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Postcards From Beyond Reality: The Selected Poems of Michael Daniels

  • Writer's pictureBernard Jan

The Hidden Faces of Holidays

This is about you: oppressed, invisible, silent. Nameless, undesired, unworthy. Unwanted. FACELESS. You – banished from your homes and you – caged into your existence.

You are turned into a burden of our society. (Not by your own will.) Because you are poor; once you had a meaningful life and now you are fading shadows crawling up and down our streets, unwashed and dirty packages stacked and locked behind razor wires with just a vision of freedom you once possessed in your vanished and broken homes, with destiny that doesn't force its smile upon you any more. The future for you is uncertain like the drops of sudden rain burned and turned into vapor on the hot desert sand.

The faces of the other you are even harder to count, harder to see. You multiply us by tens and hundreds of times. We love you from a distance. But we don't actually care about you, acknowledge you. We love the taste of you much better than the lives you were given and granted as something of yours and something that belongs to you only; we love your blood and fear on our tongue rather than the gentle pulse of your beating hearts on the soft palms of our hands.

Your babies are cute and our babies love to play with them. They relate and understand each other with the uncorrupted knowledge of innocent souls who know that they belong to and create one and the same universe. Though, that universe doesn't bring the same fate to all of them when, even at holidays and the time of universal joy, they go silently into the darkness of their lives, guided by the hands of our humanity. Their tears, their cries, pain and agony are hushed with our celebration of life and good wishes.

Something is very wrong. I look for compassion, kindness, gentleness and goodness, but they are masked behind our smiling faces. Sparkled into nothingness by the lights of fireworks and myriads of wishes. As the world sinks its teeth deeper into the soft and ripe flesh of celebration, I feel the ever thicker presence of death spilling like a fog everywhere, all over the world. Hiding both sad and smiling faces, hiding everyone and everything, like there is no single life left on this planet. Like the light is completely turned off.

Before the plates are cleaned, even before the tables are set and candles lit, I humbly beg you to consider celebrating kindness, compassion and life. Because there is so much more to it, so much more than a sparkle of champagne, clinging of glasses, smeared rouge and loosened ties after the long-hour night and tipsy heads.

Once we are back to our old selves, we realize that there is kindness in us and that there is the need for good deeds towards others. Homeless, poor, refugees, animals. Those abandoned, forgotten and faceless ones. Those we refuse to acknowledge, those whose existence we deny because they are far from our hearts.

Except, they don't have to be. Not now. Not ever. Particularly not in the days of celebration. They can be celebrated and celebrating with us, by our decisions and resolutions that will last for a long lifetime. Ours and theirs.

Thank you for choosing compassion, kindness, goodwill and empathy. Thank you for opening your hearts to human and animal suffering. And thank you for doing something about it.

Happy holidays!


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