot in front of the other. One deep cleansing breath at a time. I think we are going to need to figure out the trick of carrying on with everyday life even while exhausted, because the change we need to happen is going to take more time than just a week of overnight riotous protests.

Afternoon naps make a lot of sense in times like this.

We could also work on the visualization of planting our love to the world like a seed in the ground that we feed and nurture and watch as it sprouts and grows into a towering tree. Make it a time-lapse visual, so we don’t have to wait a hundred years for the love to get to its maximum height.

<yawn> I’m going to do my visualization while lying down. With my eyes closed. For a couple of hours. Couple-eight.

Oh for a full night’s sleep again…

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Stress Squared

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Just when we thought the problem commanding our attention was an invisible virus contagion with potential to kill that has shut down life as we knew it, centuries of systemic oppression have boiled over in response to another murder of a black man in police custody, this time in Minneapolis.

It’s mind-numbing.

Unfathomable that so many people were present during the incident and either chose not to or were unauthorized to intervene.

My commute home yesterday took me uncomfortably close to some of the riotous protestations underway beside the freeway, but beyond a momentary slowing of traffic in the area, the worst disruption for me was hearing details of what was actually happening at that moment on the live radio coverage as I passed by.

The activity in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul was disturbingly close to where our daughter, Elysa lives.

Hearing about the transformation from protesting to arson and vandalism by some people is heartbreaking.

There is stress stacked upon stress, stacked upon stress.

It is hard to know how much influence one can have from a distance, standing among the trees of our forest amid a chorus of bird songs and frogs beckoning, sending love to all those people in the thick of things just 50 miles away to the northeast.

Today, that’s what I’ve got to offer.

I wish it could put out fires. Or, better yet, keep people from ever starting them.

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Written by johnwhays

May 29, 2020 at 6:00 am

All About

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Cyndie. This Weekend, it’s all about Cyndie as we celebrate the milestone of her 60th birthday. With Jackie tending to animal chores at Wintervale, Cyndie and I are submersed in the loving energy –and I do mean energy– of the Friswold family. We are staying at her parent’s house in Edina, MN, but have twice in a row found our way to downtown Minneapolis.

Last night, it was dinner and music at the Dakota, where we ate like royalty and swooned over Shawn Colvin‘s very personal solo guitar song performance.

This morning, Cyndie is sleeping in. My brain is busy trying to process the onslaught of activity, memories, and emotions –not to mention distractions of mental and physical preparations for my biking and camping trip that starts on Friday– conspiring to confuse me over whether it’s all about Cyndie, or all about me right now.

I had the great pleasure of starting the day yesterday riding bikes with Cyndie’s brother, Ben. He rode over from about a mile away just as a rumble of thunder rolled over us.

We took pause inside to watch the radar long enough to see we would have a perfect window of opportunity after a very short wait. The tiny disturbance sliding south of us was just a precursor to the precipitation that would arrive in the middle of the day and hang around for the afternoon.

While the sky was watering the earth, more of the Friswold clan gathered for lunch at Jimmy’s restaurant near our old Eden Prairie stomping grounds.

After a little nap before heading out for the night, attention turned to a gift brother Barry presented to Cyndie. Her jaw dropped when she saw her younger face on the cover of a memory book of pictures he had spent many loving hours to produce.

Just as she finished a first pass through the overwhelming collection of memories the images trigger, we stood to witness Justify run for the triple crown. Then eleven of us headed out for dinner and the concert.

With noted local musician and song-a-day YouTuber, Zachary Scot Johnson opening the show for Shawn Colvin, we were treated to a range of guitar-accompanied stories, providing me with a second recent prompt to wonder whether I am still a guitar player, or not.

A variety of reasons have combined to allow months to pass without my spending time with fingers on frets. I am inclined to blame my yet-to-be surgically treated arthritic left thumb as the primary culprit for the hiatus, but deep down, I have a sense I may be giving that more credit than is due.

Somehow, while distracted with too many of my own concerns rarely focused on accomplishments, I have been granted the chance to flutter around the bright light that is Cyndie for 44-some years.

It makes for a tangled web that isn’t so much all about her or me in the end. It really has become all about us.

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Written by johnwhays

June 10, 2018 at 8:35 am

Speaking Easy

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No time to write on and on about absolutely everything we’ve already done (yesterday) that was incredibly fantastic to celebrate Cyndie’s big birthday (that actually transpired last Monday), because I am heading out early this morning to put on more bike miles with her brother, Ben.

But… I must at the very least mention the superb speakeasy in Uptown Cyndie picked for a first-stop before the spectacular dinner in downtown Minneapolis that we enjoyed with Barry and Carlos last night.

In classic form, the entrance is virtually invisible. We reached the appointed address on Lake Street, but made the rookie mistake of hunting inside the front door of said address. A charitable resident recognized our obvious “searching” mannerisms and gave away the secret.

Of course. Walk through the alley to the back side of the building, go around the dumpsters, look past the HVAC unit for a metal door with a covered slit for a window. Rap on the door and the cover slides open to reveal two eyes asking if we are there to look at their hats.

“Sure.”

The door opens and we step inside, where our ID’s need to be checked to find out our “hat size.” Then it is down the stairs into the ultimate destination for some drinks and eats in a perfect atmosphere depicting our perception of what a speakeasy of yesteryear might have been like.

The only other thing they could have added to enhance the experience would be a police raid with us scrambling out a back way to escape.

A beautiful night, great food, and precious company celebrating a special birthday girl.

It couldn’t have been any easier than that.

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Written by johnwhays

June 9, 2018 at 6:00 am

Great Show

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Many, many months ago, I bought tickets for a show in downtown Minneapolis at the State Theater on Hennepin Avenue, not really sure why I was picking this concert over so many other more obvious choices for us. Must have been my keen intuition.

Last night, the performance date finally arrived and we headed to the big city to see the TajMo band. Two blues greats, Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’, have joined forces to come up with a very pleasing combined version of themselves.

Here is a link to a nice review of their show in Nevada back in June that matches closely with the version we experienced. It does a good job of capturing the essence of the night we had.

The only drawback with our little forays to the Twin Cities on work nights is that it cuts into my sleep, which usually makes for short blog posts, too.

I’ll leave you with a couple of shots taken on my phone from up in the balcony. Did I mention it was a really great show? It truly was.

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Written by johnwhays

September 7, 2017 at 6:00 am