Strange Fruit by Abel Meeropol

Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolia, sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop

Strange Fruit is the first documentary exploring the history and legacy of the Billie Holiday classic. The song’s evolution tells a dramatic story of America’s radical past using one of the most influential protest songs ever written as its epicenter. The saga brings viewers face-to-face with the terror of lynching even as it spotlights the courage and heroism of those who fought for racial justice when to do so was to risk ostracism and livelihood if white – and death if Black. It examines the history of lynching, and the interplay of race, labor and the left, and popular culture as forces that would give rise to the Civil Rights Movement.

While many people assume Strange Fruit was written by Billie Holiday herself, it actually began as a poem by a Jewish schoolteacher and union activist from the Bronx who later set it to music. Disturbed by a photograph of a lynching, the teacher wrote the stark verse and brooding melody about the horror of lynching under the pseudonym Lewis Allan in 1938. It was first performed at a New York teachers’ union rally and was brought to the attention of the manager of Cafe Society, a popular Greenwich Village nightclub, who introduced Billy Holiday to the writer.

https://www.kanopy.com/wayf/product/strange-fruit-biography-song

The documentary includes a moving recitation of the lyric by Abbey Lincoln and a powerful musical performance by Cassandra Wilson. But it’s the footage of Lady Day herself performing her bitter and heart-wrenching signature song that stands at the center of the film. Holiday sang it until her death in 1959.

My Crowded Mind

imageedit_13_5357170518

cool dampness fills the air…

attended by a lack of dreams…

a lack of care.

misogyny has shut the lights off to a tiny world.

these are the days, no one will want to remember.

lone docks, lone chairs…

baskets of all types…

with their own kind of despair.

have i been, kind today?

have i not judged?

my own private nudge!

a romantic…

minus the semantics.

a lone dock…

a lone chair…

a ticket holder at the bigoted fair.

Broken Bread

You and I have broken bread.

But secretly I wonder…heaven 3

‘Are you willing to revoke the day…I wed?’

All the while standing behind that good book

the one holding your coffee table up

the one that dictates

all that is right

all that is wrong.

As though, black and white had not been built by a coat of many colors.

In the heat of friendly pandering…

And, quips about life

the seduction of style.

I wonder would you wear my soiled sandals?

Walk in them…a mile.

When we agree to disagree over the broken bread…

one coffee

and

one tea.

Looking out the breakfast nook window

into the shroud of an approaching storm…

I wonder,

do you truly see me?

 

 

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory on narrow grounds to a Colorado Christian baker who refused for religious reasons to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, stopping short of setting a major precedent allowing people to claim exemptions from anti-discrimination laws based on religious beliefs.

The justices, in a 7-2 decision, said the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed an impermissible hostility toward religion when it found that baker Jack Phillips violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by rebuffing gay couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig in 2012. The state law bars businesses from refusing service based on race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.

The ruling concluded that the commission violated Phillips’ religious rights under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

But the justices did not issue a definitive ruling on the circumstances under which people can seek exemptions from anti-discrimination laws based on their religious views. The decision also did not address important claims raised in the case including whether baking a cake is a kind of expressive act protected by the Constitution’s free speech guarantee.

Two of the court’s four liberals, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, joined the five conservative justices in the ruling authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who also was the author of the landmark 2015 decision legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

“The commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion,” Kennedy wrote.

But Kennedy also stressed the importance of gay rights while noting that litigation on similar issues is likely to continue in lower courts.

“Our society has come to the recognition that gay persons and gay couples cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth,” Kennedy wrote.

“The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market,” Kennedy added.

The case marked a test for Kennedy, who has authored significant rulings that advanced gay rights but also is a strong advocate for free speech rights and religious freedom.

Of the 50 states, 21 including Colorado have anti-discrimination laws protecting gay people.

a person posing for the camera: Gay married couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig pose for a photo in Denver

read more at…

MSN. Laurence Hurley/Supreme Court backs Christian baker who spurned gay couple

Solitude of Self

Unabashedly and most likely, without malice; When my mother had been asked…

“Aren’t you proud of your gay daughter?”

She held a simple response…

“Actually, at first, I felt embarrassed and ashamed!  It’s not that I didn’t love her.  It just took me awhile to get over the idea…it wasn’t right!”

elizabeth cady stanton 2

The polite and always pleasant woman had known me for many years.  She ran a register.  I had been a constant customer.  And, somehow, our worlds began to collide.  On the street, in the market, online, etc.

She had just lost her husband to cancer.  And, I had been an open ear.  I had been through the strife of holding my lover’s hand…during the blinding and confining whirl of emotional chaos.

She, and I, and my partner, had seen the bowels of poverty, pain and suffering.  We fell to the ground, each of us….And, managed with earnestness and will to get back up!

So in retrospect, what began as an anonymous relationship…Flourished into a kinship of womanhood.

Yet, unfortunately, I had anticipated my mother’s answer.  And, also projected the ‘let down’ appearance on my friend’s face.

This memory always, always, and hopefully forever, brings me to peering into the history of woman’s struggle to survive.

‘Whatever the theories may be of woman’s dependence on man, in the supreme moments of her life he can not bear her burdens. Alone she goes to the gates of death to give life to every man that is born into the world. No one can share her fears, no one can mitigate her pangs; and if her sorrow is greater than she can bear, alone she passes beyond the gates into the vast unknown.’

…the little courtesies of life on the surface of society…

utter insignificance in view of the deeper tragedies in which she must play her part alone, where no human aid is possible.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

 

Grow Old with Me

Just the other day…

“Can I help you?”

Me, “Oh, I’m just looking for something for my wife…”

Saleswoman of the middle aged variety…

“Hmm.  You’re joking right?”

siblings 3

“Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)… There are just some kind of men who – who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.”
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

It seems silly to me to have an explanation ready…when I am asked, about my husband…And, there is hesitation and sense of distrust and horror…When I then say,

‘I don’t have a husband…I have a wife.’

Silly but repetitive,

… I still imagine a world where people can love each without outside retribution.’

ripple monday 7
Grow Old with Me

Grow old along with me
The best is yet to be
When our time has come
We will be as one
God bless our love
God bless our love

Grow old along with me
Two branches of one tree
Face the setting sun
When the day is done
God bless our love
God bless our love

Spending our lives together
Man and wife together
World without end
World without end

Grow old along with me
Whatever fate decrees
We will see it through
For our love is true
God bless our love
God bless our loveWriter/s: Lennon, John