Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bearing Witness to the times: System Partially Down

 (Photo by Rob Schumacher / AP)

System Partially Down

In the midst of a busy day
Conflict arose.
We have a system in our workplace
To make things more efficient.
It mostly works
Except when it doesn’t.
Conflict arose
When I needed that space
At the same time my coworker
Needed that space.
He did not like
My taking the space.
I could have waited
But my work was important.
His work was important, too.

Hard feelings that day.
No one’s fault
But a flawed system
Putting us at odds.

And so we live
Within flawed systems –
Sometimes thwarting our plans,
Sometimes placing us at odds
With one another.

I fall back to an old zen story about an empty boat:
A man sitting in his boat was rammed
By another boat.
Anger immediately arose within him.
He saw that the boat was empty,
Simply adrift.
With no person, no motive, no agenda to rage against,
The man’s anger completely dissipated.

I try to see our flawed system
As an empty boat
When I’m placed at odds
With colleagues.
It helps me navigate my day.

But I still feel great sorrow that
A flawed system
Separated a young mother from her family,
Deporting her to Mexico.
This is not just a case of an empty boat.

                                                          ~ CK

*    *    *    *

From my introductory post:

The best thing that poets can do is to bear witness to the times – articulate what is happening in the moment; speak to the real life experiences of your people.  I am setting myself a goal to write a poem each week that reflects what I see and experience in the life of our nation... if I can write one poem a week there will be some chronicle of our sacred/tested/doubtful union.


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