To Those Who Took Their Pictures

Who will take their pictures?
Helping us remember the tired, hungry faces
Riding cold boxcars into the dark night
Ten long years before World War II

Who will take their pictures?
Of our parents, grandparents, the elderly man living next door
Lonely survivors, waiting with millions in long food lines
Selling a pair of shoes for only a penny

Who will take their pictures?
Those turned out in the streets
Dark silhouettes sleeping in dumpsters
Cardboard box villages under bridges to nowhere

Who will take their pictures?
Barefoot mothers clutching dying hopes
Child-like dreams of tomorrow for sale
Bits of filthy cloth left for the rag man to gather

Who will take their pictures?
Helping us remember
Hard times, here again
Set your price, all shoes and dreams once again for sale

Note: Dedicated to the wonderful photographers capturing the human side of the Great Depression. See more here.

November Songs

Rust colored leaves
Lonesome naked trees
Waving branches, wild dancing fingers
Reaching upward, gray skies, dark clouds above

Early snow, sparse gatherings here and there
Thin streams of streaky smoke
Lazily drifting from red brick chimneys
A sorrowful wind howls cold and lonely

In the distance, two bright red cardinals
Chirping November songs back and forth
Songs of plenty, winter solitude, thanksgiving
Melodies reunited strangers sing

I hope I never forget
How October brought us here
Just to hear the wind
And strangers sing November songs

Breathless Peppermint Sunset

A hint of cool peppermint
One wispy streak of fragile salmon pink
Lingering still, the far-off horizon

A skipped heartbeat
Awaiting the stars, the moon’s sweet embrace

Content resting in the moment
No wishing for a shooting star
No anticipation of what’s to come
Comfortable forgetting all that has passed

Even the wind holds its breath
Till it all fully touches us—
That momentary magic—
Being alive

She Left Me

She left me
All alone, so very blue
She left me
Reasons why, I never knew

She left me
Standing there by myself
She left me
All my dreams on some deserted shelf

She left me
Wondering where I go from here
She left me
Not so much as one tear

She left me
My lonely heart, oh so blue
She left me
Broke my heart in two

Note: Written in senior year of high school, 1969, St. Clairsville, Ohio. This poem was intended as song lyrics. They never made it, but I never really tried to use them in a song.

Pondering the Obama Victory

The neighbor’s dog chases a lone leaf
Gliding like an golden angel to earth below
Sitting at my window, I smile at the dog—
Now victoriously clutching the leaf between his teeth
He savors his prize
Careful not to destroy what was so hard won

Between calculated sips of my morning coffee
I try my best to imagine
What most Blacks are feeling this morning
After a resounding Obama victory last night
Victorious, validated, vibrant, perhaps vivacious
But surely now believing dreams come true

So much of life, chasing golden leaves
Seeking our special moment
A time to shine like the sun
Sparkle like a diamond
Twinkle like a star in full aliveness
Congratulations America on your choice

Consciousness Shift

“We’ve just experienced a profound shift in our consciousness.”

Comment by Oprah Winfrey to CNN News on Election Night 2008 in Chicago, IL

Personal Commentary by Don Iannone

Just finishing a new masters degree in consciousness studies, this quote by Oprah Winfrey grabbed my attention. What did Oprah mean by a consciousness shift? You would need to ask her to know what she really meant, but I will take a stab at what I think she meant.

What does a shift in consciousness mean? In an overall sense, it refers to a new awareness of the world–a more holistic, and integrated worldview; a new worldview that sees the deeper connections in our lives to all people and all things, and the inviolability or sanctity of all life.

This shift has been a long time coming, and not just conceived on Election Night 2008. We have been evolving in this direction for a long, long time. The shift is much more than a new political or economic vision for America, although new visions of both could come from the shift. It is more than a shift in ideology from a Republican regime to a Democratic regime. It is more than a shift from rich to poor, White to Black, Iraq and Afghanistan to the American Middle. The shift in consciousness is about the recognition of the enormous power of our ideas, what we believe, hope for, and dream of. It is a shift to seeing how we transform ourselves each moment through our consciousness of ourselves and our world. It is about the role of our consciousness in giving shape to our evolution as human beings and integral components of the whole of life.

I believe that is what Oprah Winfrey was speaking of when she spoke of a consciousness shift. I believe this is something that has been inside Oprah Winfrey for a long time, but she was given the courage to speak to the shift by her recent work with Eckhart Tolle, the author of The Power of Now and A New Earth. Learn more here: http://www.eckharttolle.com/eckharttolle

Watch for the signs of this shift in consciousness within yourself and your world. It’s there and it is profoundly powerful.

See the photographic version of this post on my Flickr website.