Vote This Way
As a native Oregonian, I've always known that the Bend community was a dynamic, sun-filled recreational community as well as a growing economic environment. On a recent vacation, we explored the Lava Cave, walked the Lava Cast Forest loop, floated the river and played golf at nine different courses. We were blown away by the growth, delighted by the La Pine Rodeo and attended the best concert ever by Grammy award artists, Lonestar.
Now we're thinking about buying a second home in the Bend area, but we won't know until November whether that's a good idea or not. We're old enough to not need jobs but wise enough to know we want to live among people who pay attention to what's best for their community.
While in the area we learned that Deschutes County has the opportunity to vote for change in their troubled Sheriff's Department. It's apparently the first time in two decades that the incumbent hasn't been alone on the ballot, appointed by his predecessor regardless of his nefarious ties. We also heard about tax Initiative 28, which basically amounts to a disguised sales tax. We hope voters pay attention to their opportunity to vote against higher taxes and for new leadership in the Sheriff's department. Then we'll decide whether or not to re-locate.
Recent Deaths in the Black and Police Communities
In the wake of recent tragedies surrounding the lives lost in Black and police communities, I have written the following poem, reflecting my perspective on these issues. I would deeply appreciate the opportunity to share these thoughts with the local community.
Living, Breathing, Grieving
My heart aches for the people who have died.
People who look like my father.
People who could just as well be an uncle, a cousin, or a brother.
I'm not sure why I'm affected by these losses more than the others.
No doubt, there have been many others.
But I do know that it hurts now.
Like an arm being twisted, there's a moment where it's not so bad.
Arms get twisted sometimes. That's just the way it is.
This pain won't last forever.
But then the pain continues.
And you hope to God the inflictor of your agony grants you mercy
When you cry "Uncle."
So today I grieve the deaths of those whose cries weren't answered.
Today, like many others, I realize too many of my people have died.
I grieve for my brother, who you might think twice to sit by
Or pass on the street
Until you heard the thoughtful warmth of his greeting a perfect stranger
I grieve for my brother, whose "one of them" and the spotlight he's had on him
Since the moment he was sworn in
I grieve for my children, still a figment of my imagination
But this will be their world one day
And I'm embarrassed to say
It's not ready yet for their innocence.
I'm not ready yet to witness their pain
As they learn that people like us die fast.
People who look like me are hated.
When someone else plays the music of their people, it's to listen
But when I play the music of my people, it makes a statement.
The way soulful sounds move my ear drum and my heart
Reminds me there's Blackness in my veins
The way the hair grows out of my head in curls and waves
Is further proof of my Blackness
As if I need some.
The way the music of my people is casually referred to as "garbage"
The way I hesitate when the hair dresser asks where my hair really "comes from"
Is proof that it's not safe to be flippant about flaunting Blackness.
In this way, I'm one of the lucky ones,
Whose Blackness is assumed nonexistent on one hand or questioned on the other.
I don't look like my father. I don't look like my mother.
It's hard to avoid discussions of politics when people like me were once banned politically.
But look how far we've come! My very existence was once illegal, but I'm here now!
Living, breathing, grieving.
Open Letter to Bend
Men crossed and ocean, time and time again to colonize, build and "improve" life in countries never seen by the royal crown. They fueled themselves with what we now have come to know and love as IPA. The all too proverbial writing is on the wall in Bend, the colonial nectar that has crossed oceans; paving way for historical atrocities has now settled in the dregs of a town, a town where the tears of the displaced and unwanted are not even dried by the time the next wave of ambiguous named restaurants and housing developments are built up. The vail of Bend has not only been lifted, but the face under the worn out fabric, resembles the scary monster from the goonies more than a holistic community with commerce and environmental sustainability in mind. In fact we throw parties to changes rives. Yes, parties—if only Gatsby had Chacos and a tin cup, green light replaced with the newest and greatest 8 million lumen, blind your grandmother kind of light strapped on a bike worth more than your servers monthly income. Its progress they say; I mean now I can MOD my pizza. "Yes please may I have some more east'west separation on that pie?" My pepperoni really doesn't go well with the pig it came from. Are you still with me or should I slow down? Because unlike that fermented secret your are running from I am still here, boots tightly perched in the crap sauna behind your next rental. Grit, fingerless, logs to work, alpine exploration flips real quick to forced smiles. "Yes sir here is your flight, from left to right you can really taste the baggy eyes of collars long forgotten." To many metaphors? Maybe that eight ball floating between your sons eyes needs to finally find its corner pocket. Right right, black and white keep it simple. The exceptional growth, vacation rentals, divided communities, bathed in the intoxication blender is hurting innocent men and women, and your pseudo-superficial community "involvement" is a waning moon; boo boo (that a Kendrick shout out). I'll type faster than any Ted talk; hop scotching through vagueness, so hop on the saddle and let's take a gentrified ride. Remember the asbestos filled air when they tore down the crane shed in the early morning hours, remember when free donut day at rays; of course you don't, you were busy crunching numbers on that square you call an investment. Remember that somos iguales and every kid deserves to smile with Healy on a Saturday, or was that Spanish from Cancun a bit rusty. Slap it on your counter; best not forget. Had to sneak that in there, because if your can bring the wave; you can put children in the mountains K-12. And you can do this in a yellow bus, Audi need not apply.
So tap it, slap it, and flip and retire; that's the goal right?
I guess we will just pick up the pieces,
Sincerely the joint smoking teenager, who grew up but still has the sunset on the pond.
We're not exactly sure what you're saying, Garrett, but we like the way you say it. Come by the Source to pick up a gift card, and have coffee on us at Palate.